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The Knife Angel

Home > Birmingham > Museums | Free | Art
by Annie Waddington-Feather (subscribe)
Born in Yorkshire, raised in Shropshire, travelled the world. Lived in Adelaide and currently in UK. Love travel, ancient history, horses, cello playing, the unusual and obscure, and pottering in my own back yard. Visit my website
Published June 16th 2019
A national monument against violence and aggression

At 27 ft tall, the Knife Angel is a striking sight and from a distance, you'd be forgiven for thinking the sculpture is some sort of religious icon.

Located in The British Ironworks, Shropshire, you approach it from behind; its wings appear to be quite delicate, but as you draw nearer and circle round to the front, you realise what the angel is made of - knives.

Shrewsbury Shropshire Knife Angel Artists knife crime Ironworks sculpture
The Knife Angel from behind (Image by Chris Foss)

In fact, some 100,000 knives.

With its sorrowful eyes, head tilted downwards and hands palm upwards, the Knife Angel asks 'Why?'; it is a moving tribute to victims of knife crime, and those affected by it, and sends a powerful message to all who see it.

Commissioned by The Ironworks, The Knife Angel has been created by visionary artist Alfie Bradley and inside the Ironworks museum, there is a haunting exhibition of its inception and details of how it was made.

Through the, "Save a Life, Surrender Your Knife" campaign, knives were surrendered anonymously to 43 British Constabularies; knives also came from anti-violence groups and families affected by knife violence across the UK.

To ensure the safe delivery, they were delivered to the artist's studio by a police escort.

Knives and other weapons ranged from standard kitchen and pocketknives through to Samurai swords, machetes and knuckledusters. More disconcerting for the team was the array of homemade weapons, and some blades arriving in evidence packaging. Others still had traces of blood….

Shrewsbury Shropshire Knife Angel Artists knife crime Ironworks sculpture
Making of The Knife Angel collage (Image from The Ironworks Website)

Wearing bio-hazard suits, the team sterilised and blunted each blade so Alfie could weld them together.

If you look closely at the wings, some of the blades are inscribed with the names of lost loved ones. There are also messages of loss and love to those who have tragically died from a knife attack or injury. Others express disbelief at how bad knife crime is while some have messages of forgiveness and regret from ex-offenders.

The aim of this remarkable sculpture is quite simple - to grab attention and bring the issue of knife crime to the front of society's consciousness. It is a symbol of hope and anti-violence.

While its home is The Ironworks in Shropshire, to spread the message further, the Knife Angel also goes on tour and is displayed in city centres.

Find out more about the Knife Angel and its tour here.
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Why? A symbol of hope and anti-violence
When: 7 days a week,
Phone: 0800 6888386
Where: The Ironworks, Oswestry, Shropshire, SY11 4JH
Cost: Free
Your Comment
Wow, great article Annie and what a great way to get the message out.
by Irenke Forsyth (score: 3|2500) 855 days ago
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