This large hollow O shaped sculpture is fixed to a brick plinth flush with the surrounding mown grass landscape bank. On the top of the O are two trailing ribbons providing a feeling of movement as if representing a rolling wheel. The whole piece is fabricated, riveted and tig-welded using the skills characteristic of the local metal-working industry.
When McDonalds acquired the site, they were required by the Planning Authority to provide a piece of public art within the scheme. The design brief drawn up by PACA stipulated that the sculpture had to allude in some way to the social and industrial history of the area. Five artists submitted maquettes and sketches to a selection panel composed of representatives of Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council, the Black Country Development Corporation, PACA and McDonalds, and the Sandwell Town Artist, Francis Gomila. Of the five artists, two submitted figurative maquettes of a colourful local character, Jack Judge, who had performed as a music hall artist as well as working in the local steel works. The other three were abstract designs, of which Doug Cocker's was considered the most suitable since, in the words of the panel, 'it best embodied the bright future that Oldbury aspired to, yet still managed to reflect the strength of the town's industry and social heritage in a universal way.'
Doug Cocker originally proposed to build a large fan-shaped arch in stainless steel, fabricating it in a way that was closely related to the industries of the area. However, his design had to be changed at a later stage because it proved more costly than had been originally budgeted. Although it had been intended that the piece should be manufactured locally, Cocker instead had to build it himself with assistance from local fabricators near his home in Aberdeenshire. A number of revised designs were prepared, and the current circular piece chosen in October 1992. It was eventually built and installed in July 1993.
The sculpture commemorates the adjacent road, Oldbury Ringway.
small stainless steel plaque fixed to plinth etched with filled black characters.
OLDBURY RING/COMMISSIONED BY MCDONALDS/IN CONJUNCTION WITH/BLACK COUNTRY DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION 1993/SCULPTOR DOUG COCKER
PMSA recording information