Assembly of the giant Shipbuilders of Port Glasgow sculpture is complete in Inverclyde. The huge 10-metre (33 feet) tall stainless-steel figures by renowned artist John McKenna are now in place in the town’s Coronation Park. Lighting will soon be added to illuminate the figures, which pay tribute to the people who served in Port Glasgow and Inverclyde shipyards and made the area world famous for shipbuilding. Landscaping and paving works are also to be carried out and signage added between now and the summer to finish off the project.
Councillor Michael McCormick, Inverclyde Council’s convener of environment and regeneration, said: “The delivery of these sculptures has been a long time coming and much has been said about them but it’s now clear to see that they are quite spectacular, and the reaction thus far suggests they are well on their way to becoming an icon of Inverclyde and the west of Scotland. These sculptures not only pay homage to our rich shipbuilding heritage and the many local people who served in our yards but will also provide another reason for people to discover Inverclyde as we continue to promote the area as a good place to live, work and visit.”
The largest sculptural figure of a shipbuilder in the UK
Sculptor John McKenna was commissioned to create a striking piece of public art for Port Glasgow and the design was chosen following a public vote. The artist said: “When my design of the shipbuilder’s sculpture was overwhelmingly voted for by the people of Port Glasgow, I was absolutely thrilled that my vision for the artwork would be realised. It was no easy task to design and complete the sculpture, a complete unique one-off, a dynamic pose, the colossal pair swinging their riveting hammers, trying to evoke working together. To see the pair finished in metal at full-size was fantastic, for so long these complex figures were all ‘in my head’. That complexity and the size of the work were a huge challenge, not only in the structural design but the faceted plating that is the sculpture surface. These artworks, made in my studio in Ayrshire, are to celebrate the historical shipbuilding industry of Port Glasgow and the impact ‘Clydebuilt’ had on the whole world. They were made for the people of Port Glasgow, those who had faith in my design and voted for it. Hopefully, they will cherish and enjoy these colossal giants of industry for many generations to come.”
The figures measure 10 metres (33 feet) in height with a combined weight of 14 tonnes. It is thought to be the largest sculptural figure of a shipbuilder in the UK and one of the biggest of its kind in Western Europe.