Ben Lane was once a rural street linking the former hamlets of Dykes Hall and Normandale but it’s now a residential road leading from Hillsborough to Loxley.
The Dial House is situated at the start of Ben Lane at the junction with Dykes Lane and Far Lane. Dating to 1802, it was originally a house before becoming a club in the 20th century, finally returning to residential use in recent years. Made of course stone, it is grade II listed along with the surrounding boundary wall. The defining feature is the sundial above the door which, of course, gives the house its name. Inscribed is the word ‘Coopland’, maybe a nod to the first owner or perhaps the maker of the dial, and the following verse:
‘Of shade & sunshine for each hour,
See here a measure made,
Then wonder not if life consists,
Of sunshine and of shade.’
The first known occupant was a gentleman by the name of William Rotherham in 1841. Four years later Sidney Roberts resided here, a retired silversmith and plater, before it was inherited by his son, John. Other occupants included Captain Henry T. Holmes (1868), William Hayden (1871), a corn miller, and A. J. Blanchard (1910) who was a draper. Blanchard owned a store on the corner of Albert Terrace Road and Infirmary Road, Upperthorpe, which still exists today.
Dial House on Ben Lane
When Dykes Hall was demolished in 1927 the Wisewood estate and the extension of Wadsley saw an influx of people living in the area. In the 1930’s, 25 members bought the Dial House, led by secretary Mr. Goodinson, with the intention of starting a club. It proved to be immensely popular with 2,400 members by the end of the Second World War, 800 of whom were women. The club had its own resident band and in later decades attracted the likes of Joe Cocker, Tony Christie, Marti Cane & Dave Berry. To accommodate such stars a concert hall was built as well as a bowling green. Unfortunately, like many W.M.C.’s, Dial House’s popularity waned in the 1990’s resulting in its closure in 2005. Flats have since taken the place of the bowling green but the Dial House has been given a new lease of life, converted back in to a dwelling, its original purpose.
Dial House (www.picturesheffield.com, ref. s05930)