Edward Howell Galvanziers has played a major role in the creation of a series of commemorative sculptures depicting the Black Country’s industrial heritage.
The Wednesfield-based business galvanized in excess of five tonnes of steel for the sculptures, which are situated along the Dudley No 2 Canal, part of a major scheme to highlight the canal’s crucial role in the creation of the Black Country.
A total of 35 separate steel sculptures and plaques of varying shapes and sizes have been designed by local artist Luke Perry, of which most have already been installed. Lottery funding given to the Dudley Canal Trust was used to produce the sculpture trail, which is situated along a four-mile stretch of the canal.
It is hoped that the commemorative artworks, each depicting a different role played by the canal throughout history, will revive public interest in the towpath, which is a major amenity for many local people, and also connects two local nature reserves.
Luke Perry said: “This project is a real celebration of the Black Country, and was extremely exciting to be involved in. It is, in effect, a ‘walking museum’, depicting key moments in the area’s industrial heritage.
“As each sculpture is completely bespoke, designing them has involved countless conversations with veterans of the industry and area, to enable us to have first-hand accounts of the people, characteristics, events, and themes that they are based on. The finished sculptures look great along the towpath, and will enlighten generations of people on what was once the main artery of the area’s industry – without the canal, there would be no Black Country.”
As there was a large amount of metalwork involved in creating the artwork, ensuring durability and weatherproofing of the sculptures was paramount.
Jim Lindsay, Commercial Manager of Edward Howell Galvanizers, said: “The completed sculptures, which even feature a record-breaking racing pigeon, are lively, attractive, and interesting, and will be a fantastic educational source for the area. The hot-dip galvanizing process that we put each piece through will protect them from rust and corrosion and ensure that people can enjoy the artwork and learn about the Black Country’s fascinating history for many years to come.”
The sculpture trail was commissioned as part of an initiative to revamp the canal towpath, which also involves improving access to, and along, the walkway.