I grew up with tales of Sheffield. My father worked for one of the many Sheffield steel firms and even though he wasn´t based there, he visited Sheffield alot. He wasn´t that impressed with the northern city but he would recount tales of the thousands of people who worked in the Sheffield steel industry.
I had always wondered what Sheffield would be like today following the demise of the steel industry. As my father would say, everyone worked in steel in Sheffield. To be honest I didn´t know what to expect when I visited there last weekend, but I was pleasantly surprised. It has now built its livelihood around being a university city. Its city centre is very nice; new hotels, bars and restaurants have sprung up, money has been spent on restoring some of the more well known landmarks.
There is a buzz around the city and full marks to the people of Sheffield for turning the city around; gone are the days of heavy industry but welcome to the new era of learning. It is a welcoming place which appears proud of its long heritage but is looking to the future. In some ways it is like London Docklands; my father would also recount long stories about this place and its hundreds of engineering firms which bought Sheffield steel in the 1950s. What he would make of Sheffield and Docklands today I don´t know, but he would probably be rather amazed to discover that there isn´t a steel works or a merchant ship in sight any longer. But full marks on their transformation.