For me personally, Sheffield is also notable because it’s just a few miles away from where I grew up, spending the first 18 years of my life in nearby town Dronfield. Of course, everyone around the city—and far beyond—is aware of the city’s long tradition of steel production, and all the ties to industry that that brings.

What I found interesting when researching the local crane sector, though, is the depth of industry that still remains throughout the area.

Sheffield has had its harder times in recent years since the peak of steel production during the industrial revolution, but investment, from sources both domestic and overseas, has reinvigorated the city.

And the local industry appears to be enjoying a very strong period of consolidation and growth. Just a simple online search for local crane manufacturers and service providers throws up numerous names of companies thriving in the area.

What was interesting to me that, when living near Sheffield, these companies were not household names I was familiar with. And no doubt there are people living locally to these companies now who aren’t aware of their business.

When you look a little more closely, though, there’s a huge amount going on in the crane sector—and in many other industrial sectors beside—which are all helping to boost the local area and attract further investment.

I visited Street CraneXpress during my trip to Sheffield, who have expanded impressively in recent years, and now comprise the Street CraneXpress service business, a special projects arm, and Burnand XH, which deals in spare parts and components.

There are plenty of other crane manufacturers in the area, too, and I’ll be aiming to visit some more during my tenure as editor of Hoist.

Looking further afield than Sheffield—as difficult as it is for a Yorkshireman like me to credit the rest of the country—there are similar throngs of crane businesses across the UK.

In this issue, we also speak to LGH, based in Atherton, near Manchester, and Pelloby, based in Telford, Shropshire.

These interviews give a flavour of some of the work being done in the UK, and some of the technology and services British business can offer.

I’m sure I don’t need to go into detail to explain the potential challenges facing British industry over the next few years, as the country faces a period of historic change and readjustment in both society and business.

Whatever the short-term and long-term effects of the current changes, it seems that the crane sector has a solid foundation, with so many thriving companies. And, with hoists having so many applications in industry, a burgeoning overhead crane sector most likely indicates a resilient industrial base overall. Of course, predicting the future makes a fool of everyone—but the signs look good.