Relief carved in brick, built into exterior wall. This piece depicts a Sheffield Grinder at his wheel.
Walter Ritchie (born April 27th 1919; died on February 12th, 1997) is best known for his civic work. His most innovatory work is in brick. He was a pupil of Eric Gill's at Pigotts for 18 months before settling at Kenilworth , Warwickshire, where he lived for the rest of his life. His obituary appeared in The Guardian newspaper on February 17th, 1997.
Update: [June 2001]
We are concerned to see that at present the relief is completely obscured by a sign advertising the pub. The building is closed and for sale and it is important that the future of this work is safeguarded.
Update: [August 2004]
We have recently contacted the landlady to let her know of the importance of this piece and are delighted that she plans to expose the carving again. Thanks to media interest, Ken Hawley has pointed out that the carving does not show a Buffer but Grinder. It is strange that Ritchie didn't depict a Buffer Girl as this is the name of the public house. We have been trying to establish why he carved this piece instead, but without success so far.
Update: [April 2005]
Latest news is that the building may be demolished and the site redeveloped for housing. Please contact the Council to help to ensure that Ritchie's work is preserved. It is a very rare example of his work in the North of England and also important for its depiction of one of Sheffield's 18th and 19th Century trades.
Attempts were made by the developers to save this piece, but it disappeared from the site during redevelopment.
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Last updated September 14, 2006