Token used to Enter the Gardens in 1836
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Bear Pit

This is a Grade II listed building, built in 1836. The Bear Pit housed two bears until the 1870's when they were removed, following an incident when a child fell into the pit and was killed.

The Grade II listed Bear Pit was fully repaired during the restoration of the Gardens. The old railings (of a somewhat dour municipal character) have been replaced with more elegant ones, matching the railings which surround most of the Gardens. Grilles have been re-instated and can be pulled across the entrance to the Pit, and also across the two side dens (which once housed the two bears). The grilles can be locked, therefore keeping things either in or out.

In January 2005 a mild steel sculpture of a bear (2.4m tall) was installed, to remind people of the former use of this structure. The bear was originally a pale silver grey colour, but the sculptor wanted the metal to rust naturally. He therefore treated the statue with acetic acid, and now, with the added influence of a traditional English summer, the bear is an interesting and very realistic grizzly-brown colour. It is hoped to establish a collection of hardy ferns in the Bear Pit, while continuing to allow access to see and touch the sculpture.

Bear Pit - © Meg Jullien

Bear Pit - © Meg Jullien, 2005

Restoration Partnership: Sheffield Town Trust |  Sheffield City Council |  University of Sheffield  
Friends of the Botanical Gardens |  Sheffield Botanical Gardens Trust  

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This page updated on 26 November 2008. This site updated on 19 November 2012.