Newcastle Free Press
The Angel's Birthday
Sunday 17 February 2013
Photo Credit: Flickr / sh4h

One of the most iconic landmarks of the North East has celebrated its 15th birthday this week. Anthony Gormley’s Angel of the North was originally unveiled on the 14 February in 1998 and has since been one of the most recognisable symbols of the North East. It is still standing strong on the hills, overlooking the A1 and A167.

The prototype of this innovative sculpture has been put on display in the Shipley Art Gallery after being hidden in storage for the past 15 years. This wooden miniature Angel has been restored to its’ original glory by Tyne & Wear Archives & Museum. The model was put on display on the 13 February 2013 and has since had many viewings.

In celebration of the anniversary of the Angel of the North, 50 children from Gateshead that were also born on the 14 February 1998 came together to celebrate their 15th birthdays. This tradition was also done on the 10th anniversary of the milestone.

Anthony Gormley’s website states that he “wanted to make an object that would be a focus of hope at a painful time of transition for people of the north-east, abandoned in the gap between the industrial and the information ages”. To say the least this momentous sculpture has done just this, as it has had millions visitors as well as the 90,000 drivers that pass it each day. Standing 20 metres tall and spanning 54 metres across, it is hard to miss. A key aspect Gormley wanted to emphasis was the past strong industrial state of the North East. Below the Angel lay the coals mines that had been worked in for two centuries before hand. It is these connections that have made the Angel of North part of the North East’s culture and heritage.

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