Postcard memories of Castle market

Artwork around the site of Sheffield Castle. Picture: Andrew Roe
Artwork around the site of Sheffield Castle. Picture: Andrew Roe
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Something else for Sheffielders to take pride in – the evocative, multi layered artwork created on the hoardings surrounding the site of Sheffield Castle in Waingate and Exchange Street.

Some months ago – in the bleak midwinter – Cora Glasser from Glassball – the Buxton-based Arts Collective who produced this most remarkable and singular artwork – and I strolled round the area so she could get a feel for the many nuances of the site, past and present.

Then she was off to talk and work with past customers and stallholders, schools and others and research many, many images.

When I saw the first images of Castle Market and human figures – well, I thought, here we go – but no, no, no – its a veritable cornucopia, a kaleidoscope that you could almost be part of. Indeed many of the folk Cora spoke to were and are.

What we have got is a subtle blend – from the 1920s/1930s postcard of the imagined castle bursting out at you like Superman’s uncovered costume, images and memories of fondly remembered stalls with familiar names, real, recognisable people, workmen and antiquarians peering down into shored-up trenches, the reflected impact of the Old Town Hall now on show and awaiting its rebirth, vehicles, footbridges, buried vestiges of a castle again lost to sight, oranges you could almost have weighed.

Look at it on the highly effective weblinks from the Council, Glassball and BBC Radio Sheffield or have a stroll round it yourself – you won’t have to wear a scarf or pakamac as in the days of yore.

For me, it’s the elevation at the bottom of Exchange Street, in particular its evocation of the flowers and poppies and grass and ruinous stonework of Manor Lodge – its another postcard, this time of a proper summer.

Overall there’s a theme of movement and footfall and of course we now await movement in the right direct because Julie’s been talking about Castlegate, I gather.

Well done Cora, Yorkshire Arts Space and Sheffield City Council.

Ron Clayton

S6