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  • "How disappointing to see this biased short-list of entries that are all computer generated images by mostly either graphic artists or architectural consultants. With these results, this should not have been an open competition for the general public but a competition for the design and architectural industries, how would the general public have a have a real chance when obviously the Spitfire Tribute Foundation lack the imagination to seriously consider so many of the hand drawn entries by the general pubic over those professionals and their already easily "envisioned" CAD images. Perhaps these members of the Foundation aren't the best and fairest judges to choose a design for the Spitfire memorial after all.

    Furthermore, the resulting short-list is yet again a mixture of previously considered ideas. Draper's, a variation of the Daily Echo's "Spitfire Angel of the South" meets The Castle Bromwich Sentinel sculpture. Rist has done another design imitating one Daily Echo reader David Lee that was published on Fri 21st December 2007 but with a larger plane and smaller trail. Two similar coiled spring “zebedee” designs in Witts and and elongated one in Lucas's depiction, and slap in a few old photographs of Mitchell and the workers in the factory round the bottom as a “nod” to the Spitfire's link with Southampton, that'll swing it(!). A delightful tangled mess of cable loom wires from Charles Knowles Architects, and another rendition of Ken Potts Mesh plane design from James Burnell, but without the mesh and an in-flight profile.

    This mundane short-list has shown that the competition was simply a ploy to get some professionals to design a monument for the second time for them for free. Only there is nothing new and original in these selected designs, nothing like many of those refreshing and spirited entries from the general public. The same narrow, stale, conventional minds choosing what they consider “is best” by selecting their bland considerations all over again, in "easy-to-see what it'll look like in real life" pictures. And yet, by choosing the same old designs once more.

    Is making the monument plane larger than the original aircraft really a fitting tribute to RJ Mitchell's design? Does Mitchell really deserve to have his aircraft replicating the size of the Lancaster in it's wingspan of 102ft comparable to the Spitfire's 36ft? Can bloating the aircraft up really possibly reflect the nimble, quick witted machine and its heroism in battle? No, but rather we shall see a heavy cumbersome monster supported by a varying array of winding tentacles, (tentacle design depending on the winning entry of course), looming over the docks and to only be seen for the hilarity of the cruise ship passangers.

    And apart from slapping a few photos round the bottom will there ever really be a symbolic fitting tribute to those in Southampton and built it and those that lost their lives in the efforts to make the fighting machine at the Woolston factory?

    I for one have lost all faith in this project now. And in a time of austerity no one will have the money to give anyway so it should not be rushed ahead. What sort of tribute is that?

    Why make a rush of this project now after years of debate to try and get it done for the 75th test flight anniversary. With these results it would be better to re-think and ask the people of Southampton what they want and actually listen this time. Perhaps we all select something better in time for the 80th Anniversary instead.

    Come on Spitfire Tribute Foundation, you're failing us. Use your imagination!"
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Hundreds of entries for memorial but there can only be one winner

The last six spitfire memorial designs on the table

The last six spitfire memorial designs on the table

First published in Campaigns Daily Echo: Photograph of the Author by , Senior Reporter

Here they are – the final six entries.

They have ranged from a child’s drawing on the back of an envelope to individuals from all over Europe.

But Southampton finally has its top six designs as the quest to bring a Spitfire memorial to the city’s docks moved a step closer.

A panel of judges whittled down the 315 entries that were submitted in just three weeks and have been on display at Southampton’s Solent Sky Museum.


The winning entry for the 180ft statue will be at the entrance to the city’s waterfront.

Alan Jones, director of the museum, said: “The interest has been enormous, the phone hasn’t stopped with calls from people saying how’s it going, have you had my design, which has proved there is an insatiable appetite for the Spitfire.”

The judging panel included Mark Spearing, head of the School of Engineering Sciences at Southampton University, Councillor John Hannides and the Daily Echo editor Ian Murray.

They scrutinised each one for its artistic merit, but also structural feasibility.

The winner will be selected in six to eight weeks and the landmark should be in place by the end of 2011, in line with the 75th anniversary of the Spitfire’s maiden flight at Eastleigh.

It will sit on land beside the Trafalgar dry dock alongside the state-of-the-art £19m Ocean Terminal, only two miles from the Supermarine Aviation site where RJ Mitchell developed the aircraft.

No taxpayers’ money is being spent on the scheme so the £2m needed will be raised by the Spitfire Tribute Foundation.

It comes as ceremonies across the country this weekend mark the 70th anniversary of the Battle of Britain, in which Southampton’s Supermarine Spitfire became a symbol.


The Daily Echo has backed a long-running campaign to honour those who built and flew the plane.

Councillor Hannides, chairman of the Spitfire Tribute Foundation, said: “Clearly the Spitfire does hold a special place in people’s hearts and for many people it’s also a source of inspiration.

“It’s a recognition of the Spitfire both in terms of its engineering innovation and in securing the freedom of the country.”

Mr Jones added: “When you think of all the public art in the country how often does the public say how it will look.

“We have had designs by children on the back of an envelope to professional graphic artists.”

All designs will continue to be displayed at the museum for a month.

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