Must See Sculptures & Pieces Of Public Art In And Around The North East


The Angel Of The North, Gateshead

By: Antony Gormley

Erected In: 1998

About: Sitting on top of a former colliery pithead close to the A1, the 54m wide and 20m high Angel of the North is believed to be the largest angel sculpture in the world. Gormley chose an angel to recognise the sacrifice of the miners who had worked beneath the site of its construction centuries before. The awe-inspiring piece of public art is visited by 150,000 people a year and is one of the most famous sculptures in the UK. It is seen by more than one person every second. That’s 90,000 every day or 33 million every year. The Angel of the North is easy to reach by both public transport and car.

Postcode: NE9 7TY


Beamish Shorthorns, Durham

By: Sally Matthews

Erected In: 1990

About: The Beamish Shorthorns, constructed from scrap metal and tractor parts, contentedly graze by the side of the Consett and Sunderland railway path (part of the C2C cycle route). The artist’s workshop was an old train shed overlooking a field of rust-coloured shorthorns, which became her muse.

Postcode: DH9


Brick Train, Darlington

By: David Mach

Erected In: 1997

About: Built to celebrate Darlington’s rich railway heritage, the train is made up of over 185,000 bricks and 170 cubic meters of concrete. It is of hollow construction and measures 23ft high by 130ft long. It took a team of 34 brick layers, labourers and apprentices 21 weeks to build. There are 20 special ‘bat’ bricks built in at various places to encourage the nocturnal creatures to use it as their home. Local schools donated time capsules which were put inside the train.

Postcode: DL1 4PH

Image by This Is Darlington

Conversation Piece, South Shields

By: Juan Munoz

Erected In: 2001

About: Affectionately known as the ‘weebles’, the 22 mysterious figures stand in various poses – some deep in conversation with each other, others simply gazing out to sea. Situated next to Littlehaven Beach at the mouth of the Tyne in South Shields, they are a fitting tribute to South Tyneside’s glorious coast.

Postcode: NE33 1LH

Image by Visit South Tyneside

The Couple, Newbiggin-By-The-Sea

By: Sean Henry

Erected In: 2007

About: The UK’s first permanent off-shore sculpture sits 300m off the Northumberland Coast. The sculpture is 20m long and 12m high and depicts a woman and man looking out to sea.

Postcode: NE64

Image by Culture 24

Eat For England, Cramlington

By: Bob Budd

Erected In: 2006

About: Locally known as Crammy’s Big Spoon, the 15ft metal spoon was installed to entice people in to the countryside.

Postcode: NE23 7TL


Emily Wilding Davison, Morpeth

By: Ray Lonsdale

Erected In: 2018

About: Installed to commemorate 100 years since woman were first allowed to vote in the UK, the statue shows Emily Davison while on hunger strike in prison. Emily Davison, from Morpeth, was a suffragette who was knocked unconscious by the kings horse while trying to draw attention to the Votes For Women campaign.

Postcode: NE61 1YD

Image by Emily Davison Memorial Project

Fiddlers Green, North Shields

By: Ray Lonsdale

Erected In: 2017

About: Fiddler’s Green sits overlooking the River Tyne on North Shields Fish Quay. It is a permanent memorial to the North Shields fishermen lost at sea. There is a plaque on the base which reads: “To the fishermen lost in the cold North Sea, and the ones who will be so, I’ll be seeing you all on Fiddler’s Green, be steady as you go. For Fiddler’s Green is a place I’ve heard tell, though no one really knows, where the fishermen go if they don’t go to hell, and no Arctic wind will blow.”

Postcode: NE30 1JE


The Journey, Durham

By: Fenwick Lawson

Erected In: 2008

About: The bronze cast statue tells the important and epic story of monks carrying the body of St Cuthbert from Holy Island to Durham Cathedral.

Postcode: DH1

Image by St. Cuthbert’s Final Journey

Market Woman, Wallsend

By: Hans Schwarz

Erected In: 1966

About: This rough bronze sculpture of a Roman peasant woman was designed for a shopping centre in Wallsend at the east end of Hadrian’s Wall. The artist depicted a woman in a stoic pose with a basket of hens balanced on her head. She was, he said, a “tough, hardworking peasant, not a graceful girl”. The idea was to highlight the reality of life for common people in this area under the rule of Emperor Hadrian.

Postcode: NE28

Image by Culture 24

The Old Transformers, Stanley

By: David Kemp

Erected In: 1992

About: ‘The Miner’ and ‘The Ironmaster’ are a pair of sculptures created from discarded transformers and other scrap metal salvaged from the old Consett Steel Works. The statues stand 6 metres high and are a visual reminder of the area’s industrial past, particularly the coal, iron and steel industries which shaped the area so dramatically.

Postcode: DH9 8PJ


The Response, Newcastle

By: Sir W. Goscombe

Erected In: 1923

About: The War Memorial depicts the Northumberland Fusiliers marching off to fight in the First World War.

Postcode: NE1 7RS


River God Tyne, Newcastle

By: David Wynne

Erected In: 1968

About: The bronze statue is mounted on the outer wall of Newcastle Civic Centre.

Postcode: NE1 3DX

Image by Art UK

Silvas Capitalis, Hexham

By: Simparch

Erected In: 2009

About: The giant timber head is located on Kielder’s Lakeside Way. The head was conceived as a watcher; a presence that has observed the dramatically changing landscape around it.

Postcode: NE48 1QZ

Image by Kielder Art & Architecture

Spirit Of Jarrow, Jarrow

By: Graham Ibbeson

Erected In: 2001

About: A life-sized bronze statue that was commissioned to commemorate the 65th anniversary of the Jarrow March For Jobs that took place in 1936.

Postcode: NE32


Spirit Of South Shields

By: Irene Brown

Erected In: 2000

About: Installed on the banks of the River Tyne, the Spirit is seen as the protector of Shileds, guiding ships through the seas safely. She stands strong and optimistic, unafraid of the winds of change. Harbouring a ship safely in one arm whilst raising her other arm in greeting, she is seen as the prow, the figurehead for South Shields’ future.

Postcode: NE33

Image by Visit South Tyneside

Terris Novalis, Consett

By: Tony Cragg

Erected In: 1996

About: Built on the site of the oldest commercial railway line in Britain, this sculpture marks the location of what was once Europe’s largest steelworks and was commissioned to be a lasting memorial to the steelworkers of Co. Durham. The sculptures are 20 times the size of the tools they represent. The theodolite and engineers level stand on top of a small hill and are visible for miles around.

Postcode: DH8 7NU


Tommy, Seaham

By: Ray Lonsdale

Erected In: 2014

About: Officially called 1101 (referring to the first minute of peace as the armistice came in to force at 11am on 11th November 1918), the statue shows a First World War soldier wearing boots, puttees, greatcoat and tin hat, sitting on an ammunition box, with downcast eyes holding the barrel of his rifle.

Postcode: SR7 7EU

Image by East Durham News

How many of the above have you visited? Which is your favourite? Let me know in the comments