National Recording Project


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

Enshrined Pressure, Glory Hole, Tools of the Trade, and Breadwinner


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.

Contributor details

Contributor Role
Criddle, Richard Designer
Sculpture Factory, None Metal worker

Element details

Part of work Material Dimensions
Grills (x 7) Fabricated steel, painted blue Largest 260cm high x 174cm wide x 48cm deep

PMSA recording information

Reference Region
WMwvBIxx022 BM
General condition Good
Surface condition
  • Corrosion, Deterioration
  • Biological growth
Structural condition
  • None
  • Graffiti
Road Black Country Route
Precise location Oxford Street Roundabout and Coseley Road Roundabout, on wall alongside North side of the road, adjacent to Hall Green footbridge
A-Z ref 31 5E/F
OS ref SO947962
Date of design None
Year of unveiling 1993
Unveiling details 1993
Commissioned by Wolverhampton Metropolitan Borough Council
Duty of care Wolverhampton Metropolitan Borough Council
Listing status Not listed
At risk? No known risk

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