Saturday, 23 July 2011
This sculpture was designed by Paul Mount and unveiled in 1971. One of the very few modern works commissioned for Bristol during the modernist era, legend has it that another city had turned the design down originally, and in truth it has never been particularly popular with Bristolians either. But when I was a child I always found it a very eye-catching object; its sleek, shiny surface glinting in the sun as we passed by it on regular journeys through the city.
Over the years the trees grew and enshrouded it, cutting out the sun beams, whilst passing drunks pissed on it, and bored youths scrawled their initials on it. We all forgot it was there, busily decaying. But recent renovation work, mainly due to the opening of a new Holiday Inn nearby, has at least cleared up the area and given the Spirit some visibility once more - a post-war beacon standing tarnished but proud, blinking in the sunlight once more.