Parking in the wrong car park as I attended the launch of the new £22 million nuclear fusion energy research facility in Rotherham it meant I had a 15-minute walk through the Advanced Manufacturing Park.
It’s a stroll I’d recommend to anyone who wonders what all those buildings are on the left as you drive down Sheffield Parkway.
Most of us will have heard about the likes of Boeing, Rolls Royce and McLaren moving research centres into the Sheffield City Region but it’s only when you get up close that you realise the size and scale of the development.
Quite rightly the Sheffield and Rotherham area has a proud heritage of leading the world in the invention and manufacture of stainless steel. Less talked about is role that coal mining had in the history of our region.
And its worth remembering that one of the most significant events in living memory – the Battle of Orgreave during the miners strike of 1985-85 – took place where all these huge buildings full of highly-skilled people are situated.
I chatted to Rotherham MP Sarah Champion during the nuclear fusion facility event and she told me she’s keen to see recognition for the site’s history.
She said: “If you think about it, the miners were really skilled workers who were supporting their local community, all the money they made went back into the local area and they’d be really proud, I like to think, of the people working here in advance manufacturing.
“The one thing I hope changes in the future is that this was a really historic area and the Battle of Orgreave that took place here was and still is very significant in this area. I think some sort of recognition, whether this is in street names or some sort of monument, I think it would be really powerful.
“I don’t think people realise it’s still a living sore (within the mining communities), that there’s not been a resolution or inquiry so yes it’s phenomenal that this (the AMP) has grown out of that but it would be powerful to link the two together.”
I tend to agree, but what do you think?