Monday, 18 July 2016

Women of Steel ........... the memorial and a chance encounter with Martin Jenkins

Now I had been following the project to commemorate the women who had worked in the Sheffield steel works during the last world war.

In Sheffield at the unveiling, 2016

The project culminated in the unveiling of a statute on June 17 at Barker's Pool in the city centre when over  100 surviving Women of Steel came along to the unveiling ceremony and lunch in the City Hall Ballroom.

The story had featured on several radio programmes and so I was more than pleased that last night purely by chance I met Martin Jenkins who designed and made the statue.

He was here at the invitation of Andrew Simock who last year launched a campaign to identify a Manchester “woman of significance” who would be remembered by a statute.

The vote chose Emmeline Pankhurst and Mr Jenkins was here with 18 other sculptors to take the project forward.

Margaret Ashton ....... nne of the contenders for "Women of significance
All of which is exciting stuff but for now I shall close by quoting from Sheffield City Council’s story on the unveiling of that other statue.

During both World Wars, thousands of women were conscripted to work in the factories and steel mills to keep them running whilst the men were away fighting.


The women took on these roles, which were often dangerous and physically demanding, alongside looking after their families.


The Sheffield statue
The Women of Steel are an important part of Sheffield's history and an inspiration to young people today.

A public appeal has raised over £160,000 for a stunning bronze statue as a permanent memorial to the Women of Steel.

The statue is designed by sculptor Martin Jennings who worked closely with a group of Women of Steel to come up with the design. About the project.

Martin Jennings is a highly renowned designer and sculpture, many of his statues and sculptures are now world famous.

Perhaps his most celebrated piece is the statue of John Betjeman at St Pancras station which is now recognised as an iconic London landmark.

Other works include figures from the world of politics, military, royalty, academia, the arts, industry, medicine and the law. 


Women of Steel
Martin Jennings has been commissioned to design and craft the sculpture due his creative vision, and his signature aesthetic of bronze or silver sculpture which we believe will be a credit to Sheffield, its famous industry and our Women of Steel.

The statue will be bronze in colour and human scale, celebrating the work and lives of Sheffield’s Women of Steel.*

Back in 2013 Martin Jenkins said “I want the statue to represent both the camaraderie that helped these young women triumph over the exceptionally difficult task allotted to them and the pride they felt in achieving expertise in an industry that was traditionally the preserve of men.”

All of which leaves with giving the last word to my facebook chum Margaret Nash who commented, "a lovely statue. I love the way they appear to be walking along with ones' arm resting on the others shoulder beautiful."  

Location; Sheffield and Manchester

Pictures; Women of Street statute courtesy of Sheffield City Council

*Women of Street, https://www.sheffield.gov.uk/planning-and-city-development/urban-design--conservation/public-art/women-of-steel.html

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