Art project unveiling signals the end of A52 improvement scheme

Published: 4 March 2021

Florence Nightingale plaque featured on A52 footbridge

Florence Nightingale plaque on the Meadow Lane footbridge

An art project that celebrates the make-up of the city will be unveiled today on the new A52 footbridge. The unveiling formally marks the end of the A52 traffic improvement scheme.

Based on the poem ‘We are Derby’, by local poet Jamie Thrasivoulou, the art installation is made up of designs that represent the city’s industrial, cultural and sporting communities, creating a visual reference of the city’s essence.

27 panels, situated on the brand new foot and cycle bridge that links the residential area of Chaddesden to the Wyvern and Pride Park, have been designed to visually enhance the bridge, creating a stopping point for pedestrians, where they can engage with the elements which make up the city’s innovation, its specialisms, crafts and individualism, creating a legacy which can be shared by all users of the bridge.

Celebrating the city’s past present and future, the artwork includes representations of; 

  • Florence Nightingale
  • Joseph Wright
  • Royal Crown Derby
  • Bombardier
  • Rolls-Royce
  • Toyota
  • Smith of Derby
  • Mercian Cycles
  • Where inventors span cogs
  • Crafts and Specialisms
  • Derby County Football Club
  • Sustainable Derby
  • Digital Derby
  • Future Derby

The sporting community is also represented within the commission. Back in July, Derby County fans were asked to vote for their ultimate team, nominating 11 players and a coach or manager. After receiving hundreds of nominations, the final line up will be revealed on our social media channels, in a lightshow event this evening (Thursday 4th March).

With over thirty years’ experience of working on public realm projects in the UK and Ireland, the Derbyshire-based company, Sculpture Works, were appointed  to coordinate this visual art and heritage commission.

Councillor Matthew Holmes, Cabinet Member for Planning, Regeneration and Transportation said:

“It has been fantastic to see the new gateway bridge open, and I’m equally delighted that we’re finally able to unveil this art installation that represents and celebrates the DNA of Derby, creating a long lasting legacy that can be shared by all.

I would also like to take this opportunity to give a special mention to Helen Oakes, a highly valued and well respected Urban Designer at DCC, who played an integral part in this and many other projects throughout the city, and who sadly passed away last year. Her contribution to Derby lives on through this art installation.”

Denis O’Connor, Sculpture Works added;

“The Art, Heritage and Sport commission has provided me with the opportunity to research the industrial, cultural and sporting DNA of the city, while referencing the poem ‘We are Derby’. 

“The outcome of this research has culminated in the design of a series of panels which both visualise and celebrate particular elements of the city’s make up. I am thrilled to have been part of this lasting legacy that will be enjoyed by many.”

 Steve Barbour, Managing Director of Composite Braiding commented;

“It’s fantastic for a young company such as us to be recognised as part of the future of Derby - the UK capital for innovation. We are a growing business at the leading edge of delivering sustainable technology, and to be included among such Derby icons is humbling.”

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