Oh, my father is killed!

If you pay a visit to the churchyard at Heeley Parish Church you just cannot miss the obelisk that marks the grave of John Shortridge. But what is not widely known is that John made an important contribution to the development of Sheffield, a contribution that is still in evidence today

John Shortridge was 66 years old at the time, and lived at Chipping House, Abbeydale. He was a renowned engineer and industrialist, owning a steel works at Attercliffe, where Shortridge Street was named in his honour. He was also influential in the construction of Wicker Arches and in the introduction of the first horse-drawn tram route from the town centre to the Red Lion public house at Heeley.

On Thursday May 6, 1869, the Sheffield Daily Telegraph printed the headline: SERIOUS ACCIDENT TO MR JOHN SHORTRIDGE

The Telegraph reported that John Shortridge was driving home from Baslow, accompanied by one of his daughters, Mrs Sellars, and upon reaching Mr Tyzack’s dam, the horse pulling their carriage was frightened by something and bolted, turning the carriage over and depositing its two occupants on to the road. The woman sustained only minor injuries, but her father was badly hurt

A day later The Sheffield and Rotherham Independent (dated Friday 7th May 1869) took up the story

John's condition did however continue to worsen and on Saturday 8th May 1869 the same newspaper reported

The Coroner, Mr Webster, opened an inquest at Shortridge’s spacious mansion, where it was learned that the horse was newly acquired, and had been out only once prior to this journey. Furthermore, Mr Shortridge’s groom had advised his employer not to use this horse. William Oates, a cab driver travelling behind the Shortridge carriage, told the inquest that he had seen the horse uncontrollably increasing its speed, so much so that he lost sight of it as it rounded a bend. He arrived on the scene to find Mrs Sellars in the road, her face bleeding. Mr Shortridge was lying nearby, the horse and carriage nowhere to be seen. Mrs Sellars exclaimed, ‘Oh, my father is killed!’ Oates and his two passengers carried the injured man and his daughter to their house.

Doctor J. Waterhouse attended Shortridge until his death, at 7pm on May 8. (mistake) He described his patient’s injuries at the inquest: a broken collarbone, three broken ribs and extensive bruising. The cause of death, he said, ‘had probably occurred from some internal rupture caused by the accident and Mr Shortridge had died suddenly in convulsions after being raised to get an easier position.’

The jury returned a verdict of ‘accidental death’.

John Shortridge was buried at Heeley Parish Church on May 11, 1869 and the following day the Sheffield and Rotherham Independent (dated 12th May 1869) gave a full and detailed report of both the funeral and interment


The remains of the late Mr John Shortridge, of Chipping House, Abbeydale, who came to his death from injuries received by his horse taking fright and overturning the carriage while driving home from Baslow, were interred yesterday, at noon, in the family vault, in Heeley churchyard. The hearse was followed by four mourning coaches, and seven private carriages. In the first mourning carriage were the two sons of the deceased, Mr James and Mr William Shortridge, and two sons-in-law, Mr Sellars and Mr Haigh. In the second carriage were two grandsons, Masters King and Shortridge, and George Miller, Esq., Wadsley House, and H. Wright, Esq., Worsborough. In the third carriage were J. Chambers, Esq., Jonathan Rhodes, Esq., Mr King, Manchester, brother-in-law to the deceased, and Mr Cocking. The fourth carriage contained H. Miller, Esq., W. Stones, Esq., Dr Smith, Barnsley, and Mr Smith. Next came the carriage of the deceased, followed by that of G. Miller, Esq., T. Jessop, Esq., W. A. Matthews, Esq., Mrs Rhodes, Charnock Hall, Mrs Fawcett, in which were Mrs Osborne, and Messrs Fawcett; and two other carriages. The funeral service was read by the Rev. H. D. Jones, who delivered a short but impressive address. The pall bearers were Mr L. Miller, Mr H. Wright, Mr J. Chambers, and Mr Cocking. There were also present Aldermen Jessop, Carr, Jackson, and other members of the Town Council. The coffin was supplied by Mr Hawkesley, Bridgehouses, and the whole of the arrangements, which were under the personal superintendence of Mr Grundy, High Street, gave great satisfaction. The stone which covers the entrance to the vault is of immense size and ponderous weight, viz. twenty one tons. We have pleasure in stating that Mrs Sellars, who was with her father at the time of the accident, has nearly recovered from the injuries she received. Very great sympathy is expressed for Mrs Shortridge in her sad bereavement.

The Wicker Arches - Sheffield


Sheffield Daily Telegraph dated 6th May 1869

Sheffield and Rotherham Independent 7th 8th and 12th May 1869)


1861 Census

Name John Shortridge Age 58 Estimated Year of Birth 1803 Relationship to Head of Household Head Occupation Steel Manufacturer Employing 90 Men 30... Address Chipping House  District Ecclesall Bierlow, Ecclesall Bierlow Parish Ecclesall Bierlow Administrative County Yorkshire (West Riding) Birth Place Birth County Cumberland


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