Urban Sketching, Sheffield

It was a surprisingly balmy October day, urban sketching in Sheffield with the talented folk of Urban Sketchers Yorkshire, taking in the sights of Sheffield.

In my sketchbook: Sheffield Town Hall, Sheffield Winter Garden (this was also my Inktober offering of the day, more on that later), The Globe Inn on Howard Street and a quick attempt at a horribly complicated panoramic view of Park Hill/Electric Works/Midland Station from Sheffield Hallam University stairwell.

Portland Works Sketches

Portland Works Sketch

These sketches are from when I went out with  Urban Sketchers Yorkshire in June (Yes, it’s August now, I know. I’m not the most efficient person in the world, but I seriously don’t know how anybody gets anything done with a baby around).

Portland Works is a lovely grungy Grade II Listed former cutlery factory in Sheffield UK. This is where the very first stainless steel cutlery was manufactured, or so we were told!

Inspired by all the amazing work by the other sketchers, I went back a few days later and drew a view of Portland Works from the back.

Portland Works, Sheffield - urban sketch by Sian Hughes

I did this one of a nearby works a few days later too: Denby Street, Sheffield - sketch by Sian Hughes urban sketcher


Nether Edge Sheffield, Urban Sketch

Nether Edge Market, urban sketch by Sheffield artist Sian Hughes

Urban Sketchers Yorkshire, Sketchcrawl – Sheffield, 1st May 2015. Felt hugely pregnant for this one (hindsight-lol). Had to go home for a wee after this stop and didn’t catch up with the others. They must have been hiding behind a wall or something. Bit gutted as I wanted to sketch the Abbeydale Picture house with them. Will make it down there on my own one day when I am brave enough (foresight-lol).

I hope you’ve brought some red!

Museum_010It was a fantastic treat to finally get out and about with Urban Sketchers Yorkshire again at the weekend. They are such a talented bunch!

The National Emergency Services Museum in Sheffield is an intriguing place. Entirely run by volunteers, it’s based in the old Police/Fire station on West Bar and is packed to the rafters with old fire-engines, police cars and ambulances. I usually avoid drawing vehicles as they are several miles outside my comfort zone, but I thought I’d give it a bash. Bearing in mind that about 80% of the vehicles on display are fire-engines, I’m slightly disappointed that my sketchbook doesn’t successfully convey how much RED there was, but here are my sketches anyway.

Museum_01 Museum_02

After lunch I went inside and listened to a very short video about the making of US firefighting helmets on loop about 63 times while I drew international firefighting helmets in the International Firefighters Exhibition. It was actually very interesting but, if you’re planning a visit, I’d say it’s probably not necessary to factor a whole hour into your schedule for this.

The Great Hall of Firefighting in the next room contains loads of history of the South Yorkshire Fire Service, including some wonderful old newspaper clippings (my favourite!). The little portraits below are taken from a report of a fire that broke out in a factory on Matilda Street around 1930, in which all four men were injured when the roof collapsed on top of them.

Superintendent Breaks is a fascinating character. Surviving this and several other catastrophes, the Sheffield Star once described him as a “dauntless and indomitable leader [who] flirted with death a thousand times”. He went on to be appointed by the Home Office as the first Inspector of the Fire Brigades Division in 1937 (later becoming Deputy Chief Inspector), and was awarded an OBE in 1940. Read more about Tom Breaks here: Sheffield Fire Brigade History.


Finally, I attempted to draw a police car. I don’t like this drawing very much, but I enjoyed trying. Oh and I only discovered the (super creepy) police cells 5 minutes before we left, so I’ll have to go back and investigate those at some point. Incidentally, the museum is believed to be haunted and you can go on ghost hunts there! Anyone? No?

Please go and have a look at the other amazing sketchers’ sketches of the day over on the Urban Sketchers Yorkshire Facebook group. Theirs are much more red than mine.