The man of Steel comes to life

Man of Steel model in the AMRC Knowledge Transfer Centre, with sculptor Steve Mehdi (L) and business partner Paul Eastwood (R).
Man of Steel model in the AMRC Knowledge Transfer Centre, with sculptor Steve Mehdi (L) and business partner Paul Eastwood (R).
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MEET the mini Man of Steel.

This scale model of a statue which could become South Yorkshire’s answer to the Angel of the North is taking pride of place at an industrial festival next week.

The two-metre version, atop a two-metre-high plinth, was put together at Sheffield University’s Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre in Catcliffe under the direction of sculptor Steve Mehdi, who originally created it as a 30cm bronze figure.

The masterplan is to turn the blueprint into a giant, 20-metre-high stainless steel figure sat on top of an 18m coal-black column.

Planning permission has been granted for the statue to overlook the M1 motorway from a former landfill site near Meadowhall shopping centre.

It is designed to pay tribute to South Yorkshire’s steel and coal industries, while also reflecting the region’s modern strengths in advanced manufacturing and metals technology.

Designers have moved the smaller statue into the foyer of the AMRC, where final preparations are being made for the Global Manufacturing Festival, which runs for three days from Wednesday, April 17.

Tim Chapman, for the AMRC, said “Machining the Man of Steel model has been a different kind of challenge for the engineers involved.

“It’s great to see him in his steel coat on top of the plinth – it really gives an idea of how impressive the full-size version could be.

“The Man of Steel should draw a lot of attention at the Global Manufacturing Festival.

“Steve intends the sculpture to honour the old steel and coal communities of South Yorkshire, while looking forward to the advanced industries and creativity of today and tomorrow.”

Steve said: “The inspiration for a landmark version of the sculpture came from local people who first saw it in an exhibition of my work and said it could be our Angel of the North. This project honours the past and embraces the future.”

The festival marks the centenary of stainless steel’s discovery by Sheffield metallurgist Harry Brearley.