Birmingham & Black Country

Sixties playground sculpture in Birmingham is Grade II listed

The sculpture Image copyright Paul Edwards
Image caption The work was one of a number of play sculptures commissioned for post-war public housing estates in Birmingham

A 1960s children's playground sculpture in Birmingham has been listed by the government.

The fish-shaped sculpture, in Curtis Gardens, is said to be the last surviving work in situ designed by the sculptor John Bridgeman.

It has been listed at Grade II by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport on the advice of English Heritage.

English Heritage said the sculpture was "an important piece of public art".

'Enjoyment and appreciation'

The work, in concrete, was one of a number of play sculptures commissioned for post-war public housing estates in Birmingham.

Bridgeman, who was born in Felixstowe in Suffolk in 1916, was the head of sculpture at Birmingham College of Arts and Crafts until 1981. He died in 2004.


What other surprising things have been listed?

Image copyright English Heritage
Image caption The "futuristic" 1960s petrol station at Red Hill, Leicestershire was Grade II listed in 2012
  • Preston Bus Station was granted Grade II listing in 2013, despite criticism from some that it was an "eyesore"
  • The Mobil petrol station at Red Hill, Leicestershire was Grade II listed in 2012
  • The Abbey Road zebra crossing in north London - made famous by the Beatles - was given Grade II listed status in 2010
  • An open-air diving platform at Coate Water in Swindon was given a Grade II listing in November 2013

He was known for producing works - often in bronze - inspired by his experiences in World War Two in which he served in the heavy rescue section. One of his best-known works is the Madonna for Coventry Cathedral.

An exhibition held in Leamington Spa, Warwickshire - the town he retired to - in 2013 sparked a huge interest in his work and led to Warwick District Council working with English Heritage to have the sculpture listed.

Deborah Williams, from English Heritage, said: "The play sculpture in Curtis Gardens is an important piece of public art designed specifically for the enjoyment and appreciation of children.

"Designed by the noted artist John Bridgeman, its tactile and sculptural qualities can still be enjoyed and as a rare example of a play sculpture still in its original location, it fully merits listing at Grade II."

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