This page has been archived and is no longer updated. Find out more about page archiving.

Last updated at 12:47 BST, Thursday, 18 July 2013

Staff blog


About the blogger

Catherine is a team leader at BBC Learning English. This week she admires the public art in her home town of Newcastle.

Public art

Hello dear readers.

Thanks for your comments about my last blog post. I do miss my home town!

One of the reasons I like the North East of England is that there is quite a lot of public art. 'Public art' is a term that refers to works of art that are funded by public money. Most public art in the region is very public - it's in the open air! Here is one of the most famous ones: it's called the Angel of the North.

The Angel of the North

The Angel of the North

The Angel of the North is Britain's largest sculpture, at over 19 metres high. It stands next to a motorway in Gateshead, just south of Newcastle. Do you like it? I always feel a bit sorry for it: It looks like it should be flying, but it's stuck on the ground. Poor angel!

Here's another one. It looks quite Asian to me - I don't know how it found its way to my neck of the woods! But I like its chunky appearance - even though it looks like it needs a bit of restoration work...

Gateshead statue

Here's a piece of public art that is in a very odd location: in the middle of the pavement on a very busy street in the city centre. I wondered about it for years - until I discovered that it has a dual function. Can you guess what it might be used for?

Metro ventilation tower

It looks like a tower-shaped sculpture, but it's actually part of the ventilation system for the city's underground Metro train system. It's a ventilation tower in disguise! Look closely at the top of this next picture - you can see the vents.

Metro ventilation tower

And if you get tired of walking round the city looking at all these works of art, here's a nice bench for you to sit down on and rest your tired legs.


Actually, it's another dual-function piece - while you're resting, have a look at the writing on the bench and look up at the tall buildings all around you. And as the writing says: you'll be "looking up at them, looking down at you".


I think that's a lovely piece of functional art - available to anyone who wants to use it. What do you think of the public art in the photos?

Which one is your favourite? Tell us why! You can comment at the bottom of this page.

All the best


works of art

objects made by artists, especially paintings, drawings and sculptures


a solid object made as a work of art. Sculptures are often made of wood, stone, metal or clay


thick and square in shape


leaning and mending something old, dirty and broken so that it looks cleaner and better

dual function

something that has two purposes


moving clean, fresh air around a room or other closed space


a hole or space, usually in a wall or door, for air to pass through

functional art

works of art that have a practical and useful purpose

Exercise 1 - Answers

How did you get on with the homework I gave you last time? If you remember, it was all about passive forms and tenses.

For exercise 1, you had to match the blog extract with its correct tense. Here is the exercise again, with the answers:
• The bridge was opened (past simple passive)
• many of them were built by Victorian industrialists (past simple passive)
• you will be challenged (future passive)
• a bridge had to be built (passive infinitive)
• this one was built (past simple passive)
• the tea was specially blended by a Chinese guest (past simple passive)
• Earl Grey tea is being served (present continuous passive)
• It has been beautifully maintained (present perfect passive)
• It is very well-loved by the people of Newcastle (present simple passive)
• you'll be very impressed by the city (future passive)

Exercise 2 - Answers

For exercise 2, you had to rewrite some sentences in the passive form, keeping the tense the same. Here they are again, with the answers:

1. George Stephenson and his son Robert established the world's first locomotive factory. (The world's first locomotive factory was established by George Stephenson and his son Robert.)
2. The city of Rio will host the 2016 Olympic Games. (The 2016 Olympic Games will be hosted by / in Rio.)
3. The people of Newcastle love the Tyne Bridge. (The Tyne Bridge is loved by the people of Newcastle.)
4. We are developing a new communications system. (A new communications system is being developed (by us).)
5. Daniel Day-Lewis has won the award for best actor. (The award for best actor has been won by Daniel Day-Lewis).
6. Charles Earl Grey introduced the British people to a particular blend of tea. (The British people were introduced to a particular blend of tea by Charles Earl Grey.)
7. They had to wear protective clothing in the museum. (Protective clothing had to be worn (by them) in the museum.)

How did you do?

For a summary of passive tenses, look at this episode of 'Learn It'.

End of Section

Now tell us what you think

What do you think of the public art in the photos? Which one is your favourite?

Please note that we are not able to publish all comments and comments may be edited.


or register to comment.

  1. Home
  2. Community
  3. Staff blog