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Sculptures get history right down to the tee

Local people have long been proud to call their town the "home of golf", as well as promoting their world-famous racecourse.

Now Musselburgh's golfing and racing history will be celebrated with two stunning new sculptures at the entrances to the town.

Sculptor Ronnie Elliott has designed a massive golf ball-shaped sphere, made up of hundreds of horse shoes, which will be erected on Levenhall Roundabout to the east of the town.

And artist Kenny Munro has created a steel sculpture of three racehorses, depicting the past, present and future. It will be placed on Newhailes Roundabout, welcoming visitors from Edinburgh.

The community council chose the winning designs from seven applications from architects and designers all over Scotland. They had appealed for people to submit designs to celebrate Musselburgh's sporting history.

The £25,000 project is funded by East Lothian Council, the community council and the National Lottery's Awards for All scheme. It has now been given planning permission, and it is hoped the sculptures will be installed in September or October.

Mr Munro, who lives in Ormiston, designed the six-metre long, three-metre high galvanised two-dimensional steel sculpture of racehorses, in honour of the world-famous Musselburgh Racecourse.

He said: "It is meant to represent the past, present and future. The past part relates to the Roman occupation and how important horses were to them. They say there may have been a Roman hippodrome in Musselburgh.

"In the present, horseracing is a very important part of Musselburgh life. I think the energy of horses also represents the future of Musselburgh – it's such an interesting place with a lot of energy."

He was inspired to enter the competition in part by his family connection with Musselburgh. He lived with his parents there between 1954 and 1962, and his father, Jim, was a local sculptor and musician.

The golf ball sphere, designed by Musselburgh sculptor Mr Elliott, is made up of around 370 horse shoes, with the logo of a running horse and the phrase "Musselburgh No. 1" underneath. It will sit on a tee on the roundabout, and will be illuminated at night.

The community council is considering asking people to "sponsor" a horse shoe, or pay to dedicate one to their horse or local golf course.

Irene Tait, chairwoman of the community council, said members had unanimously agreed on the winning designs.

She said: "We thought they were both stunning designs. We have a great history of golf and racing in Musselburgh.

"The golf ball will be sitting right next to the golf course, reputed to be the oldest in the world, and also next to the racecourse.

"We thought the sculpture of horses was very appropriate. Not only do we have the racecourse, but there is also the tradition of the rideout and the Riding of the Marches.

"The models look fantastic and I'm really looking forward to seeing the real things."

Source: Hazel Mollison, Evening News, Monday, 13th July, 2009