Sheffield, in the north of England, has long been ­famous for steel making. Processes developed in the city helped revolutionise the industry around the world.

In its heyday, tens of thousands of people toiled in furnaces and workshops across Sheffield: in 1970 around 50% of the city’s workforce were employed in the manufacturing sector. However, the de-industrialisation of the 1970s and 1980s brought widespread ­factory closures.

Specialist steel production persists, of course. But it seems odd that the latest addition to the city’s industrial landscape should be Boeing – pro-USA to its very core.

Boeing has invested £40 million ($53 million) in a factory which will eventually employ 50 people making ­actuator components. To put that into context, the ­investment is barely half the list price of a 737 Max 8 – one of the programmes that will be supplied by the new plant.

And yet the new facility, as well as the Boeing-­supported Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC), run by Sheffield University, offer hope.

It will clearly never restore the mass employment of previous generations, but Boeing’s investment is a sign that it sees value in the UK.

With the right nurturing and a positive collaboration with the AMRC, Sheffield-developed processes could once again spark a manufacturing revolution.

Source: Flight International