The legend that is Lizzie is revealed

Lizzie the elephant
Lizzie the elephant
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A city historian has revealed details of ‘Lizzie the legend’ - the elephant inspiration behind the Herd of Sheffield trail.

Lizzie came to Sheffield in 1916 - exactly 100 years ago, at the height of the first world war - to contribute to the war effort.

Now, Angela Greenwood, a historian at the University of Sheffield who studied Lizzie while based at the National Fairground Archive, has lifted the lid on the legend that is Lizzie, to celebrate the inspiration behind Sheffield’s biggest every public art project, which will raise funds for Sheffield Children’s Hospital throughout the summer.

Angela said: “Lizzie was acquired from a menagerie and brought to the city by Thomas Ward, who owned a scrap metal business that was vital to Sheffield’s foundries and steel makers.

“Lizzie was brought to Sheffield to replace horses that were recruited by the military to serve in Europe during the war. She became one of the most important workers and historical figures in Sheffield’s steel industry. She transported machinery around the city and helped supply Sheffield’s foundries and steel makers with the materials they so desperately needed to power the country’s armed forces.

“Lizzie was loved by everyone and won a place in the heart of every resident in Sheffield. She was often seen plodding through the city’s streets, up and down hills, venturing between factories to ensure Sheffield’s furnaces continued to roar before resting in her stable near to the factories of Kelham Island. While working hard, she is said to have had a cheeky personality. Eating a schoolboy’s cap, putting her trunk through a kitchen window to help herself to a pie that was cooling, and pushing over a traction engine are some of the stories that swept the city and helped her become a celebrity in her own right.

“It isn’t clear what happened to Lizzie after the war, but what is certain is the impact she had on the city of Sheffield.”