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Public art

Within South Tyneside there are many visually stunning pieces of public art waiting to be discovered. Here are just some examples!

Conversation Piece

Juan Munoz

These magnificent statues, affectionately known as the 'weebles', are a firm favourite with visitors and residents alike.

Situated next to Littlehaven Beach at the mouth of the Tyne in South Shields, the 22 mysterious figures stand in various poses; some deep in conversation with one another, others simply gazing out to sea.

Each figure is approximately 1.5 metres high and weighs approximately a quarter of a ton.

They are a fitting tribute to South Tyneside's glorious coast and a poignant posthumous monument to the work of internationationally acclaimed Spanish sculptor Juan Munoz.

The Sail

Stephen Broadbent

The Sail, near Haven Point, is a cast concrete and aluminium structure based on the traditional fishing cobles that guided large vessels safely into port. A circle cut out of the sculpture also offers views out into the ocean.

This artwork, which has proved to be an iconic piece of artwork for the area, was produced by Stephen Broadbent and unveiled as part of the enhancement of Littlehaven promenade in April 2014.

The Eye

Stephen Broadbent

Another firm favourite, and another piece of artwork on Littlehaven Promenade produced by Stephen Broadbent, is The Eye.

Located at the other end of the promenade to The Sail, next to Conversation Piece, this impressive sculpture overlooks the entrance to the River Tyne.

It's raised position allows you to peer through it and out towards the sea.

Inspired by the songs and tales of families waiting for their loved ones to return from the sea, The Eye also has a verse from the poem Blow the Wind Southerly on either side, with words from the poem also scattered along the length of the promenade.

Tommy Silhouette

This new silhouette, an outline of a soldier, was unveiled in July 2019 and commemorates all those who lost their lives in the First World War.

The bespoke Tommy figure, the only three metre Tommy outside of London, was funded by BT South Tyneside.

It is part of the 'There But Not There' project, a national art installation which represents the fallen British and Commonwealth First World War soldiers within the communities they left behind.

This permanent memorial is situated on South Shields Seafront, next to Haven Point and opposite The Sail artwork.


Michelle Castles

Michelle Castles created a unique piece of art that would reflect activity in our impressive seafront leisure facility of Haven Point, while inspiring more people to get involved in sport.

Using wire mesh, she handcrafted the life-size models of a man swimming the butterfly stroke, and has since revealed that the proportions are based on the actual measurements of six-time world swimming champion, Mark Foster.

The striking 'Wavemaker' is currently suspended from the ceiling that overlooks the centre's main reception area and provides a unique talking point for visitors who can also view it from the café, gym and mezzanine.

Spirit of South Shields

Irene Brown

The 'Spirit of South Shields' was installed in 2000 on the banks of the River Tyne at Market Dock, just a couple of minutes walk from the Ferry Landing and The Customs House.

She harbours a ship safely in one arm whilst raising her other arm in greeting.

The work is based upon a great deal of research into the historical associations with South Shields - a long and rich history from the Romans through to the more familiar history of the ship repair yards.

The Spirit is seen as the protector - guiding the ship through the seas safely. She stands strong and optimistic, unafraid and invigorated by the winds of change. She is the prow, the figurehead for South Shields' future.


Irene Brown

Irene Brown crafted 'Fleet' in 2004 from highly polished stainless steel.

It consists of seven Collier Brigs (sailing ships that carried coal) which appear to be floating in a pool of water, which was once used to be a dry dock used for shipbuilding and ship repairs.

The design of the Fleet is the same as the ship being held by the closeby 'Spirit of South Shields', as well as the weather vane on top of South Shields Town Hall.

The brightly polished ships reflect patterns of both moving sky and water and give the impression of a fleet heading out to sea.

You can see Fleet in the Market Dock area of South Shields, just a few minutes walk away from South Shields Town Centre and Ferry Landing.

Art Trail in South Marine Park


Visitors to South Marine Park, on South Shields Seafront, can follow an art trail featuring ten sculptures reflecting the heritage and natural environment of the park.

Local school children worked with artists to develop the pieces, one of which depicts a magical mythical creature who the youngsters imagined may once have inhabited the park.

If you take a stroll through the park keep an eye out for the beautiful Pink Ladies sculptures too, overlooking the park, and look out for the park benches that incorporate wrought iron squirrels, mice and griffins.

I Can See The Sea

Ocean Road, South Shields' famous street linking the Town Centre with the Seafront, is now home to a number of impressive pieces of artwork.

Artwork includes three large sculptures at key junctions along the street. Two of the 3 metre high creations are figurative sculptures, one of a boy stood on fish with a plinth engraved with 'I Can See the Sea' and another of a girl stood on a whale with the plinth engraved with 'I Can See the Town'. The other depicts a Roman soldier directing people to Arbeia Roman Fort.

A series of 'fun' bollards, which have been carved in stone to represent fish, ice cream and boats - traditional elements of a seaside town - have also been installed.

Word Beacon

Andrew Mckeown

Installed as part of the North Marine Park restoration in 2020 this six metre Beacon celebrates South Tyneside's lost shipping industries.

Made from weathering corten steel it features words and occupations linked to those industries and stands proud on the Lawe Top. Words are welded onto the bottom half and laser cut into the top which will be illuminated at night.

The structure takes inspiration from the original Lawe Top beacons built in 1832 and will be visible from Sea Road, the foreshore and beyond.

Spirit of Jarrow

Graham Ibbeson

Located in Jarrow's Viking Centre shopping centre, the 'Spirit of Jarrow' is a life-sized bronze statue that was commissioned to commemorate the 65th anniversary of the Jarrow March for Jobs that took place in October 1936.

Created by sculptor Graham Ibbeson and named by two local residents who won a competition, the monument shows two marchers, two children, a woman carrying a baby and a dog which was the march mascot.

They are all walking out of the ribs of a ship carrying the Jarrow Crusade banner.

Find out more about the area's historic buildings & monuments