Sunderland Empire statue Terpsichore back in place after repair works

An iconic statue has been reinstalled at the top of Sunderland Empire after it was removed because of damage.

Sunday, 4th December 2016, 11:53 am
Updated Tuesday, 6th December 2016, 11:52 am
Terpsichore being put into place on the Sunderland Empire roof.

Terpsichore, the Greek Muse of dancing and choral song, had to be taken down from the building after became dislodged due to high winds in January 2015.

The artwork, which is a fibreglass replica of the original bronze and gold statue which stands at the top of the theatre’s main staircase.

The original Terpsichore had to be moved during the Second World War after a bomb which had fallen close by rocked the building.

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A crane from Ainscough Cranes and workers from construction firm St Astier worked to get the 100kg sculpture back onto the Empire roof 90ft above ground and into place during a 45-minute period.

A small crowd of people had gathered to see the statue put back into place.

One of those watching was David Sloan, 68, of Shiney Row, who said that seeing Terpsichore installed brought back memories for him.

“I was in the public works department at the council that was given the job to put this up many years ago, but it was actually done by a mountaineer in the end using ropes.

“It’s a real shame that it was damaged earlier this year and it didn’t look right when you saw the Empire since then.

“But it’s great that it’s back in place now.

“The statue is the focus of the Minster Square Masterplan so it is exactly where it should be once again.”

The damaged Terpischore, which had been silver, now matches the original piece’s colouring.

The statue was restored by a fibreglass specialist using fibreglass and a new stainless steel tube which had been inserted for the refixing to the colonnade.

The Empire, a Grade II listed Edwardian building, is managed by the Ambassador Theatre Group is also undergoing other facade repairs as part of improvement plans at the High Street West site.

Work will commence on refurbishment of the dress circle bar and bistro this coming January.