Sunday, February 19, 2017

Sentinel, a 16m high sculpture by Tim Tolkien, installed upon Spitfire Island

The Castle Bromwich Spitfire factory closed at the end of WW2 after having made most of the Spitfires, and was converted into a factory making bodies for cars, including Minis; from 1977 it became the home of Jaguar cars.

The award-winning art project began in 1997 as part of the regeneration of Castle Vale estate. Using National Lottery funding, Tolkien was appointed as artist in residence. He consulted with Castle Vale residents about an art feature and found that they were inspired above all else by the area's air history, during World War II, and favoured a sculpture featuring Spitfires. The sculpture was opened on 14 November 2000. The sculptor is the great-nephew of J. R. R. Tolkien


  1. Hi Jesse,
    If you want to read more about Castle Bromwich I'd recommend "Sigh for a Merlin" by Alex Henshaw. He was a pre war racer and record breaker (his London-Cape Town-London record stood until about 5 years ago and was then only beaten by a few hours. He had to be carried out of his aircraft after the final landing). He was chief test pilot for all the Spitfires and Lancasters built at CB and renowned for his aerobatic displays (reputed to be the only person to barrel roll a Lancaster). The pressures of war meant testing in all weathers; if the airfield was clouded in he would judge its position by the smoke from a nearby power station and descend through the murk, fingers crossed.

    1. thanks! I love the old stories... judge the position, cross the fingers, and hope! HA!