National Recording Project


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

Always Open Gates


Type Sculpture

     A cut-steel sculpture creating the illusion of two gates opening onto a promenade, with ships out at sea. A sculpted bicycle rests against the railings at each side. The metal is painted in black and various shades of blue to heighten the illusion. However, the steel's dark colouring means that the gates do not stand out particularly from the line of fencing.
     Forming a decorative corner to the railings around the North Sands Business Centre, Always Open Gates was the first work completed for the St. Peter's Riverside Sculpture Project. Neither Wilbourn nor his new assistant Fisher had worked with steel before, so were apprehensive of the reception that this piece would have. Wilbourn's interest in perspective demonstrated by these gates has been continued in later works in the area. Commissioned by Tyne and Wear Development Corporation as part of its regeneration of St. Peter's Riverside, this is one of fifteen works in the area made by a team headed by Colin Wilbourn. This aims to give the area a distinct visual identity to the new development whilst involving local residents in the processes of consultation, creation and long-term ownership. The Sculpture Project is managed by Artists' Agency and funding has been provided by TWDC, Northern Rock Building Society, North Haven Developments and other sponsors.


Incised on a steel plate: 'Always Open Gates'/ 1992 / This sculpture was created as part of the St. Peter's / Riverside Sculpture/ Project by: / Colin Wilbourn / Karl Fisher / Fabrication by / A.D.C. Welding. Incised on steel plate attached to gate: Meet me after work, here / we'll take the boat out. Attached plaque records that the work was sponsored by TWDC, North of England Building Society, Wearside TEC and Sunderland City Council.

Contributor details

Contributor Role
Wilbourn, Colin Sculptor
Fisher, Karl Apprentice

Element details

Part of work Material Dimensions
Whole work Painted steel 220cm high x 560cm wide

PMSA recording information

Reference Region
General condition Fair
Surface condition
  • Corrosion, Deterioration
Structural condition
Road Liberty Way
Precise location Junction with Dame Dorothy Street, in front of North Sands Business Centre
A-Z ref 101 4D
OS ref None

Sorry, we have no precise geographical information for this item.

Date of design None
Year of unveiling 1992
Unveiling details Installed 1992
Commissioned by Tyne and Wear Development Corporation
Duty of care City of Sunderland
Listing status Not listed
At risk? No known risk

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