Burgess Hill Green Circle Public Art Trail

'Bluebird Contained' Artist: Steve Geliot Mirror-polished stainless steel

Commemorating the lives of Engineers: Eric Arthur (1912-1998), Kenneth William (1921-2005) & Lewis Hunt Norris (1924-2009). Sculpture situated at Grassmere Meadow.

Eric, Ken and Lew Norris were sons of the engineer in charge of the gasworks at Burgess Hill, Sussex.

Ken started as an apprentice at the Armstrong Whitworth aircraft company at Whitley. He enrolled at Imperial College, London where he studied aeronautical engineering, while also taking business administration part-time at the London School of Economics.

Lew served his apprenticeship with Harland and Wolff at its London docklands shipyard, building landing craft for D-Day. After the war he worked for Burmah Oil and later with their older brother Eric who was an accountant at Kine Engineering, where Donald Campbell was part-owner.

In 1952, Ken, Eric and Lew set up ‘Norris Brothers’, an engineering consultancy in Burgess Hill and Campbell approached them to design a boat to attempt the water speed record. The Norrises created an all-metal hydroplane which became Bluebird K7 which achieved the water-speed record an unparalleled seven times for Britain between 1955 (202.32mph) and 1964 (276.33mph) before Campbell died at close to 300mph on Coniston Water in 1967.

The Norris Brothers also created the Bluebird CN7 car with which Campbell finally secured the land-speed record at 403.1mph on Australia's Lake Eyre in July 1964. Campbell crashed the first version at more than 300mph on the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah in 1960 but only sustained minor injuries.

Apart from the Bluebirds, Norris Brothers was responsible for many original concepts, including the go-kart, automatic seat belts and the "honeycomb sandwich" which is still the basis of the crash protection shell used in Formula 1 cars today.

Green O Public Art Leaflet cover

Artist's Statement

Sculpture gives us the opportunity to physically touch the product of an artist’s imagination. Creating sculpture, particularly public sculpture, comes with many challenges.

The work has to be beautiful, but durable, site-specific and appropriate to its context. It has to satisfy the demands of the commissioner’s brief. It has to be made within tight budgets and strict timescales and be designed with safety in mind.

The thing I like most though, is that there is the opportunity to give people a sensual and cultural experience free of charge: something thought provoking and inspiring. It is the stuff of life, and through the beauty of physics it is a private encounter with the universe.

Steve Geliot
Steve studied in Brighton and Chelsea and has undertaken a huge array of public art commissions. He lives and works in Brighton.

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