Audio tours of post-war public art in Bristol, Birmingham and Sheffield are being launched today by Historic England. The GPS-led guides are available free on smartphones through our app, Geotourist (iPhone andAndroid) and will take visitors and local people on a tour to rediscover the cities’ unburied treasures from the post-war years.
The tours will encourage listeners to look up and value our often overlooked and at risk public art.
England has a fascinating yet widely forgotten collection of public art from the post-war
period. After the Second World War art was used to bring our public spaces back to life as the country began to repair its shattered towns and cities. This art was created for everyone, to humanise and enrich our streets, housing estates, expanding universities and schools. Sadly, our post-war public art is often overlooked or under-valued.
These tours will guide listeners to post-war artworks across Bristol, Birmingham and Sheffield using only their smartphones. Listeners will be encouraged to scan the rooftops, peek through railings and discover the fascinating stories behind different pieces, some still cherished and others now forgotten.
Lasting around an hour, the tours will explore a range of works including Sheffield’s Vulcan; a sculpture in Bristol named Refugee, made by an artist whose family was obliterated by the holocaust; and a beautiful but crumbling mosaic in Birmingham.
Other pieces featured include those by artists whose work from this period has recently been recognised through listing and some who feature in the exhibition now at Somerset House. David Wynne and William Mitchell feature in the Sheffield tour, David McFall in Bristol and William Pye in Birmingham.
These tours are part of Historic England’s countrywide drive to encourage people to better appreciate our national collection of post-war public art. This collection is being explored in an exhibition currently at Somerset House, “Out There: Our Post-War Public Art” which will end on the 10th April 2016.
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