The following information was supplied by Len Franchetti
Many Italians who came to Sheffield were skilled mosaic and terrazzo workers layers and polishers and marble fixers. Quite a number of these specialist workers were employed by Hodkin & Jones Ltd, Havelock Bridge Works, 515 Queens Road.
The person responsible for setting up the department in pre-cast and situ terrazzo and mosaic was Joseph Stefanuti.
His son Eric later became the General Foreman and he also had a financial interest in the firm, he lived in Edmond Road, in close proximity to the firm. Tony Antonini (known as Big Tony) married the sister of Joseph Stefanuti. They came from Maniago, Udine, Northern Italy. Tony died in 1954. His daughter lives in Canada.
Terrazzo can be used on floors and walls. It consists of different coloured marble chippings set into cement with colour pigmants added giving a marble or mosaic effect.
Pre-cast terrazzo was also made at the Hodkin & Jones Department and Ernest Swift was in charge of the department.
After it is laid, it has to be polished with a different graded carborundum stones and discs. The final polishing has to be done again with different graded stones these were sand stone or york stone.
The marble chippings came from different areas of Italy such as Sienna (yellow), and Genoa (green) etc.
The polishing of terrazzo was all done by hand using a long pole with the stones wedged in to a cast iron frame. The stone was wedged into the frame with wooden wedges. Water was used with the stone to polish the terrazzo. The men called this contraption a 'gagliara' (meaning strong and vigorous movement).
The walls and coves, a smaller version called 'shimiott'. This would have been back breaking work, nowadays a machine is used to do the polishing.
My Grandfather Michael Arcangleo Franchitti collected old bits of marble slabs which he cut up into cubes to make mosaics of all different colours and grades.
Fine examples of original terrazzo and mosaic are still to be found in and around Sheffield as can be seen in the Town Hall, Churches, Hospital and Shops. Such workmanship often goes unnoticed which is a great shame. It is hoped that these works of art will be recognised and more examples will be highlighted. Sadly, a lot of this unique work of art were lost during the Blitz on sheffield in the 1940's. Even worse was the demolition of old buildings in which many of these beautiful works were destroyed in the name of so called progress. It is now that we are beginning to wake up to how much of our heritage we have lost.
List of italians who worked for the firm
Angelo Anginotti, Luigi Anginotti, Antony (Big Tony) Antonini,
Dominico Benette, Tony Bertolo, Anthony Buccieri, John Buccieri,
Nicandro Buccieri, Nicholas Buccieri, Raffael Buccieri, Alfonso Franchitti,
Giacomantonio Franchitti, Leonard Franchetti, Leonard Franchetti Jnr,
Michele Franchitti, Ernest Pascott, Dominico Pellegrino, Ernest Pellegrino,
Eric Pertruco, Cuviggo Rosso, Jessy Rosso, Lawrence Rosso, Joseph Spina,
Dominico Spinetti, Victor Spinetti, Eric Steganuti, Joseph Stefanuti.
Seven of these workers went on to start their own Terrazzo, Mosaic & Tiling business.