The Angel of the North, with its impassive face outspread wings, has become one of the most recognizable statues in England since its construction in 1998. According to the artist, Antony Gormley, the sculpture is meant to embody the evolution of the industrial age into the information age.
The Angel of the North
The sculpture is built on top of a former coalmining site and is the product of collaboration between Gormley and several of the North East’s top engineering firms. As such, there are few effigies better able to personify the changes taking place in the North East today.
Although the region suffered economic decline in the late 20th century as heavy industries became outdated, it is currently undergoing a period of reinvention. With the emergence of new industries such as digital computing, many of the region’s cities are developing into hubs of specialization. Sunderland is fast becoming known as a leader in computing and information sciences. Newcastle University recently obtained only the second licence in Europe for the development of stem cell technology.
The Transporter Bridge in Middlesborough, Teesside
Teesside, on the other hand, is home to no less than 1,400 local and international companies, thanks to the UK’s largest integrated chemicals plant in Billingham. Conoco Phillips, Ensus, Harvest Energy, Huntsman, Lotte Chemical, and SABIC Petrochemicals are just a small fraction of the companies that have either production plants or offices in Teesside. Together, the pharmaceutical companies based in the North West are responsible for providing more than a quarter of the jobs in the region.