Russell Totty

Russell Totty was the owner of the Goldthorpe Picture House in the 1920’s.  He reportedly donated the cup to the Don & Dearne for a knockout football competition.

Russell in the 1930s

Russell moved to the south-west in 1928 with his wife, Florence, and 2 year old daughter, Freda.


Russell also had a son, also called Gordon Russell (aka Rusty) who lived in the Paignton area of Devon. Rusty passed away in December 2021.

Rusty had two sons and six grandchildren.

Russell Totty (born 1886) had two brothers Frank (born 1881) and Fred (born 1883) and sister Edith (born 1888).

Fred was the only one of Russell’s siblings to have started a family. Fred’s daughter, Mary (1916) married Charles Long and they had 3 children: David (1947), Patricia (1947) and Richard (1948).

Richard Long

Richard was made aware of his great-uncle’s legacy and talked about heading north to attend one of the Totty Cup finals. He mentioned that his mum (Mary) and Freda (Russell’s daughter) were close for the whole of their lives.

Ingrid, Rob and Verity – travelled to the Centenary Totty Cup final

Sadly, Richard passed away in June 2020.

On the Centenary final in 2023 we will be joined by Richard’s family – Rob (son), Verity (daughter) and Ingrid (wife) – will be making the long drive from Surrey.

It’s very special that we have some of Russell Totty’s family at this anniversary final.

Goldthorpe Cinema Manager

May 1928

Mexborough and Swinton Times June 22, 1928

Russell Totty – Credit Dearne Valley History

A dinner in honour of Mr. Russell Totty, manager of the Goldthorpe Cinema, was given by his friends at the Horse and Groom Hotel , Goldthorpe, on Saturday.

Mr. Totty, who came from Hoyland to manage the Goldthorpe Cinema five years ago, and was previously in Canada, is leaving the district early in June, principally for health reasons, and will conduct theatres in Minehead. (the Queen’s Theatre, the Cosy Cinema, and the Arcadia Concert Hall), in addition to doing work for the municipality in connection with the band.

In recognition of his social work in the district, and particularly of his generosity towards the trade unions and the Labour Party in lending his hall and organising concerts during trade disputes, Mr. Herbert Smith presented Mr. Totty with a diamond ring, and Mrs. Totty with a four-piece silver tea service. On Whit-Tuesday a dance in their honour will be given iny the Welfare Hall at Bolton.

Mr West said he was sorry Mr Totty was leaving them. They part of the best of friends, and he wished him health and success in his new sphere. He hoped Mr Totty will regain its strength and will look back upon his stay in Goldthorpe with happy memories. (Applause)

Mr Tom Williams M.P., in proposing the toast of Mr and Mrs Russell Totty,” recalled first meeting Mr Totty when he asked the Bolton Urban District Council to allowing to erect a cinema. Derek Quentin strengthened whenever they came together, whether in business, social or political spheres. They made the discovery that at last they found a man – willing to help those who were incapable of helping themselves. Mr Totty helped to solidify the movement which he (Mr Williams) believe would ultimately be in charge of this and many other nations.

That possibly was a the finest testimony that Mr and Mrs Totty could have for their five year stay in the district. He wished “God – speed” to Mr and Mrs Totty their new sphere of work. (Applause)

Councillor WM Starkey (Thurnscoe) and Mr E Baines, secretary of the British Legion football club then added complimentary comments

Mr. Totty, replying, said the one thing that had struck him most was the friendship which had been shown to him. He did not think it possible to find such loyal friends as he had found in Goldthorpe. He was very pleased that Mr. West was present, because, although he had been his “sparring partner,” he had fought clean. He (Mr. Totty) had only done his duty, and he hoped that the dark days through which they were passing would soon give way to sunshine, happiness, and prosperity, and that he would be able to come among them again.      They could rest assured that he would always have a very warm corner in his heart for his old chums at Goldthorpe.

The Presentations.

Mr, Herbert Smith then made the presentations to Mr. and Mrs. Totty. He would not say that they were leaving them; they were going on a journey, and they in this district would not let Mr. and Mrs. Totty leave them, because a friendship had been formed which could not be broken. Mr Totty’s father been a member of the YMA for over 60 years, so that Mr Russell Totty had had a good training, and he had not only supply people with good pictures and a clean hall, he had lent himself to many other things; he did not forget the miners, their wives and children; he did his best to pull round the band, and is a great deal of work to help on the ambulance movement locally.

They would be safe in assuming, therefore, that when Mr and Mrs Totty throwing their tackle and finish working altogether, they would hear a voice saying “Come on, you have both earned your wages.” (Applause)


Press coverage on this story…

Barnsley Chronicle :

Chronicle Feb 2019

Barnsley Today : Barnsley Today

Russell was born in 1886 in Hoyland Nether, Barnsley.  His father was a coal miner (hewer), Fred Totty (b. 1857* d. 4/1/1929) from Birdwell and his mother, Eliza Bower (b. 1858* d. 23/12/1929) was from Barnsley.  Russell had two older brothers, Frank (b. June 1881) & Fred (1884*) and two younger sisters, Edith (b. 1888*) and Hannah (b. 1901*).