The story behind the Knife Angel

21 March 2024

1.9 Min Read

Bury, UK – March 2024

The British Ironwork Centre’s unforgettable sculpture, the Knife Angel, has become a powerful symbol in the fight against violence. This towering, 27-foot-tall winged figure, crafted from over 100,000 confiscated knives and blades, is not just a striking piece of art – it’s a poignant reminder of the devastating impact of violent crime.

The Knife Angel’s story began in 2015, fueled by Clive Knowles’ (British Ironwork Centre) ongoing work on knife amnesties with the police. Witnessing the surge in knife crime, Knowles enlisted sculptor Alfie Bradley to bring a powerful symbol of awareness and change to life.

The creation process itself was a powerful act of transformation. Thousands of surrendered and seized knives, many of them representing moments of violence and despair, were meticulously welded together. This painstaking process gave these instruments of harm a new purpose – becoming a powerful symbol of hope and a call for a more peaceful future.

Unveiled in 2018 at the British Ironwork Centre in Shropshire, the Knife Angel’s impact was immediate. The towering figure, with its bladed wings and sorrowful gaze, resonated deeply with the public. It became a place for reflection and a starting point for crucial conversations about the root causes of violence and the need for preventative measures.

However, the Knife Angel’s reach was destined to extend beyond Shropshire. The decision to embark on a national tour ensured the monument’s message would be heard across the UK.  Each new location provides a platform for local communities to engage with the issue of violence.

Here in Bury, we are currently hosting the Knife Angel, with the local agencies and police using the opportunity to engage with community groups and schools on knife crime prevention. This collaboration highlights the ongoing role the sculpture plays in supporting local efforts to tackle knife crime.

The Knife Angel’s journey is far from over. As it travels to different towns and cities, it serves as a stark reminder of the human cost of violence. It is a monument not just to the weapons themselves, but to the lives lost and forever altered by these senseless acts.

By sparking conversations, inspiring reflection, and fostering collaboration, the Knife Angel serves as a beacon of hope in the fight for a safer future.