Public Art Research Archive, Sheffield Hallam University
PUBLIC ART IN SHEFFIELD

J. R. Wigfull
Memorial to Thomas Boulsover, 1929
Wire Mill Dam
sandstone; bronze plaque


Location:
Located in the woods off Whitely Wood Rood, Sheffield S11. It is built on the hillside between Wire Mill Dam and Porter Brook. (A-Z p.96 6D)

Description:
A stone monument with a corniced top and an arch built in each of its two faces. It is 4.5 metres high, 3 metres wide, and 1 metre in depth. Carved on the stone above the uphill-facing arch there is an elephant and a shield with three pairs of crossed swords; below this a stone scroll below which reads: " 1705 TB 1788". In the space below the arch there is a bronze plaque (see below).

Commission:
Unveiled on 15th April, 1929. The monument was the inspiration of ex-Master Cutler (1926-1927) David Flather, who also paid for its construction. It was designed by J R Wigfull, with the foundation work by E Partington (Corporation Improvement Surveyor) and his staff. 1

Onsite Plaque:
This reads:
"THIS MEMORIAL
WAS ERECTED PARTLY OF
THE STONES FROM A MILL
BUILT NEAR THIS PLACE BY
THOMAS BOULSOVER
THE INVENTOR OF
SHEFFIELD PLATE
BORN 1705 DIED 1788
HE CARRIED ON HIS INDUS-
TRIES HERE AND RESIDED AT
WHITELY WOOD HALL
FROM 1762 UNTIL HIS DEATH"

also
"ERECTED BY
DAVID FLATHER
MASTER CUTLER 1926-1927"

Comment:
Despite its substantial size the structure is partly hidden in the trees, and relatively easy to overlook. A second monument to Boulsover can be found in Tudor Square. This was made by Richard Perry in 1991.
The emblem on the memorial is the Cutlers' Company's Coat of Arms as used from 1624 - 18751. The crossed daggers were the sign of a cutler and the elephant's head is the Company's symbol. The Cutlers' Hall in High Street has elephant's head door handles. Fine quality cutlery usually had ivory handles and ivory was crucial to the cutlery trade. The Company of Cutlers in Hallamshire was founded in 1624 to oversee the cutlery trades in this area. Thomas Boulsover became a Freeman of the Company in 1726 after serving an apprencticeship of at least seven years under a Joseph Fletcher.
David Flather was a keen local historian and the founding Chairman of the Society for the Preservation of Old Sheffield Tools, now called the South Yorkshire Industrial History Society.
2

Sources:
1 E-mail from Sylvia Pybus of Sheffield City Libraries to Dave Ball; 20/9/2005
2 Letter from Cutlers' Company Archivist, Julie MacDonald, to Dave Ball; 13/9/2001



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Last updated September 5, 2006