The Knife Angel of Shrewsbury, England and Its Message of Peace

England is so much different from the United States in so many ways. For one thing, there aren’t as many guns per capita in England as there are in the United States — there are 6.6 guns owned per 100 Britons versus 112 guns per 100 Americans.

The Knife Angel of Shrewsbury, EnglandNo, our big problem is knives. British people own a lot of knives, British criminals carry a lot of knives, and there are a lot of crimes committed with knives. In 2016, British police reported 32,448 knife crimes, which was 14% higher than the previous year.

And the police are always confiscating knives from teenagers and young adults who carry them as a matter of course — keys, wallet, phone, and knife.

One artist, Alfie Bradley, has created an art project that he hopes will help put a stop to knife violence. He recently created something that looks like it’s straight out of Game of Thrones, called the Knife Angel.

I was recently visiting family in Shrewsbury, England, which is about 90 minutes south of Liverpool (home of The Beatles), and just a few miles east of the Wales border, when I had a chance to see the Knife Angel for myself.

Near the town of Shrewsbury is an old Victorian village, Oswestry, and the British Ironworks Centre. The area is well-known as being the beginning of the Industrial Revolution, and you can see how people lived in the late 1700s and early 1800s. They have the first iron bridge ever built, the first steam engine ever built, and they still demonstrate it every day.

Knife Angel is made of 100,000 knives collected from UK policeThis is also where Alfie has spent two years making a 27 foot statue out of 100,000 knives collected by all 41 police forces in England and Wales. His goal is to honor the victims of knife-related crimes and to even help reduce crime.

So Alfie petitioned the police departments to send them their confiscated knives, once they had collected everything they needed as evidence. The British Iron Works Center even offered to build 150 “knife amnesty” boxes for the police to use where people could deposit their knives, no questions asked.

The knives came pouring in, and Alfie cut, ground, and welded the weapons into the Knife Angel statue. Each knife was either used in a crime, carried by someone who would have used it to commit a crime, or even used to defend themselves from someone else with a knife.

I can’t help but think of the Knife Angel, especially after the recent terrorist attack on London Bridge, where four people were stabbed in June. My hope is that one day she’ll inspire an end to the knife violence in my home country and that Alfie’s two-year labor of hope will take hold.

Plaque of the Knife Angel

Author: David Marshall
I’ve been a manufacturing executive, as well as a sales and marketing professional, for a few decades. Now I help companies turn around their own business. If you would like more information, please visit my website and connect with me on Twitter or LinkedIn.