Where you are: Local History - Tickhill in 1901
  Tickhill in 1901


The Beginning of a New century

1901, the beginning of a new century and a year that began with the death of Queen Victoria and the accession of a new monarch, King Edward VII. On the world stage William McKinley was sworn in as the 25th President of the United States, only to be assassinated some months later; Marconi received the first trans-Atlantic radio signal in Newfoundland; the first Nobel Prize ceremony was held in Sweden, Robert Scott set out to explore the frozen wastes of the Antarctic and the Second Boer War was being fought in southern Africa – these were just some of the events that were to make history.  

Apart from the death of Queen Victoria and the Boer War, in which the West Riding Yeomanry Regiment was involved, the other events would probably have passed without comment by the people of Tickhill - that is if they had even read or heard about them.


 At the beginning of the 20th century, Tickhill was a large village with a population of 1,565, which had been granted Urban District status in 1894. The 1901 Census Returns, together with the help of the 1901 Doncaster Gazette Directory and the 1901 Ordnance Survey map, provide a snapshot of the village and its people at that precise point in time. The returns are particularly interesting as they record personal information such as, age, marital status, relationship to the head of the household, trade or occupation, place of birth and infirmities, relating to every person resident in Tickhill on census night – March 31. 

Tickhill in 1901 appears to have been a self-contained village, which catered for the everyday needs of its population. Like other villages throughout the country, it had its gentry, well-respected professionals, prosperous farmers and shopkeepers, who together with a wealth of skilled craftsmen, provided employment for the rest of the population. 

Public officials

Tickhill Urban District Council was responsible for administering village affairs; it was made up of nine members, with the support of part-time officers to undertake its duties. In 1901 local farmer Mark Law of Eastfield was Chairman and 22-year-old Norman Fullwood of St Mary’s Cottage was the Collector of Rates, who appears to have been assisted by local farmer, Edward Smith; the Clerk to the Council, John Walker, however, does not appear to have been a Tickhill resident. The post of Surveyor was held by local builder, Roger Harvey Rawson of Westgate, this was incorporated with that of Inspector of Nuisances, the forerunner of the present day Environmental Health Officer. This was a most unpleasant role as he was required to inspect premises, which were overcrowded, insanitary and disease ridden, and to deal with refuse smells and obstructions to roads and footpaths. Public announcements were made by town crier, James Brown of Castlegate. 

Tickhill appears to have had strong support for the Conservative and Unionist Party, (as the General Election of 1910 would later prove). The Conservative Club was situated on Northgate; local farmer, William Jarvis of Northgate was Secretary and Elizabeth Potter was its ‘live-in’ caretaker.   

Law and order was under the jurisdiction of Police Constable William Howard, who lived in the Police House on Castlegate, and was member of the West Riding Constabulary: Lower Strafforth and Tickhill District. 

There were two doctors in the village: Thomas Aloysius Caley of Sunderland Street was a physician and surgeon, and George Phillips, who lived on Northgate, was a surgeon and apothecary - he also held the official role of ‘Public Vaccinator’.  

Thomas Watson, the manager of Gas Light, Coal & Coke Co.Ltd, lived with his family at the works on Sunderland Street. On the opposite side of the road was Toll Bar House, no longer the official residence of the toll collector whose duties ceased with the demise of the Bawtry and Tinsley Turnpike; it was now the home of bricklayer’s labourer, George Wells and his wife, Florence. 

Religion and education

In Victorian and pre-World War One England, church and chapel were very much the focus of village life. The Rev Augustus Dixwell Alderson was the vicar of St Mary’s and would have been a respected member of the community, instilling in his parishioners, both young and old, strong moral values. For non-conformists, there was the Wesleyan Chapel on Northgate; by the turn of the century, it had gained in status and was authorised to perform marriages. 

The National Schools had strong links with the Church, which in 1865 had given land on Back Lane (now St Mary’s Road) to build a new school for the education of poor and working class children and had become associated with an 1840s Infants’ School on Tithes Lane.  In 1901 Thomas Dixon was the Schoolmaster, the census reveals that he had six boys, who are described as ‘scholar’ boarding with him at his home in Sunderland Street, (it can only be assumed that they too were pupils of his at the National School). The younger children were taught by Miss Alice Smith, the Infant Schoolmistress, who lived at the Infants’ School House on Tithes Lane. They were assisted in their duties by Frederick Greenhough and Frances Goodwin and pupil teachers, Mabel Copley, Annie Greenhough and Ethel Saxton; however responsibility for the teaching of religious education for all pupils rested with the Vicar. 


The focal point of the village was Market Place; here you would have found Joseph Percy: tailor and draper, John Skinn: grocer and beer seller, Edgar Jeffrey: hardware dealer, Joseph Kirkland: watchmaker, Thomas Woodcock: butcher, George Jenkinson: grocer and draper, William Tiplady: butcher, Samuel Colbeck: sweet dealer, Charles Bradshaw: chemist and Jarvis & Sons: draper and grocer. Together, these shopkeepers provided local people with all their everyday household requirements - just as large supermarkets do in the 21st century. 

On the corner of Market Place and Sunderland Street was the Post Office and stationer’s; Louisa Lye was the Sub-Postmistress, assisted by her three daughters: Louisa Ann, Emily and Bertha, with postal deliveries carried out by rural postmen: Thomas Whinfrey, John Oldfield and Herbert Smith, together with Herbert’s 74 year old father, John. 

Although Market Place appears to have been the ‘retail centre’ of Tickhill, several other shopkeepers were well established on the three main roads radiating from there. On Castlegate you would have found grocers: William Colbeck, Thomas Clixby and Mary Turner, baker: Fred Higginton and butcher: John Hewson. Grocers: David Kendall, John Hickson, Susannah Milthorp and William Bogg (who was also a fish & fruit dealer) and butcher: Edwin Dawson traded on Northgate, Thomas Lane and Robert Richardson on Sunderland Street and Edward Clarkson on Westgate. 

Craftsmen and artisans

Shops, in the retail sense however, were in the minority on Castlegate, Northgate, Sunderland Street and Westgate; here you would have found many self-employed craftsmen and artisans working from home. Bespoke clothing for gentlemen could be acquired from tailors: Francis Thorpe and George Clarkson both of Northgate, whilst dressmakers: Elizabeth Parkin, Mary Fullwood, Maud Foulstone Elizabeth Trueman, Sophia Denton, Eva Saxton, Louisa Webster, Maria Rawson, Beatrice Gleadall and Alice Hancock, and milliner: Annie Richardson of Sunderland Street would have competed for the custom of Tickhill’s fashionable ladies. Both men and women would have availed themselves of the services of boot and shoemakers, Richard Machin on Northgate and Thomas Cartwright on Sunderland Street. There was only one hairdresser in the village: Thomas Watson on Sunderland Street, however, James Watson of Castlegate combined his work as a cabinetmaker with that of barber! 

There was no shortage of craftsmen to undertake building work, household repairs and improvements. Rawson & Sons were the main building contractors, and Edward Godley and George Rowe, both masons, would have carried out smaller jobs. Herbert Hickson and William Burton were both plumbers, John HHHill, John Wimberley and Samuel James: painters and decorators, Robert Sarsby, John Alderson and William Wardingley: joiners and carpenters, Joseph Denton: whitesmith and George Hackford, tinplate worker; all were self-employed. One remarkable craftsman was 30-year-old, Willie Stead, a basket maker & carpet weaver on Sunderland Street, who had been blind from childhood.   

The returns show there were many assistants, labourers and apprentices in different trades and crafts, and it is fair to assume that many were employed by local shopkeepers and craftsmen. 


The surrounding land had been farmed for centuries and in 1901 there was a number of large farms situated within a two-mile radius of Tickhill, these included Eastfield, Dadsley Wells, The Grange, Spitalcroft, Apy Hill, Gally Hill, Friary, Woolthwaite, Limestone Hill, Folds, South Wongs, Spital and Moorhouse; many of these are still working today (2009). In addition, the village, itself, had a considerable number of ‘street farms’ fronting onto the main thoroughfares of Northgate, Castlegate, Sunderland Street and Westgate – the census reveals there were 22 in all, with members of the Gleadall family owning two on Northgate, and one each on Castlegate and Westgate. Unfortunately, the location of these ‘street farms ‘ would have done little to enhance the appearance and cleanliness of the village, and must have kept the Inspector of Nuisances fully occupied! 

Farming employed a large number of local people. The most common occupation recorded on census returns was that of ‘Ag lab’ – agricultural labourer, and Tickhill had its fair share, together with many other farm ‘hands’ described as horsemen, farm waggoners, cattlemen and shepherds. At the beginning of the 20th century, mechanisation was starting to replace traditional farming methods and the returns reveal there was one threshing machine owner in the village - Thomas Moore of Sunderland Street. Other farming related occupations included four cattle dealers, a pig dealer, a slaughterman, three millers, a hay trusser, a hay dealer and two gamekeepers.  

On a horticultural note, there were eight market gardeners and 20 domestic or jobbing gardeners living in the village. 

Some farmers, particularly those with ‘street’ farms, are shown as having an additional occupation, Richard Wood of Sunderland Street was a butcher, Edward Smith and Arthur Cutler, both of Castlegate were rate collector and carter respectively, John Colbeck of Church Lane had the unusual combination of bookseller and drover and William Hancock was also the publican of the Traveller’s Rest on Westgate. 


Inns, taverns, pubs, beerhouses and alehouses have always been at the heart of English village life. At the beginning of the 20th century, Tickhill could boast no fewer than seven public houses: the Red Lion in Market Place, the Millstone, Carpenter’s Arms and Traveller’s Rest on Westgate, the Scarbrough Arms on Sunderland Street and the Royal Oak and Three Crowns on Northgate. Two smaller establishments described as beerhouses were to be found on Northgate and Sunderland Street; Harriet Law is described as ‘beerhouse keeper’ of the former and Edward Gleadall of the latter, which although described as merely a ‘beerhouse’ in the census, was known locally as the White Horse. A mysterious third ‘beerhouse’ possibly known as the Labour in Vain, may have existed on Northgate somewhere between the Royal Oak and the Three Crowns: whilst the property is described as ‘Northgate (beerhouse)’, the occupation of its tenant, Thomas White is shown as ‘Agricultural labourer’. 

With two exceptions, there is little indication in the returns of the staff employed in these establishments. At the Scarbrough Arms, Lilian Barham, the 19-year-old daughter of the landlord, Robert Barham is shown to have assisted her father as a waitress, whilst Selina Whinfrey, sister of William Whinfrey, landlord of the Red Lion is described as a ‘helper’.  


Until the arrival of the South Yorkshire Joint Railway service in 1910, there was no public transport system in the area; horses or horse drawn vehicles were the only method of transport, and people had to rely on local services. Joseph Saxton, cab proprietor of Northgate travelled to Doncaster on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays, stopping at both the Three Legs on St Sepulchre Gate and the Little Red Lion in Market Place; as Tuesdays and Saturdays were market days, this should have been a very profitable service. Although the name is the same, it is not clear whether, stable and cab proprietor, Robert Saxton and his son Arthur, who lived on Castlegate, were related to Joseph and worked with, or were in competition with, him.  

Tickhill carriers: William Watkinson, Jonathon Wardingley and Richard Whinfrey and carter, Arthur Cutler would have transported goods and parcels, and were the equivalent of the modern day ‘van driver’; it is very likely that people would have also ‘hitched’ a lift with them. 

The census returns list several people with the occupation of groom, stable boy and domestic coachman, and some of these appear to have been employed as live-in servants by the local gentry. Herbert Russell is described as groom to Grenfell Todd-Naylor, Retired Major of Sunderland House; Charles Hobson, combined his duties as ‘coachman ‘ with that of ‘domestic‘ whilst in the employ of Gertrude Leather at The Friary, and Doctor Thomas Aloysius Caley engaged the services of thirteen-year-old Arthur Brown as a stable boy.  

In an era of horse-drawn travel, the services of a blacksmith would have always been in demand, and none more so in Tickhill than those of Walter Deakin on Northgate, who is described in the returns as a ‘blacksmith & farrier’, which indicates that he would have also shoed horses. Two other blacksmiths: William Copley and Martin Bingham plied their trade on Sunderland Street and Westgate respectively, and together with saddler and harness maker, Arthur Cutler on Castlegate, all would have also attracted trade from the surrounding farming community. 

The Gentry

The gentry - people of gentle birth, good breeding, or high social position ranking just below the nobility – lived a very different lifestyle to the majority of the population. Many would have enjoyed a very comfortable existence; living in large, imposing houses, and employing a range of live-in servants to attend to their everyday needs.  Foremost amongst these were the families of George Herbert Shakerley, JP for the County of Chester, who lived at St Leonard’s; the vicar, the Rev. Augustus Alderson, 84-year-old Mrs Ann Wright of The Castle and the aforementioned Mrs Gertrude Leather and her two unmarried daughters, Millicent and Rosamund. Between them they employed a host of cooks, parlourmaids, housemaids, kitchenmaids, gardeners, nurses, a nursemaid and a companion. Domestic work for the local gentry, however, did not provide employment for local people as only one, 15-year-old Emily Ainley, a kitchenmaid at The Friary, had been born in Tickhill.  

Other affluent households employing staff included Miss Elizabeth Laughton at The Hollies, Benjamin Brooksbank JP at Sand Rock, widows, Mrs Charlotte Curtis at Weardale and Susan Fox at Sunderland Lodge, and the aforementioned Thomas Dixon, schoolmaster, retired Major Grenfell Todd-Naylor and Doctors George Phillips and Thomas Caley. 

Edwardian ‘commuters’

A study of occupations suggests that very few people worked outside Tickhill. Amongst these were Harry Rawson, who is described as ‘ railway clerk’, Thomas Milner, ‘engine driver’ and William Smith, ‘engine fitter’, it is possible they may all have been employed by the Great Northern Railway at Doncaster Plant Works; steel melter, Charles Dickinson may have travelled to the steel works in Rotherham or Sheffield, and stone quarryman, James Glasby to the limestone quarries at Levitt Hagg or Warmsworth.  

There are a number of road labourers, hawkers and hucksters listed –these were jobs often associated with itinerant workers; although the returns show them to be residents, it not clear how permanent their residency was. The majority were not born locally, and whilst most were married and some had children, in several cases there were instances of co-habitation. One interesting fact emerged, with the exception of one 35 year-old, all the road labourers were over the age of 50. None, however, were resident in the Common Lodging House at the easterly end of Sunderland Street (close to the present A1(M) bridge). 

The Census also raises some questions: Arthur Richardson and Henry Day, both County Council Surveyors Clerks of York are described as  ‘working away from home’ and lodging with butcher William Tiplady in Market Place  -  why were they in Tickhill? Why were Gunner William Grindle, Lance Corporal George Spencer and Frederick Johnson, Surveyor with the Royal Engineers at home without an explanation, when Arthur Deakin of the 1st York & Lancaster Regiment is recorded as being ‘on furlough’ at his home in Mangham Lane?  

A migrant population?

The population of Tickhill, which was made up of 754 males and 811 females, appears to have been reasonably static, with the majority of people remaining in their place of birth and most migration coming from within Yorkshire and the adjacent counties of Nottinghamshire and Lincolnshire. Statistics show that 53% of the population had been born in Tickhill; 8% in the Doncaster area; 15% in Yorkshire and, 9% and 4% in Nottinghamshire and Lincolnshire respectively.  

Of the remaining 11%, most came from Derbyshire, Lancashire, Staffordshire, Suffolk and London; from further afield, we find Mary Brand, nursemaid at the Vicarage and Isabel Brydon, parlourmaid at the Friary - both are from Scotland. Ireland is the given birthplace of John Gorman, labourer living in Bradley Square and Dublin, that of Thomas Burns, agricultural labourer of Drury Lane.  

Sisters, Minnie and Annie Gleadall of Westgate, however, could boast they were born on another continent; their parents, John and Catherine were born in Tickhill, but by 1870, it seems they had emigrated to Canada where the girls were born shortly afterwards. There is no way of knowing their reasons for returning so soon after the birth of Annie, but return they did as their third daughter, Beatrice is shown to have been born in Tickhill in 1874. Perhaps family ties, (there were several Gleadall families in Tickhill at the time) and their Tickhill roots were too strong!




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