The Angel of the North: standing tall

I had a trip across to Newcastle and Gateshead today. It was a beautiful sunny winters day and a nice drive across the Pennines.

I was a little early for my meeting so I managed to get half an hour or so to visit the Angel of the North.

The Angel of the North


This is a contemporary sculpture, designed by Antony Gormley, which stands on a hill on the southern edge of Gateshead, overlooking the A1 and the East Coast Main Line rail route.

BaldHiker Social Walks
The Angel of the North from the front


It is a steel sculpture of an angel, 20 metres (66 ft) tall, with wings measuring 54 metres (177 ft) across. Many people wonder what it signifies.


The body alone weighs 100 tonnes and the wings weigh 50 tonnes each.

Don’t forget too that with the good old northern British weather it would need to withstand winds over 100mph safely. So foundations below it contain 600 tonnes of concrete that go down at least 21 metres (70ft) and anchors to the rock deep below.

What Does It Mean?

The designer Gormley himself states that there are 3 meanings:

1. A historic one to remind us that below this site coal miners worked in the dark for two hundred years.

2. To grasp hold of the future, expressing our transition from the industrial to the information age.

3. To be a focus for our hopes and fears – a sculpture is an evolving thing.

The Angel of the North large wing

There is more to this angel figure than meets the eye. The wings are angled forwards slightly by 3.5 degrees to give a sense of embrace when you look at it from the front or if you are travelling north.

Like much of his work it is cast in the shape of Antony Gormley’s own body. Known to be the largest angel sculpture in the world.

The sculpture has become a much loved icon of the North of England and is much photographed. It is, therefore, quite hard to get your own take on it. Here are my attempts.

The Angel of the North from behind the trees

I like to one with the view North towards the tower blocks in Gateshead with the Angel’s shadow in it.

The Angel of the North's shadow

Normally this would be a school boy error to have your shadow in the foreground of a photo… but when you are a 20 metre tall Angel it’s OK. I also like the one of the Angel ‘hiding in the trees…

The Angel of the North close up

I have done another article on an Antony Gormley set of sculptures over in the west at Crosby Beach.

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  1. Lesley Peterson says:

    Wonderful photos! I especially like the photo of the angel’s shadow only, over the field. Says something to me.

  2. eyeandpen says:

    Beautiful pictures! Very nice to see!

  3. She’s always beautiful to see! One of the first “famous” things I saw the first time I visited England. 🙂

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