Spe­cial cel­e­bra­tion as An­gel of the North turns 20 years old

The Courier & Advertiser (Angus and The Mearns Edition) - - NEWS -

Cel­e­bra­tions are be­ing held to mark the An­gel of the North turn­ing 20.

Sir Antony Gorm­ley’s 200-tonne steel fig­ure took two days to erect be­side the A1 in Gateshead.

Since then it has weath­ered sun, rain and snow to be­come one of Bri­tain’s best-loved and most recog­nised pieces of pub­lic art.

Be­fore it was erected over Fe­bru­ary 14 and 15 in 1998, feel­ings about the An­gel were mixed, with some anger at the £800,000 price tag and even com­plaints it re­sem­bled a 1930s Nazi sculp­ture.

There were con­cerns about how the en­gi­neer­ing would keep it up­right dur­ing storms, that it might be struck by light­ning and that its po­si­tion by the A1 – passed by 90,000 driv­ers daily – could dis­tract mo­torists and cause ac­ci­dents.

The late art critic Brian Sewell even branded it a “totem” and “bad en­gi­neer­ing”.

How­ever, the crit­i­cism has largely been for­got­ten as it has been em­braced as a sym­bol of the north.

Press As­so­ci­a­tion pho­tog­ra­pher Owen Humphreys has been tak­ing pic­tures of the work even be­fore it was erected. He said: “It has weath­ered so many storms but I don’t think it has changed colour much.

“I saw it when it was laid on the floor of the works and it’s not un­til it was stood up that you get the sheer scale of it. I love it – as soon as you see it on the A1, you know you’re in the north.”

Gateshead Coun­cil is ask­ing peo­ple to share mem­o­ries using the #An­gel20 hash­tag.

A cel­e­bra­tion with cake will be held to­day at the An­gel.

Pic­ture: PA.

It was 20 years ago that the An­gel of the North was put in place.

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