The Herd of Sheffield all began 100 years ago.
In 1916, on the cobbled streets of Sheffield, an elephant called Lizzie was employed in the steel industry and inspired the herd we see today.
The Children’s Hospital Charity and Wild in Art thought that it would be a great idea to celebrate the heritage in Sheffield and celebrate the industry which helped build where we live today.
Lizzie the inspiration
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Throughout the First World War the city ’s horses were enrolled by the military. Lizzie the elephant played an important role as she helped cart heavy loads of steel and machinery for Thomas Ward Ltd in the absence of the horses.
The company’s scrap metal business was essential to the country’s steel industry, which was crucial to the nation’s war effort. Lizzie became a legend and was loved by many of her colleagues and she became part of the family.
The elephants we see today are part of the city’s family and were born because of the shared vision of Sheffield’s businesses, communities, artists, individuals and schools bringing each elephant to life.
Creation of the Herd
Last year over 300 artists submitted their designs on how they would bring the Herd of elephants to life. The designs were phenomenal and after a lot of deliberation 100 unique designs were shortlisted ready for the adoption process.
Local businesses, schools and organisations joined the project and sponsored each elephant choosing their ele’s design from the artists shortlisted. The Herd grew and grew, with new elephants being adopted as more organisations wanted to become involved in sculpture trail.
Baby elephant calves
Whilst the big herd grew over 10,000 school children from across the region united to create baby elephant calves. The Little Heard was born by the 72 schools who decorated, stuck and painted on their own elephant, raising a whopping £46,000 for The Children’s Hospital Charity at the same time.
The Little Herd elephant calves were settled into their summer homes in several indoor locations around the city, from the Crucible to the Winter Gardens and up to Kelham island.
Released into the wild
The 58 strong Herd of Sheffield was kept under close watch in a secret location in Attercliffe, whilst artists worked for hours, days on their creation. It wasn’t till after four days of overnight installations, the herd was finally ready for everyone to see and enjoy. Each individual fibreglass elephant was introduced to their new home for the summer with the promise of lots of visitors.
The Herd of Sheffield celebrates the 100th anniversary of our city's very special Lizzie the elephant and reaffirms the legacy of innovation which still exists in our city today.