Fifty years after its first exhibition, a key piece of Birmingham history has returned to the city.
The brainchild of Birmingham property developers Cordia Blackswan in collaboration with Hockley Social Club, a seven metre (22ft) statue of King Kong is on display at the the new King Kong Park on Great Hampton Row in the Jewellery Quarter.
Created by artist Nicholas Monro, King Kong was commissioned in 1972 for display in Manzoni Gardens in the Bull Ring. Following the brief to make it ‘city oriented,’ the 18ft fibreglass statue (chosen because of its association with New York City), quickly became a popular icon but was sold four months later once sponsorship funding dried up. After being displayed elsewhere in Birmingham and then at markets in Edinburgh and Penrith, it now resides in a garden overlooking the Penrith Hills.
To celebrate the Commonwealth Games that launches in Birmingham on Thursday 28th July, Cordia Blackswan commissioned a larger replica of the original statue, which was scanned from a maquette at Wolverhampton Gallery and created by Gloucestershire-based RoboCarv.
Now on display, the statue was officially opened on Friday by members of the Monro Family and Cordia Blackswan founder Marcus Hawley.
I spoke to Jessica Vincent, Marketing & Sales Manager at Cordia Blackswan.
A year ago we had the idea of creating an urban pop-up park, and we wanted to have something that was iconic, something that would bring visitors, tourists and athletes to the park. We wanted to create an alternative fanzone that would bring the community together and do something really different.
We decided to put it on as an event and use the courtyard of The Gothic, one of our developments which we own, and that gives an extra space for food and drink. We wanted to cater for the whole family and so we have partnered with Hockley Social Club. It’s free to enter and is set out in two ways. In the park we have King Kong, with street food vendors from Hockley Social Club that changes from week to week, we have a bar, live music and a DJ who is playing family-oriented music.
It’s important to us that the park was accessible, free and not only could bring communities together, but visitors from other parts of the city, and of course athletes too!
King Kong can be found at King Kong Park at Great Hampton Row, Birmingham, and is open from Friday 22nd July until Monday 8th August 2022 from 10.00am-11.00pm each day. Entry is free of charge!