This talk was based on the conversations that the speaker had with local piano teacher Miss Millicent Robinson towards the end of Miss Robinson’s life. Miss Robinson was a familiar figure in Hipperholme and Lightcliffe, especially during her final years, as she drove her invalid vehicle around the area with her two terriers, attached to the vehicle with a lead, in pursuit. In her younger days Miss Robinson lived at The Crescent (pictured), the Victorian terrace off the A58 at Hipperholme. The 28 houses were built around 1863 and from the outside little appears to have changed during the ensuing years. By looking at 19th century census returns and trade directories we can establish who lived there in the early days, the size of the families and the occupations that they pursued.
Trade directories, usually named after the historians or commercial firms that produced them, provide the local historian with a wealth of information. Not only do they complement the information to be found on census returns, they provide the additional detail of the precise house that former residents lived in, as door numbers are included. The early ones were for business purposes, a sort of Victorian Yellow Pages, but in addition to listing all the businesses in an area, they also included private residents. By looking through the names of the local residents listed in the Hipperholme section of the 1893 Kelly’s Directory, it is possible to identify each house, in what was then called Whitehall Crescent, and who occupied it at the time. The lives of many people recorded in that directory overlapped with that of Miss Robinson, who was born during the first decade of the 20th century. For example, Mrs George Haigh was at number 1, Alfred Walsh at 2, Lewis Denton at 4, John Groves at 11, Harry Dawson at 12, William Sunderland Kerr at 16, Alfred Mann at 21, Mrs Richardson at 25 and a Mrs Robinson at 26. Was there, I wonder, a link with Miss Robinson at number 26?