Volunteer Reflections: Laura Salt
Hello, my name is Laura Salt and I am 26 years old. I am a part time Masters student at the University of Sheffield and a full time teacher at Hillsborough College, Sheffield.
I am completing a work placement at ‘Our Broomhall’ local history project and I have found researching into this area fascinating. I have been specifically looking at how Broomhall survived the Blitz in December 1940.
As part of my course at university I opted to take the work placement module as I wanted to see a more practical application of my course subject (English Language). I was told by the university that I could do a project on my current job role, but I wanted to experience something a bit different. When I was first told I would be completing a work placement with a local history project I wasn’t sure what it entailed, but I approached the experience with an open mind.
During and after the first meeting with Jennie Beard (Project Manager) I felt that I had been given a good opportunity to make my mark on something. I was told that I could research any topic that interested me, as long as it could be related to Broomhall. Topics such as political activism and other worldly events were suggested and that’s when I considered World War II. I have always had an interest in WWII and when I studied A level French at King Edward VIII school we went to the D-Day Landing Beaches. My studies in Theology also related to WWII and the moral issues behind it, so looking at the impact of WWII in Broomhall seemed like the perfect subject for me.
At first, I didn’t know where to start. Was Sheffield blitzed in WWII? Where could I find information? How could I find out about how Broomhall was affected during this time?
Jennie pointed me in a lot of directions: the Sheffield Archives, the Local Studies Library and the ‘Down Memory Lane’ event held at the centre in March. At the event I met a lot of people who had memories of the Blitz in Broomhall and they gave me a lot of information to research around. I met the people I interviewed: Sid Pass and Shirley Smith who were able to remember the nights of the 13th and 15 December 1940 remarkably in detail. Some of their interviews and transcripts are accessible on this site.
These two interviews gave me more specific areas to research, such as the events, people, places and reactions of Sheffield to the Blitz. The most important thing I learned from this project is the resilience of the people who experienced the bombing and how they still felt extremely lucky despite the problems that followed.
I hope everyone who reads the section about the Blitz in Broomhall finds something you didn’t already know about the Blitz.
Please do add any comments or your own Broomhall blitz memories at the bottom of each page.