Angel of the North

Angel of the North 1

This is the Angel of the North.

It is a steel sculpture standing 20 m tall, with a wingspan of 54 m and completed in 1998. Beneath its outstretched wings coal miners used to toil underground for two centuries.

Unpopular when first built in Gateshead, in Tyneside, it has since grown on the locals. It is one of the most viewed pieces of art in the world, seen by more than one person every second; 33 million in a year.

You pass the Angel when you travel between Newcastle and Durham. I travelled this route four times by train, from Scotland to Yorkshire, and to Aldeburgh, and back again, on my recent UK trip.

The first time I totally missed it, even though I was looking out of my train window for ages. I think I caught a glimpse of it rapidly disappearing behind me, but I didn’t get a photo.

Angel of the North 3

On my return up North, I was ready with my camera, but unfortunately I was on the wrong side of the carriage. Still, this is the shot I got.

What do you mean, you can’t see anything?

Angel of the North 4

You see that blur there? I’m pretty sure that’s the Angel!

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On my second trip down South, I travelled by train with my daughter DD, while my daughter Pix drove.

Pix snapped a great shot of the Angel as she passed by it in the car.

Angel of the North 2 – photo credit Pix

I don’t know what happened that third time I passed the Angel, but on the return trip it was pitch black, as our train was running five hours late. Yes, five hours! We got back to Edinburgh at 1 am the next morning; total journey time 15 hours! – but that’s another story!

So, I hear you all ask, how did I manage to get the superb photo shown at the beginning of this post?

Angel of the North 1

You’re not going to believe this, but I found it in a loo!

There was a poster of the Angel put up on the wall inside the toilet on the last train I rode on. I got out my trusty Galaxy cell phone and snapped a photo.

Mission accomplished!

And if it wasn’t for the tell-tale bolt in the sky you’d never know!

 

49 thoughts on “Angel of the North

  1. blosslyn

    Ha ha, like the idea of the poster, I did that in France, but of a lighthouse 🙂 Also its amazing how big the angel is when you are close to it 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Ady

    If you hadn’t said, I thought that bolt was some flying object overhead 😁😁😁 you always manage to mix up facts with fun… now I m always going to remember the Angel ☺

    Liked by 1 person

    1. scifihammy Post author

      hehe Thank you 🙂 I was particularly pleased with the loo photo, because we’d been having a sort of competition to see who could get the best photo! 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Garfield Hug

    That is one ultra big sculpture! I wonder how it is balanced as its wingspan of Angel is super long!! Pity you did not get to see it up close….but hey you caught a photo of it, albeit a poster but it will suffice for us haha😀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. scifihammy Post author

      It has a very heavy supporting base (tons) to balance those large wings. 🙂
      One tends to think of the UK as being small, but when you’re travelling the length of it, it really isn’t small at all. Impossible for me on this last visit to get off the train and visit the Angel properly. So the Loo poster it is! 😀

      Like

  4. Midwestern Plant Girl

    I was so focused on that stupid bolt the whole time, wondering what it was! 😂🤣😂
    Art is very subjective… I can say I don’t get this one at all. Looks like an airplane crash. I don’t understand why the “wings” were made like that? To represent something?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. scifihammy Post author

      hahaha 😀 Sorry about that! I thought you’d think the bolt was something on the train window! 🙂
      As to the Angel, you can find out more than you want to know from one of the links – but I believe the artist wanted to build something as a symbol of hope (Angel) for the area, which had very high unemployment at the time. Apparently the wings tilt towards you at an angle of 35 degrees (if I remember right!) so when you stand under it, it’s like it is embracing you. (so the artist says!)
      As you say, art is subjective – I have another
      sculpture coming later that really looked like a heap of scrap metal. I bet you can’t wait! 😀 😀

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Midwestern Plant Girl

        I first thought the bolt was the Tardis 😉 Ha ha!
        Ok, so it’s a piece of art that has to be viewed at a certain angle, yet all the photos online are of it from the side, etc. Frustrating! 😧😦😳 Ironically, the fact site compared it to airplane sizes, making my point that they look like airplane wings 😉 They could have used a sports field size or another reference.
        My husband (art major) and I can get into some heated discussions. I think you’ve seen my post: https://midwesternplants.org/2014/09/12/frederick-meijer-sculpture-park/
        I liked most of this stuff, maybe except the first one by Bernar Venet, that did nothing for me 😴😪
        Maybe the same artist in your upcoming post? 😂🤣

        Liked by 1 person

      2. scifihammy Post author

        I totally agree that the Angel’s wings look like a plane and I think it’s rusty too! Still a lot of contention about it, but I think just by being there for so long people get used to it, then sort of protective of it.
        I must admit I don’t ‘get’ a lot of art or sculpture – as in your post, which I remember. But I still admire the artist for trying to express himself. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  5. quiall

    hahah I wondered about the bolt! I thought it look like a zipper pull and thought that’s going to be an interesting story! Thanks for clearing that up.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. scifihammy Post author

      hahaha That would have been a good trick – like my Moose on the back of the man’s shirt that time! 🙂
      Actually I just thought people would think it was something on the train window! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Sam

    I was born in Durham and recently moved from Newcastle to Sydney, it is great to see my home in a blog post here! I had mixed feelings growing up about it (I was 9 at the time it was erected haha) but I do love to see it. I’m glad you caught a glimpse of it 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. scifihammy Post author

      Thank you 🙂 I’m glad it brings back memories for you. I understand, as I tho I grew up in UK I have lived for many years now in Cape Town, South Africa. That is what I love about WP; you can meet friends from all over the world 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Aishwarya

    I must have traveled from Edinburgh to Yorkshire many many times myself but unfortunately I always read while I’m on train so clearly I missed a sight that shouldn’t be missed!!!!!!
    The next time I’m on that train I’ll look outside with keen eyes to spot this angel!!! 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    1. scifihammy Post author

      haha Never mind. You have to know about these things in advance, but even then you can miss them! Good Luck spotting the Angel – Tip: you can track it on Google Maps! 😀

      Like

    1. scifihammy Post author

      Thank you very much Dan 🙂
      I add a link or 2 so people can click on it if they’re interested – but find many people just don’t have the time – which is why I put in a few facts here 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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