Sunday, 13 January 2013

Visit to Castle Market. Sheffield

 Sheffield Castle Market 1960-2013

The present market is due for demolition and due to be relocated as part of the regeneration of The Moor.
 Markets have been on this site for 700yrs, built on top of Sheffield's castle. The focal point of old Sheffield and the meeting place of the river Don and Sheaf.
The present market was built 1960-65 functional modernism. Planned by the city architect J.Lewis Womersley and the Andrew Derbyshire. It combines optimism and innovation with humanity. Built into the hill, three floors of shops and stalls with a five story office block built on top.
Combines unity, magnificent details, a castle theme and the individuality of the stalls with original 60's signage.
Castellated walls on the outside, mosaic castles, footbridges, towers, cantilevered stairs with views onto the different floors.
Beautiful details; sweeping shaped hard wood handrails and metalwork, mosaic walls, skylights facing north to give an even light, a curving ramp at the back.
Cafes with enticing names; Riviera snack bar, Cafe Internationale, Roof Top Cafe which looks like the inside of a Jumbo Jet.
Stair roofing with roundels of glass to let the light in and give protection. Storage areas above each shop.

Sheffield Archives (Sheffield Central Library)

Looking at the original market plans, books on Sheffield development from the 1960's, newspaper articles from the opening of the market and the photographic archives it is clear that this was an era of socialist optimism. The city was being improved for the people. Slum clearance and the building of Park Hill, Norfolk Park, Broomhall and Kelvin flats.

The Pedestrian in the City by David Lewis 1960
'Every effort has been  made in the planning to equalize the accessibility of all the stalls. The upper market level has large voids left in the floor to provide a visual contact between it and the lower level and stairway connections.'
'Pedestrian only developments enhance mans potential enjoyment of architecture and human society can be realized to the full.'

Photographs of Sheffield Castle Market

Castle Market, turrets and castellated walkways.
Big hair in the Soda Fountain cafe.

Place to lean and talk on the hard wood handrail looking onto the market level below.

Storage units above shops and skylights to ensure light but not direct sun that would fade garments and heat food.

Cantilevered stairs.


Space age design of the Roof Top cafe.


Mosaics and round glass skylights.

 Tony Christie sings Walk Like a Panther filmed in Sheffield Castle Market:

Wednesday, 12 December 2012

Visit:Turner Prize 2012 Tate Britain

Winner -  Elizabeth Price. The Woolworths Choir of 1979
Video - mesmeric, each scene change with hand claps/finger clicks. Uses photographs, news reel, computer graphics, fragments of repeated printed word.
Starts with an examination of the architecture of the choir area of a Gothic church, shapes of carvings - trefoils,twists in a tomb effigy merge into the twisting bodies of 1960's dancers, their waving arms merge into the flames of the Woolworths furniture shop in 1979. Accompanied by hand claps makes the piece powerful, sombre and hypnotic. The disparate elements become whole.
Evoked comparison with the architecture of the church with the furniture shop, shopping as the new form of worship. Phrases repeated like a chorus. The fire victims are visibly traumatised. Ten people died and it led to changes in fire legislation.

Elizabeth Price talked about the politics of art funding in her acceptance speech. The removal of funding at school level and university for art subjects. Art could become more elitist. See link below for Guardian interview.

Other shortlisted artists:
  • Paul Noble - graphite, massive architectural drawings with lots of turds, reminded of Richard Dadd - sane?.
  • Luke Fowler RD Laing film All Divided Selves -  Old stuff really, having been into the Anti-psychiatry movement of the 1970/80s.
  • Spartacus Chetwynd - anarchic performances and puppet show. Satire on politics?