The prosperity of Rotherham was built on coal and steel. It was a proud town with mock Tudor timber frame buildings and some good interwar architecture. It was badly hit by Miner’s Strike in the mid 1980s and subsequent closure of steel works. At the end of the C20th was quite a deprived area and it showed. Since then, a lot of money has been spent to reinvigorate the town centre. Buildings have been spruced up. Clever traffic management keeps the streets free of traffic. There is a water feature in All Saint’s Square and the recently unveiled Heart of Steel by the west front of the Minster. A companion piece “‘Man of Steel'”:http://www.yorkshiremanofsteel.com/ is planned to be built on the edge of Rotherham overlooking the M1.
There is a new bus exchange, the railway station has been rebuilt with a stylish modern frontage and there is even a new football stadium.
The streets are busy with shoppers and brightly coloured market stalls. Unfortunately the rejuvenation has still to spread to the edge of the town centre where there are still a lot of empty and run down shops.
The “Minster”:http://wasleys.org.uk/eleanor/churches/england/yorkshire/south_yorkshire/rotherham_minster/index.html stands proud above All Saint’s Square dominating the surroundings. The tiny “Chapel on the Bridge”:http://wasleys.org.uk/eleanor/churches/england/yorkshire/south_yorkshire/rotherham_chapel/index.html is one of the few Medieval bridge chapels to survive.
“Clifton Park”:http://www.cliftonparkrotherham.co.uk/ is just a short walk from the town centre and is the green lungs of the area with attractive gardens and children’s activities. Clifton House is a lovely C18th house designed by John Carr and is now a museum covering the history of Rotherham as well as the Yorkshire and Lancashire Regiment.
“Boston Park”:https://www.rotherham.gov.uk/parks-open-spaces/visit-boston-castle-park/1 with the shooting lodge of the Earl of Effingham stands on one of the highest points in Rotherham. It was Rotherham’s first public park, opened in 1876 to celebrate the centenary of American Independence. The castle has recently been restored and there are children’s activities and events throughout the year.
On the outskirts of Rotherham towards Meadowhall is “Magma Science Adventure Centre”:https://www.visitmagna.co.uk/#magna-experience Air, Fire and Water, making science fun. The steel making heritage isn’t forgotten and one of the highlights is the Big Melt, a pyrotechnic and audio display around one of the original arc furnaces. There are also children’s play and adventure areas.
It was a dull and murky October day when I visited which explains the rather disappointing pictures. On a sunny day, Rotherham is much more attractive with the brightly coloured market in All Saints Square.