This Wyvern roundel sitting on the Edwardian stone facade of Sheffield Railway Station is a quiet reminder that this was once the Sheffield Midland Railway Station.
A legendary winged reptile with the head of a dragon, the hindquarters of a snake, two legs (or none), and a barbed tail, the Wyvern was the emblem of the rulers of Mercia and happened to be used as an emblem by the Midland Railway company, which operated from 1844 to 1922 and had its headquarters in Derby. That might also explain why one of Derby's retail parks is named The Wyvern; especially as it is nearby where the extensive network of railway sidings used to be.
Initially, Midland Railway (MR) connected Leeds to London St Pancras via Sheffield, but it grew to include connections to Birmingham, Bristol, York and Manchester, eventually, becoming the third largest railway company in the UK. Although the company is long gone, the Wyvern remains to mark MR territory.
Outside the station is Sheaf Square, a municipal area which underwent significant redevelopment during 2006, opening on 22nd December with a street performance and fireworks. One of the features of the square is the Cutting Edge Sculpture, which combines Sheffield steel with water and light to create a stunning introduction to the city for rail travellers.
Some facts about the sculpture:
- Sheffield design team, Si Applied and international glass artist Keiko Mukaide collaborated in the development of the sculpture.
- The sculpture is 90 metres long, and 5 metres high at the highest point.
- The stainless steel was provided by Outokumpu of Brightside Sheffield, and the structure was manufactured by Jordans of Bristol.
- The external material is 4mm thick, with a mirror polish on one side of the sculpture and a matt/ satin finish on the other.
- The sculpture was constructed in eight pieces over a six month period, it was delivered to the site in four deliveries.
- The materials required to make the external structure weigh approximately 29 tonnes, and the internal frame probably weighs as much. Therefore the whole sculpture weighs approximately 60 tonnes!
If you look carefully, you can see the multi-arched Edwardian facade of the Railway Station, reflected in the mirrored surface.