Poignant Knife Angel sculpture arrives in Bolton - what it means and how long it'll be there

 A detail from The Knife Angel sculpture outside Coventry Cathedral on March 14, 2019 in Coventry
A detail from The Knife Angel sculpture outside Coventry Cathedral on March 14, 2019 in Coventry

A town in Greater Manchester is one of the next stops for the ‘Knife Angel’ on its tour around Britain. The sculpture will be in Bolton for four weeks in November.

The sculpture is the National Monument Against Violence and Aggression and is made up of over 100,000 seized knives. All of the knives were collected through amnesty’s in 2015 and 2016.

The angel is a dominant 27 feet tall and weighs around 3 tonnes. It was created to highlight violent behaviour and to address the need for social change by artist Alfie Bradley.

The Knife Angel will be in Bolton from November 1 to November 30. It will be located on Deansgate, opposite McDonalds in between café Nero and Greggs.

The town will officially welcome the memorial on Friday November 3 at 2pm, with a launch event that will see representatives from Bolton Council, VCSFE sector, Greater Manchester Police, Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service, Youth Voices, Youth MPs and The Mayor of Bolton, amongst others, take part in speeches, a special poem recital, a dove release and a ribbon tying ceremony.

For the duration of the angel’s stay in Bolton, there will be a series of workshops and activities designed to highlight the issues of violence.

The angel is a first for several reasons. It is the first national monument to be created without funding, as well as being the only UK monument addressing social change and being the UK’s most travelled monument.

Despite the angel touring for over four years, this will be its first visit to Greater Manchester. It will be coming to the region from Colchester in Essex.  Ahead of its visit to Bolton, you can find out more about the Knife Angel by visiting the British Ironwork Centre’s website. 

Bolton Council’s Chief Executive, Sue Johnson, said: “I am extremely proud that we have managed to secure the National Monument Against Violence and Aggression for Bolton and I am looking forward to showcasing such an outstanding piece of artwork.

“The council works continuously to reduce all forms of violent crime across the borough, and this additional work can only look to enhance the existing effort from the council and its partners to make our town safer.

“I hope this month of action inspires our community to make better choices and that the legacy work brings about life long social change in our town.”

Bolton Wanderers in the Community’s Chief Executive Officer, Phil Mason, said: “It is a real privilege for us in Bolton to have this national monument, the Knife Angel, in our town over the month of November.

“It gives us the opportunity to focus and highlight the negative effects of violent behaviour and in a real partnership with so many organisations, charities community groups and schools, work towards a legacy of transformation in our communities.

“During the month there are many events and activities that will remember those who have lost their lives through violent crime, those who are victims and stories shared from those who have reformed their ways and are encouraging others to keep away from such crimes.

“November is a month of remembrance and with the Knife Angel in town this can be a catalyst to remember, and to unify our communities.”