A vicar’s tale of life in Sheffield’s gangland

From: WJ Winterbottom, Pledwick Lane, Sandal, Wakefield.

I WAS most interested to read (Yorkshire Post, August 25) about the gang warfare in Sheffield during the 1920s.

While living at home in Cawood near Selby in the early 1950s before my marriage, I well remember a lunchtime story related by a visiting clergyman who was “filling in” at our local parish church.

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This was the Rev Ambrose Shardlow, who had retired from duties in Sheffield, where at one time he had a church in the infamous Darnall / Attercliffe region.

I well recall him telling my parents and I how, on one Sunday morning, he was walking back from his church to his vicarage.

His route took him past a pub, where members of the Mooney gang were squatting and laying bets, with the winnings being thrown into a cap on the pavement.

Mr Shardlow stopped, picked up the cap and tipped the money back into his coat pocket, saying: “Thank you lads, that will be very useful for tonight’s collection.”

Seeing that he was a member “of the oath” they merely stood up and laughed as he waved them goodbye.

They thought it was a huge joke as he continued on his way.

Was it not a former Chief Constable by the name of Shillitoe who allegedly recruited a sizeable number of six foot-plus bobbies from all over the UK and used them to rid Sheffield of the infamous gangs? If only.