Guest & Chrimes part of town's heritage

Sir - I've never been moved to write to your paper before, despite being a reader for most of my life.

However, Chaz Graves' article about the former Guest & Chrimes site (Advertiser July 20) displayed a level of ignorance I simply wouldn't expect from our community newspaper.

It was very disappointing to hear that he doesn't feel the building has any historical or architectural interest.

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As a local journalist, Chaz could do worse than take a trip to the central library, or even spending an hour on Google reseraching the role that this famous Rotherham firm played in the social and industrial history of our great town.

Or maybe he could speak to some of the many surviving men and women who worked in Rotherham's last and most famous foundry and brass shop about what their work place meant to them. At its height, more than 3,000 Rotherham families relied on G&C to sustain them financially, and during World War II the firm played a vital role in the national effort by manufacturing key parts for both allied tanks and landing craft used on D-day.

The merest effort at some reserach would quickly reveal the massive contributions to the town's social wellbeing that was made by the philanthropic founding families as well as the engineering feats associated with the site.

Indeed, when Chaz gets ready for work every morning it's a fair bet he uses at least one device that will be forever associated with the site - since the screw down tap was an Edward Chrimes invention. Moreover, if, like me and many other Rotherham people, he has a mining heritage in the family, his ancestors were more than likely protected by mining rescue equipment invented and manufactured on the site.

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G&C manhole covers, water hydrants and valves were at one point amogst Rotherham's most notable and numerous exports. As late as the turn of the century you could walk along any street in any major city in the UK, the States, the Middle East or Asia and see the famous 'Guest & Chrimes, Rotherham' inscription.

On that basis it's difficult to think of a site more worthy of preservation in the town, and as a former employee of some thirty five years I would like to think that our local community newspaper would be campaigning for the clean up and preservation of the site, not it's demolition.

Roger Smith (Started work as a 15 year old G&C apprentice in 1965 eventually progressing to being Works Manager until its closure), Thrybergh, Rotherham.

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