Tyne & Wear

Sunderland sculptures to celebrate city's history

Model of the Vaux Waggon and horses Image copyright Sunderland City Council
Image caption The main sculpture recalls Vaux's use of horse-drawn drays to make deliveries

Sunderland's brewing and shipbuilding history is to be celebrated with three new sculptures.

The largest at eight metres (26ft) long will depict a Vaux brewery wagon pulled by two horses, which is expected to be completed by 2022.

They will be made by sculptor Ray Lonsdale at a cost of almost £400,000.

The artist previously designed the steel sculpture of a World War One soldier at Seaham in County Durham, known locally as Tommy.

The 9,000 sq ft former Vaux brewery, in the city centre, closed in 1999 after 162 years of production. More than 300 people lost their jobs.

Work to convert it into office and leisure space is ongoing and the new sculpture will be on show at the site.

Image copyright Sunderland City Council
Image caption Two workers sit side by side eating as they read about the impending closure of the shipyards

The artworks have been commissioned by Sunderland City Council and three maquettes are on show at the Museum and Winter Gardens until October before moving to the National Glass Centre.

"The former Vaux brewery holds a very special place in Sunderland people's hearts - from the familiar smell of hops that used to drift over the city to the colourful sight of the dray horses pulling the wagons through the streets," said councillor John Kelly.

"So I think it's only right and proper that we should celebrate Vaux's historic past at the same time as we look forward to its exciting future by commissioning this sculpture for the landmark site."

The other two pieces recall the city's shipbuilding heritage and will be placed on footpaths overlooking the River Wear in 2024.

The artworks will be made from hollow, corten steel at the artist's South Hetton workshop.

Mr Lonsdale said: "It's really about an element of the history of Sunderland. A lot of people remember with fondness the times when Sunderland still had the Vaux drays going round."

Image copyright Sunderland City Council
Image caption Based on Mr Lonsdale's memories of seeing a ship being launched, a man talks to his grandson

More on this story

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites