North Tees Hospital to Welcome Back Eddie Hawking Sculpture
A sculpture by Eddie Hawking, former lecturer at Middlesbrough College of Art (now The Northern School of Art) is being reinstalled at North Tees University Hospital, over 50 years since sadly being taken down after being deemed “inappropriate” by a hospital matron.
Eddie who taught subject areas such as sculpture, drawing and fine art worked art the college from 1952 to 1986, helping to establish the college as a separate entity and retired as a Head of Service.
The sculpture which was made at the old Middlesbrough College of Art captures Eddies then pregnant wife Audrey and was originally displayed in the hospitals maternity ward.
Speaking of the story Daniel Cochran, local art historian and researcher commented, “Eddie (Edwin – but he prefers Eddie) was a lecturer at Teesside/Middlesbrough College of Art for many years, and had a lot of input into the local art scene. I believe he played a big role in the Cleveland International Drawing Biennale back in the 70s. A lot of the artists I’ve interviewed were taught by him. He made the statue at the college.”
With the help of Daniel, the piece which was found in the artists outbuilding workshop at his family home in Bristol, is being restored at the Arthur Wharton Foundation in Darlington and will be sent back to the hospital to be exhibited soon.
Eddies work came to Daniels attention through his contact with his project North East Statues “I ran a website when I lived in Budapest about public art, gave lectures, wrote articles, that kind of thing. When I researched public art back home in the North East (Cleveland specifically), I realised the info was all a bit piecemeal. So I started the project and began interviewing artists, many of whom were long-retired, getting archive material and such..to produce an open archive of all public art in the region with in-depth, searchable histories and contextualisation of each piece”
“I love it when people submit old sculptural photos to me, so when a Mr. John Cooke sent an old, sepia-tinged picture of a very distinguished looking artist, pipe-in-mouth, working on a nude figure, we knew we had to find out more..”
Leading to the art piece finding its way back home to Middlesbrough!
Reinstalling the work was a collaborative effort, speaking on his blog about the work Daniel said, “Through the fantastic work of Shaun Campbell at the Arthur Wharton Foundation, we made contact with Julie Gillon at the NHS Trust and hospital consultant Professor Jane Metcalfe to tentatively sound things out. Rather than the understandably dismissive, why-are-you-bothering-us-with-this-during-a-pandemic response I’d been fearing, we instead got a lovely letter saying that the hospital would be delighted to bring Eddie Hawking’s work back to the maternity ward. We obviously didn’t want the hospital to be shelling out for this, so Shaun and his trust have kindly agreed to pay for any restoration work needed, which we hope will be completed sometime in the near future.”
Speaking of welcoming the statue back to the hospital Rebecca Eggleston, deputy head of midwifery at North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust said ““We are really looking forward to welcoming the arrival of this beautiful sculpture once again. This represents an important piece of history associated with the maternity service and to the hospital building. We will be working with staff in the department to find a suitable place for the sculpture to be located for both staff and patients to see.”
Dunning Road Police Station Abstract
This sculpture isn’t the only of Eddies public art works in Middlesbrough. In 1962 another metal abstract work was created and hung from Dunning Road Police Station to commemorate the opening of their new HQ and stayed until it was demolished in 2009 to be reinstated in 2010 on Stephenson St, Middlesbrough where it can still be seen today.
The sculpture was cast in aluminium at a foundry in Hull. Eddie wrote about the piece in a North Eastern Arts review, commenting that station architect James Cairnduff “foresaw the incorporation of a relief sculpture which would act as something of a focal point and afford a contrast to the stiff geometry of the building…it (the abstract) was an attempt to make synthesis of organic or human and geometric or man-made forms”
Congratulations to Eddie and his family, we are so pleased to see this wonderful piece of work and local history is being reinstated at North Tees hospital!