Irene Brown’s Racing Ahead was first installed in 1995, and has had an interesting existence since then.
The cast-iron, painted statues (commissioned by Cleveland Arts at a cost of £30,000) were not universally popular with the council at first, with one councillor decrying them for leaning into outdated Northern stereotypes of “cloth caps and whippets”, and calling the commission “barking mad” (politicians never being ones to pass up a groan-inducing pun). Most locals seemed to disagree though; 84% of people in a 2016 Northern Echo poll were in favour of the work.
Not content with just looking dynamic, Racing Ahead has spent a lot of time dashing around Stockton’s streets looking for a permanent home amidst the town’s redevelopment.
Originally sited on Dovecot Street, the greyhounds were relocated to the High Street in 2004, before being removed in 2013. Although the piece was seen as significant, it was thought to no longer fit the remodelled town centre, as well as posing a danger to people with visual impairments.
There were fears the statues had been lost or broken up, but images released by Stockton Council showed the dogs safe in storage. After being re-enamelled, they were returned to the public in a less bustling area outside the Central Library on Church Road (just opposite Splash).
Thanks to the council website, Amy Davies and Chris Twigg for the photos.
They look fab and very much on trend with dog lovers.