Multi-million pound funding bid for 'cracked, hovering, leaning and knotted' chimney sculptures at Tinsley Towers site

Artists' impression of the site.
Artists' impression of the site.

A funding bid for nearly £4 million has been submitted to help get an ambitious art project off the ground to replace Sheffield's iconic Tinsley Towers.

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.

Artists' impression of the sculptures.

Artists' impression of the sculptures.

Project leaders behind the scheme, called Onwards and Upwards, have now submitted an application seeking around £3.8 million from the Government to help kick start the scheme.

The money will be vital as project leaders said it is thought the project will cost around £5.5m in total, much more than previously reported estimates of £450, 000.

The bid was one of 11 submitted seeking a share of the £15m funding pot from the Northern Cultural Regeneration Fund, which is designed to help create a lasting legacy from the Great Exhibition of the North in Newcastle next year.

Karen Bradley, secretary of state for digital, culture, media and sport, said: "These hugely exciting bids demonstrate the scale of cultural ambition across the region, and reflect the great diversity of northern towns and cities.

The new sculpture.

The new sculpture.

"This £15 million fund will mean that as many people as possible benefit from the Great Exhibition of the North and it is fantastic that so many communities have recognised the transformative potential of culture, design and innovation.”

Onwards and Upwards has been designed by sculptor Alex Chinneck and is set to be installed along a stretch of the Sheffield and Tinsley Canal, starting close to the M1 viaduct

Each permanent structure is the size of a 10-storey building, and together they have a collective height of 150 metres, incorporating 100, 000 specially-made curving bricks wrapped around a stainless steel core.

Taken in order, 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.

The twisted chimney.

The twisted chimney.

Sheffield Council, one of the partners leading the project, hope the artwork will attract visitors from across the UK, offering an 'immersive experience' that can be enjoyed on foot, by bike or boat.

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

The Tinsley cooling towers were knocked down almost a decade ago, and once stood beside the motorway bridge near Meadowhall, acting as a huge beacon and a gateway to the region.

The funding bid has been led by the Sheffield City Region's Local Enterprise Partnership and the successful projects will be announced in March next year.

Tinsley Towers.

Tinsley Towers.

Sculptor Alex Chinneck.

Sculptor Alex Chinneck.