An eye-catching artwork to commemorate the past of one of Durham’s most historic areas is being created by a leading north east sculptor.
The origin of the name Elvet and its well-known bridge are among the features set to be captured in a new sculpture by County Durham based sculptor Graeme Hopper. The 2m tall steel artwork is set to be installed in Oswald Court, near Church Street, as part of improvements to public space in the area.
Funding for the £8,000 sculpture has been 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.
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. The finished work will include a pair of swans in flight set against a large arch, celebrating the high arches of Elvet Bridge. Large steel bulrushes will also be included, again linking back to the River Wear.
The new sculpture will be set among a specially designed area of planting, which will include reclaimed wood and a host of attractive and wildlife encouraging plants. The planting and other associated work will be carried out by staff from believe housing.
Work on the quarter ton structure has now begun at Graeme Hopper’s workshop in Hunwick, near Crook, and is expected to be complete and installed in its final position in Oswald Court by the end of July.
Neighbourhood Manager at believe housing, Carol Crathorne, said: “We’ve been working with the residents on Oswald Court for a couple of years now on their planting scheme that has really transformed the area. This sculpture is a brilliant next step for the project.
“Finishing touches are now being made to the design with Graeme and I’m sure it’s going to look really striking as well as being a great way to celebrate the history of Elvet.”
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 David Freeman said: “This sculpture is a fantastic piece of art, which reflects the ancient history of Elvet. Oswald Court is an oasis of calm in our busy city and the spot chosen for the art work’s installation is surrounded by flowers, trees and seating. It will enhance further all the planting undertaken in the last two years by the residents with support from believe housing and local councillors.”