The giant puffin sculpture, affectionately known as ‘Elsie’, has returned to her public. However, she can now be found in a brand new location.
Headscarf Revolutionary, created by puffin artist Susan Woolhouse and sponsored by Hull Maritime, sustained significant damage during an incident in the city centre.
Following extensive repair and restoration, Elsie will be re-homed in the East Arcade of Princes Quay Shopping Centre in Hull.
Rick Welton, co-director of Puffins Galore, explains:
“Removing, restoring, repainting and returning a giant puffin sculpture is no mean feat. Elsie’s return was made possible by many people, not least Hull artist Susan Woolhouse who has re-painted her human-like features and Headscarf Revolutionary outfit. Simpsons of York and Strata Holdings have transported the sculpture, helping with her removal and reinstallation, and Princes Quay Shopping Centre have stepped in to provide her safe new home.
“We are obviously delighted that the repair has been possible and puffin number 36 has been moved across the square from her original perch to be safer, undercover.
”We will be updating information about Elsie’s new location where we can but we are asking anyone and everyone to share the news of her new home to avoid confusion.”
Hull Maritime sponsored the sculpture. It celebrates and pays tribute to the women who were part of the Hessle Road Women’s Committee, including Lilian Bilocca, Yvonne Blenkinsop, Mary Denness and Christine Smallbone (later Jensen) who relentlessly campaigned for improved safety measures on Hull’s trawlers in the 1960s.
Councillor Mike Ross, Leader of Hull City Council, said:
“We were disappointed to see this poignant sculpture damaged. We are grateful to Susan for taking the time to completely re-paint her to make her beautiful once again and ensure she can go back on display. We are delighted that Elsie has nested in a new burrow for us all to enjoy.”
Artist Susan Woolhouse says:
“When Elsie first went on display I was delighted by the initial response from the public – seeing everyone taking photos with her and wanting to know more about the story of the Headscarf Revolutionaries. But it was heartbreaking to find that she had sustained so much damage and we weren’t sure it would be possible to repair Elsie as she had split into two pieces.
“Public support and encouragement has been quite overwhelming. Puffins Galore! has many fans. I’m really looking forward to seeing her back on display and ready for the deluge of ussies on social media!”
The Puffins Galore! art project has been a tremendous success so far. Aimed at attracting more people to the beautiful East Yorkshire Coast, approximate visitor numbers have been calculated by app downloads – almost 9,000 and counting. Over 70,000 free Puffins Galore! Spotter’s Guides have been distributed, with more on their way through libraries, tourist information centres, shops, venues and businesses. Organisers estimate that by the end of October, over 100,000 people will have followed the trail, with visitors from all over the UK enjoying the trail.
Clare Huby, Co-Director of Puffins Galore, adds:
“Our audience seems to have real affection for the puffins. Visitors, artists, sponsors and stockists of our merchandise have been active on social media, which is very pleasing for our organising team as all feedback is very positive.”
The puffin sculptures will be on display at least until the end of October when the puffins will be auctioned and proceeds raised will be donated to four charities: RSPB, RNLI, Hornsea Inshore Rescue and Yorkshire Wildlife Trust.