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A Potted History

We have been able to trace the title deeds for this property back to 1842 when the land belonged to J.J.Eyre and his wife, who then sold it to a family called Briggs in 1876. In 1889, it was then sold to a Mary Thorpe. On the 3rd of January 1893 it was recorded that a plot of ‘freehold land at 249 Sharrowvale Road’ was sold by Henry Thorpe to Margaret Garner and on the 6th of October the same year it was passed to an Elizabeth Bramhall. By the time this happened the plot was said to be ‘under construction’. It is believed that it took until April 1895 to build the property and once finished the premises changed hands again and went to Thomas Nicholson and Joseph Birks. It was during that year (1895) that it was registered as being occupied by James Bolton, a fried fish dealer, in the Sheffield City Trades Directory (see accompanying board!). It is assumed that he rented the property and started his business from there.

From 1902 to 1907, the business belonged to Mr Ward. His son Sidney recalled his father telling him that the paper shop next door belonged to a Mr Pass. During an intense argument Mr Pass one day accused Mr Ward of ‘not using proper dripping’ (the ‘done thing’ in the early 1900s, we no longer fry with it!). Mr Ward was apparently so incensed by the questioning of the quality of his food that he got hold of Mr Pass in the alleyway between the properties and forced him to eat some of his chips so that he would ‘eat his words’.

According to the deeds the business was bought a while later by two sisters called the ‘Coles’. They kept it throughout the First World War before selling it to the Hardy family in 1925.

James Bolton who still lived locally kept a keen interest in the property and in 1917 he was appointed by W.J.Garner (possibly part of the Garner family who bought the land in 1883?) jointly with a Sidney Clarke as executors and trustees in order to sell the property. The father of the present owner then bought it in the 1920’s.

Since the 1920’s Two Steps has had many tenants, the longest of these were Nan and Graham who kept it for 34 years until the 1980’s. Many customers come in the shop today still remember and talk about them.

Graham’s research showed that the shop gained the name ‘Two Steps’ as during the second world war there were five fish and chip shops very close to each other in the area. The soldiers that were stationed nearby often said they were going to the one with two steps to distinguish between them. The name stuck afterwards so Nan decided she would register the business with this name.

We would be very interested to know if anyone is aware of an older fish and chip shop in Sheffield than Two Steps, which was established in 1895. We hope you enjoy browsing this mini exhibition that has been put together by owners and tenants past and present.

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