My Favourite Things - Article in the Sheffield Telegraph

My Favourite Things – Article in the Sheffield Telegraph

A piece on ‘My Favourite Things’ has been published in The Sheffield Telegraph – here’s the piece which highlighted my favourite eight ‘things’ about the city:


My Favourite Things – Ian G Walker

Born in Sheffield, Ian Walker (56) is the managing director of Sheffield engineering company Rotary Electrical Services and chairman of Rotary Engineering which export to over 60 countries. After graduating in Electrical Engineering with a post-grad in Production Engineering, Ian went out to Japan to work for a Japanese Electrical Engineering company, then moved to Holland and back to the UK in London. Ian returned to his home city in 1992 to take over the family business on his father’s retirement.

Ian is passionate about his home town and has taken on several voluntary roles in business, education and health including Chair of Governors at Ashdell school, Chairman of Japan Christian Link and Trustee of Sheffield Church Burgesses Trust. For 10 years he was a director of the Health Authority overseeing the NHS in Sheffield and beyond and previously chaired Sheffield’s Training and Enterprise Council.

Ian is also a keen sailor, enjoys watching- but no longer playing- Rugby and can often be seen cycling (slowly) through the Mayfield Valley. He lives in Ecclesall with wife Kathryn and has two sons and two daughters, the youngest of whom is about to leave home.

  1. Home

By home, I mean the city where I was born and bred – Sheffield. I spent 10 years or so living away in some of the world’s biggest cities: London and Tokyo, but when the opportunity arose for me to move back home I grabbed it. Sheffield has the best of both worlds – a wonderful city with great restaurants, theatre, museums and much more, but with green space, parks and countryside accessible for everyone. Most of all it’s the open, rightfully proud, frank and welcoming culture of the people that make this city so great.

  1. Family

People, friends and relationships are very important to me. I live in Ecclesall with my wife, Kathryn – we married 30 years ago- and the youngest of our four children. Over Christmas and New Year we all gathered together for a few days’ holiday and it was great to have all the kids back with their various husbands, fiancées and girlfriends staying with us. One of my passions is cooking for family and friends (and eating the result). I cooked for 17 on New Year’s Eve (my birthday), but usually it’s just the Sunday roast. You can’t beat The Real Meat Company at Banner Cross for tasty and well cared-for meat.

  1. Mayfield Valley

I try to walk off some of those calories by a walk or (rather slow) cycle ride up the Mayfield valley towards Ringinglow or Burbage. The changing scenery from Whiteley Woods, through to the open fields of the Mayfield valley ascending to the rough moorland is always breath- taking. On the way back down there is a great view of Sheffield all the way to Meadowhall and far beyond.

  1. Wagamama

This Japanese noodle bar is close to where I work in the city centre and is a great place to meet up with friends or colleagues over lunch. Try the saien soba. For me it brings back memories of street-side noodle bars in Tokyo where “mountain vegetable” noodles was my favourite dish. Don’t miss the “raw juice” of fruit and vegetables.

  1. Sheffield in the Snow

Especially when it’s fresh and if it’s the holidays or weekend! It always seemed to have snowed more when we were children – maybe that’s the effect of global warming? The great thing about Sheffield when it snows (if you’re not having to get around by car or bus that is) are those seven hills, ideal for tobogganing. Jacob’s Ladder is a famous run close to where I live. You can always tell if it’s been a good season by the debris from cracked sledges once the snow has melted. At my age it’s a bit too speedy though- the fields near Trap Lane have a better incline for me. The snow was so deep this Christmas, we managed to build an igloo in our garden.

  1. Ecclesall Church

I was baptised here, as was my mother. She was married at Ecclesall, as was my eldest daughter. My younger daughter will be married there later this year, so I have a lot of connections with this church. It exemplifies Sheffield’s warm and welcoming culture and community and we have made many friends there over the years. Until recently I was church warden and I’m still a member of the church council. When I was regional director for the Alpha Course- the world’s biggest programme to explore the meaning of life- I ran several at Ecclesall. It was great to see so many people being able to find out for themselves what is at the heart of the Christian faith, namely a living relationship with God.

  1. The Fat Cat Pub

This has everything for me: great beer; friendly staff and customers; traditional surroundings all keeping alight some of Sheffield’s heritage in an industrial area. The best of their beers for me is the Pale Rider ale, brewed just across the carpark at the Kelham Island Brewery. You can’t get more local real ale than that! It’s also a great way to support local heritage and industry. In the pub there is a very informative display of the River Don Steam Engine, which brings me to my final favourite place.

  1. Kelham Island Museum

There are many great museums in Sheffield, including one of the few Victoria and Albert Museum branches outside of London. As an engineer (admittedly electrical) with an interest in the history of my city’s past – my great, great, great grandfather made cutlery and my father was a former Master Cutler- I have an affinity for the Kelham Island Museum. You’ll see a Bessemer converter that led to the revolutionary way of making steel which ensured Sheffield’s reputation spread worldwide. Try to visit when they’re running the River Don Steam Engine. Built in 1905, it is the most powerful steam engine left in Europe at 12,000 horsepower. It was used to roll metal for battle ships for WW1 and for nuclear power stations as late as the 1970s.