Public Art Research Archive, Sheffield Hallam University

Verses by Berlie Doherty
Artwork by various artists: 'The Riddle Trail', 1999 - 2005
Botanical Gardens - various media

Individual works can be found under the following artists:

Sheffield Botanical Gardens, Clarkehouse Road (A-Z p98 4A and 4B)

When the Heritage Lottery Fund's Urban Parks Programme was established in 1996, the Sheffield Town Trust, Sheffield City Council, University of Sheffield, Friends of the Botanical Gardens, and Sheffield Botanical Gardens Trust formed a partnership to bid for funds to restore the Gardens. A year later, the Gardens were awarded just over £5 million with 25% matched funding; the only Botanical Gardens in the country to undertake complete restoration. Included in the restoration of gardens and buildings were some established and popular features: the Bear Pit, part of the original Victorian gardens and a Grade II Listed Monument, and 'Spirit of the Wood', a statue by an unidentified, but accomplished sculptor, installed in the Rose Gardens in 1953. The imposing Crimea Monument by George Goldie and Henry Lane (1863), sited in the Gardens when it was moved from the city more than 40 years earlier, was replaced by a fountain in order to be faithful to the Gardens' original layout.

New to the Gardens is 'The Riddle Trail', initiated by Sheffield's 'Off the Shelf Festival of Writing and Reading' in 1999 in collaboration with the Botanical Gardens. 'Off the Shelf' is a Sheffield City Council initiative to create new audiences for literature in public places, and its project at the Botanical Gardens received funding from a number of sources: the Arts Council of England and the Regional Arts Lottery Programme, as well as the Heritage Lottery Fund Local Parks Programme award for the restoration of the Gardens.

The Riddle Trail consists of eight newly commissioned artworks bearing riddles written by the poet Berlie Doherty. Doherty was funded by Signposts, an arts organisation in Sheffield. The purpose of The Riddle Trail is to lead visitors around the Gardens following a sequence of riddles incorporated into artwork of various forms, media, and locations. Created by local artists over a number of years, the final pieces were installed shortly before The Riddle Trail was officially launched, on 17 May 2005, by the Lord Mayor of Sheffield, Roger Davison. 'Spirit of the Wood' was given a riddle, and thereby incorporated into the trail, when it was re-installed with a new base after restoration.

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Slide Collection, Learning and IT Services
Last updated October 5, 2006