Skip to main content

Public Statues and Sculpture Association

Matthew Ellison Hadfield (1812–1885)

Architect. Born in Glossop, Derbyshire, Hadfield attended Woolton Grove Academy, Liverpool. Between 1827 and 1831 he worked in the Norfolk estate office in Sheffield with Michael Ellison, his uncle and the Duke of Norfolk’s agent. In 1831 he was articled to Woodhead and Hurst of Doncaster, and subsequently became a pupil of P.F. Robinson in London. Hadfield began practising in Sheffield in 1834 and in the course of a long career had three partners: J.G. Weightman (1838–58); George Goldie (1850–60); and his son, Charles, from 1864. Hadfield’s first commission was The Cholera Monument (1835), Monument Gardens, Sheffield. Following severe storm damage in 1990, the monument was partly dismantled for reasons of safety; its complete restoration in 2003–04 by the 21st-century version of Hadfield’s company – now called Hadfield Cawkwell Davidson – received the 2006 PMSA Marsh Award for Excellence in Conservation of a Public Sculpture. Hadfield was responsible for the design of many churches and was considered to be a disciple of Pugin, his later work registering the changes associated with the Gothic Revival, although his earlier work was in a Neo-classical style. His designs included: All Saints’ Roman Catholic Church, Glossop (1836–38); St Bede’s, Rotherham (1843); St John’s Roman Catholic Cathedral, Salford (1844–48); St Marie’s, Sheffield (1847–50); St Hilda’s, Whitby (1865–67); and St Joseph’s, Wath-on-Dearne, Sheffield (1879). He was also responsible for railway architecture, notably the station at Glossop (1847), and the Wicker Arches Bridge at Sheffield (1848). Hadfield was a Roman Catholic, a philanthropist, a Liberal town councillor, and president of the School of Art in Sheffield (1878–80).

Bibliography: R. O’Donnell, ‘Hadfield, Matthew Ellison (1812–1885)’, ODNB, 2004; ‘Matthew Ellison Hadfield’, Dictionary of Scottish Architects; D. White and E. Norman, Public Sculpture of Sheffield and South Yorkshire, Liverpool, 2015, pp. xiv, 168–72.

Darcy White, 2015