Made in Sheffield

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Memoir  |  House: Booksie Classic
Progress is not always for the best. Most young people today will never experience true graft.Your ancestors took pride in creating the Industrial revolution. This write is just a glimpse of Sheffield in the 1960s.

Submitted: February 22, 2012

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Submitted: February 22, 2012




Made in Sheffield


Its Early Morning, a mist descends into the valley.

Not a Mist, from some love poem, but a fog forged in graft.

No sun shines here, for there is no welcome.

For here lies the Crucible of the World,

No bird song, only furnace dust,

And a dead river.

For this is Sheffield Steel.



The grime covered buses arrive for Morning shift,

Windows grey with smoke,

For breakfast, Woodbines and Senior Service,

A dripping crust and a flask of tea or two


One by one, they descend,

A goliath of manhood,

Raw Power, Natures finest creation

An elephant gun would not bring these men down.



A pot of tea, another cig, then into the mill

Into the Heat, Dante’s Inferno,

Armed only with Leather Aprons and tongs,

First job, a tank Barrel,


They work as a team,

A sacred bond, forged in years of graft

Pure Strength twisting, the writhing white hot ingot,

In a rhythm, nay a dance, with a twenty ton hammer

The Grace of Men in harmony with Machine,

A rite of Passage, their inheritance



But this is also a dance with the devil,

One crack and shards of death rain upon them,

No escape, Just a Bed in Tinsley Cemetery,

Plenty of company there



Another crew tames the roaring furnace

Spewing flame, like some demonic dragon

Molten Metal, thrashes out,

Shower upon shower, of burning sparks,

That brand and seer the skin,

A steel workers tattoo of Pride



And the heat, always the heat,

Creating a perfume of toxic aftershave

A vision of Hell created by Man on Earth,



But yet through the heat and smoke, there are voices,

No Angels here,

For this is them, these Men of Steel,

“Ready for a pint”,

“Ahr lass got belly up,”

“Stick us a ten bob on that horse”,

“Goin in club t, neight”,

“Ready for me grub”,

This is the voice of Sheffield.

No hardships, for this is their blood,

Their culture, their world



Dinner time approaches, the apprentice brings dinner

Half a loaf of bread, dug out, and filled with chips,

Plenty of Salt and Vinegar

Then a link of black pudding

Washed down with four bottles of Stones Bitter,

And a couple of woodbines

No Health and Safety here.



I pay but, a moment’s homage to this scene

For this was Sheffield Steel,

The Cog that drove the World



But Time moves on,

The steel workers and Miners, all gone

Broken By Maggie

Thrown on the scrap heap of yesterday

Sculptors of their craft,

Never to work again



Now the Rivers run clean.

And the birds sing,

And the sun, shines on the valley

But not on the Steel workers,


For they have faded away

Replaced by the souls of Progress,

Shopping Malls and stadiums

For Sheffield is now a City of Sport.

And Tourism reins King.



But spare a thought, for these Men.

Our Fathers, who lived there way,

With courage and honour

Steel was there Church,

Built on the Foundations of Pride

Their graft, a noble Calling

And sacrifice, there honour in death.



These Men who celebrated Friendship,

A pint, a smoke, and a gamble

For this was their Home, their Sheffield,

It was Their Craft, Their sweat,

That, forged the world,

And it forged me,


And now, a part of my World is lost forever.

So let the history books be kind,

And lets us remember fondly, these Men,

Made in Sheffield


© Copyright 2017 steven cooke. All rights reserved.