Gateway sculpture celebrating Poole’s maritime and shipbuilding heritage has been unveiled at Hunger Hill in Poole

Enhancing the area for local people, businesses and visitors, installation of Poole’s new Bottle Knot sculpture has been completed. 

Positioned next to the Hunger Hill Junction, the sculpture will become a new landmark for people travelling into and away from Poole’s port and town centre. The artwork was designed by the artist Michael Condron and is made from thousands of overlapping segments of stainless steel that spiral into the form of a giant rope knot. It also features internal LED lighting which illuminates the sculpture at dusk with light creeping through gaps in its intricate metal surface.

Ideas for this piece were developed following extensive engagement with local historians, schools and Poole Museum. Residents expressed a desire to celebrate the town’s local heritage through an unmistakeable gateway and the finished Bottle Knot Sculpture echoes the significant maritime and shipbuilding heritage of Poole.

The completed artwork marks the final milestone in BCP Council’s Townside and Hunger Hill infrastructure improvement scheme, which has already delivered an improved walking and cycling network on the townside of the Back Water channel and Holes Bay, between Poole Bridge and Hunger Hill. The scheme began in 2018 following a public consultation on improving access between the port and town centre. Within this consultation residents requested more gateway features to create a unique identity for the area.  

To deliver the Townside Access improvement scheme, close to £10 million was awarded by Dorset Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), from its Local Growth Fund. £450,000 was then allocated by BCP Council towards creating attractive public spaces, which enhance the quality of life for local people.

Cecilia Bufton, Chair of Dorset LEP, added: “I am thrilled to see this wonderful new landmark, signifying the history and importance of the port and surrounding area. Today’s unveiling represents a significant milestone in the overall Port of Poole programme, a £22 million Local Growth Fund investment, which will create housing and jobs, help drive local economic growth and generate an anticipated £500m of private investment into the area over the next few years. “

This investment has transformed the old Hunger Hill roundabout into a place local people can enjoy and provided attractive street furniture, over thirty new trees, seasonal planting, signage and wayfinding linking to the local Heritage Trail. It has also been used to deliver both the Bottle Knot sculpture and another of Michael Condron’s designs, the West Quay Wings artworks at Barbers Piles. Installed in March 2021, the second West Quay Wings gateway sculpture features a flock of six shining stainless-steel birds in flight, with colourful inlaid glass and engravings celebrating local heritage.

Councillor Mike Greene, Portfolio Holder for Transport and Sustainability said:

“It’s great to see this long-term investment plans for this part of Poole come to a conclusion with a new landmark sculpture taking pride of place at Hunger Hill. It is a fascinating piece of art that will create a focal point for people travelling on foot or by bike, encouraging them to stop and explore the local area. It also compliments our wider plans to make Poole a place where people can live and work in a healthy and vibrant environment.’’

Michael Condron, comments: “It’s so good to see the sculpture in where it belongs – up until a few weeks ago there’s just been hundreds of massive and tiny components laid out all over my studio. It’s overwhelming to see it all together at last!

“While I’ve been assembling the sculpture at Hunger Hill passers-by have been stopping to chat. Ideas for this public artwork began with conversations about Poole’s people and history, and now it’s in place, it’s great to know that these conversations are continuing.”

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