6 June 2012


So far from home, I find myself developing research obsessions. Following my post about the Sheffield mail order millionaire and philanthropist, J.G. Graves, I was able to pinpoint the grand house he lived in for over forty years. "Riverdale"  used to be surrounded by extensive grounds and there was a lawn that ran down to the babbling River Porter - but in the sixties most of this surrounding land was sold off for the construction of little boxes made of ticky tacky - and they still all look just the same. So now "Riverdale" is like a heart without a body, a jewel without a crown. To add insult to injury, the grand house has now been split into offices where commercial dwarves quest the filthy lucre that, in his best years, Graves gathered in figurative barrowloads.

So I sent Sticky Toffee to sneak around "Riverdale" during the long Jubilee Bank Holiday weekend. I knew the place would be empty. Taking pictures wasn't easy because the old house is now surrounded by those flat-roofed sixties' apartments that crowd around the grand old house like horse flies. He has mailed me these pictures:-
Grade II listed gatehouse
"Riverdale" from Graham Road
The initials CHF above the window refer to
Charles Henry  Firth  -  Victorian steel maufacturer.
The front of "Riverdale"
Carving of Earl John Gray beneath a window.


  1. at least they haven't knocked it down..... I used to work at t'mill and our office was in the grand old mill owner's house.... largely untouched apart from the odd bit of "opening up" inside...... it's all gone now.... mill, house, garden...... all housing estate.... a land that used to employ a thousand people now provides housing for a thousand unemployed people!

  2. It's the way of the world. A similar fate befell Abney Hall in Stockport where Agatha Christie spent many summers.

  3. A pity.
    But it reminds me of a recording by Peter Sellers
    ( http://youtu.be/U-janNxAA7A ) of an American interviewer and the Earl of Bedside Manor.

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