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Sheffield turns to boat building - in the woods

Jack Frisby who has been commissioned to build an Ark for a shopping centre at his wood yard in Ecclesall woods with the help of Richard Drake, Haydon Ellis and Bryan Frisby

Jack Frisby who has been commissioned to build an Ark for a shopping centre at his wood yard in Ecclesall woods with the help of Richard Drake, Haydon Ellis and Bryan Frisby

A boat-building industry has sprung up in Sheffield woodland.

Two boats have been made in Ecclesall Woods using local materials and craftsmanship.

Their use, though, is very 21st century. They are being installed as large scale art works outside a shopping centre that opens in York next Thursday.

Commissioned by Marks and Spencer and John Lewis, one boat will have the appearance of floating on water, the other of being about to be launched.

They were designed by Broomheads Homemade, a husband and wife team comprising architect Tony and artist and printmaker Aprille, who work from home in Banner Cross.

Construction was in the hands of Hector & Cedric, who make timber framed structures in Ecclesall Woods. In this case, they used Douglas Fir clad in oak, with masts made out of cedar, all from sustainable sources.

Five metres long, three wide and high, and with six metre masts, the boats will give visitors to the Vanguard development at Monks Cross shopping centre in York somewhere to sit and relax among ponds. “The boats are amazing, and will be one of the main features of the shopping centre,” said Tony.

Hector & Cedric director Jack Frisby said: “It was a challenge, but very enjoyable.”

The overall project extends to a children’s play area with 40 giant steel reeds and another area with giant steel flowers - again designed by Broomheads after winning competitions, and this time made by Yorkshire Fabrications in Burngreave.

“It was important to us that we used Sheffield skills,” said Tony. “The project tries to fuse the two sides of Sheffield - the traditional countryside crafts and industrial steel fabrication. We are proud to show off the diverse talents of the city and the project will have helped to put over £100,000 into the local economy.”

 

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