Man of steel could be a towering icon

Man of Steel sculpture, Tinsley
Man of Steel sculpture, Tinsley
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A GIANT sculpture of a stainless steel man 40 metres high has been revealed as one of the first ideas proposed for a £4 million piece of public art to replace the Tinsley Towers.

Sheffield Council invited ideas for a statue in the Lower Don Valley - and the proposed design by sculptor Steve Mehdi has already received support from Sheffield Chamber of Commerce and public and private sector organisations.

The impressive sculpture, involving a 20-metre high figure seated on a 20-metre column, and representing the area’s metals and coal mining industries, is said to ‘identify with the region’s past’.

Standing on a former landfill site overlooking the M1 and Meadowhall, the unique sculpture would be twice the height of the Angel of the North in Gateshead.

Leading up to the base would be a ‘timeline’ pathway depicting the history of city entrepreneurs.

Sculptor Steve, aged 55, from Grindleford, who runs Ecclesall Gallery on Ecclesall Road, said: “This project falls in to a long tradition of monumental sculptures in society. It is about scale. People have always been affected and inspired by the awesome nature of the colossal. The statue delivers a message saying, ‘We are big, we are modern and we can take on the world’.”

Sheffield Chamber believes the project can spearhead celebrations in 2013 marking the centenary of Harry Brearley’s invention of stainless steel, as well as becoming an iconic feature for redevelopment.

Richard Wright, executive director of Sheffield Chamber, added: “The statue not only recognises the city region’s heritage, but will symbolise how this area is at the forefront of the latest innovations in manufacturing and engineering technologies and making a name in exciting new sectors.”

Developers have gained support for the project from the Manufacturing Forum incorporating the Cutlers Company, all three South Yorkshire Chambers of Commerce, Forgemasters, Sheffield Tool and Steel Products and Rotherham Council.