I WAS saddened to read of the passing of Mel Jones (Remembering a popular historian — Rotherham Advertiser, January 21) and my sincere condolences go to his wife Joan and family.
According to my diary I first had the privilege of meeting Mel on Saturday December 4 199 at Philip Howard Books on Church Street here in Rotherham. The event was a local authors' festival and along with Mel other noted local historians were present that day including Alice Rodgers, Brian Elliott and Steve Smith. I seem to remember that the Rotherham Advertiser came along to record the event.
The years passed and I supported a number of lectures and enjoyed liste4ning to the fountain of knowledge on Radio Sheffield, the History Man slot.
One day he announced he would be on the popular BBC television programme called Who Do You Think You Are, helping TV and radio personality Graham Norton trace his roots and blood-line back to Greasbrough, Rotherham. That particular episode was broadcast in 2007 and Mel received some richly deserved national exposure.
Mel lived not too far away from Thundercliffe Grange and lectured there on a number of occasions. It was obvious he had a soft spot for that Georgian splendour and my poem I would like to dedicate in his memory. With nostalgic memories, RIP Mel.
Located down form Kimberworth and Thorpe Hesley
Surrounded by greenery of ancient woodland
Hugging the sandstone slopes
An historic Georgian house does stand.
Thundercliffe Grange was constructed in 1777
For Thomas Howard, third Earl of Effingham
By renowned Yorkshireman
John Platt, a mason and architect of Rotherham.
The bubbling Blackburn Brook flows nearby
A one-time border between the boroughs
Thundercliffe Grange is exquisite
Within 22 acres of land that it covers.
Eventually when the gentry moved out in 1870
The property was sold off for a tidy sum
Becoming a care centre
Then classed as a female lunatic asylum.
From 1948 and with formation of the NHS
Hospital work continued for another 30 years
Helping children with disabilities
Thalidomide sufferers and parents with many tears.
From 1980 to date luxury flats now occupy
This little-known Rotherham stately home
Now a Grade 2-listed structure
And all within sight and sound of the M1 drone.