At the end of October we went along to Where Bombs Fell – a talk at Sheffield Hallam University from Matthew Edgar, the course leader of Graphic Design at the university, as part of Sheffield Design Week.
It was fascinating to hear how the project was inspired by a rare print discovered in the now closed Rare and Racy book shop (a sad loss for the city), which plotted all the World War Two bomb sites on a map of Sheffield. The project took some of its visual style from the map, such as the colour palette and the circular mark used in the logo.
Other sources of reference for the project were wide-ranging. We touched on subjects like how Sheffield became an epicentre for industry, the massive underground river tunnel known as the Megatron and lyrics by Sheffield’s most poetic ‘common person’, Jarvis Cocker.
Here, beneath your feet, two rivers meet. The Porter and the Sheaf. Here lies the Megatron. Further ahead they will join the Don, where light industry turned heavy.– Where Bombs Fell
A certain type of city
Determined to reflect Sheffield’s proud history of typography, the project naturally looked to the historic Stephenson Blake type foundry, and uses its Granby typeface across materials. The metalwork technicians at Sheffield Institute of Arts used their skills to create metal plaques that are being fixed to city centre bomb sites. These feature typography set in Granby that detail the date the bomb fell, what type of bomb it was, and a cryptic hint to a story surrounding the site.
An app has also been developed as part of the project which acts as a tour guide around the bomb sites. The app notifies you when you are near a site, and gives you the story of what happened there, including photographs of the sites before and after the bomb. The project’s organisers will also be running guided tours of the sites and providing much more fascinating knowledge as they do, so keep an eye on their website for the next dates to be released.
The talk certainly injected the audience with enthusiasm to learn more of the steel city’s history, and we will be downloading the app to learn more as we explore the area.
This is a journey through now. You will remember what was, see what is and imagine what will be.– Where Bombs Fell