In 1886, Sheffield Municipal Council launched a competition to select an architect for the design of a town hall. They had 178 responses, from which was chosen that of Mr E. W. Mountford. Building began and the completed construction was officially opened eleven years later on 21st May 1897 by HM Queen Victoria.
The Town Hall is still used by Sheffield City Council but also boasts an impressive array of silverware, which is open to public viewing in the Reception Suite. The outside of the building, which is made of 'Stoke Quarry' stone from Grindleford in Derbyshire, has a range of carvings, designed by Frederick William Pomeroy (1856–1924), a sculptor well known for his work on municipal buildings. The carvings represent scenes from the industries in Sheffield.
Crowned the building is the 2.13m tall statue of Vulcan, atop the 64m high clock tower.
Vulcan also appears, alongside Thor, on the city coat of arms, which was first awarded to the Borough Council on 16th July 1875 and subsequently passed on to the newly formed City Council on 1st September 1977. The choice of these two gods of fire and thunder was deemed appropriate for a city founded on steel working.
Vulcan himself is from Roman mythology and was associated with the use of fire in metalworking as well as having an obvious link to volcanoes. The Romans feared him for the destructive nature of fire and most worship was aimed at averting his anger. He is carved here holding the metalworkers hammer and has, apparently, been adopted as the patron god of Sheffield.
I did wonder if Vulcan might be a little chilly in the weak December sunshine, but, by the afternoon, he had wrapped himself up in a blanket of fog.