Ways of Seeing

"In reality, the individual never creates anything; if man creates it is as universal man, anonymous, and as manifestations of the principle.  In ages of truer wisdom artists, scholars and thinkers did not dream of attaching their names to the works which took form through them." 

Bessemer House, Carlisle Street Some say steel making began in Sheffield ... certainly its Lower Don Valley was at the heart of steel making in the 19th and 20th centuries ... in 1740, Benjamin Huntsman invented crucible steel in nearby Handsworth ... the Bessemer steel-making process, invented in 1855, was introduced to the area in 1858 ... in 1912, Harry Brearly discovered stainless steel, whilst working in the Lower Don Valley.

 

Spartan Works, AttercliffeAnd so the Lower Don Valley was a national centre for the steel industry for most of the twentieth century ... it manufactured munitions during World War II and escaped bombing (unlike the city centre) ... in the late 1940s, Bishop Hunter and Revd Ted Whickham founded industrial mission in the steel factories and rolling mills ... rolling mills and public houses alternated down the length of Carlisle Street until the 1980s when almost overnight only the pubs remained.

Engineering works, Effingham RoadBut Sheffield is still a centre for special steels, although the scope for employment is much reduced. Modern steel making is much less labour intensive.

 

 

Railway viaduct, from Attercliffe RoadThe Valley was divided into many small plots of land and every mill owner was free to build as he saw fit. Their architecture is vernacular, austere, sometimes grandiose and yet there is a species of beauty.

Wheresoever I go I leave no footprint
For I am not within colour or sound.

Forgemasters, from River Don near Janson StreetThis is the tallest single story building in Europe! In 1988, it was in the news as the place where they made the Iraqi Supergun.

I have stirred up dust aplenty and given legs to the snake that had no need of them.  ┬áSo I shall stir up no more dust.

 

JDS Sheet Metal brochure From 1954 to 1986 my father worked here ... he was a self-employed sheet metal worker ... a Little Mester, perhaps (unless that name's just for cutlers) ... click on his brochure to view it ...

He knew ... to design work such as this you had to be able to see, to listen and understand ... he was a bespoke tailor in sheet metal ...

Buildings and metal, shaped by hand, eye and technical know-how ...

little wonder my father loved Zen and collected these sayings ...

Before enlightenment, I chopped wood and carried water.
After enlightenment, I chopped wood and carried water.

Meadowhall's 'stately pleasure dome'The Valley is full of modern buildings now: warehouses, sports facilities from the World Student Games, Centertainment and of course Meadowhall - all perhaps over-designed?

Crucible steelmen, outside Meadowhall... they've just moved these statues outside ... crucible steel men (but excluding the boy who brought them their beer) ...

... it has been asked whether in 50 - 100 years time we will see a statue of a shop assistant at their cash register ...

If you understand, things are just as they are;
if you do not understand, things are just as they are.


Salmon Pastures weir on River Don


Sandersons Weir on River DonSo, how do we see a place like the Lower Don Valley? ... can websites help us see things differently? ... as they are or as we think they are? ... here is my work so far ...