WATCH: Statue removed from Sunderland Empire

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AFTER three days hanging on by just a lightning rod, the iconic Terpsichore statue has been removed safely from the top of the Sunderland Empire tower.

This morning, a lull in the high winds which have battered Wearside for the past few days meant a crane could go up to remove the Greek muse of dance and chorus.

It meant the cordon, which has been in place around the High Street West theatre to ensure the safety of the public, could also be removed.

Businesses nearby are also able to re-open.

Terpsichore is now being stored in the basement of the theatre but is too damaged to be put back in place.

It’s hoped a replacement will be cast to re-instate the landmark statue.

Ben Phillips, Empire general manager, said: “We were due to have a safety meeting at 9am this morning, but in the end that didn’t take place. The council were informed by the Met Office that 7.30am this morning would be the best time to send up a crane.

“Since originally becoming dislodged on Saturday she was moving and we needed to get her down safely. By the end she was only hanging on by the lightning rod.

“Now she’s down it means we, and the businesses around here, can go back to business as normal. But it does look odd not seeing her up there.”

He added: “There’s been a lot of interest in the statue being dislodged, she’s a landmark for the city, which can be seen from miles away, and is often used by the council on images to promote the city. People have been asking us to make sure she goes back up.”

Fallen muse... high winds toppled the figure which stands atop the Empire Theatre in High Street. The road was sealed off until efforts were able to get underway to removed the figure, which was hanging precariously above the theatre's domed tower.

Fallen muse... high winds toppled the figure which stands atop the Empire Theatre in High Street. The road was sealed off until efforts were able to get underway to removed the figure, which was hanging precariously above the theatre's domed tower.

The dislodged statue, which has stood at the top of the Empire since the ‘70s, is a replacement to the original.

The original Terpsichore, which was removed during the Second World War for safety reasons after a bomb fell nearby, is at the top of the theatre’s main staircase.

Fallen muse... high winds toppled the figure which stands atop the Empire Theatre in High Street. The road was sealed off until efforts were able to get underway to removed the figure, which was hanging precariously above the theatre's domed tower.

Fallen muse... high winds toppled the figure which stands atop the Empire Theatre in High Street. The road was sealed off until efforts were able to get underway to removed the figure, which was hanging precariously above the theatre's domed tower.