Silent Cargo

As you walk along the Quayside from the Trafford Road Swing Bridge to the Lowry you come across a collection of barrels and packing cases painted grey.  This is another sculpture commissioned by the Trafford Park Redevelopment Commission in 1994.  The installation was designed by the artist James Wines and created with the assistance of John King of Liverpool.

Silent Cargoes consists of assortment of objects that are associated with the industries of Trafford Park and the Salford docks. As you can see, the objects include machinery, barrels, bales, boxes, metal pipes, tools, oil drums, chains, trolleys, anvil and horseshoes. The work covers an area of some 350 square metres.

The Public Monument and Sculpture Association's National Recording Project Website says this of "Silent Cargo"

"The workmen's clothing (flat cap, gloves) lying on the tops of boxes and other objects is a reminder of those who laboured on the docks and in the surrounding factories. These items personalise this world, suggesting that the workers have disappeared suddenly but that they might return at another time. John King who worked on the project preferred 'Ghost Cargoes' as a more appropriate title, capturing that sense of emptiness of industrial degeneration, with its resonances of the missing dockers, whose jobs were lost as the docks went into decline. All of the objects in the composition have been painted grey and where necessary stiffened. Two processes were used to produce the finished objects. Some articles were hot dipped and galvanised in zinc. For others, a vacuum mould of the object was prepared which was then filled with microsilicate concrete. The sculpture was installed during 1996 but was never officially unveiled. Given the extent of the installation and location there is only minor evidence of vandalism; some of the smaller hand tools and sacks having been prised off. Repairs to the sculpture were carried out in 1999."