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.
CLICK BELOW TO VIEW EACH ENTRY
- Charles Rist's desgn
- Martin Witts design
- James Burnell's design
- Christopher Draper's design
- Charles Knowles's design
- Jonathan Lucas's design
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.