This book had its genesis in the multi-volume History of Sheffield project, which was launched by the History Department at Sheffield University to commemorate the city's centenary in 1993--a date which virtually coincided with the 250th anniversary of the discovery of crucible steelmaking. My research and writing was funded entirely by the Leverhulme Trustees, who awarded a three-year fellowship in 1991 for me to explore business strategies in Steel City after 1918. Since they had earlier supported work on an unrelated subject elsewhere, my debt to the Leverhulme Trust is great. At Sheffield, Clyde Binfield especially, and also Colin Holmes and Ian Kershaw (as head of department) provided the support for this project. Others who took an interest in my work included David Martin, David Higgins, Kenneth Warren, and Peter Payne; and I also received help along the way from Robert Gordon and Robert Kanigel in America. I owe a particular debt to Philip Hansen, whose labours at the photocopier and amongst dusty old newspapers saved me much drudgery and many trips to Sheffield. Bernard Callan greatly assisted in the final 'crinking' by meticulously reading this manuscript: he also kept me in touch with the Sheffield scene and ensured that living on the other side of the Peaks was not too great a disadvantage.
Most of the research was undertaken at two locations: Sheffield City Library Archives, where Richard Childs (and his successor, Margaret Turner), Ruth Harman, and others, gave every assistance; and in the Central Library's peerless Local Studies Department, where Doug Hindmarch, Sylvia Pybus, Martin Olive, and several others have kindly fetched books and documents for me over the years.
In locating and gaining access to other records, I was assisted by Peter Carnell at Sheffield University Library; Julie MacDonald at the Cutlers' Company; Michael Moss at Glasgow University Archives; Elizabeth Ogborn at the Bank of England Archives; Jenny Robinson at the British Steel Regional Records Centre, Middlesbrough; John Taylor at the Cammell-Laird Archives, Birkenhead; Nigel Watts at John Brown PLC, London; and N. Brown at the Rural History Centre, University of Reading.
Within the steel industry I received considerable help from many former and present company chairmen, directors, and metallurgists, who provided recollections (usually by interview) and documents, and commented on my early drafts. They are listed in the sources.
David Musson, my editor at Oxford University Press, was helpful in various ways, especially in gently urging upon me a sharper framework for this book. Paul Tweedale provided computer help; and Mary Titchmarsh, as ever, kept me cheerful during its writing.