New artworks enhance the identity of the Stairfoot Basin area

As part of the council’s work to invest in our Principal Towns and Local Centres, a number of new outdoor public artworks have been installed in the Stairfoot Basin area which all link to the area’s important industrial past.

As many residents will be aware, Stairfoot is known for much more than its roundabout. Our Urban Centres team has worked with partners including the Stairfoot Ward Alliance, Central Council Area Team and the Stairfoot Station Heritage Park Group to develop a creative commissioning programme to enhance the identity of the Stairfoot Basin area. Arts organisation Beam was appointed to lead this work and has commissioned several artists following an open call artist selection process.

The works support a positive identity for Stairfoot during an important period of change, creating an element of surprise for residents and visitors.

The most recent work was installed last weekend close to Stairfoot Roundabout. Named ‘Can You See Us?’ by Andrew Small the installation celebrates Stairfoot’s industrial heritage, its mining community, and the production of the iconic Codd Bottle. This was a type of bottle used to store carbonated drinks and used a marble and washer design to keep the pressure and ‘fizz’ from escaping. The ‘bottle with a marble’ was made under licence by a host of companies, the most important being Rylands of Stairfoot, at the Hope Glass Works.

The artwork also references the coal industry, and a brick pattern also highlights the importance of brickworks in the area.

The design was influenced though a number of workshops with the Steering Group and also secondary school pupils from the nearby Barnsley Academy.

Another recently installed artwork is Colour Pop by Lenny and Whale. Artists Katrina Whale and Fabric Lenny (known as Lenny & Whale) have created three, tall, freestanding sculptural pieces that are a playful celebration of the industrial and transport heritage of Stairfoot and can be seen from Doncaster Road approaching the roundabout.

These have also been strongly influenced by the voice and ideas of the community including local school children.

Cllr Robert Frost, Cabinet Spokesperson for Regeneration and Culture, said: “This project began in Spring 2020 and suffered some delays due to the pandemic, so everyone involved is delighted to see the artwork finally come to life for motorists, cyclists and walkers to enjoy.

“We've already invested £5 million into our six Principal Towns and ten Local Centres to help them thrive, and we’re continuing to make significant investment and attract other funding into our local high streets and local centres across the borough.

“I hope residents from Stairfoot and across the borough will enjoy these new artworks, whether they are out exploring the Trans Pennine Trail, or just visiting the local businesses Stairfoot has to offer. Loving where you live has a big impact on physical and mental wellbeing, and everyone can enjoy our excellent cultural attractions, community groups, leisure facilities and outdoor spaces.”

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