Angel of the North, Gateshead, Newcastle upon Tyne
Whether you arrive in Newcastle or Gateshead by road or by rail, you'll be greeted as you approach the city by this amazing figure of an angel with outstretched arms, who appears to be watching over travellers. He welcomes visitors and home-coming Geordies – when we see the Angel on our regular trips to Newcastle we know we're nearly there.
The Angel of the North was the work of Anthony Gormley – indeed, is perhaps his best known work. It is said to be the largest angel sculpture in the world and also one of the most viewed pieces of art in the world as its location so close to the busy A1, and on the London-Edinburgh mainline train route, means that it is seen by more than one person a second, 90,000 a day or 33 million every year!
The Angel is on a grand scale. At 20 metres tall (65 feet) it is more than the height of four double decker buses, while its wings are 54 metres wide (175 feet) - almost as long as the wings of a Jumbo jet. It is made of a special weather resistant steel which contains copper. The surface oxidises to form a patina, which mellows with age to a rich red brown colour. There is enough steel in it to make 16 double decker buses or four Chieftain tanks.
The site is that of a former colliery and Gormley has talked about the links between the sculpture and the industrial heritage of the region:
"The hilltop site is important and has the feeling of being a megalithic mound. When you think of the mining that was done underneath the site, there is a poetic resonance. Men worked beneath the surface in the dark. Now in the light, there is a celebration of this industry.”
He also explained his choice of an angel as subject matter:
"People are always asking, why an angel? The only response I can give is that no-one has ever seen one and we need to keep imagining them. The angel has three functions - firstly a historic one to remind us that below this site coal miners worked in the dark for two hundred years, secondly to grasp hold of the future, expressing our transition from the industrial to the information age, and lastly to be a focus for our hopes and fears - a sculpture is an evolving thing."
(quotes taken from Gateshead Council’s website, link below)
Although so many people pass it every day, relatively few visit – but it is well worth doing so. You have to leave the main road (take the A167, signposted Gateshead South) and park in the small layby provided, or you can catch a bus from Gateshead Interchange or Newcastle’s Eldon Square. A gently sloping path, wheelchair accessible, leads to the Angel’s feet, and it is only here that you can really appreciate the huge scale on which he is constructed. To get the best photos you’ll need to go a short distance down the hillside in front, but you can also get effective “wingless” shots from the car park itself (see photo five).
There are those that don’t like the Angel (my husband’s aunt among them, who considers it an ugly monstrosity) but it has become part of the fabric of the region and I for one am among the many who really love it!
The Angle of the North makes the entrance to Tyneside and greets all visitors to Gateshead with open arms, especially when you come by road and rail. It is approximately 20m tall and a wing span of 54m, which is as long as the wings of a jumbo jet.
The Angel is now also one of the 12 official 'Icons of England' and attracts over 100,000 visitors a year. You can't miss it when you drive into Gateshead on the A1. What a sight!!
I had only ever seen the Angel of The North on tv and thought it looked impressive but always thought that the wings looked a bit dodgy. After passing it on the train I still thought it looked impressive but also thought the wing still looked dodgy.
The Angel of The North is a huge statue of iron with outstretched wings.
So here we are on the last leg of our Tilly tour - on our way to Newcastle. We entered Newcastle via the southern approach road and of course passed by the "Angel of the North", a project of Antony Gormley. I just managed to capture this image as we flashed past in the car. The Angel is made of weathering steel (same as the ships were made out of here and thus symbolising Newcastle's heritage) and stands 20 metres high and with a wingspan of 54 metre.
Loads more info on the website link below.
The Angel of the North is the largest sculpture in Britain and is seen by more than 1 person every second. It's 54 metre wingspan is bigger than that of a Boeing 757. It is 20 metres high and weighs more than 200 tonnes.
It is found on the entrance to Gateshead, about 2 miles from Newcastle. It is constructed on a hilltop where it can be clearly seen.
Work began in Sept 1997 and was finished in Feb 1998.
If you look closely at the picture you can see a person standing next to it which gives you an idea of it's size.
Standing tall over the Team Valley, the Angel of the North has grown in appeal to the Geordie's.
Not long after it was erected, someone climbed the great structure and drapped it in an Alan Shearer / Newcastle United football shirt. I wish I'd taken a photo then.
In that act you see the humour, warmth, & fun of the Geordie, of which I am proud to be, as well as their devotion to the football team and the player whom has proven himself a goal scoring icon.
The Angel of the North is a new landmark at the entrance to Tyneside,it is clearly seen by more than 90,000 drivers a day on the A1 - more than one a second - and by passengers on the East Coast main line from London to Edinburgh.
The Angel of the North is a major attraction to visitors - about 150,000 a year are expected to stop to see the awe-inspiring sculpture close up. The scale cannot fail to impress them, at 20 metres (65 feet) it is more than the height of four double decker buses. Its wings are 54 metres (175 feet) wide - almost as long as the wings of a Jumbo jet. To people living and working nearby it appears on a much more human scale. Its silhouette at the head of the Team Valley is no more imposing than - but just as impressive as - other hilltop landmarks such as the Penshaw Monument.
Not so much a must see as a 'can't really miss'
this imposing sculpture in the centre of the A1 sticks out like a sore thumb. I'm not sure what the locals think of it, but i thought it a little strange. Does it have any good nicknames yet?
Angel of the North
A giant, 20m metal sculpture of an angel standing on the top of a hill. It is clearly visible from the motorway and also from the train on your way to Newcsatle (from the south).
The angel of the North is a huge statue with an even larger wingspan. Opinion is greatly divided as to its artistic merit, in other words you either love or hate it, no inbetween. Personally I think its great. My wife thinks its an ugly monstrousity.
Designed by Antony Gormley OBE and fabricated in Hartlepool. The Angel was erected in 1998 and is believed to be one of the most seen sculptures in the world, being seen by 33 million people each year.
Standing some 20m high with a wingspan of 54m and weighing in at over 200 tonnes, the Angel Of The North is a real colossus. It is built from a special kind of steel that is designed to give a lovely natural red colour as it tarnishes.
This is what you see as you drive into Gateshead. People have mixed views on this structure, but I think its okay.