Angel Of The North Facts: All About The Largest Angel Sculpture Ever!

Shirin Biswas
Sep 08, 2022 By Shirin Biswas
Originally Published on Jan 25, 2022
Edited by Jacob Fitzbright
Fact-checked by Niyati Parab
Learn some Angel of the North facts with us today!
Age: 3-18
Read time: 6.0 Min

Did you know that the Angel of the North is one of the most popular tourist destinations in England?

The Angel of the North is an important part of British culture for several reasons. The most relevant amongst these factors is that this statue was built in order to show support to the people of North England, as they saw the end to underground mining and shipbuilding ports.

This majestic statue has been standing guard over the city of Newcastle for over 20 years, and people from all over the world come to see it.

There are a lot of interesting Angel of the North facts that you may not know about this iconic landmark.

One of the most interesting facts about this statue is that unlike most of the other statues in the world which are made of brass, Antony Gormley chose steel for this sculpture. The basic idea behind this was to honor the history of the north and how it was the hub of all shipbuilding activities.

The solid concrete foundations of this sculpture reach 70 ft (21.3 m) into the earth and it stops the statue from toppling over as a result of the strong winds in the region!


Where is the Angel of the North?

The Angel of the North statue is not only Britain's largest sculpture but also the largest angel sculpture in the entire world. Although a form of public art and a very common tourist attraction, the Angel of the North statue is made special through the fact that there are no other attractions in the garden wherein it is located.

This was apparently intended by Antony Gormley, the sculptor behind this architectural marvel, in order to not let any accessory elements dim the uniqueness of the steel angel.

  • The Angel of the North statue is located in Gateshead, which is near Newcastle.
  • Although the massive sculpture was not loved from the very beginning, people eventually started to adore it due to the simple fact that it brought them joy.
  • The Angel of the North statue is built in such a way that it has tilted wings, which almost seem welcoming.
  • This state is directly associated with the essence of Britain and also shows the economic transition that the north has been going through.
  • Above all, this sculpture is a guardian angel for the people of the north, and they treat the Angel of the North statue with reverence.
  • It is interesting to note that this sculpture initially faced a lot of opposition.
  • It was the concern of the people of Gateshead and Newcastle that since this sculpture stood on the top of a hill, the massive statue would be visible from the roads and would distract the drivers.
  • It was their conception that the statue would become the reason behind increased accidents on the neighboring roads.
  • Another point of concern was the immense amount of money that was being spent on the construction of this piece of public art.
  • However, the concerns were quickly diminished when the statue was erected in all its glory and opened for public viewing!
  • Some poetic resonance is associated with the Angel of the North statue due to the fact that right below where the statue now stands, underground mining was carried out by the people of North England.
  • A part of the reason why the statue lacks facial and bodily features is the fact that it is supposed to stand for the turmoil in the lives of all those who worked during the Industrial Revolution in England.
  • The wings bending forward is a symbol of how this angel statue is supposed to be able to embrace people within its guarding light.
  • However, it is also interesting to note how there are no tourist attractions around this statue.
  • In fact, there are no lights installed around the statue, which essentially means that if people were to visit in the nighttime, they would not only have a tough time appreciating the sculpture in its full glory but would also return home with no photographs to remember this man-made marvel by!
The Angel of the North sculpture is 65.6 ft (20 m) tall!

History Of The Angel Of The North

Angel of the North statue is located in the northeast of England, in the small town of Gateshead. This steel sculpture was funded by the National Lottery and due to its immense size, the budget that was required for the building of this man-made wonder was also immense.

  • The body and wings of the Angel of the North sculpture may seem a little post-modern due to the fact that it is made of steel, but the grandeur and significance of this world-renowned statue have more to do with the message that it carries.
  • The north of England was always known for its mining activities and its ship-building field projects.
  • Once the grasp of the British Empire was loosened around the world, southern England became the hub of economic activities and the power shifted from the north.
  • The Angel of the North statue in northeast England is therefore symbolic of the shift of economic and industrial activities from the north to the south, predominantly towards London.
  • The Gateshead Council, therefore, made sure that this sculpture was erected as a way of paying homage to all the people from the north who worked in the underground mines as well as in the industries which arose as a result of the Industrial Revolution.
  • Even though Antony Gormley initially did not agree to make this solid rock structure, he had to agree when he was introduced to the massive garden wherein the Angel of the North statue now stands.
  • One of the historic facts about this public art piece is that since it juts out from the ground on the top of a hill, the sculptor, Antony Gormley, was faced with the massive issue of making a foundation that would be able to sustain it through immense winds.
  • This is one of the reasons why the foundation of the Angel of the North statue is actually more than twice as heavy as the sculpture itself!
  • According to interactions with Antony Gormley, he built this life-size maquette through the inspiration that he took from his own body.
  • This is a part of the reason why the statue is capable of having such a huge range of meanings!

What is the purpose of the Angel Of The North?

The purpose of the Angel of the North statue was to show the people of northern England that even though London had replaced it as the trading and commercial hub, the place was not devoid of hope.

  • The sculpture stands its ground through rain and storms and symbolizes the 300 year-long struggle that the people of the north went through in erecting industries and making ships in order to support the cause of the British Empire's foreign governments.
  • Presently, this statue is also loved by Newcastle United fans, and in a rather funny incident, the statue was dressed in a gigantic Alan Shearer football shirt!
  • Near to the statue is a place wherein people leave their heart-breaking notes for people that they lost. Such letters are usually written for children who died at a young age.
  • This shows how the Angel of the North statue has truly become an angel and guardian figure for the people of the north!

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Written by Shirin Biswas

Bachelor of Arts specializing in English Language and Literature

Shirin Biswas picture

Shirin BiswasBachelor of Arts specializing in English Language and Literature

With a degree in English from Amity University, Noida, Shirin has won awards for oratory, acting, and creative writing. She has a wealth of experience as an English teacher, editor, and writer, having previously worked at Quizzy and Big Books Publishing. Her expertise lies in editing study guides for children and creating engaging content.

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Fact-checked by Niyati Parab

Bachelor of Commerce

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Niyati ParabBachelor of Commerce

With a background in digital marketing, Niyati brings her expertise to ensure accuracy and authenticity in every piece of content. She has previously written articles for MuseumFacts, a history web magazine, while also handling its digital marketing. In addition to her marketing skills, Niyati is fluent in six languages and has a Commerce degree from Savitribai Phule Pune University. She has also been recognized for her public speaking abilities, holding the position of Vice President of Education at the Toastmasters Club of Pune, where she won several awards and represented the club in writing and speech contests at the area level.

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