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Office move marks new era

01 May 2007

Sheffield Assay Office, which hallmarks and analyses metals has announced plans for a move to a new site, which marks the beginning of a new era in the development and expansion of the organisation.

Assay Master, Ashley Carson confirmed this week that the Assay Office has acquired a one-acre site in the upper Don Valley area and is planning to build 33,000 square feet of state-of the-art assay and analysis facilities, due for completion in Spring / Summer 2008.

The project represents a 3 million pound investment strategy and will place the Sheffield Assay Office in the vanguard of metals analysis and hallmarking innovation and technology.

"This is an exciting move for us," comments Ashley Carson, "we will be the only UK Assay office to have all our production facilities on one floor, which will make our hallmarking and laser marking operations even more efficient and streamlined. It’s also the perfect opportunity to integrate even more of the latest technology to meet demand in growth areas such as metals and materials analysis."

To ensure that the facilities and logistics are second to none, the Assay Office has called upon the expertise of Sheffield Hallam University's Materials and Engineering Research Institute, which will assist in implementing innovative new processes to maximise operational efficiency.

In addition to providing superb single storey production facilities, the new Sheffield Assay office will feature a two-storey building, incorporating the famous library and silver collection, plus extensive meeting, exhibition and training facilities.

"Demand for our training from the retail trade has grown significantly," continues Ashley Carson, "both with regard to hallmarking and precious metals and also for legislation and safety issues surrounding the retailing of costume jewellery."

Many high-street names already call upon Sheffield Assay Office's expertise in these areas and the new training facilities will ensure that the client list continues to grow.

The famous oak panels, which line the staircase of the Portobello Street building, will not, however, be left behind. The panels, each of which bears a mark for every year of the Assay Office's history since its establishment in 1773, will be carefully removed and make the journey to the north of the city.

"They are just as much a part of our heritage as hallmarking itself," says Ashley Carson. "And no doubt an important part of the future too."

The Midlands-based Cordwell Property Group has acquired the existing Sheffield Assay Office in Portobello Street, which has been the organisation's base since 1958, for redevelopment. They are currently in discussion with City planners to discuss the future of the site which is likely to include leisure, a state of the art multi storey car park and the retention of the existing Guardians’ Hall as owner occupier offices.

Cordwell Chairman, William Warrack said "We are delighted to have made this important acquisition in such a strategic location, Rockingham Street is destined to become one of the most important feeder streets in the City Centre".

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