Be part of our swan seekers story

If you are an established or emerging artist, we’d love to receive your ideas for our swan sculptures.

Download our artists’ pack here for full details of how to get involved. Artist submissions will open in September 2019 and close at the end of December 2019.

Priority will be given to artists who are based, or work, in East Staffordshire.

Successful applicants will be paid an honorarium of £500 on completion of their artwork.

More details of the terms and conditions, and how to submit designs, is available in the artists’ pack.

Get Started

More details of the terms and conditions, and how to submit designs, is available in the artists’ pack.

Download Artist Pack
Artist submission closes at

Midnight on 31st of December 

Looking for Inspiration

We’d love you to think about Burton’s history and heritage as well as what makes it unique today. Here are a few ideas you may want to consider but feel free to develop your own.


• Legend has it that in the 7th century AD, an Irish nun named Modwen and her travelling companions stayed in Burton for around seven years on their way to Rome. During this time Modwen is said to have founded a church dedicated to God and Saint Andrew on an island on the river Trent. She named the island Saint Andrew’s Isle, or Andressey. On her return journey, she is said to have built another church across the river at the foot of Mount Calvus, later known as Scalpcliffe Hill, this time dedicated to Saint Peter. It is claimed that on her death her body was carried to heaven by silver swans. She is Burton’s patron saint. Read more


Burton is still regarded as the brewing capital of Britain and it is home to the National Brewery Museum. In 1868 there were 26 different working breweries in the town, attracted by the water’s hardness and mineral content and because the River Trent, and the local canal network, connected Burton to a number of towns and cities. Bass Brewery, founded by William Bass in 1777, is one of the most successful brewing companies of all time. When the London Stock Exchange established the original FT 30 index in 1935, listing the top 30 UK companies, Bass was included in the list. The company was also a pioneer of International brand marketing. The Bass Red Triangle was the first trademark to be registered under the UK’s Trade Mark Registration Act 1875, as trade mark number 1.


Popular restaurant The Winery stands on part of the site of the former Burton Abbey, said to have been founded by St Modwen and re-founded in 1003 as a Benedictine abbey by Wulfric Spott, an Anglo-Saxon nobleman. Read more 

For some 700 years there was a ferry to help local people cross the Trent from Stapenhill to Burton. Read more at and in 1888 work began on an impressive iron Ferry Bridge, which still stands to this day. Read more 

Performing Arts

The Burton School of Speech and Drama opened in the premises of the former Guild Street school in 1946. It was the only institution in the United Kingdom maintained by a local education authority to offer full-time courses for people seeking a career in the theatre or as teachers of speech and drama. Financial cut-backs in the 1950s ended the full-time courses, but the school continued to run part-time courses and host amateur plays and musicals until it's closure in 1984.

Actor Paddy Considine is one of Burton’s famous sons and once attended Burton College along with filmmaker Shane Meadows from Uttoxeter.


Burton was home to George Orton and Charles Spooner, who together produced some of the world’s most iconic fairground rides, and wagons for showmen, from the 1890s onwards at various premises around the town centre. Spooner’s father had been the landlord of Burton’s Old Swan Hotel (now converted to flats at one end of the old Burton Bridge) so the business’s early premises were known as the Swan Works. Read more

Sid Howell

Sid Howell, and his father Albert, were employed by Orton & Spooner to create some of the most dazzling artwork that adorned the fairground rides in the 20th century. Sid also designed iconic railway/tourism posters and designed illuminated scenes for Blackpool seafront. Read more


Burton today is a multi-cultural market town and home to communities from many parts of the globe. That diversity adds richness and joy to our lives as we get the chance to learn about their history and heritage – and sometimes sample their cuisine, for example Gurkha Curry Lounge; Datties Soul Food; Verde World Kitchen and many more.


Music has been a feature of life in Burton down the years. Burton High Street was once home to the iconic 76 Club where many tops bands of the 1960s and 1970s played including the Sex Pistols and Thin Lizzy.

Dancing is another aspect of cultural life in Burton. Many dance schools have trained generations of children and adults in the town. Today you can find classes for ballet, tap, ballroom, Latin-American, Salsa and more.


Maybe you would like to consider environmental messages, such as the danger to swans and other wildlife of discarded plastic and litter in our rivers

LS Lowry

LS Lowry, one of Britain’s best-loved artists, produced many sketches of Burton scenes when visiting friends in the town. One of his best-known became a painting called The Crossing and shows a brewery engine pulling a beer wagon across a crossing in High Street. Read more

World Wars

In common with every other UK community, Burton suffered losses and hardship during both world wars of the 20th century. On January 31, 1916, German Zeppelins bombed Burton-on-Trent. Read more 

During World War Two, the brewery buildings and railways were also targets for German bombs.


We are sure you will have lots of your own ideas for a Burton Swans design.

Happy creating! If you have any questions, contact us


We are looking for businesses, community groups or individuals to sponsor one of our 25 scintillating swans.

Schools and Community

Want to decorate your own Swan?

Burton’s Brewhouse Arts Centre is subsidising the cost of an artist visiting local schools with a smaller cygnet version of our swans for pupils to decorate.

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Contact us

Have any questions about the project?
Contact Us to Find out more

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