Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Sheffield is Saved (Well, at Least Partially)

A recent column focused on the giant Santa that resided prominently in Sheffield during December in the 1950s and 1960s. There's still no word on the location of this desirable artifact, but we now have a photo...or at least part of a photo. It's an intriguing tale.

It seems that during the 1950s, a mother took a black and white photograph of her daughter standing in front of Santa's boots. In order to comprehend the enormity of the Sheffield Santa, remember that this child, who was then three to four years of age, would ordinarily have achieved a height between 36 and 39 inches. The parking meters to the right of the child are anchored in the raised sidewalk and mounted on metal posts approximately 42" in height. Taking those measurements into consideration, we may infer that Santa put it scientifically...very tall, not to mention wide.

Now to discuss the elephant, it seems that the photographer, while focusing on her daughter, inadvertently lopped of Saint Nick's head and shoulders, and so the photograph remained for many years until it was given to a family friend--the brother of our thoughtful donor in fact. The young man asked an artist to finish out the missing anatomy of the famous Sheffield Santa, and, voila, so the Big Guy appears in our blog today.

If you have a keen eye, you can see that Santa stood where the fountain sits today--or should we be so correct as to say the filled-in fountain featured prominently in Steve Wiggins' video Sheffield: A City Hanging over a Cliff. If the Sheffield city fathers were to find Santa, would there now be a prominent place to display him? Sadly, as large as our corpulent Santa is, even given the fact he was halved each year for storage, no one may have thought him worthy of salvation as the world moved on into the 1970s.

If any other readers have photos or information, please contact us. We hope the Saga of the Sheffield Santa is ongoing.

Special Thanks: To Pamela Lindsey Hamm for providing us with the Sheffield Santa photo. She was a friend of the girl in the photo and her brother the thoughtful family friend who had the image artfully restored.