Bright lights shine to mark town Apollo’s 50th anniversary
Love it or hate it The Apollo Pavilion in Peterlee is back in the spotlight.
This time the controversial sculpture is being brought to life with an art light show to celebrate its 50th anniversary.
The extraordinary concrete structure, which bridges a beck in the middle of the town’s Sunny Blunts housing estate, was designed by one of Britain’s greatest post-war artists, Victor Pasmore, to mark the new town.
Work began on the £33,000 creation in early 1969 and Pasmore wanted his construction to be named the Apollo Pavilion after the spacecraft that landed on the moon on July 20, 1969.
Although the piece has divided opinion for many years, it is now celebrating its 50th year.
Last night and tonight it is being illuminated from 6pm to 9.30pm by Artichoke, the organisation behind Durham’s Lumiere festival, which commissioned some Berlin artists to transform the brutalist squares into a light and video installation.
This will be followed by a 50th birthday party in July, the unveiling of an art installation in September and a landscape art project for secondary and higher education students.
Dozens of residents braved the cold to see the amazing light show.
Among them was John Lambert, 55, who lived in a house near the structure as a young boy.
He said: “I have so many fond memories of it. It was our playground, we used to climb on it and jump across it.
“And, being called Apollo made it extra special, because that was all people were talking about.”
John, who has four children and three grandchildren, only moved back to the town a few months ago after living in Scotland for 20 years.
He said: “I now live even closer to the sculpture. I couldn’t believe it after having just moved back when a leaflet came through the door about the 50th anniversary.
“I came out to see the light show and it is awesome.”
Simon Henig, leader of Durham County Council, said this is the first time of bringing Lumiere out of the Durham City centre and celebrating 50 years of the Apollo Pavilion, which has been dubbed one of the region’s top hidden gems, is a great way to do this.
He said: “I think it looks spectacular. It doesn’t matter if you like the sculpture or not this will be something for people to remember for years to come.”