A new artwork by a leading north east sculptor has been unveiled to commemorate the history of a Durham neighbourhood.
The 2m tall piece, created by County Durham-based artist Graeme Hopper, captures the origin of the name Elvet and its links to the River Wear. The artwork, named ‘St Oswald’s Arch’, has been officially unveiled in Oswald Court, near the city centre.
Funding for the £8,000 quarter ton structure was secured from Elvet and Gilesgate ward councillors and County Durham-based housing association believe housing.
The project is an evolution of a successful planting scheme in Oswald Court that has transformed the neighbourhood and put it on the map for judges of the annual Britain in Bloom competition.
The new sculpture has been installed among reclaimed wood and a host of attractive and wildlife encouraging plants, with the latest planting and other associated work carried out by believe housing.
The name Elvet is said to derive from the old English word for Swan, Elfetu, as the area was then reportedly known as Swan Stream. St Oswald’s Arch includes a pair of swans in flight set against a large arch, celebrating the high arches of Elvet Bridge. Large steel bulrushes are also included, again linking back to the River Wear.
Director of Neighbourhoods and Customer Services at believe housing, Ian Porter, said: “The residents of Oswald Court work so hard to make their neighbourhood the colourful oasis that it is. It’s amazing to think that it’s just around the corner from the centre of Durham.
“This sculpture has been designed to complement their work and Graeme has done a great job capturing the history of Elvet in such an eye-catching way.”
Sculptor Graeme Hopper said: “This has been a lovely and satisfying project to work on, I hope the residents enjoy the sculpture and garden for many, many years to come.”
Elvet Ward Councillor Richard Ormerod said: “I love the sculpture. It’s eye-catching but without taking over the green. Many thanks are due to Graeme Hopper, the artist, to believe housing for making it happen, and to all those in the Oswald Court community who worked so hard to plant the flowers in the surrounding area. It’s a real boost.”