Address: Durham Road, Low Eighton, Gateshead NE9 7TY

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Angel of the North History

Designed by Andrew Gormley, the Angel of the North was completed in 1998, having taken five months to build and four years from planning to erection. It cost £1 million.

It was built at Hartlepool Steel Fabrications and, following a trial assembly, was transported to the site in three parts – the body, which weighs 100 tonnes and is 20 metres tall, and the two wings that weigh 50 tonnes each and are both 27 metres long. The journey from Hartlepool took place overnight and was at a speed of 10mph. The foundations are 20 metres deep, being rooted to solid rock, and were laid by Thomas Armstrong Ltd. The wings are angled forward at 3.5 degrees giving, as the architect feels, a sense of embrace. The body is secured to the foundation plinth by 52 three metre bolts. The consulting engineers were the internationally renowned Ove Arup, who were also the engineers for Sydney Opera House.

The ribs are made from 50mm thick steel and the skin from 6mm steel sheets. The foundations consist of eight three-quarter metre diameter pile holes on top of which is a concrete slab one and a half metres thick and 13 metres by eight in area. On top of this slab was laid a 5.3 metre high plinth.

Standing on a hilltop at the head of the Team Valley, it’s been built to withstand extreme weather. It’s made out of the weather resistant Corten steel/copper mixture and is structurally designed to withstand winds of over 100 mph. The site is that of a former colliery and was reclaimed as a landscape in the 1990’s.

The sculpture stands in view of the A1 motorway, the A167 and the main London to Edinburgh railway line, allowing it to be seen by an estimated 90,000 people a day. It’s reckoned to be the most viewed work of art, being seen by 33 million people a year. It’s a 10 minute trip from Newcastle city centre.

 

Angel of the North Visit

It’s easy to get to – signposted off the main A1 road that goes past Gateshead. Once near the site, apart from the Angel and a nice little park area surrounding it, there’s nothing else there except the views. The car park’s certainly a decent size and unlikely to be full.

It’s not one of those attractions that good advice will tell you to look for this, look for that, eg go here, go there – this is a simple what you see is what you get attraction. It’s a very large metal sculpture on top of a small hill and that’s about it, apart from a quaint little park area, and one that’s certainly good for a picnic in the summer.

There’s no entry fee, you just walk straight in.