Angel of the North in Historic England's top ten list

Posted: 12 June 2018

Angel Historic EnglandThe powerful Angel of the North, the 'transportive' Barbara Hepworth Museum and the iconic St Paul's Cathedral are among the top ten sites that tell the history of England's art, architecture and sculpture. The places have been selected by BBC Arts Editor Will Gompertz, from hundreds of public nominations.

This is the ninth category out of ten in Historic England's campaign and podcast series, Irreplaceable: A History of England in 100 Places,sponsored by specialist insurer, Ecclesiastical. The campaign aims to find the 100 places that bring to life England's rich and extraordinary history.

The ten places are:

  • Angel of the North, Gateshead, Tyne and Wear
  • Yorkshire Sculpture Park, Wakefield, West Yorkshire
  • Barbara Hepworth Museum and Sculpture Park, St Ives, Cornwall
  • St Paul's Cathedral, London
  • Kelmscott Manor, Kelmscott, Oxfordshire
  • Chatsworth House, Bakewell, Derbyshire
  • Tate Modern, London
  • Sutton Hoo, Suffolk
  • Coventry Cathedral, West Midlands
  • The Minack Theatre, Porthcurno, Penzance, Cornwall

The 10 places Gompertz has chosen will be explored in-depth in new episodes of the recently launched podcast series- free on iTunes and Soundcloud. The podcast is presented by historian Suzannah Lipscomb and features Deyan Sudjic, the Director of the Design Museum, and Duncan Wilson, the Chief Executive of Historic England.

Angel of the North, Gateshead, Tyne and Wear

Antony Gormley's vast contemporary sculpture stands at more than 60 feet high on a hillside overlooking the A1, just south of Gateshead. It was commissioned by Gateshead Metropolitan Borough Council, constructed between 1994 and 1998, and is a national landmark.

Will Gompertz said the reason he chose it is: "The Angel of the North is a powerful piece of contemporary sculpture that excites, heralds, and provokes. It is so far removed from the typical 'hero on a horse' statues that are dotted across the country, invisible to all. Gormley's artwork is as fresh as it is imposing."

According to the artist, the significance of the angel was three-fold: to signify that beneath the site of its construction, coal miners worked for two centuries; to grasp the transition from an industrial to an information age; and to serve as a focus for our evolving hopes and fears.

More than its artistic intent, the Angel of the North has become a poster child for public art. The project has faced criticism from many angles, including initially from Gormley himself, but the Angel has worked its way into people's hearts. It is a national icon: a tribute to the north and to the awe-inspiring quality of art. 


Listen to the podcast: or and join the conversation: #100Places.

Discover which places have already been chosen in the campaign

Science & Discovery, judged by Professor Robert Winston

Travel & Tourism, judged by Bettany Hughes

Homes & Gardens, judged by George Clarke

Sport & Leisure, judged by Tanni Grey-Thompson

Music & Literature, judged by Monica Ali

Loss & Destruction, judged by Mary Beard

Faith & Belief, judged by Rev David Ison

Industry, Trade & Commerce, judged by Tristram Hunt

There is just one category left to be revealed: Power, Protest & Progress, judged by historian David Olusoga.

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