Sunday, 17 June 2018

Sheffield's wall of water

One of the first things you see when you leave Sheffield's main railway station is an enormous, curving wall of steel with water cascading over it. It's called 'The Cutting Edge', a 90m long sculpture by the design team Si Applied, made of Sheffield steel and glass that directly references the city's history of steel manufacture, metalwork and silversmithing. It was installed when Sheaf Square, the area around the rail station, was redeveloped as part of a series of projects to regenerate the more run-down parts of the city. Sheffield suffered badly when its heavy industry, in particular steel making, largely closed down in the 1980s due to competition from abroad. The city is, however, experiencing something of a revival in recent years, thanks to astute management by the city council and innovative research projects in the local universities in collaboration with local businesses. 

Leaving the station, as you look back, you see behind it the (in)famous Park Hill flats, built in the late 1950s to accommodate families displaced by slum clearance in the city. They, in turn, became very run down but were controversially Grade II* listed in 1998, meaning they can't be demolished. After a long time of standing empty, a project has recently been started to renovate them. 


  1. Innovative sculpture or modern water-feature? There's something about running water and reflective surfaces that is so universally appealing that it's almost like "cheating" to include them in a work of art. Art or not, it's still a very attractive thing to see on escaping the confines of the railway station.

  2. Hi Jenny - love the wall of water - clever sculpture. Those high rises are awful aren't they ... we have one in Eastbourne ... which should never have been built - completely blocks the skyline - appalling. Lovely photography - cheers Hilary

  3. Too bad they can't demolish those awful high rises! Love the waterfall, especially with your last shot of the stone arches next to its clean lines.

  4. This water wall is wonderful. I feel badly for all of the industrial cities in the developed world that have lost their manufacturing base and fallen on hard times. I guess it is progress, but it doesn't feel good for those left behind.


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