Steel Henge in South Yorkshire, Centenary Riverside Nature Reserve

photo by Kevin Clarke, used with permission

Another one for our list of large permanent replicas! When we reached 30, we thought that had to be the end of the line. Now it’s 65, and we know there are more.

Rotherham in South Yorkshire had a flooding problem. When a flood plain was created to protect the downtown from flooding, nothing could be built there, so it was perfect for use as a nature reserve. In order to commemorate the former industrial use of the site, people took some of the iron ingots that remained on the site and built a memorial circle in imitation of ancient stone circles around Great Britain, and although it was made of iron, they named it Steel Henge.

Yes, we’re pretty sure about that spelling. Most sites writing about it are calling it Steel Henge rather than the more intuitive Steelhenge. (The BBC at the above link even spells Stonehenge as Stone Henge. When the Beeb does something, does that make it right? Or even official?)

photo by Martin Gannon, used with permission

Aaaat any rate . . . we’re posting this only because they included three trilithons in the circle, moving it from outside our jurisdiction to inside. And, yes, they did take time to line some part of it up with the solstice. It’s not entirely clear what part or for that matter which solstice, but that’s okay. Its presence is what matters.

There is a certain grace to this, having the riverside (the River Don) nature preserve and its birds and wildflowers punctuated by a monument to the city’s former industries, a monument that uses some of the gritty remains of the industry to build a form that suggests the timelessness of the landscape. Man’s pursuits and efforts come and go, and the iron once in the furnace is now no doubt at times a perch for hunting birds of prey.

It suggests, instead of the pain we associate with the loss of industry, a move toward peace and balance with life. We chose these two pictures to illustrate the two sides: man on one side, and nature, including the sky and landscape on the other, linked by this structure in a state of rusting and returning to nature. Creative. Poetic, even.

Score: 6½ druids. Or should it be aging iron workers? This bears little resemblance to the real Stonehenge, but that wasn’t its goal, and we find it an interesting use of the henge idea.

What’s that you say? “Shut up! We just want to laugh about a henge!”? Ha, caught us out. Not much funny in this post. But doesn’t Yorkshire take enough of a ribbing? And it’s Yorkshire Day in a few days, a good time to show it’s not all flat caps, whippets, accents and men taking their clothes off to “You can leave your hat on.”

That is, as far as we know. We do, however, object to the manufactured word in this Sheffield headline about Steel Henge: “Stone h-engineering on old steelworks site”. We have to draw the line somewhere!

For pictures of the nature part of the preserve, see a few more photos by Mr. Clarke here. If you think of anything funny to add, feel free to avail yourselves of the comment function. Otherwise, until next time, faithful readers, happy henging!

4 thoughts on “Steel Henge in South Yorkshire, Centenary Riverside Nature Reserve

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  3. A little. But enough for them to use such a humourously useful word? I think not!

    You realise, now I may have to use that word in the blog from now on!

  4. >We do, however, object to the manufactured word in ….

    The full Monty of a word should be StonedHengeineering a bit flashier yet still hanging to the concept and not limit the fine art of Hengeineering to any building material. Your foodhenges are but studies of small Hengeineering projects.

    The problem with using Hengineering is that it links to Hinojosa Engineering, Inc office(at) an engineering firm in Texas and not a Henge design business as the name might imply. On second thought, is it just me or does the entry to their building look a bit Hengy?

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