Stood tall on the sea side of the upper promenade, the Sea Swallow sculpture is lined up with Victoria Road West.
It can be seen from the end of the high street and all the way along the seafront – it’s a marker for the area to draw people to the coast.
The Sea Swallow is a childrens story book for the Wyre coastline, a fantastic narrative with threads of local folklore woven into the text. It tells the tale of petrified forests and sunken villages and the Sea Swallows that fly over the coast.
The 30′ tall column of the sculpture is topped off with the trademark ‘Sea Swallows’, bringing the book for Cleveleys to life on the promenade.
The opening paragraph of text from the book is carved into the plinth.
Down in Lune Deep
Far below the sea
Like sunken treasure.
A strange boy is watching
But steals away in a flash
As the Sea-Ogre stirs
And our story begins…
Public Art Trail
The story is brought to life through a public art trail which winds along the promenade.
First, where Cleveleys meets Blackpool is the Shipwreck Memorial, next the Sea Swallow, then the Ogres Paddle. Spot the Ogre himself sat on the beach when the tide is out, and finally you’ll see Mary’s Shell – also on the beach but is so big that it’s exposed even at high tide.
You can read about all of these pieces of public art with the links.
Installation of the Sea Swallow
The landmark ‘Sea Swallow’ sculpture arrived on Cleveleys promenade on 19 June 2013.
Before that, in mid May, work started on the foundations for the base and plinth, and on 19 June the sculpture itself was lifted into place.
The pictures show the the imagery and text from the book being carved into the front and back faces of the silver grey granite plinth of the ‘Sea Swallow’ sculpture. The designs were hand carved in China, copying maquettes created by Stephen Broadbent.
The text carvings quote the prelude to the book and the very last sentence – which was the inspiration for the sculpture. The birds are based on Hannah Megee’s illustrations in the book.
Public artist Stephen Broadbent created the coated aluminium sculpture, which was made and installed by Chris Brammall Limited from Cumbria.
Finn – a Merboy’s Tale
This poem was written by Susan Pugh from Cleveleys Writers. Susan was inspired to write it by “The Sea Swallow” book (2011) – the mythical tale for Cleveleys which also inspired the public art on the seafront.
Skin so watery, palest of green,
With a translucent nature I’d never seen.
Aquamarine scales flow down his spine
Until around his hips they twine,
Flowing down along his tail
Diamond tiles of blue-green derail
Into arching spines of an enormous fin
Which holds aquatic energy within
His hair is a mass of seaweed and shell
With so many colours that no one can tell
What colour it is, what colour it’s not,
It’s just like a rainbow caught up in a pot.
His eyes are like starlight seen through a haze,
Like watery emeralds, in a mystical gaze.
His fingers are webbed, his nails long and blue,
He’s a beautiful creature to behold it is true.
He lives in the sea, but he watches the shore.
Longing to know the humans some more,
He swims with the dolphins and fish of the deep,
Yet he yearns for the folk of the village to keep
Just a space in their hearts for the Merboy named Finn,
Who rescues lost Seamen and guides their boats in.
Alas he is mute to those on the land
All he can do is to gaze at the sand.
Then a young girl named Mary who cried to the sea
In her pain and her anger, Finn turned out to be
The one who could help her to fulfil her dreams
On that dark stormy night, a saviour it seems.
He gave her a kiss to breathe under the waves
So Mary could search out the Humpback ray slaves.
Then tricking the Ogre she picked up the shell
That was magical, precious and saved them from hell.
Now the village is safe. The sea’s in it’s place.
The Ogre and Rays were lost without trace.
Mary and Finn now live at the lake,
A seawater lagoon that the great flood did make.
Two good friends once joined through sadness and joy,
Are a young girl named Mary, and Finn the Merboy.
At sunset you see them sat by the shore
Laughing and smiling. Not alone any more.
Find out More
More about Cleveleys Writers here
Read about the other pieces of public art at Cleveleys with pages in this section.
Sea Swallow sculpture on Cleveleys promenade
The plinth base being carved