A short visit to see my parents in the North East gave me a welcome re connection with this amazing, varied place. The A1 north of the Durham services station offers sign postings to some of the most significant places in my life:
Kelloe and my birth place
Spennymoor and the long daily bus journey to school
Durham and that magnificent Cathedral where I was ordained
Consett and my first Curacy
and further North to an icon that needs to be seen –
Angel of the North is a contemporary sculpture designed by Antony Gormley, which is located in Gateshead.
As the name suggests, it is a constructed in steell and depicts an angel, standing 66 feet (20 m) tall, with wings measuring 178 feet (54 m) across .
The wings themselves are are angled 3.5 degrees forward, which Gormley has said aims to create “a sense of embrace”.It stands on a hill, on the southern edge of Low Fell overlooking the A1.
Work began on the project in 1994, the total cost coming to one million pounds. Most of the project funding was provided by the National Lottery.
Due to its exposed location, the sculpture has to withstand winds of over 100 mph (160 km/h). Thus, 600 metric tonnes (661 tons) of concrete were used to create foundations which anchor the sculpture to rock 20 metres (66 ft) below.
Construction work on the Angel was finished in 16 February 1998. At first, Angel of the North aroused some controversy locally. It has now come to be considered by some as a landmark for the North East of England and is one of the 12 official Icons of England.