Sheffield General Cemetery

October 31st 2020.

https://www.gencem.org/

Halloween is one of my favourite times of year. However, Halloween 2020 was a little different. I did not decorate this year as I did not want to encourage trick or treaters. I still wanted to do something for Halloween so I decided to take a walk to Sheffield General Cemetery. A little odd? Maybe, but the cemetery is actually a Grade II listed park, Conservation Area, Local Nature Reserve and Area of Natural History Interest..

The cemetery opened 1836 and was the principal burial ground in Victorian Sheffield containing the graves of 87,000 people. It was one of the earliest commercial cemeteries in Britain. Today, it contains the largest collection of listed buildings and monuments in Sheffield, ten in total including Grade II listed catacombs, an Anglican Chapel, with the Gatehouse, Non-conformist Chapel and the Egyptian Gateway, each listed at Grade II*.

The Cemetery was closed for burial in the late 1970s. Sheffield City Council removed many of the gravestones in the Anglican area to create more green space near to the city centre. The remains of those buried were not disturbed.

Cemetery residents include:

  • George Bassett (1818–1886). Founder of The Bassett Company—the company that invented Liquorice Allsorts. Mayor of Sheffield (1876).
  • George Bennett (1774–1841). Founder of the Sheffield Sunday School movement. The memorial to him (c.1850) is Grade II listed.
  • John, Thomas, and Skelton Cole. Founders of Sheffield’s Cole Brothers department store in 1847—now part of the John Lewis Partnership.
  • Francis Dickinson (1830–1898). One of the soldiers who fought in the Charge of the Light Brigade during the Crimean war.
  • William Dronfield (1824–1891). Founder of the United Kingdom Alliance of Organised Trades, which inspired the creation of the Trades Union Congress.
  • Mark Firth (25 April 1819–28 November 1880). Steel manufacturer, Master Cutler (1867), Mayor of Sheffield (1874), and founder of Firth College in 1870 (later University of Sheffield). The monument to Mark Firth is Grade II listed, the railings that surround it were made at Firth’s Norfolk Works.
  • William Flockton, architect.
  • John Gunson (1809–1886). Chief engineer of the Sheffield Water Company at the time of the collapse of Dale Dyke Dam on 11 March 1864, which resulted in the Great Sheffield Flood. Samuel Harrison, who documented the flood, and 77 of the flood’s victims are also buried in the cemetery.
  • Samuel Holberry (1816–1842). A leading figure in the Chartist movement.
  • Isaac Ironside (1808–1870). Chartist and local politician.
  • James Montgomery (1771–1854). Poet/Publisher. The grave and Grade II listed monument to James Montgomery, were moved to the grounds of Sheffield Cathedral in 1971.
  • James Nicholson (died 1909). Prominent Sheffield industrialist. The memorial that he commissioned for himself and his family c.1872 is Grade II listed.
  • William Parker, merchant. The monument to William Parker, erected in 1837 by the merchants and manufacturers of Sheffield, is Grade II listed.
  • William Prest (died 1885). Cricketer and footballer born in York, who lived most of his life in Sheffield. Co-founder of Sheffield Football club.

(source Wikipedia)

Elmer’s Bottle Tree Ranch, Oro Grande, CA.

Located along Route 66 near Oro Grande, Elmer’s Bottle Tree Ranch is definitely one of those quirky roadside attractions that are uniquely American. Being from the UK, we just do not have places like this and these are the types of places as to why I love visiting the USA. The ranch was the home of Elmer Long who inherited his fathers bottle collection and just kept on collecting, creating wonderful sculptures from the many different bottles that he has acquired. Sadly Elmer passed away in 2019. As you walk amongst the bottles, you hear chimes and noises from the bottles and objects that make up the unique bottle trees. I love Elmer’s and have been twice, with another trip planned later in 2020, hopefully!

It is free to walk around the bottle tree ranch, there is a donation box where visitors can leave a contribution to keep the ranch open.

Below are just a few of the many photographs that I took at Elmer’s. Thanks for reading.

LuminoCity Light Festival, New York.

LuminoCity Festival is a festival of lights, held on Randalls Island, New York. The festival is a spectacular display of light art.  I don’t think I’ve ever been anywhere like this, it was definitely an unusual experience and I highly recommend it.  Just a few things to note before you go.  Book tickets in advance on the website https://www.luminocityfestival.com/ , ticket prices vary.  There is a shuttle bus that departs and returns from Manhattan, E 125th and 3rd Ave, but you can also get the M35 bus.  However, if it is late at night, I would recommend the shuttle if you cannot take your own car.  I would advise buying tickets beforehand, but we got a return ticket on the day as we did not feel comfortable getting the public bus late at night. There is parking available on the island, but it is $20 per car, OUCH! 

This year (2019), the festival ran from November 23rd and is on until Jan 5th 2020.  Entry is 4:00pm-11:00pm on selected days. Below are a few images that I took, along with a video. 

 

Zzyzx, San Bernardino County, California, USA.

Formerly Soda Springs

Located off Highway 15 in California, Zzyzx is home to the California State University Desert Studies Centre.  However, it was once home to a health spa called Soda Springs.  The spa owner, Curtis Howe Springer was born in 1896 in Birmingham, Alabama.  He worked as an insurance salesman and then a radio evangelist, calling himself “the last of the old-time medicine men.” However, it seems that Springer had no formal medical training.  After making some money through preaching and selling homemade homoeopathic remedies, Springer used the money to file a mining claim in the Mojave Desert, which he called the area, Zzyzx.

Springer built a hotel and health spa on his desert land, heating the water with pumps and claiming that the site offered miracle cures.  Soda Springs ran for almost 30 years with people believing they were receiving natural medical treatments.  In 1969,  several customers made complaints and the American Medical Association subsequently investigated Springer, labelling him the “King of the Quacks.”   He was convicted in 1974 of fraud for which he served prison time.  Springer died in 1985 at the age of 88 in Las Vegas.

Only a few of the old buildings remain today but nevertheless, they are a reminder of the obscure story of Curtis Howe Springer and how one man managed to con people for the majority of his life.

Tips for visiting.

We just stopped by on route to Los Angeles. The place was quiet with maybe one more person having a look around. I assume you can walk around at your leisure as we did, but if you want to make sure before visiting, contact the university. http://nsm.fullerton.edu/dsc/desert-studies-center

Happy exploring.