The ‘Blitz spirit’ that saw The Moor in Sheffield city centre rise from total devastation after it was bombed in 1940 is set to be at the heart of its 21st century regeneration.
A time capsule containing digital interviews with survivors, photos, artefacts and information about the history of the shopping area is set to be buried at an event to mark the 72nd anniversary of the Sheffield Blitz next month.
The burial of the capsule, which will take place on Wednesday, December 12, will be attended by 94-year-old Doug Lightning, from Woodhouse, thought to be the last surviving firefighter on duty for the two nights of the Luftwaffe attacks which killed or wounded more than 2,000 people and made nearly a tenth of the city’s population homeless.
He will be joined by local dignitaries and children from Sheffield primary schools who have been working on the project.
The survivors interviewed for the time capsule project were selected by Sheffield author Neil Anderson, who has written two books about the attacks – Sheffield’s Date With Hitler and Forgotten Memories From A Forgotten Blitz.
Neil has been heading up the Sheffield Blitz Memorial Fund aimed at ensuring the attacks are remembered by future generations.
He said: “Many described the scene on The Moor as ‘a holocaust’ in the aftermath of the Blitz and bombsites remained for many years.
“There’s no doubt it was the unwavering spirit of the Sheffield people that helped get The Moor and the rest of the city back on its feet.
“This ceremony will help ensure those sacrifices are never forgotten and mark the biggest upheaval since the Blitz as the area undergoes multi-million pound regeneration and the final phase of work on the public realm area is completed.
“We thought a touch of the ‘Blitz spirit’ would be the perfect way to signal the start of a renaissance for The Moor.”
Sandra Barley, liaison manager for The Moor, said: “The enthusiasm we’ve had from schools around this project has been fantastic and it has been a rare opportunity to link today’s generation with the one from 72 years ago that we owe such a debt of thanks to.”
The time capsule will comprise a 30-litre barrel which, as well as the Blitz survivor interviews, will also contain 12 items from 12 different schools aimed at demonstrating the changing face of The Moor.
Work to transform The Moor has already started, with construction under way at the site of the £16 million indoor markets and an adjacent store, which set to be the permanent home of TJ Hughes.
The street is also being repaved.
Scottish Widows, landlord of The Moor, has also announced work will begin next year to rebuild two blocks – the former McDonalds and JJB Sports building at Moorhead, and the store immediately below Debenhams. Debenhams is also considering a refurbishment of its store.