“Building a bridge from giant Meccano is the fulfillment of a childhood dream. I spent my entire childhood building mechanical devices from Meccano and now we have the largest Meccano style set in the world.” Liam Curtin
Designed by public artist Liam Curtin, a £90,000 galvanised steel footbridge built with scaled up Meccano style pieces like “Lilliputian figures in a magical toy world”, 1.3m high with a 6.4m span, has been placed on the site of a disused horse bridge over a canal to link Nob End in Little Lever and Moses Gate Country Park, Bolton. As part of the long-term renovation of the canal by the Manchester, Bolton & Bury Canal Society, the dénouement of the bridge involved a dialogue with the local community about the type of features that could improve the area. Residents stitched thousands of CD’s together to make a floating sculpture, and the artist worked with a local youth club to create a model ‘friction lock’ bridge, based on a design by Leonardo Da Vinci. The construction of the bridge was undertaken by the artist with volunteers and members of the Canal Society, and was advised by Bolton Council’s engineers, and the civil engineering department of the University of Bolton.
Bolton at Home is a registered charity providing social housing to around 18,500 customers. The project is managed by the Bolton at Home Percent for Art service, established in 1997; the only housing and regeneration based arts team in the UK involved in commissioning innovative public and community artworks, to promote customer involvement and community engagement. Past projects include: The Living Room, 2003, a play area designed as brick re-creation of a sitting room, with brick sofas and armchairs; Door to Door, 2008, a temporary public artwork featuring footage of hundreds of the town’s residents fused together to create a 100-metre wide film projected onto the façade of Le Mans Crescent in the centre of Bolton.
Liam Curtin’s public art commissions include: 30 commissioned artworks from 16 artists for the Northern Quarter Public Art Scheme, Manchester, 1994-1998; a 15-metre tall sculpture that turns waves into musical chords, made with John Gooding, the Blackpool High Tide Organ, 1996.
Main Image: Photo credit: Sleepy G photography