Back in Brum! Ozzy the bull unveiled at new home with Sharon Osbourne in attendance
The much-loved centrepiece to last year’s Commonwealth Games – Ozzy the bull – has been officially unveiled in his new home at Birmingham New Street station.
The special ceremony – with Sharon Osbourne in attendance – took place on Wednesday (26 July) with a brass band entertaining the crowds.
Over the last month the huge animatronic sculpture has been assembled and installed on the concourse of New Street Station by a team of specialist engineers who have added special new features for the public to enjoy.
It’s nearly a year since Ozzy – then known as the Raging Bull – endeared himself to millions across the globe when he formed the climax of the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games opening ceremony on 28 July 2022.
Created from the machinery from industry and factories of Birmingham and the West Country, the Bull was pulled on stage by 50 women representing the female chain-makers of the Industrial Revolution who made chains in the Slave Trade. This segment of the ceremony featured the women breaking free from their chains to symbolise emancipation and release from oppression.
During the unveiling ceremony on the concourse of New Street Station more than half of the original cast members helped unveil the 10-metre-high bull.
The unveiling follows an overwhelming public vote for the Raging Bull to be renamed Ozzy – in honour of the Black Sabbath frontman who appeared as a surprise performance in the closing ceremony of the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games.
Watching on proudly was the legendary singer’s wife, Sharon Osbourne. Ozzy’s older sister Jean Powell was also in attendance at the unveiling ceremony.
Speaking about the sheer scale of the sculpture and its location on the concourse of New Street Station, Sharon said: “It’s like breathtaking, this is mammoth, huge, but it’s just brilliant isn’t it.
“For Ozzy to be born and bred here and having spent so much time in this station, because of course he didn’t have a car, so he was everywhere from New Street.
“He would never, ever, ever have thought that at this time in his life, this would happen.”
When the much-loved bull was removed from its display in Centenary Square last September there were fears that it would be thrown onto the scrapheap.
After a huge public outcry, the bull was saved when Network Rail and the West Midlands Combined Authority – including the organisers of the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games – worked together to secure the future of the iconic bull.
In February it was revealed that New Street station would become the bull’s new home, and a major six-month redesign and rebuilding project began.
The original Bull was 10 metres high, weighed 2.5 tonnes and it was designed, built and mechanised by a team of more than 50 people by UK based special effects company Artem.
The team have been behind the rebuild of the bull so it could be permanently displayed inside Birmingham New Street station, Britain’s busiest railway station outside of London.
The bull sculpture was originally constructed of lightweight aluminium tubing but has now almost been completely rebuilt in lightweight fire-retardant glass-reinforced plastic moulds to meet fire regulations.
Lord Peter Hendy, chair of Network Rail, said: “We are really proud to have given Ozzy a new home at Birmingham New Street for thousands of people to enjoy, right at the heart of Britain’s railway network.
“A huge amount of work has gone into making this happen, by many, many people over many months. Ozzy will now not only be a reminder of last year’s unforgettable summer of sport, but also a new icon for the city and its future.”
Andy Street, Mayor of the West Midlands, said: “It’s wonderful to see Ozzy the Bull make its triumphant return to Birmingham – taking pride of place in New Street Station with this official unveiling.
“Ozzy was the iconic and quite simply unforgettable centrepiece of the 2022 Commonwealth Games Opening Ceremony. One year on from the Games, it’s a brilliant reminder of the pride we all felt, perfectly captures the spirit of the Games and will be enjoyed by locals and tourists alike. My thanks to Network Rail for providing a base fit for this hometown hero.”
Gary Beestone, Birmingham 2022 Opening Ceremony technical director, said: “I’m delighted that the Bull that captured the imagination of so many in last summer’s show now has found a permanent home in the heart of the city creating an iconic meeting point which will capture people’s attention.”
Mike Kelt, Artem Special Effects CEO, said: “It has been a delightful challenge to rebuild the Bull for the people of Birmingham, who reacted to it with such emotion during and after the Games. I feel that part of my soul now belongs to the city and hope to visit often to see how Ozzy is getting on.”
For the first ten days Ozzy the bull will perform at quarter past the hour between 8am and 8pm, moving his head, roaring to the crowds and swishing his tail.