Re-location marks a new era for steel works gym in Stockbridge
A little piece of Stocksbridge steel history has been preserved and relocated this month as part of the town’s new Fox Valley development.
Work started on the major £42 million mixed use scheme last week with the main contractors Henry Boot moving onto site.
But before the main construction work gets underway one of the first jobs for the developer Dransfield Properties has been to relocate the “works gym” to newly refurbished premises – ensuring the 300-plus members can continue to enjoy the facility.
The Physical Culture Gym was founded in 1932 and is the last of the Stocksbridge Works Sports and Social Club facilities still to be based at the steel works.
The gym’s former home at Smithy Hill, just off Manchester, is being redeveloped as part of the Fox Valley scheme.
It re-opened to members this week in its new premises at the North Office Block, better known as the Umbrella building, on Hunshelf Road where the famous Samuel Fox paragon umbrella frames were once made.
When the gym was first founded in the 1930’s it was one of dozens of different sports and social clubs organised for steelwork staff and their families.
Members used off cuts of metal and old railway wagon wheels to fashion roughly made weights and the gym gained a reputation for turning out some of the region’s most powerful weight lifters.
Over the years the equipment has become more sophisticated but gym treasurer Paul Wragg says his members are still extremely proud of their strong link with the steelworks.
Paul, who has been involved with the gym since 1976 said: “This really is the next step for us; with the help of Tata and Dransfield Properties we have been given a new era and to still be here in a works building is just fantastic.
"The new gym is better laid out and we can use the space much more effectively. We are open to everybody so we’re very keen to hear from new members who want to come and join us in our new premises.”
The gym is self-sustaining with three committee members, Paul Wragg, Gary Cardwell and Frank Johnson, running the facility between them – the oldest gym member is 93 years old and there are still a good number of steel work staff among the membership.
Amanda Holmes, Head of Communications at Dransfield Properties, said: “We have worked together with Tata and the committee members from the gym to make sure this popular facility can be relocated and accommodated as part of the overall development.
"The new gym looks great and we wish Paul and all the committee and gym members all the very best in their new premises.”
The Fox Valley development, due to be completed early in 2016, is being brought forward by the South Yorkshire based retail developers Dransfield Properties Ltd. It will create up to 900 new jobs once completed and will deliver:
• A new link road to the A616 Sheffield to Manchester Road
• New high spec office space
• A new 635 space car park
• Retail, restaurant and café units anchored by a 63,000 sq. ft. Tesco store
• High quality public realm area and landscaping as well as strong pedestrian links with Manchester Rd
• A new housing development neighbouring the main retail and commercial development
Dransfield Properties has received an investment of £8,111,040 from the Yorkshire and Humber ERDF Programme 2007- 2013, which is managed by the Department for Communities and Local Government to bring forward the Fox Valley project.
Paul Wragg and Gary Cardwell at the new gym on Hunshelf Com Paul Wragg and Gary Cardwell with Amanda Holmes from Dransfield Properties.
For details of how to join the Physical Culture Gym contact Paul on 07974 733503 or Gary on 07976 751438.
For further information, contact:-
Public Relations Department, Dransfield Properties Ltd
Tel: 01226 360644