This year marks the 100th anniversary of Harry Brearley’s invention of stainless steel in Sheffield. Using information unearthed from the archives, we decided to bring Harry’s remarkable story to life by asking professional storyteller and writer Andy Messer to give a costumed performance at schools across Sheffield.
Dressed in a brown suit, hat and round spectacles, our ‘Harry Brearley’ visited school assemblies across the city to tell the story of his rise from cellar lad at Firth’s steelworks, the danger of assassination he faced working in Riga at the height of the Russian Revolution, and his accidental discovery of ‘rustless’ steel in Sheffield in 1913. The performances were interactive with pupils and teachers becoming part of this fast-paced tale.
Feedback from head teachers has been fantastic: ‘Andy's presentation of the story of Harry Brearley was excellent! It was action packed, educational and fun. The children were enthralled and I was amazed how he managed to convey so many years, events and countries all by himself at the front of our school hall.’ Almost 3,000 Sheffield school children have now seen the performance. Sadly it’s time for Harry to return to the archives, but we hope his story will be remembered for years to come.