Hartlepool college student creates tribute to steelmaking

Emma Train with her creation "A Spectacle of Steel". Photograph by FRANK REID
Emma Train with her creation "A Spectacle of Steel". Photograph by FRANK REID

A stunning tribute to the area’s proud steelmaking industry has been created by a Hartlepool college student.

Emma Train, who is graduating from Cleveland College of Art and Design in Hartlepool, made the piece of art depicting some of the structures local steel has made all over the world.

"A Spectacle of Steel" by Emma Steel. Photograph by FRANK REID

"A Spectacle of Steel" by Emma Steel. Photograph by FRANK REID

Called Spectacle of Steel, it stands 10ft-tall and measures four fee wide.

Emma, 29, a production design student said: “Steelmaking is very close to my heart, my grandad and his dad used to work in the industry.

“A lot of friends have also lost their jobs recently as well. I wanted to put a positive spin on the steel industry after the recent bad news and job losses.

“I’m very proud of where I live and wanted to highlight the good things that the industry did.

I wanted to look back at our heritage and tell a story of how Teesside built iconic structures around the world

Emma Train

“I wanted to look back at our heritage and tell a story of how Teesside built iconic structures around the world.”

The main feature of the artwork is the Infant Hercules in the shape of steel girders standing on a screw, pouring out steel.

The screw is iron ore which came from the Teesside hills. Emma also highlights how Teesside steel was used to make famous bridges all over the world including Sydney Harbour Bridge.

Emma, who lives in Middlesbrough, produced the installation for her final major project and features in the college’s Vision Degree Show, which is open to the public until Saturday.

Emma Train with her creation "A Spectacle of Steel". Photograph by FRANK REID

Emma Train with her creation "A Spectacle of Steel". Photograph by FRANK REID

“It has been really tough project with a lot of late nights but I have loved having the opportunity to build.”

Education and arts supporter Mike McGrother and Stockton’s male Infant Hercules Choir were so inspired by Emma’s work that they visited the campus in Church Square to see Spectacle of Steel.

They performed songs such as We Shall Overcome and Infant Hercules, telling the tales of the Teesside steel heritage and the passion from the workers.

After graduating, Emma hopes to build on her work as a community artist.

Emma Train with Mike McGrother and her creation "A Spectacle of Steel". Photograph by FRANK REID

Emma Train with Mike McGrother and her creation "A Spectacle of Steel". Photograph by FRANK REID

She said: “I would love to get involved in the community in Teesside and work with schools and clubs creating art and exhibition pieces. I am also looking to work in theatres as a production artist.”

It comes as the future of the Tata plan in Hartlepool hands in the balance after the Indian firm announced it was selling off its UK plants and the devastating closure of the SSI plant in Redcar.

Emma Train with Mike McGrother (front centre) and fellow "Wildcats of Kilkenny" band members in front of her creation "A Spectacle of Steel". Photograph by FRANK REID

Emma Train with Mike McGrother (front centre) and fellow "Wildcats of Kilkenny" band members in front of her creation "A Spectacle of Steel". Photograph by FRANK REID