‘Nerves of Steel, Rotherham' Nerves of Steel, Rotherham
Dinnington Youth Centre
September 2005
Painted and bare mild steel, poppies
1670 x 520 x 1640mm

'Steelo' at Dinnington Youth Centre
The results of a Heritage Lottery funded public art project, 'Nerves of Steel', have just been unveiled in Rotherham highlighting the role of the local steel industry during WW2.
I have been working with three youth groups, each of whose buildings now have a permanently sited public art work titled 'Steelo'. All members of the youth groups also contributed to the sculpture currently being shown at Clifton Park Museum titled 'It's Alive'. It focuses on the 1940 story in which a baby miracously survived a bomb-blast, even though the cot was peppered with shards of glass.
The three 'Steelo' sculptures, nearly identical, take their form from the nickname of the former steel workers 'Steelo's' and the steel O is divided into sections referencing the fact that the famous WW2 Bailey Bridge was designed is Sheffield by Sir Donald Coleman. Astride the bridge like form is a female 'buffer', one of thousands of women who worked in the cutlery polishing businesses during the war, seen drawing steel from the molten pools below. Each year red poppies will grow around the sculptures adding a poignant reminder of the lives changed by war.

'Steelo' at Wath-upon-Dearne 'Steelo' at Chislett Youth Centre in Kimberworth Park, Rotherham
Montgomery Hall, Wath-upon-Dearn Chislett Youth Centre, Kimberworth
Made locally in steel, these sculptures are a tribute to and celebration of local skills, resources and ambition using ideas from young people.