It’s one of the most-viewed pieces of public art in the world – because it’s estimated that around 90,000 people drive on the A1 past the Angel of the North every single day.
The iconic North East sculpture by Antony Gormley OBE is rooted in the region – quite literally. It sits on a former colliery pithead baths site, and its immense weight is supported by a huge underground construction.
The Angel was created by the internationally-renowned artist for the panoramic hill site, and represents the region’s industries including coal and steel – it was constructed by family firm Hartlepool Steel.
He said: “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.”
This is definitely an angel that’s not just for Christmas – and it’s a popular addition to a region already famed for icons, from the Tyne Bridge to Bamburgh Castle and the Middlesbrough Transporter Bridge.