The making of 'Marge and Steel'

Marge and Steel Celebration Event held at Irlam and Cadishead College

Marge and Steel'Marge and Steel' is Irlam and Cadishead's new piece of public art positioned on the roundabout with Liverpool Road and the recently built Cadishead Way Bypass; created to improve traffic flow through Irlam and Cadishead and the Northbank Industrial Estate.

It was designed as a gateway feature into Salford from Warrington and was the first of many improvements planned for the regeneration of Liverpool Road.  It is symbolic of the Margarine Factory and Irlam Steel Works, one of the biggest in the country and the contribution made by the local people to the local economy.

It was also the first public art on a roundabout in Salford and has been successful despite considerable challenges, owing to the commitment and partnership working of Salford City Council's Arts Development Service, Economic Development Service, the Neighbourhood Management Team, the Supported Housing Team, the Press and Marketing Team, local schools, local councillors and the Community Committee and Salford's Urban Planning Agency, Urban Vision.

The design is based upon an idea developed with the community by artists Marcela Livingston and Liam Curtain.  They asked people about the history of the place where the sculpture is sited.

Children wanted a modern superhero theme and adults talked about the Steel and Margarine works that used to be here.  Retired workers told us about the tea dances they enjoyed.  An idea was developed to portray the dance of these two industries which forged people's lives together in Irlam and Cadishead.

Retired workers created a poem for the artwork with poet Mike Garry.  An education pack was developed and distributed to nine local primary schools. Pupils from the Irlam and Cadishead High School learned dances from the 1940s onwards and designed a website.

Community consultations at the Community Festival and Irlam and Cadishead Community Committee encouraged local people to express their thoughts and ideas on the sculpture and public art in general.  Leading up to the celebration, dance workshops were enthusiastically enjoyed by pupils at Irlam and Cadishead High School. Local teachers were offered training on the education pack to accompany the sculpture.