Plea for public to help honour Women of Steel

HDM     ERM       NEWS    VIKKI WHITE      02-12-10      The unveiling of the Larkin Statue at Paragon Station, Ferensway, Hull.  Pictured is Sculptor Martin Jennings.  PICTURE: KATE WOOLHOUSE

HDM ERM NEWS VIKKI WHITE 02-12-10 The unveiling of the Larkin Statue at Paragon Station, Ferensway, Hull. Pictured is Sculptor Martin Jennings. PICTURE: KATE WOOLHOUSE

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A WORLD-CLASS sculptor tasked with creating a memorial honouring Sheffield’s Women of Steel has issued a plea for help to inspire its design.

Artist Martin Jennings and council bosses are calling upon the women who worked in the city’s steel works during both world wars, their friends and relatives to share their memories as they press ahead with plans.

Members of the public are invited to a consultation event armed with any photographs, documents and memorabilia relating to the wartime efforts of the ladies.

Martin will use the consultation to help him craft the figurative memorial, which is likely to be a bronze statue in the city centre.

He plans to listen to the stories of those who attend to draw inspiration for the project, as well as discussing his own vision for it.

Councillor Julie Dore, leader of Sheffield Council, said: “The event is designed to help Martin to get a feel of what the people of Sheffield want to see.

“We’d like as many people as possible to get involved, share their memories, bring along items from the time and help shape the statue.

“The Women of Steel deserve our utmost respect and we are determined to award them the honour they so truly deserve.”

Martin has gained an international reputation for his portfolio of work, which includes a bronze sculpture of Poet Laureate John Betjeman in London’s St Pancras station and an homage to Hull’s Phillip Larkin. The artist was appointed by the city council earlier this year.

He said: “I am particularly interested in what the Women of Steel wore, their overalls, shoes and hairstyles and of course the work they were doing.

“I need to listen further to people’s stories before proposing an idea for a monument that will properly reflect their place in history.”

The city council has pledged £28,000 to the project but it still needs to find around £120,000 more.

The consultation takes place at Sheffield Town Hall on Wednesday, May 30, from 2pm to 4pm and all are invited to share their views.

If you can’t attend email womenofsteel@sheffield.gov.uk to share your ideas.