Vane Tempest Sculpture
Art Seaham County Durham

Vane Tempest Sculpture

Art In Seaham, County Durham

Sculpture depicting the skyline of the old Vane Tempest colliery in Seaham.

We recently visited Seaham to score a few points on the FN leaderboard and were surprised to see how many artworks there are along the seafront. The Vane Tempest sculpture is an impressive piece of art not far from the Jewels of the Sea, and you can spot it right on the front.

The Vane Tempest colliery named in honour of Lady Frances Anne Vane Tempest, was in operation from 1926 until 1993. Coal was mined at the two pits here and at it's height in 1935, there were over 1300 people employed at the colliery.

The Vane Tempest sculpture was created by Michael Johnson, and can be interpreted in a number of ways. Fundamentally it represents the colliery buildings, including the winding gear, boiler house, and chimney and honours the backbreaking labour of the miners who toiled beneath the North Sea. However, the abstract nature of the piece means it can also be interpreted as a ship, perhaps a nod to Seaham's maritime past.

Information panels on the base of the sculpture delve deeper into the idea behind the artwork. They detail the work of the miners, the technological advancements that shaped the industry, and the eventual decline that left a deep scar on the community. Just beyond the sculpture, there are also metal inlays on the pavement which represent the vast network of tunnels that snaked for miles beneath the North Sea.

Michael Johnson was the lead artist on the project 'Turning the Tide', which revamped the Durham coastline after 150 years of industry. The project was opened by The Queen in 2002 by the unveiling of one of Michael's sculptures.

Whilst you're wandering along the seafront, you can also visit Eleven O One or 'Tommy' by Ray Lonsdale, created in 2014 to commemorate 100 years since the start of WW1. However, there is so much more to see, including Jewels of the Sea, The Coxswain and the George Elmy Lifeboat and The Brothers.

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How To Find Vane Tempest Sculpture

Where Is Vane Tempest Sculpture?

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Lat / Long

54.844559, -1.337013

What three words

pies.matter.reader

Where To Park For Vane Tempest Sculpture?

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Lat / Long

54.844963, 54.844963

What three words

goat.custom.even

There is parking in a shopping area just across the road. If you are staying in the area a bit longer, there is a free car park slightly further along the coast.

Contributed by Sandra Clemens

I love the great outdoors and have been a National Trust & English Heritage member for years. I also love going off the beaten track and finding places like Sharp's Folly or Rothley Castle which are hidden gems in Northumberland. My favourite recent hike was climbing Red Screes in the Lake District on a whim, not fully grasping how high 776m was. It was still an achievement to conquer a Wainwright walk and I hope to do more one day.

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Sandra Clemens

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The Brothers
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Vane Tempest Sculpture was listed in Art // County Durham // Seaham