Joseph C. Lister (1885-1947) was born in Rotherham. In 1891 he was living with his parents James and Ada at 52 Oxford Street, Rotherham. James, born in Rotherham, was a Joiner and Builder, Ada was a Grocer and Provision dealer from Sheffield. He had sister Jane, a year older, and Jessie was 3 years younger. He married Marjorie from Nottinghamshire. He moved to Listerdale when his daughter Marjorie was about four years old. Joe had a brother Gilbert, who was to live at The Lodge, situated at the far end of Listerdale near Castle House which Joe built for himself and his family.
Joe had two children, Marjorie - later Roddis, and Clifford (d.1988) who married Joyce.
He started his working life with Joseph Green, timber importers, and it was Joseph Green and his son Wignall who were to later finance him as a builder. They lent him £16,000. Green Lane and Wignall Avenue are named after them. Marcliff Crescent was named after his two children, Marjorie and Clifford, and Melciss Road is a combination of his wife's initials and her nick name. Middleton Road, Clifton was named after the builder, similarly Treherne Road.
In 1914 Joe Lister built the new houses at Thurcroft to accomodate the miners.
As well as Listerdale, Joe Lister owned other properties in Torworth, Tickhill and Bridlington.
For many years the family lived in Lister's Castle - built in 1921 on land overlooking Denes Plantation. This was the start of the Listerdale Estate.
Joe bought land which stretched from Brecks Lane to Green Lane and going back as far as Dalton Magna and Dalton Parva. The estate eventually consisted of 650 semi-detached and 40 detached houses as well as farmland and Listerdale Woods. At a time when jobs were scarce, 450 men were employed plus the Rotherham businesses of Yates & Haywood and Micklethwaites, two of the main suppliers. Land for the maternity home and school were provided by Joe Lister. Listerdale Junior School was opened on 10th January, 1938.
On Springfield Road was the Estate Hall, built for the community, many wedding receptions, pantomimes, family parties, and film shows were held here. Minnie Thompson held her dancing classes here.
A committee was formed and land at the end of Green Lane running up to the quarries was made into allotments.
Each plot, costing 5s. a year, was 40 yards long by 10 yards wide.
Some of the allotment holders: Ken Chilcott, Charlie Bowling, Mr. Driver, Charlie Green, Mr. France.
Eventually the land was sold and private properties were built on Green Lane and Rosemary Road.
Joe Lister died in 1947. His son Clifford then became responsible for maintaining the estate. Clifford devoted his life to the upkeep of Listerdale, improving the beauty of the area for others to enjoy.
Described as a picturesque valley of endless assorted woodland, with bluebells and daffodils in spring, a profusion of water and marsh plants and flowers. The Dene was steep, covered with birch and rowan trees, bracken and mossy rocks.
The area was a children's paradise in the late 1920's and early 1930's, where close friendships were formed. Many a picnic was enjoyed here, games such as Cowboys and Indians were played, and they enjoyed skating on two frozen ponds in the winter.
Gypsies used to fill clothes baskets with daffodils which they would sell.
Joe Lister was a car enthusiast and the club was formed before the war and members would arrange journeys to places in Derbyshire, Sherwood Forest, Newark etc.
Rotherham and District Motor Club used to hold their meetings at Listerdale. The Hill Climb and Motor Cycle Scramble were held in the woods. Local celebrities who regularly took part were Archer Bingham of Springfield Road, Mr. Pike of Green Lane, Wilf Jay of Treeton, Len Tupling, Ernest Havenhand and Father Reggie Bessler (St Mary's Church, Herringthorpe, Rotherham). Tom Careless (1913-2007), a lifelong motorcycle enthusiast, was in his younger days was a member of the Rotherham Motor Club, during which time he won several trophies and cups for racing and hill climbing events.
Archer(Archie) Bingham had a workshop at the back of his house, where he tuned up his motor bikes.
Many spoke of the generosity of Joe Lister. Each Christmas he would give each child on the estate a new half-crown. Bonfire Nights were an annual event where roast potatoes and toffee apples and parkin were enjoyed by both parents and children. In the early days each tenant was given a bottle of wine at Christmas.
His son Clifford told of his fathers love of cars - and of giving them away - seven in total! One unknown lady who was given a lift from Rotherham, by Joe, in a two seater MG Sports car, was astonished when after admiring the car, was given it.
As mentioner earlier, Gilbert was Joe's brother. He was Scout Master of the Wickersley Troop and often invited other Rotherham Scouts to Listerdale for camping weekends at the Denes where the boys would swim in the ponds, Gilbert would teach bridge building etc.
In recent years a new building on Bawtry Road, has been named - The Clifford Lister Business Centre.
From the book, A biographical dictionary of British architects. 1600-1840 by Howard Colvin:
Samuel Lister (1746-1805) a master mason of Bramley, Leeds, had brothers John (b.1753), James (1755-1798), Joseph (b.1758), William (1763-1822), they were all masons, and the John Lister of Rotherham to whose designs the nave of Wickersley Church was built in 1835, was very likely a member of the family.
There was a John Lister, Architect and Surveyor living in Wellgate in 1833, John Lister , stone, slate, & timber dealer, in Masborough in 1834 and a John Lister, Joiner, Wheelwright and Farmer , was living at Aston-cum-Aughton in 1879. Is there a connection ?
Susanna Lister married 15 OCT 1797 at Wickersley to George Alletson