Meet the Sheffield elephant who inspired a whole herd

Lizzie on her rounds, seen in this 1916 cutting from the Sheffield Daily Independent newspaper
Lizzie on her rounds, seen in this 1916 cutting from the Sheffield Daily Independent newspaper

Sheffield is saying goodbye this weekend to the popular herd of elephant sculptures that have brightened up the city’s public spaces, so here's a picture of Lizzie, the elephant who inspired the idea.

The cutting from the Sheffield Daily Independent of January 31, 1916 was submitted by Sheffield Star Retro supplement reader Brenda Simpson.

Lizzie was pressed into service for Sheffield scrap dealer Thomas Ward.

She became a familiar and much-loved sight in the streets around Kelham Island and went afterwards into city legend.

Lizzie was acquired on loan from a menagerie based at the Wicker Arches, owned by William Sedgwick, when all the horses that pulled carts were taken off to the world War One battlefields.

The scrap business was vital to Sheffield’s busy wartime foundries and steel makers, providing as much as 1,000 tons of scrap metal per day.

Lizzie, who has been the subject of books and museum displays, was known to everyone at the time as “Tommy Ward’s elephant”.

She acquired a bit of a reputation for mischief making, including helping herself to the odd scrap of food she saw on her rounds!

Lizzie’s much-loved story helped to inspire the Sheffield Herd art project in aid of The Children’s Hospital Charity, which saw 58 elephant sculptures decorated by local artists.

They have now all been rounded up and are on show at Meadowhall this weekend (October 15-16), before they are auctioned off next week in aid of the charity appeal.

The Little Herd have all gone back to the schools that decorated them for the pupils to enjoy, so they aren't on display.