Famous King Kong statue returning to city for Commonwealth Games

Birmingham’s famous King Kong sculpture is coming home this summer to celebrate the city being the host of the 2022 Commonwealth Games.

King Kong statue in Birmingham
King Kong statue in Birmingham

The city's property developer Cordia Blackswan has worked with Nicholas Monro, the original sculptor, and his family, particularly his son, Joe and his daughter, Maude, to bring a new and improved King Kong back to the city.

It will be the focus of a new pop-up park, dubbed King Kong Park, at Great Hampton Row in the Jewellery Quarter.

The festival-style park, which will open on July 22, will bring together the local community, visitors, athletes, and tourists in a celebration of the city. Working together with local artists, one of Birmingham’s biggest independent food operators and event organisers, the park will host live music, sport events and street food and drink suppliers in the run up to and during the Games.

A seven metre tall King Kong sculpture, created by Gloucestershire-based RoboCarv, will form the centrepiece of the park.

It is aesthetically identical to the original sculpture, but Cordia Blackswan is working closely with original artist Nicholas Monro and his family to bring a bigger, and structurally sound, King Kong back to life to return a piece of history to the city that will stand the test of time.

Commonwealth Games events will be live streamed on a big screen, with seating and refreshments available from local suppliers with evening food and drinks also available. The park will also have a running track for organised sports and fitness classes for visitors to enjoy.

The park will be just a two-minute walk from St Paul’s Metro station, a seven-minute walk from Snow Hill Station and 15 minutes from New Street Station

How the area will look

With nine developments located along Great Hampton Street, Cordia Blackswan has a masterplan to transform the key gateway route into the city, which has suffered significant underinvestment in recent years. Their developments offer a mix of uses, including build-to-rent and Birmingham’s first shared living scheme.

Marcus Hawley, managing director at Cordia Blackswan, said: “Birmingham holds a very special place for us as a developer, and we are committed to supporting the city in realising its ambitions to be a world-class destination. The Commonwealth Games presents the perfect opportunity to bring King Kong home, with Birmingham on the global stage.

“For those of us that remember the original Kong, it’s time to celebrate the 50th anniversary of his first visit to the city. While it’s an honour to bring a piece of Birmingham’s history back to life, we hope people will ‘go ape’ over the park we’re creating, bringing the community spirit back to Great Hampton Row.”

King Kong Park will have entertainment running until August 8 from 12 noon to 11pm each da and will be free to attend.

The original statue of King Kong by Nicholas Monro was commissioned in 1972 for display in Manzoni Gardens in The Bull Ring, in the centre of Birmingham.

It was later displayed elsewhere in Birmingham, then at markets in Edinburgh, Penrith, at the Henry Moore Institute in Leeds, and now in the owner's garden in Cumbria.

The Arnolfini Gallery in Bristol owned a maquette of the statue, which is now in the collection of Wolverhampton Art Gallery.

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