North East Art Trail ~ 01

Sophie and I recently discovered a website showing all the works of art in the country, which is pretty amazing really, and we decided to use that as a basis for some of our days out. We filtered our search for North East England and refined it for outdoor artwork only, and found there are 844 items in the area, which in theory would last way beyond our needs. Some of the art works are war memorials and such like, market crosses etc and we are not too bothered about those, but there are some cool quirky things too and those are the ones we’ll be hunting down.

Our first trail was around Killingworth and Cramlington area. I plotted the artwork positions on a map, and off we went to photograph them on a lovely warm, sunny day, not too hot but just right.

Our first was ‘Sundial’ (which it is) by Graham Robinson, the artist, and  Anthony Walker & partners landscapers and set in the West Allotment Country Park at Shiremoor (which is not in The Hobbit or consequent books). The pictures of it shown on the website are not that nice, it’s all rusty, grass is growing between the paving slabs and it looks uncared for, but when we got there it was all spruced up. The blurb says “A sundial with face consisting of paving slabs in a variety of shades with iron numbers around a central disk with a sun motif. The gnomon is a large, slanting slab of rusted iron with relief designs of natural forms imprinted on either side. The sundial is sited at the summit of a modern, artificial hill, the highest point in North Tyneside.” A gnomon is not a character from Warhammer 4K, but is the part of the sundial that makes the shadow.

We parked up and followed the signs and first came to a newly made area where you can sit and reflect about Covid 🙄

the 3 R’s

this gentleman and his dog were definitely relaxed and I could see signs of fishing equipment.

gone fishin’

You climb a circular path up a hill or use some wooden steps to get to the sundial, and I chose the circular path. A horse wearing a diamante tiara on it’s forehead passed us by, wish I’d got a frontal shot!

Princess Horse

Nice to see wildflowers and lots of insects along the way.

thistle and Burnet Moth

and then we got to the sundial

? clay pressings of nature stuff by little people.

Our next artwork is the Blue Ladies by an unknown artist. Set in a business park of all places.
According to the blurb “A series of life-sized classical nude female dancing figures. Material is draped around their lower body, held close by their right hands and behind their heads in their left hands. The figures are painted bright blue with gold spots.” Although I don’t count 2 figures as a series.

Blue Ladies

Onwards then to Killingworth. There were supposedly 4 artworks here, but try as we might we could only find 2 of them. The first was the Blucher Automotive by Charles Sansbury (1916-1989) at Southgate, on the roundabout at the shopping centre there.
The Blurb:- An abstract representation of the Blücher locomotive, the first locomotive built by George Stephenson in 1814. It could pull a train of 30 tonnes at a speed of four miles per hour up a gradient of one in 450. The artwork was originally erected in Killingworth town centre in 1971, next to the ‘Puffing Billy’ pub. However, when the pub was demolished the sculpture was dismantled and stored at the Stephenson Railway Museum. With the aid of Heritage Lottery funding, Killingworth Local History Society restored the sculpture to mark the 200th anniversary of the building of the locomotive, which first ran on the Killingworth wagonway on the 25th July, 1814. It was named after the Prussian general Gebhard Leberecht von Blücher, who, after a speedy march, arrived in time to help defeat Napoleon at the Battle of Waterloo in 1815.


Hippos is an artwork by Stan Bonner, situated at Garth 22 in Killingworth. Garth is not a country & western singer but “an enclosed quadrangle or yard, especially one surrounded by a cloister (Middle English; Old Norse garþr, garðr; akin to Anglo-Saxon geard)”, however in Killingworth it means a cul-de-sac.
The blurb on this one is short and sweet:- “A group of four concrete, pygmy-sized hippos stood on an open paved area”.


After the hippos we stopped at the lake there to watch the synchronised swimming practice.

bottoms up

It was nice to see they’d made a wildflower place instead of the muddy bird poop area that was there the last time we visited.

After this we toddled up to Burradon to shoot the Colliery Memorial ~ artist unknown.
The Blurb ~ “A monument made from an old colliery wheel and truck to commemotate those who lost their lives in an explosion at Burradon Colliery on March 2, 1860, which tragically killed 76 men and boys, some as young as 10 years old.

Colliery Memorial

Our last stop before lunch was at Cramlington Hospital which has the Helping Hands sculpture by Cate Watkinson and Collin Rennie.
The Blurb ~ “Three curve-shaped panels representing healing hands set at equal, 120 degree angles to each other, which can be viewed from all sides. The hands are raised in a supplicant manner as if protecting a central space where help can be found”. Hmmm.

you need hands.

So that’s our first Art trail done, and hopefully there’ll be more to come! Stay tooned for wherever we end up next time!

All pictures embiggenable with a click.

If you fancy seeing which artworks are in your area HERE is the website.

54 thoughts on “North East Art Trail ~ 01

  1. What a great selection! Love the minimalism of the monolithic sundial, the steampunk grandeur of the choochoo and the unexpected element of the hippos in that environment. Not sure about the blue ladies, but, hey, whatever floats your boat, right?

    That looks like a very handy website – thanks for sharing the link. I shall be giving that a peruse.


    Liked by 2 people

  2. So this is all “art”. It boggles my mind. Naked polka dot ladies, hippos and random structures.
    Does this feed your soul in any way? Because I would like to meet people who it does and see what kind of people they are. This is so far outside my baileywick that it is almost incomprehensible to me. It would literally someone who loved this stuff talking to me face to face explaining what this does for them for me to even intellectually understand how anyone could spend time creating it.

    I suspect it would be like me trying to explain to a sports jock why books are so great 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  3. “A gnomon is not a character from Warhammer 4K . ..”

    Well, there’s Booky out.

    I did love the hippos, even though I came here expecting snow leopards. Steam engine was neat too. The helping hands didn’t really work for me.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Love the huge sundial (so unexpected) and the hippos that seem to signify nothing, but those blue ladies take the number one spot! Still not clear what they represent? But they were beautiful. Thanks for letting us tag along on your art tour Fraggle. Enjoyed all the pics and commentary! Hugs, C

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I loved Hippos and Cho-Cho. In no way I am saying they are “better” or so, just what my eyes would find quite pleasant to see, which is the democratic aspect of art, as it is open for everybody. The fact that I see more claws than hands in the last work not talks about the artist but maybe my simple life reading comic books. Said that is wonderful that your country invest so much in both art for public display and its informative diffusion; and that they are very well cared by the citizens.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. The polka dot ladies are scary. I like the sundial, but I’m not sure how a transplanted colliery wheel constitutes a work of art. I’m surprised by how uncared for they all look. A little bit of weeding would go a long way.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Well apart from a few weeds between paving slabs on the sundial and the hippos I thought the rest looked OK. I know what you mean about the colliery memorial, I did that because I couldnt find 2 of the other art works. There is listed quite a lot of memorials for war and miners.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I can understand why some memorials would be considered works of art. The Titanic Engineers’ memorial here would be and our war memorial was designed by Lutyens. I think, though, that a transplanted colliery wheel is a very moving memorial, but not a work of art.

        Liked by 1 person

  7. I love this!…sorry, only catching up now….love the Princess Horse (wtf a tiara! 😀 ), The Hippos, The Spotty Ladies, The Sundial…actually all of them, great way to have a look around…what’s the website? I just bought a book called Destination Art about global artworks and its inspiring me to travel…

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.