Ambitious art project to replace Tinsley Towers will have 'international appeal'

Tinsley Towers.
Tinsley Towers.

An ambitious art project to replace Sheffield's iconic Tinsley Towers could become an attraction with 'international appeal' - so long as millions of pounds can be secured to get the scheme off the ground.

Plans were revealed earlier this year for the mile-long trail of four cracked, hovering, leaning and knotted red-brick chimneys each stretching up to 100 feet high at the site of the demolished Tinsley cooling towers in a public artwork billed as one of the most ambitious ever conceived.

An artists' impression of the new art project.

An artists' impression of the new art project.

It was initially thought the installation would cost £450, 000 but bid leaders the Sheffield City Region Local Enterprise Partnership said it is now estimated to cost more than ten times that at £5.5 million.

A spokesperson for the LEP said bid leaders broadened the scope of the scheme when it became apparent that they could seek money from several different funding streams that may see sculptor Alex Chinneck's exciting plans become a reality.

The LEP has now bid for £3.8 million from the Government's Northern Cultural Regeneration Fund to get the scheme moving.

If bid leaders can't find the millions of pounds needed it is understood the project will still go ahead in a scaled-down format.

Sculptor Alex Chinneck.

Sculptor Alex Chinneck.

Sir Nigel Knowles, chairman of the LEP, said: "Together we propose to create a new cultural destination for the UK: an immersive encounter with art, industry, history and nature centred around a family of four sculptural red brick chimneys that border, bridge and illuminate the Sheffield and Tinsley Canal and River Don.

“Inspired by the dozens of chimneys that once populated Tinsley’s skyline, these towering structures will attract visitors from the length and breadth of the country, creating a distinctive brand with international appeal. "

Councillor Mary Lea, cabinet member for culture, parks and leisure, said: "This project has truly transformative opportunities for the area, creating a tourist attraction that will breathe new life into this historic stretch of Sheffield waterway."

Helen Featherstone, chair of Sheffield Industrial Museums Trust, added that the scheme "celebrates the industry of the past and showcases excellence in art and the ingenuity of engineering."

The mile-long 'Onwards and Upwards' trail of four cracked, hovering, leaning and knotted red-brick chimneys will each stretch up to 100 feet high along the Sheffield and Tinsley Canal.

The four elements comprise a cracked chimney broken into 250 pieces, illuminated from within; a 'hovering' chimney with an upper section that appears to float; two leaning chimneys standing 45 metres apart that bridge the canal; and a curving chimney tied into a knot.

A completion date has been set for summer 2019, coinciding with the canal's 200th anniversary.

The successful funding bids will be announced in March next year.