Growth (Linthorpe, Andrew McKeown, 2009)

Andrew McKeown’s “Growth” was commissioned as part of the Linthorpe Cemetery restoration programme – funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund and Middlesbrough Council – which took place from 2005-2009.

The five galvanised steel seedlings and shoots represent change and renewal, while the iron girders nod towards the town’s industrial heritage. Many of Middlesbrough’s founders and ancestors are buried in the cemetery, so presenting symbols of the town’s growth from the foundations they built seems somehow fitting.

Unveiled in March 2009, this piece is situated in a secluded glade where twin chapels of rest once stood. The two larger seedlings form an arch, similar to the one that bridged these buildings.

McKeown’s work often transforms micro forms into macro structures (his “Organism” sculpture at Saltburn beach is another example of this – taking microscopic algae from the sea and presenting it in a giant sculpture). His pieces often utilise natural forms, with McKeown referring to nature as “the greatest sculptor”

The model for Growth (provided by the artist) shows the scale and layout of the piece.

Working with students from nearby MacMillan College, McKeown developed a range of ideas based on natural forms. Of all these ideas, the symbolism of growth (represented by the seedlings forms) stood out as the most appropriate concept, and this was developed into the final design.

Thanks to Andrew for providing us with information about this piece. You can find more of his work at or on Facebook at

Written by Daniel Cochran, 2022.

Do you have any memories, photographs or information about these artworks? If so, feel free to leave a comment or email us at

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