Sheffield FridayNightRide

we have nothing to lose but our chains

2009/07/24 Public Art II

Next Sheffield FridayNightRide

Fri Jul 24 2009

Public Art II

Meet Hallam Square (top of Howard St, outside Owen Building opposite Novotel and Millenium Galleries)

6-6.30 for a 6.45 start


A trip to visit sculptures, murals and installations in and around Sheffield that we, mainly, did not visit during Public Art I – which was held in Jul 2008. I

The route will only be about 10-12 miles (there will be a lot of looking) of which at least half will be inside the inner ring road(!) so be prepared to explore the warren of the inner city and then out into Sharrow and Heeley for some more art and installations with a finish at the Sheaf View – where we shall install some refreshment with plenty of time

… and remember riding around like this is an art form as well – freak out and bewilder and entertain your fellow citizens

A map of the route with sites to see is at,-1.473713&spn=0.037077,0.111151&z=14
If you take a look you can see the wealth of public art just on this one ride

There is a site that has a lot more – I am not sure it is being kept scrupulously updated but its worth knowing about if you like this kind of thing and want to see if there is anything in your neighbourhood. See I haven’t put the weblinks to this site in on the Sheffield FNR route so you will have to see if you can find the art we are going to look at on this SHU site.


Don’t panic; there will not be a quiz at the end.


Ride report

Dear all tedious long unfinished ride report below – it repeats the map and route really.  Just to say a showery afternoon gave way to a dry, breezy, sometimes sunny evening and a clear twilight.  Nine nightriders, with three new to the pleasures of FNR, gathered for this postponed ride and this smaller but select bevvy of riders set off at quarter to seven to follow the route and be surprised and delighted by how much of Sheffield is adorned with public art some of which we hadn’t spotted before including good graffiti.  The ride round town was pleasant and I don’t think we aroused too much curiosity – maybe we are becoming a feature.  Two dropped out at Moorfoot as the rest headed out on the Porter and the Sheaf.  Emerging from the first bit of the Sheaf Valley Walk and cycling up Duchess Rd we passed a group of local kids out on their bikes who gazed in puzzlement trying to work out who we were, eventually one said, “Hey! look at the tourists”!


So through Sharrow and out into Heeley we eventually circled round to the Millenium Park off Gleadless Rd where we ended the ride at the top of the white horse set in the mound and enjoyed the crepuscular moment as the sun had set and the sky went from white on the horizon to dark blue above with purple tiny scuddy clouds with a great view across the Sheaf Valley, the Abbeydale Picture House in particular – there’s lovely. 

A couple of pints in the Sheaf View and off home.  Thanks very much to all.

Photos of the first bit taken by Simon at


Longer tedious report

A showery afternoon gave way to a dry, breezy, sometimes sunny evening and a clear twilight.  Nine nightriders, with three new to the pleasures of FNR, gathered for this postponed ride and this smaller but select bevvy of riders began by exploring Hallam Square, the brick mosaic of buzzards on the wall, a concrete and stainless steel ‘monument’ to Marti Caine, Andrew Motion’s poem on the side of the Owen Building, the mosaic water feature (do they ever turn it on?) and the fence modelled as tongs and scissors in stainless steel, the benches and designed waste bins and bollards were all noted and then it was round the corner to view the sculpture, Heavy Plant, in a yard of some offices on Howard Lane and spot the metal screens on the back of the Stoddart Building as we pedalled down Eyre Lane to the corner of Matilda St where there is a Banksy style stencil of a baby on a wall, out on to Eyre St to gaze at the aesthetics of the new monster car parks, and back into the back streets on Earl St to go up Arundel St to look at the metal screens of cutlery on the Unite Building, round past the SHUSU building (formerly the National Centre for Popular Music) to look at the Pinball Park on Charles St (now peds and bikes only), then along Brown St, left down Matilda St and back along Shoreham St to the bronze ‘stone’ sculptures on the pavement outside the BBC Sheffield building where we noted the wave patterns in the gates to the yard of this building, a stencilled head on the wall, some neat graffitti on a brick wall up high and some fine decorative gates to the Unite Building where the old bus sheds used to be.

Continued on to the cycle path at the end of Shoreham St and over onto Pond St and up into Fitzalan Square.  There the bas relief little mesters on the white building, above the model shop, were a surprise for many and the statue of Edward VII looks like he has been connected to a Van de Graaf generator with all the spikes on head and limbs to deter pigeons.  The bronze panels on the plinth of this statue are very fine examples of Art Nouveau and well worth a visit.  Then up High St and through the bus lane and onto Castle Square to see the stainless steel palisades, the griffons that were cast from the originals that stood around the Crimea Monument, (which ended up in the Botanical Gdns but is now in storage).  The four griffons mark the spot where the statue was originally placed.  There are also a pair of fine stone rams and if one looks down Angel St you can see the Epstein-esque figure of a man in bronze fixed to the wall of the Co-op building.  On the pavement by the Bankers Draft pub is a stainless steel latticed streetlight holder which are also repeated on Fargate.  To think, this was once the Hole in The Road; that 60s marvel of innovation in public space

A little bit further up the High St between the bus lane and the tramtracks are stone sculptures of wheat sheaves and some vessel like objects called the Ali Babas.  We took the bikes over the pavement just before these to then cycle down George St and turn right up Norfolk St to the courtyard of the Unitarian Chapel where there are three George Fullard bronze sculptures to contemplate.  Out of there on to Surrey St to note the bas relief panel on the corner of the Graves Art Gallery, the reliefs on the walls of the Graduate pub which indicate that it was a Masons’ Lodge and then past the Winter Gdns looking at the George Fullard bronze sculpture of a Walking Man and then stop at the Town Hall entrance to look at the frieze above the entrance, the statue of Vulcan at the top of the tower and the fine topiary statues there at present of a buffer girl and a steelworker.  We stopped to view the Peace Gdns and Millenium Square beyond and as we cycled down Pinstone St and turned into Cambridge St we took in the use of empty shops as display space – called Slackspace?-  for artists and window dressers (on average 1 in 8 High St stores are empty across the UK).  Through the No Entry sign and up the alley behind Cambridge St the wrong way to come out at Barkers Pool.

Here we rode round the bronze war memorial sculpture at the base of the flagpole and then over to Balm Green and the ornamental garden to see the figure of a boy on a horse in front of Fountain Precinct along with the figure of a bird being stared at across the floor of the garden by a predatory cat.  So along Division St and up Rockingham St to read the Benjamin Zephaniah poems with the letters stamped out o galvanised steel sheets on the outside and in the inner courtyard of the Unite Building on Rockingham St.  Right on West St and then left down Carver St and  up West St Lane to the corner of West St and Leopold St where there is frieze above the door of the old Firth College (now the Leopold Hotel). 

We walked our bikes over to Townend Rd and took the cycle path to cross over into Campo Lane, along behind the cathedral and down Meeting House lane and right onto Bank St and over to Angel St to view and find out about the huge brick mosaic called The Last Steelworker.  There’s a plaque on the wall on the corner.

Too boring; must stop!

“We have nothing to lose but our chains!”
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