Shoppers visiting Orbital are in for a treat, as a new sculpture commemorating Swindon’s engineering heritage has been installed close to Next and the new play area.
The impressive 5.5 metre laser-cut steel installation, which was unveiled by Justin Tomlinson MP, has been created by local historian and artist Dr Mike Pringle.
Designed around the shape and size of a Spitfire wing and featuring the outline of an engineer and a pilot, the artwork honours the people of Swindon who helped in the war effort during WWII and contributed to the town’s rich engineering heritage.
Local children from Abbey North School were invited to create colourful plane-themed designs for a series of paving stones located throughout the centre to celebrate the sculpture’s arrival.
Jamie Turner, centre manager at Orbital, said: “The installation of this brilliant sculpture is the final phase of a significant investment at Orbital, following the arrival of our aviation-themed play area earlier this year.
“The sculpture is an excellent way to honour the history of our town, and we know it will be a nice talking point for our shoppers when they visit.”
Historian and artist Dr Mike Pringle, said: “It was a joy for me to be able to create this piece of art for the town where I live. It’s a celebration of Swindon’s rich and varied engineering heritage, and it’s fantastic to have it unveiled in the RAF’s centenary year too. I hope Orbital shoppers will enjoy it as much as I have, for many years to come.”
Justin Tomlinson, MP for North Swindon, said: “The Spitfire is generally regarded as one of the most important pieces of British engineering, and I am incredibly proud of Swindon’s contribution to its production. The artwork is a fantastic way to celebrate this history – as well as to honour the pilots whose contribution was pivotal to winning the war.
“A big thank you to Mike Pringle for producing this fantastic work, and of course to Orbital for displaying our proud history.”