VIDEO: Sheffield City celebrates its steel centenary

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A CENTURY after stainless steel’s discovery changed the city – and the world – forever, Sheffield is planning a year-long party to celebrate its greatest export.

“The legacy left to us by Harry Brearley’s 1913 discovery in a Brown Firth Laboratory is a big part of Sheffield’s identity,” said Brendan Moffett, director of Marketing Sheffield.

100 years of Stainless Steel launch'Master Cutler Neil MacDonald launches the years festivities with Kim Streets and Brendan Moffett

100 years of Stainless Steel launch'Master Cutler Neil MacDonald launches the years festivities with Kim Streets and Brendan Moffett

“This centenary is a fabulous opportunity to tell our story to a world which has benefitted greatly as a result.”

Unveiling the 2013 plans at the Millennium Gallery yesterday, Master Cutler Neil MacDonald said Pitsmoor-born Brearley’s genius lay not only in his discovery, but in his ability to see its huge potential.

Ten decades on, stainless steel is literally everywhere, from the tiniest structural heart valve to some of the world’s most iconic buildings.

New York’s Chrysler building, the Walt Disney conference centre in Los Angeles and the famous Petronas Towers in Malaysia are just a few names on stainless steel’s impressive global client list.

“We think we deserve to blow our own trumpet and recognise the spirit of innovation which is so much a part of Sheffield’s make-up,” said Neil MacDonald.

The cornerstone of the year-long festival is Design To Shine, an exhibition of stainless objects which opens in the Millennium Gallery next February.

Other exhibitions include Rustless, The Harry Brearley Story, at Kelham Island Museum and a display of the first ever Harry Brearley stainless steel knives at Cutlers Hall on March 23.

“Harry Brearley is an unsung hero and we hope his story will inspire future generations of Harry and Harriet Brearleys to find their passion and discover new things,” said Kim Streets, chief executive of Museums Sheffield.

Private partners have raised £100,000 to fund the celebrations, which will also include a Women of Steel Concert, a David Mellor exhibition and a coffee table book being produced by Sheffield Newspapers.

“We’re so proud to support such a special celebration,” said Neil Thompson from Hill Dickinson.

“This is about looking back proudly and looking forward with enthusiasm to where Sheffield can go in the next centenary.”

* Designed to Shine exhibition, Millennium Gallery – February 16 to October 13

* ‘Rustless – the Harry Brearley Story,’ Kelham Island Museum – April 1 to November 17

* Cutlers Hall Open Day – March 23

* BSSA & SMEA conference and exhibition, Sheffield University, June 11-13

* David Mellor Exhibition, Sheffield Hallam University – TBC

* Women of Steel Concert, Sheffield City Hall – November 2013

* Industry visits and tours – dates TBC

Also putting their own take on the centenary celebrations as part of their events, will be: Galvanise Festival of Contemporary Metal – May; Global Manufacturing Festival – April 17-19; DocFest – June; Off The Shelf Festival – September-October; Sheffield Food Festival – September; MADE The Entrepeneur Festival 2013 – September

For the full programme go to: Welcome to Sheffield