Following on in your fathers footsteps is something many people aspire to do, dependant on your fathers trade of course. My Dad was a miner when i was growing up, he worked at Maltby pit in Rotherham. When Thatcher closed the pits in the 80s he decided, like many others, to strike. Not wanting to waste any time he trained as an electronical engineer, something he still does today in Germany.
My Grandad however worked within the famous Sheffield steel industry. Sheffield has been and always will be known for it's amazing steel. The city has an International reputation for metallurgy and steel-making. It was this industry that established Sheffield as one of England's main cities during the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries. However, due to increasing competition from imports, it has seen a decline in heavy engineering, thus streamlining its operations and laying off the majority of local employment. My grandad just about scraped through uneffected when he retired after 50 years of service.
As a leaving present and token of appreciation from the the company, he was given an engraved tray. I can't remember what material the tray was made from, but I can remember it being shiny, possibly silver plated? I was too young to remember and I doubt I even cared back then, but I can remember it's purpose clear as day. It sat on his bed-side table and when he came home from Bramley club (a place where he goes most night like many men of his day, to play dominoes and snooker) he'd empty his lose change from his pockets onto the tray. Being a cheeky scamp back then, I used to sometimes (not always) help myself to a few quid for some sweets. Until the day I was caught! Embarrassingly I was given a good telling-off by my Dad and felt truly ashamed and embarrassed, even at 10 years old, I knew I'd done him wrong.
I still think about that tray and what it represents. 50 years of service to Sheffield's steel industry, Mr Eric Barnett, a small cog in a huge machine. The Mamnick 'Made in Sheffield' collection is a small way in which I can carry on my grandads efforts by using the same material he helped put on the map over 50 years ago and it feels good to know those 50 year of graft he put-in is now inspiring me to continue to work with the material that he worked with day-in day-out.
Who knows, maybe one-day I'll make a tray to keep my pocket change in.