Black Sabbath Bench returns after major refurbishment – with new heads for rock stars

The world-famous Black Sabbath Bench is back in place following a major refurbishment that includes brand new heads for all band members.

The heavy metal bench was first installed by Westside BID on the renamed Black Sabbath Bridge across the canal on Broad Street back in June 2019.

Since then, the bench has arguably become Birmingham and the West Midlands’ biggest-used piece of ‘engagement public art’. 

It was removed in early February but has this week been returned to its much-visited spot on Birmingham’s ‘golden mile’. You can watch our video of the bench returning here … along with music from Black Sabbath’s Tony Iommi, used with his full permission. 

Mike Olley, general manager of Westside BID, explained that the bench had been previously cleaned by specialists several times, but after nearly five years it had badly needed a complete restoration.

Mr Olley said: “Wind, rain, snow, ice and sunshine, along with the traffic fumes present in any city centre had taken their toll on our prize tourist attraction.

“On top of this, the bench has had literally millions of people sitting on it to take selfies for five long years – climbing on it, kissing it and hanging off it in almost every way you can imagine.

“After all that wear and tear, we knew the bench needed a proper restoration, and so we were delighted that we were able do so with the help of the UK Shared Prosperity Fund.

“We carefully chose and commissioned Midtherm to carry out the work, a Dudley-based company which specialises in all types of creative metalwork including laser cutting, enamels, fabrications and stainless steel.

“They have done a tremendous job, replacing the heads and bench struts with a cleaner, more streamlined material.

“They even added ‘1968’ to the inscription ‘Made in Birmingham’ on the base of the bench, which had been mistakenly left off the bench when it was first unveiled.”

The Midtherm workers involved in the restoration of the bench can be seen in the main image above.

Mark Jones, sales and marketing director at Midtherm, a family-run business with some 220 employees, said: “It was so exciting to be involved with a project like this, making sure the bench has ended up looking as good as new, if not even better.”

The refurbishment has been organised by Westside BID in a project funded by the UK Government through the UK Shared Prosperity Fund.

The UK Shared Prosperity project is funded by the UK government through the UK Shared Prosperity Fund, organised regionally by the West Midlands Combined Authority and Birmingham City Council.

● The UK Shared Prosperity Fund is a central pillar of the UK government’s Levelling Up agenda and provides £2.6 billion of funding for local investment by March 2025. The Fund aims to improve pride in place and increase life chances across the UK investing in communities and place, supporting local business, and people and skills. Visit this page for more information.

Learn more about the UK Shared Prosperity (UKSPF) here: UKSPF Birmingham.


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