John William BUCKLEY, Elsecar miner,  About 1940John William BUCKLEY 1885 ~ 1962


John William BUCKLEY was born on 12th July 1885, on the edge of the Pennines some 3 miles Northeast of Oldham Lancs, the first (and only) son of Joel BUCKLEY, a Sheffield Shoe Maker and Bootman, and his wife Elizabeth née KERSHAW.

His birth certificate records that he was born at 452 Ripponden Road U.S.D. in the Oldham Above Town sub-district of Oldham, not far from Moorside, Sholver where his mother Eliza used to reside before her marriage.

He is seen here in about 1904 with his parents and two sisters, Annie born on 28th December 1888 at 189 South Street, Ecclesall Bierlow, Sheffield and Edith born at 31 High Street, Grantham Lincs, on 1st February 1891.

In 1901 the family were living in Providence Place, Barugh Green, two miles to the west of Barnsley and John William, although only 15, was working in a mine as a "Coal Hewer's Trammer". Family tradition maintains that he was Trammer to Tommy Tomlinson, later Sir Thomas Tomlinson a miner who spent a large amount of his life on the Miners’ Welfare Committee, and in local politics. Tommy Tomlinson worked in Lidgett Colliery between 1892 and 1906.

Florence BUCKLEY (nee PARKIN)

There is a family tradition that John William lived in a house in Elsecar park for a short time and may have assisted in the layout of the park.


Elsecar Park




When John William's father, Joel died on 4th January 1909 at Sheffield Royal Infirmary  John William is recorded as living in 'The Cottage' Middle Ings, Hoyland, as he was a year later when he and Florence Parkin, living at 194 Milton Road, Hoyland, were married, on 4th October 1910 at Barnsley Register Office. 

There is a family tradition that John William made hot air balloons out of advertising hoarding paper, fuelled by cotton wool soaked in methylated spirits. These must have been of some size as Florence used to stand on a chair and raise an umbrella to help inflate them. He is pictured here with an 8ft ‘Cody’ kite; his daughter Edith Annie recalls that he collected neighbours’ washing lines, linked together to fly the kite that was able to carry a person on a seat slung below. He also experimented with a home made parachute, an experiment that culminated in him breaking his arm.

John William  BUCKLEY and his 'Cody' Kite

John William BUCKLEY and his sister Annie

John William with his sister Edith used to travel the clubs in the local area , 'blacked up' and playing musical instruments, .(The banjo remains in the family)
An active photographer, it is likely that most of these photographs, which still exist as glass plate negatives, were taken by him.
This view of Elsecar Church is taken from close to the location of the pit head of Elsecar Main Colliery, where he worked as a miner.

His carvings in Cannel coal are interesting as the inspiration for boots would have come from his father and grandfather who were both Shoemakers.

 Florence gave birth to their daughter Annie Elizabeth (Nance) in 1910 and on 9th January 1913, the couple's first son, also John William, was born. George, a second son was born on 12th January 1916 and christened at The John Knowles Memorial Church, Hoyland Nether on 27th February 1916. At this time John William was described as a 'Miner' living at 57 Gill Street, Hoyland, Cyril their third son was born in 1917.

Florence BUCKLEY in the greenhouse at Elsecar Park

George BUCKLEY, John BUCKLEY and Edith Annie (Nance) BUCKLEY

From Left to Right; George, John William (Jnr), Edith Annie (Nance)

On 24th December 1939 George married Rose HEDGES of Wombwell, and their wedding certificate records that John William was a 'Groundsman' living at 43 Cobcar Street, Elsecar.

John William BUCKLEY in the greenhouse at Elsecar Park

Below:  John William ('Bill') BUCKLEY creeps into a photograph of the Hoyland UDC Councillors and Staff in about 1950

John William continued to work as the Groundsman at the local park maintaining the crown bowling green until his retirement in the late 1950's. He was still residing at 43 Cobcar Street, Elsecar when he died of liver failure in Sheffield General Hospital on 17th September 1962.

Florence continued to live at Cobcar Street for another 20 years. She was living at Carlton House, Cudworth  when she died of Pneumonia in Barnsley General Hospital, on 13th June 1985