THEY’RE busy chiselling away in order to restore one of Sheffield’s best-loved shopping areas to former glories.
Stone carvers are using a vacant retail unit on The Moor as a workshop to create something special for the shopping precinct.
Between now and mid-January shoppers on The Moor can see letter carvers Pip Hall, Wayne Hart, Richard Watts and Stephen Watts at work in the former Argos unit.
They are carving the words of a poem by local writer, singer and ex-steelworker Ray Hearne into 15 limestone benches which will be installed on the upper Moor as part of refurbishment work.
Ray’s poem, A Sing-Song for Stainless Steel, remembers the achievements of Harry Brearley, who developed the metal, the people who made it in the steelworks, and how his discovery and their skill put Sheffield at the forefront of its production across the world.
Pip said: “We are carving verses across the seats, with some words carved into shapes. Some will be carved into a circular shape to reflect the Millennium spheres in St Paul’s Square, which are mentioned in the poem.
“Elsewhere the poem describes how the first ingot of stainless steel was made into necklaces for all the female employees of Firths. These words will be carved in the shape of one of the necklaces.”
The benches will be installed along the upper Moor as they are completed. Each will be carved with a different name for stainless steel, some in foreign languages to highlight its global influence.
Another bench will reproduce the Berlie Doherty poem which was originally set in the paving stones for The Moor in 1996.
Coun Leigh Bramall, Sheffield Council cabinet member for development, said: “The finished benches will be in the same style as those on the lower Moor, which Pip completed as part of a first phase.
“Work on the upper Moor is really moving ahead now. Most of the new paving is down, and between now and Christmas shoppers will start to see the benefits of new, energy efficient street lighting, as well as the new benches.
“I look forward to work being completed by next spring”
People can visit the carvers between 1pm and 2pm this Friday, and on Thursday Ray Hearne will join them from 4pm to 6pm for a free evening of poetry reading, music and talk about the project. It will be standing room only and the public are advised to expect workshop conditions.