Gleadless is a suburb and parish within the City of Sheffield, it lies five km (three miles) south east of the city centre. It is bordered by the adjoining suburbs of Gleadless Valley to the west, Frecheville to the east and Intake to the north. The land to the south is the rural area of North East Derbyshire district which is outside the city boundary. Gleadless was formerly a country hamlet, then village before becoming part of the expanding city of Sheffield in 1921. The word Gleadless comes from the Old English language and means either “forest clearings haunted by a kite” (gleoda) or “bright clearing” (glaed).
The first written mention of Gleadless dates from 1307 when it was referred to as “Gladeleys in the parish of Handesworth” in a land transaction between Jociamus le Scrop and Henry de Wodetorp. John Speed’s map of 1610 calls the area "Gledles" and shows it on the edge of the fenced enclosure called “The Maner”. The Maner also known as Sheffield Park was owned by the Duke of Norfolk and had abundant forests upon it. By the end of the 17th century much of the woodland in the park had been cut down with the land being turned over to farming and small scale coal mining. Because of the geology of the district coal mining would become an important occupation for the area with much of the coal near the surface in shallow seams. A manorial licence shows that coal was dug in the Gleadless area as early as 1579. 18th century agriculture in the area was based on the open field system with common rights on what is today Gleadless Common.
The 1851 census gave Gleadless village a population of only 740, however by 1881 the population had increased to 2,306 with the increased demand for coal drawing many coal miners to the area, especially after the sinking of Birley East Colliery in 1887. The coming of free education in the 1890s saw the opening of, what is today, Gleadless Primary School on 18 April 1898. As with many outlying villages of Sheffield, the coming of the Sheffield Tramway in the early 20th century brought big changes to Gleadless. The south eastern arm of the network reached as far as Intake, just to the north of Gleadless and had a major impact on the end of village life. Employment demographics were changed radically in Gleadless when the last coal was mined at Birley East Colliery in 1943 and many miners moved from the village to work at the Rother Vale Collieries or found alternative employment.
In 1921 Gleadless became part of the City of Sheffield under the Sheffield Extension Order of that year. Changes were not immediate but it became obvious to the local population that something had to be done to try and preserve the rural landscape after the controversial demolition of Park House Farm and the building of the nearby Arbourthorne estate in the 1930s. The Council for the Protection of Rural England became involved in the fight to stop house building on the agricultural land around Gleadless and Norton villages. This had little effect as Gleadless became fully integrated into the city and became surrounded by housing estates. Birley Farm’s land became the Frecheville estate, Charnock Hall Farm became the Charnock estate and St. Peter’s church and the Base Green estate was built on the site of Base Green Farm.