I am researching my family history and further to retiring as a Naval Gunnery & Diving training officer my Great Grandfather Alfred Arthur Hickman was employed as superintendent at Rotherham Rescue Station, St Annes Road, Rotherham. I know that he originally lived in the garden flat at Carr House which was then owned by his employers and then moved to St. Annes road to live next to the Rescue Station and that his service was from circa 1920 to circa 1930 when he retired.
It would be greatly appreciated if you could tell me anything about the rescue station or point me in the direction of any records or web sites that could be of useful in researching that part of his life.
Alfred Arthur Hickman in His Rescue Equipment
Above and Below the Land Alfred Arthur must have left the Navy about 1920; he then moved his family to Birmingham where he was probably offered a job in the mining industry.
He was soon moved to Rotherham in the then West Riding of Yorkshire, in charge of The Rotherham Rescue station covering the Yorkshire coal fields and sending out rescue teams to mining disasters.
Permanent teams of officers and trainers were employed full time and they trained men from collieries, supplementing the full time members. As Superintendent of the Rotherham Rescue Station Alfred Arthur was responsible for training rescue teams attached to individual coalmines. There was a mock up mine shaft which was very dark, full of timber, rubble, dirt and dust. The mineshaft would be filled with smoke to train and practice miners in rescue techniques. It was equipped with ladders, axes, crowbars, jacks, oxygen and compressed air bottles. Alfred Arthur's expertise at training Naval Divers was now relied on to train miners, who would form the rescue teams, to use air bottles to enable them to breath in mines where many accidents would occur due to a build up of dangerous gases There were lamps, stretchers and first aid equipment for use in the shaft as well, which the miners had to be able to use in rescue conditions.
The family first lived in Carr House an old coal owner's mansion standing at the end of Meadowhall Road on Carr Hill in the parish of Kimberworth. Thought to be on the way to Greasborough. The family lived downstairs in a very large self-contained flat that opened onto the garden. There was a paddock where the family played tennis and Alfred Arthur used to tend vegetables in the walled kitchen garden. At this time there were also two other families living at Carr House, which was huge and owned by the Mining Company. In 1871 it had become the home of the Rhodes Family and was divided into four dwellings after the turn of the 20th Century. It is known that Lt. Col. Harry Rhodes, was born in 1876, he was a mining engineer, and Principal of the firm of C. E. Rhodes & Sons; Consulting Mining Engineer for John Brown & Company Ltd., and other large companies. He was a member of South African Institution of Engineers, I wonder if Arthur had ever met him during the Boer War?
He eventually moved having bought the first house in St. Annes Road, Rotherham at the Effingham Street junction. His sons Arthur and Mark had both married and left Carr House before the move. Even though he was now living next door to the Rescue Station, where he worked, he was still able to use his walled garden at Carr House growing his vegetables and drying his onions in the potting shed. He used to keep accurate records of garden results and would calculate the value of the vegetables harvested each year against his expenditure on seeds. He had a black and white collie type dog that was named Mick. He always gardened in a short sleeved collarless shirt and would usually protect his clothes by wearing an apron of sacking that he had sewn himself.
At this time Alfred Arthur is remembered as being a broad man with thinning hair, strong arms and a kindly square face. He was a big gentle man, a little over 6 feet tall and softly spoken. He drank bottled "Camp Coffee" and always finished a main meal with an apple, orange or pear. His daughter Dorothy married Ralph Sawyer and they made their first home with Alfred Arthur at St. Annes Rd. They had two children Peter born 30 Sep 1926 and then Raymond in 1928 who lived there with their Grandfather until 1930 when, as an aftermath of the General Strike, Ralph moved his family to live and find work in East Barnet in 1930.
When dressed for social occasions Alfred Arthur wore plain suits with a waistcoat where he wore his fob watch. He would wear a homburg hat and always wore boots. He loved cricket and watched village and county games for many years. He was a conservative voter and read a great deal. He always read the Daily Express, and enjoyed doing crossword puzzles and making rugs.
Alfred Arthur finally retired in the middle 1930's and moved to Potters Bars in the County of Middlesex near to the village in which he had been born. He bought a house, number 416 Mutton Lane where he lived for the rest of his life.