Industrialist and wildlife expert is remembered as bridge relaunched

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AN INDUSTRIALIST and wildlife expert from Sheffield’s Victorian era has been celebrated at an event to mark completion of a city centre restoration project.

The Wicker Riverside - Smithfield Bridge was relaunched by Sheffield Lord Mayor Coun Sylvia Dunkley.

As part of the project, an interpretive board has been unveiled on the nearby riverside footpath commemorating the achievements of Henry Seebohm, a steelmaster, ornithologist and explorer who lived between 1832 and 1895.

In the 1850s, Seebohm and his business partner George Diechstahl established their steelworks on the riverside in the Wicker area, which operated under the name of Balfours until the 1980s.

Although denied a university education by his Quaker beliefs, Seebohm became a world authority on bird migration and nesting habits as a result of relentless field study including two epic collecting expeditions to Siberia in 1875 and 1877.

He amassed one of the largest egg collections in the world which he bequeathed to the Natural History Museum and also became Secretary of the Royal Geographical Society.

Seebohm wrote a four-volume History of British Birds.

When the board was unveiled, a talk was given by Professor Tim Birkhead, an ornithologist based at Sheffield University, about Seebohm’s ‘major contribution to the study and understanding of birds which can still be appreciated over a century after his death’.

The celebration event at the bridge was organised by South Yorkshire Forest Partnership and Sheffield Council to coincide with an international conference hosted at Sheffield Hallam University this week about how environmentally-friendly industries can help the economy recover.

More than 200 people attended the Green Growth New Shoots event.