Missing Places

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One of the joys of genealogy, since I love maps, is tracking down places that no longer exist or places where the names have changed. In some cases, the place still exists, but as part of a different municipality, township, county, shire, or territory. Sometimes, one area will get subsumed by another, as is the case where Allegheny City ceased to exist as it’s own city and became part of Pittsburgh.

For my ancestors from Sheffield, changes to the city after World War II means entire streets and the houses on them simply ceased to exist. Such was the case with Danville Street, Clun Road and Carnarvon Street, to name a few. Finding where these places where can identify which parish records might have additional information, where family members might be buried, and serve to identify other family members in a particular census or other enumeration. So how to go about finding these places that no longer exist?

In a letter dated Dec 28, 1908, Fredrick Smith gave his address as 104 Danville Street, Pitsmoor, Sheffield. That entire street no longer exists in the present day. In order to find this address, the name of the neighborhood is a helpful place to start. From the Pitsmoor entry in Wikipedia, a few streets are mentioned including, “Burngreave Road from Spital Hill” and, in Wikipedia’s entry for neighboring Burngreave, we learn that, “After the Second World War housing renewal had a major impact on the area. Slum clearance started in earnest and whole neighbourhoods were decanted to other parts of the city whilst the old substandard housing was demolished.” Any maps showing this street will likely need to predate 1960, probably earlier. narrowing our search and looking for Danville Street in Pitsmoor leads us the Sheffield forum has a post that specifically discusses Danville Street. Among other interesting points of information, “[Danville Street] ran sort of parallel with Burngreave Road, from just below Burngreave Cemetery down toward Ellesmere.” and “I lived at 108 Danville street from 1959 to 1970…”. Even better, our more specific search further yields a fascinating historical article about the Burngreave Recreation Ground that tells us, “Danville Street no longer exists and the Recreation Ground now extends over where it used to be.” We can find the location of the Burngreave Rec on Google Maps and then use that to find the same area on the 1950s Ordinance Survey maps over at Sheffield History forums. In this case, we’re in luck because the map covering Burngreave and Ellesmere in Pitsmoor shows Danville street with number 104 in the upper left corner. Overlaid on a satellite image of the area, it looks like this:

Another address from the same set of letters lists another relative, Annie Sunderland, as living at 122 Grimesthorpe Rd. From our map, it’s not at all far from Danville Street and opposite what is now the entrance to Earldom Close. Likewise, J.E. Smith at 2 hs. 1 ct. Clun Street is just a little further along in the other direction (southwest of Danville Street on Grimesthorpe, between that street and Ellesmere).

In all, a cluster of relatives all living within walking distance of each other in Pitsmoor, two of them on streets that no longer exist.

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