Letter: There's still steel in Sheffield

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The Independent Online
I LIKED James Sherwood's article on Sheffield's Devonshire Quarter ("A new friend in the North", Real Life, 5 December) but I react like Pavlov's dog when people say Sheffield's industry is dead. It is not. More than two million tons of special steels have been made here this year, far more than at the height of the Second World War. Sheffield provides the steel that has to withstand extreme stress or conditions. The steel is used, for example, in jet engines and landing gear, North Sea oil platforms, medical instruments and surgical implants, and nuclear shields and waste containers.

Cutlery has been made here since AD1200.The bulk of British silverware is produced in Sheffield with an increasing amount of gold, silver and platinum jewellery. Up until September, two million pieces have been hallmarked this year, 700,000 of them in Sheffield's own assay office. In addition to tankards, goblets and flasks, Sheffield pewter is used in a growing number of works of art, for example Catherine Tutt's beautiful vases - designed in Eastbourne, made in Sheffield.

This is a bit of an obsession, but I wanted to set the record straight. In the wonderful world of steel and silver, there's absolutely no antagonism to London - or even Leeds. There is no real competition, although we may damn Solingen, Pittsburgh and Essen with faint praise.