The 10-metre high raging bull from the Commonwealth Games opening ceremony will remain in Birmingham city center until the end of September, the city council has announced, as the public campaigns for it to be found a permanent home.
Since being put on display in Centenary Square last week, people have flocked to see it, and more than 8,000 have signed a petition calling for it to stay after its creators said it was expected to be dismantled after the Games.
Ian Ward, the leader of Birmingham city council, said: “We consider this one of the top attractions in the city, and seeing residents and visitors enjoying the bull being in the city this week has been brilliant and enhances the need to keep the bull for longer.”
Conversations are ongoing to determine where the bull could be housed permanently, but Games organizers said it would have to be found a place indoors.
“We’re glad he’s staying for a bit and that will also buy us some time to look at the options of him sticking around for longer,” said Martin Green, the Games’ chief creative officer.
“Ultimately, he needs to be kept indoors as he’s reasonably high maintenance so I’m sure we’ll get some great suggestions and we’ll pursue every avenue we can.”
Among the crowds admiring the bull this week was 70-year-old Barry Carter from Kingstanding.
“I’ve lived in Birmingham all my life and to see something like this is fantastic. I think it’s wonderful for the city,” he said. “It’s such an iconic piece. It should be preserved in some way but whether it’s feasible or not, I don’t know. It was so impressive at the opening ceremony.”
He suggested the conference venue and Birmingham landmark Millennium Point as a potential home for the bull where it could be kept indoors.
Other suggestions have included inside New Street train station, Birmingham museum or the Bullring shopping centre, which is already guarded by Laurence Broderick’s bronze bull sculpture.
Helen Grindley, 46, had stopped to look at the bull after finishing work in the city centre. “I don’t think they should scrap it, I think they should keep it. I think it’s amazing and could become a major tourist attraction for Birmingham,” she said.
“Seeing it in the flesh is completely different, it’s absolutely massive. I don’t know where they could keep it, but I hope they find somewhere for it to stay.”
It took more than 50 people five months to build the bull, which is made of mostly aluminum and has to be transported by a 17-tonne forklift crane.
During the opening ceremony, it was dragged into the stadium heavily armored on chains by women representing the female chain-makers of the Industrial Revolution.
The bull was widely praised as the highlight of the show, although organizers were forced to apologize after using it to display the names of the victims of the 1974 Birmingham pub bombings without their families’ consent or explaining the gesture to audiences in the commentary.
The Justice For the 21 campaign group said it was “a pity no one bothered to inform us or explain to the audience who the names belong to”, adding that it was “very moving for us but missed by most”.