Ecclesfield Civil Parish Past & Present Archiving Project
Our Past & Present Archiving Project is funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) until the end of December 2016. We have created an on-line easily accessible collection of material (a digital archive) about the history of the Civil Parish area and display the material on a new Ecclesfield District Archive website. This means that it will be easier for a wide range of people to find out about the local history of the area just by looking it up on their computer. The Project Co-ordinator, Christine Handley, is working with the local history groups across the area (Chapeltown, Ecclesfield, Grenoside and High Green) who are all helping to guide the project. The archive will be a resource for schools, other groups and individuals to both share information and learn more about local history. There will be plenty of opportunities for everyone to get involved, you don’t have to be a history expert. Young or old, everyone has a story to tell and a photograph or memory to share.
For more details of events and training sessions, and to get involved, please contact, Christine, at the Council Offices, Mortomley Lane, High Green, Sheffield S35 3HS; telephone: 0114 2845095; or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Please take a look at our Archiving website which is in development by following the link Ecclesfield District Archives or type in www.ecclesfield-district-archives.com on your search engine and take a look at the project blog or facebook page for updates on events.
100 years of Military Tanks and WW2 local connection
Military Tanks were developed during the First World War in response to the challenges of fighting trench warfare and needing to cross over difficult terrain. The original idea was to produce a vehicle that like a ship could ‘float’ over the land, this led to them first being called ‘landships’. The name ‘tank’ was coined because the vehicles looked like water-tanks and as a way of disguising their purpose from enemy spies. Prototypes were developed in 1915 and the British Mark 1 Tank first saw active service at the Battle of the Somme in 1916, a 100 years ago.
The main local connection to tank production came during WW2 with the Newton Chambers Company. As part of the war effort, one of their production lines for making excavators was converted to manufacture the Churchill tank. By September 1943, 500 tanks had been produced. In total over 1,100 tanks were manufactured at the site off Warren Lane. When Sir Claude Gibb, the Director-General of Tank Production, visited Newton Chambers to mark the production of the 1,000th tank, he said, “Newton Chambers had no right to expect that they could produce a tank as complicated as the Churchill, but they did it, and it was an amazing feat. Not only did they produce very fine tanks, but they were the chief producers of Churchill Tanks in Britain, and therefore the world.”
The pictures show here of the tanks and their production have been taken from the Thorncliffe collection which were digitised as part of the HLF funded Ecclesfield Parish Council Past & Present Archiving Project.
Picture 1 - the production line Picture 2 - Sir Claude Gibb & 1000th tank