Editor's comment: Time to look more closely at story told by Sheffield's statues
Whoever would have imagined that cold lumps of stone could prove as controversial as they have in recent months?
Statues – you either love them or hate them and opinions seem to vary on whether you can do both at the same time.
Most have stood, largely ignored, for decades but there are others which are absolutely adored by those who share their city.
When I was a child, we went on a family holiday to Italy. One of my strongest memories to this day is of a statue of Juliet – her of Romeo romance fame – and how her arm was a different colour to the rest of her body because of the amount of people who had posed with her and linked arms.
It was among one of many reasons why The Star’s Women of Steel opted for the lifelike sculpture which now stands proudly in Barkers Pool. They wanted it to look like they did and for Sheffielders to be able to stand with them, side by side for eternity.
Most of the talk at the minute seems to be about statues which paint an overly glorious portrait of people who made their money and built their empires by doing others harm. What is really missing in this country and in this city are monuments to every day folk who made a difference.
Those who live on in our hearts yet rarely feature in the history books. They are certainly never thanked yet life as we know it wouldn’t be the same without their efforts and their determination.
So what statues are missing from Sheffield and what should our city be celebrating? Or maybe it is just a blue plaque that should be there to remind us all of extraordinarily ordinary folk.
Born and bred here, in a job that focuses utterly on the Steel City, I still regularly come across Sheffielders who I am surprised we haven’t done more to celebrate. Those stories should be told, the people honoured.
At best, new statues could fill us with pride and make us fall a little bit more deeply in love with our home city. They remind us that we can all make a difference, like those who went before us. At worst, they would be a great chance to pose for a photo next to something beautiful … and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that.