School children name town centre cranes as work forges ahead on landmark Rotherham scheme (Partner Release)

The Forge Island project team, Cllr Cusworth. Redwanella (L) & Selda (R).
The Forge Island project team, Cllr Cusworth. Redwanella (L) & Selda (R).

Two eye-catching cranes which presently form part of the Rotherham town centre skyline have been named by children at Thornhill Primary School.

More than 70 pupils from Thornhill Primary School, Masborough, submitted names for the cranes, and a range of colourful pictures of their crane characters, to Forge Island site developers, Muse.

After a long and difficult deliberation, the two winning entries were ‘Rotherham Rainbow’ by Redwanella, aged 7 and ‘Steely Crane’ by Selda, aged 9.

The cranes, currently situated on the flagship Forge Island development, will support the construction of the new cinema, hotel and restaurants over the next few months.

The competition winners were invited down to the construction site this week for a hard hat tour with the project team and to see their winning names attached to the 37-metre and 25-metre-high cranes. They also got to meet some of the people involved in building Forge Island, including representatives from nationwide placemaker, Muse, the Council and lead contractor Bowmer & Kirkland.

Raife Gale, Senior Development Manager at Muse, said: “We had so many wonderful entries that it was difficult to choose just two names, so thank you to all the pupils who took part. Our winning names really capture the essence of Forge Island, with Rotherham Rainbow representing a bright future for the town, and Steely Crane a nod to the site’s heritage as a steel forge. 

“We’ve also decided to have a selection of the other pictures made into colourful hoardings around the site – a brilliant daily inspiration for the project team who are working hard to create something quite special here for families who live in and visit Rotherham. We plan to work with more local schools and community groups over the next year to bring them on the journey with us and build anticipation before the scheme opens to the public in 2024.”

Karen Hill, headteacher of Thornhill Primary School said: “Our children were very excited to see the cranes they had named and can't wait for the development to be finished so they can go and visit, particularly the gardens. It's lovely that all the other entries are displayed around the base of the cranes.”

Rotherham Council’s Cabinet Member for Children and Young People’s Services, Cllr Victoria Cusworth, said: “It is great to see the borough’s young people getting involved in this flagship scheme and it really underlines the fact that, once opened, Forge Island will be a family destination.

“Forge Island will be a space for residents of all ages to enjoy and socialise, while accessing some brilliant amenities and restaurants. Along with Riverside Gardens, it will provide a gateway to Rotherham’s riverside where residents will be able to enjoy urban wildlife and nature. Overall, it will be hugely beneficial to residents by promoting a strong economy, good mental and physical wellbeing, and strengthening our communities.”

A new 46-metre-long bridge, inspired by the world-renowned Bailey Bridge design - conceived by Rotherham-born civil engineer Donald Bailey during the Second World War - will also be lifted into place, to connect Forge Island to the town centre.

Work will then begin constructing the buildings that will become home to a range of independent restaurants, bars, cafes and a boutique cinema operator, The Arc – the first cinema in the town for more than 30 years – and a new 69-bedroom Travelodge hotel. Forge Island will also feature new landscaped public spaces, including a stepped amphitheatre beside Rotherham Lock. The public spaces will complement plans for the council’s new public park, Riverside Gardens, which received planning permission earlier this month.

Work on the £47m Forge Island site – which was announced as 100% let in October 2022 – started in November 2022.  The wider project team also includes Arup, Helm Consulting, Arcadis and re-form Landscape Architecture.

Visit the Forge Island website here.

Published: 14th June 2023