Type Panel , Sculpture , Street Furniture
This series of sculptural wall grills refer, with varying degrees of abstraction, to Bilston's industrial heritage. Each grill occupies a square hole in the wall, and each extends above this boundary. The grills are see-through in parts, giving a partially obscured view of the Black Country Route that runs past one side of the wall. The dominant shapes are the roof-like tops to each sculpture, while the imagery is abstracted, though of an industrial flavour. Enshrined Pressure depicts a central section decorated with three linked chains under considerable strain, with huge horizontal buffers pushing outward to maintain the form of the overall structure, which would collapse with their downfall. Tools of the Trade is intended to elevate the ordinary nature of industrial tools by racking and storing the tools of a sandmoulder within a dome of compartments. The form of the Gloryhole is intended to convey the idea of re-birth, while Breadwinner depicts the simple necessity of going to work. Surmounted on heavy industrial columns are a knife and fork; the cauldron, supported by industrial lifting tackle, is both a cooking pot and a bucket for cement.
Richard Criddle was asked to submit seven designs for ornamental grills in the walls of the footbridge in 1991. These designs were Monument, Enshrined Pressure, Gloryhole, Tools of the Trade, Breadwinner and Turning True, all of them inspired by Bilston's metal working heritage.
These grills are intended to enhance The Black Country Route, an urban dual carriageway that was opened in 1995, linking junction 10 of the M6 with the main route between Wolverhampton and Birmingham. Wolverhampton Metropolitan Borough Council, with the work of several artists, a charitable organisation, and some U.K. based manufacturers have provided public art on and around the carriageway. David Scot's Internet site 'Public Art on the Black Country Route' documents the whole development. (1)
On plagues next to each work: ENSHRINED PRESSURE, GLORYHOLE, TOOLS OF THE TRADE, BREADWINNER
On plaque in between the works: These sculptures/ are the work of artist/ Richard Criddle and form part/ of the Black Country Route/ Special Features Project/ 1993
Related works : All other works on the Black Country Route, including some non-sculptural pieces such as brick patterns, which are not recorded here.
PMSA recording information