Mural tribute to Sheffield steel pioneer

Harry Brearley: Mural of man who discovered stainless steel in Sheffield 100 years ago. Photo: � Paul David Drabble
Harry Brearley: Mural of man who discovered stainless steel in Sheffield 100 years ago. Photo: � Paul David Drabble

A visual tribute to Harry Brearley has been created on the side of a building in Sheffield – as the city continues to celebrate the steel giant’s 100th anniversary.

Brearley, Sheffield’s original entrepreneur, became a symbol of innovation in the city when he invented the world’s first ‘rustless’ stainless steel, exactly one century ago, in his Brown Firth laboratory.

And now the side of The Howard Hotel, in Sheffield’s city centre, has become a giant canvas, as local artist Sarah Yates honours the pioneer with a 42ft portrait of him emblazoned on the pub wall.

The black and white artwork was commissioned by Marketing Sheffield.

Director Brendan Moffett said: “The discovery of stainless steel is one of Sheffield’s greatest stories and we wanted to celebrate the discovery’s centenary by making the next generation of inventors and innovators aware of what can be achieved in this great city of ours.”

Sheffield artist Sarah, also known as her alias Faunagraphic, has been working on the mural all week, being filmed by local digital media producer Richard Bolam.

Richard is compiling time lapse footage of Sarah’s creation to be made into a short film to promote the centenary across the UK and the rest of the world.

Sarah said: “I didn’t know an awful lot about Harry Brearley when I started this project, but I suppose that’s the point of this mural, to make people in the city aware of him and what he achieved.”

Brendan said: “Harry Brearley is a legend around here, but his legacy stretches much further.

“The results of his discovery can be seen in every corner of everyday life from the tiniest medical components to some of the biggest architectural structures in the world.

“New York’s Chrysler building, the Walt Disney conference centre in Los Angeles and the famous Petronas Towers in Malaysia are just a few names on stainless steel’s impressive global client list.”

Sheffield’s Master Cutler Neil MacDonald unveiled proposals back in January for the year-long celebration in Pitsmoor-born Brearley’s honour.

Plans included a Design To Shine exhibition of stainless objects at the Millennium Gallery and Rustless, The Harry Brearley Story, at Kelham Island Museum, which will both run until after the summer.

There will also be a Women of Steel Concert held at the City Hall in November.

* Visit The Howard Hotel pub, close to the railway station on Howard Street, to see the completed artwork.