World War 2 Stories for Sheffield

Sylvia Clarke 

Who Is Sylvia?

By Actiondesk Sheffield

People in story: Sylvia Clark (nee Rowding), Lucy and William Rowding, Leonard Rowding.
Location of story: Sheffield
Background to story: Civilian

This story was submitted to the People’s War site by Bill Ross of the ‘Action Desk – Sheffield’ Team on behalf of Sylvia Clark.

Who is Sylvia

Sylvia was born on the 6th of April 1945 and brought up in the Firvale area of Sheffield with four brothers and three sisters. Her eldest brother, Len, was serving in the Royal Air Force. She was Christened at All Saints’ Church in Ellesmere Road, on V.E. Day; it was the proudest moment of her father’s life. From as far back as she can remember, her father would tell her stories of how he carried her through the ruins to the church, to be Christened, she being the youngest of eight.

Sylvia’s father was relieved at not having to take his family and pregnant wife into the air raid shelters. He would say that it was better than winning Littlewoods’ Pools. Sylvia could never understand why he said that because heaven knows that they could have done with a win on the Pools.

Her mum and dad had made their lives so hard by having all, these children; nevertheless, even though life was hard, it wasn’t too bad. Her brothers and sisters used to share the chores and errands for the neighbours.

For a few coppers (pennies), her grandmother who lived at Hathersage, taught her to shop, cook, knit and sew, as well as wash and clean.

Christmases were lovely and Whitsuntide was great. That was when the Banners’ and Provident cheques were used for new shoes for all the family. Dresses were made for the girls and the lads got their new clothes too.

Sylvia’s dad worked at Firth Brown Tools, and in addition to bringing the family up, her mum worked on the trams and at Firvale Infirmary. How do I know all of this? Because I am Sylvia and I am very proud of my upbringing and my family.




By actiondesksheffield

People in story: Sylvia Clark
Location of story: Sylvia Clark (nee Rowding).
Background to story: Civilian


This story was submitted to the People’s War site by Bill Ross of the ‘Action Desk – Sheffield’ Team on behalf of Sylvia Clark.

I was born on the 6th of April 1945 in the Firvale area of Sheffield, the youngest daughter of William and Lucy Rowding. I have vivid memories of taking our dog Judy, walking over Osgathorpe Road, down Ellesmere Road, to the top of Gower Street, to meet my father coming home form working at Firth Brown Tools. I was about eleven years of age at the time and as along as I had Judy with me, I felt safe.

I can remember my (late) father telling me how I was Christened on V.E. Day at All Saints’ Church on Ellesmere Road, as we were walking along Ellesmere Road. He always seemed to be proud of this; he also used to point out where buildings had been blitzed. Life was hard then however, we all had jobs to do, e.g. errands for neighbours or selling newspapers to earn a bob or two.

There has always been bullying and thuggery in the world; it is a lot worse today than in the fifties or sixties. Now retired from the caring profession, and the mother of four and grandmother of eight, I am thankful that they (my children and grandchildren) have never had to do what I did. But then, on the other hand, my childhood taught me a lot. We all have our own memories and I’ll hang on to these.