National Recording Project


Detail from: Memorial to 158 Squadron by Peter W. Naylor, 2009



Type Sculpture

     Abstract sculpture on concrete pedestal
     "Vigilance", the first abstract sculpture to be installed in the city centre, was commissioned by the Scott Trust to mark the centenary of the Manchester Evening News, an anniversary also celebrated by the planting of trees in Albert Square. The Manchester Evening News began publication as Liberal election sheet in October, 1868 but was quickly acquired by Edward Taylor, owner of the Manchester Guardian. Keith Godwin, the Head of Sculpture at the recently created Manchester Polytechnic, was awarded the commission. It was to be located in the recently pedestrianised space in Spinningfield, between the offices of the Manchester Evening News and the John Rylands Library. In developing the sculpture, Godwin was concerned with presenting bold determined shapes. He was also aware of the possibility of vandalism, and the tall two-part concrete base was, in part, a response to this concern. The choice of a red granite aggregate for the base acknowledged the red sandstone of the neighbouring John Rylands Library. Godwin did not provide the sculpture with a title but Laurence Scot, grandson of C. P. Scott, decided on "Vigilance", an apt title for a sculpture associated with the press. The sculpture was unveiled in May 1971 by Sir William Hayley, the Director- General of the BBC, and former editor of the Manchester Evening News and The Times. The strong contrasting elements of the work were commended by some members of the large crowd (including Godwin's students) who attended the ceremony but others were disappointed to find that apart from the inscription on the metal plaque set into floor by the side of the sculpture, no simple explanation was provided about its meaning.
     Centenary of Manchester Evening News


No inscription on sculpture but inscription on metal plaque set into floor to l.h.s. of sculpture reads: THIS SCULPTURE WAS PRESENTED BY THE TRUSTEES OF THE SCOTT TRUST TO THE MANCHESTER EVENING NEWS TO MARK ONE HUNDRED YEARS OF SUCCESSFUL PUBLICATION.

Contributor details

Contributor Role
Godwin, Keith Sculptor

Element details

Part of work Material Dimensions
Sculpture Steel 550cm high approx (includes pedestal)
Pedestal Concrete None

PMSA recording information

Reference Region
General condition Don't know
Surface condition
  • Corrosion, Deterioration
Structural condition
  • None
  • None
Road Deansgate
Precise location Between MEN offices and John Rylands Library
A-Z ref p.158 F1
OS ref SJ835980
Date of design None
Year of unveiling 1971
Unveiling details 27 May 1971
Commissioned by Scott Trust
Duty of care None
Listing status Don't know
At risk? Not at risk

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