Colourful art installation at Hadrian’s Wall puts a new spin on a Roman gatehouse

Morag Myerscough at Housesteads with her contemporary art gatehouse installation

Created by renowned artist, Morag Myerscough and the local community, this brand new temporary installation called ‘The Future Belongs To What Was As Much As What Is’ stands in the exact spot that the north gatehouse at Housesteads once stood. The colourful re-imagining of the gatehouse echoes the original building in size and as visitors can climb to the top, the installation opens up views of the ancient landscape, last seen by Roman soldiers 1600 years ago.

The brightly coloured wooden placards that comprise the outer shell of the artwork, over a largescale scaffold frame,  were designed in response to the collection of Roman artefacts on display at Chesters Roman Fort Museum, Roman designs and community workshops. The words and phrases seen across the installation come from Morag’s collaboration with poet, Ellen Moran and the local community through workshops where volunteers also helped to paint the placards, following the artist’s designs.

As part of the HW1900 Festival, the installation is open to the public from 30th July to 30th October 2022, after which the structure will be completely removed and the placards will be offered  to the community members who painted them.

Morag Myerscough said: “The moment I saw Housesteads and started walking around the fort I had an overwhelming feeling of wanting to make an installation there. I stood in the remains of the north gatehouse and I looked at the wilderness that appeared to be unchanged since Roman times and I knew immediately that was the place.

“It was so important to me, and to English Heritage, that the work was a collaboration with the local community and that it relates to the people it is for. The whole work has been created and made with the local community, we have made it together.”

The two-storey contemporary art Roman gatehouse installation at Hadrian's Wall and Housesteads Fort
The two-storey contemporary art Roman gatehouse installation at Hadrian's Wall and Housesteads Fort
The two-storey contemporary art Roman gatehouse installation at Hadrian's Wall and Housesteads Fort

On Saturdays and Sundays until 4 September, a free shuttle bus will be running from 10am to 3pm from The Sill to Hadrian's Wall and Housesteads Fort and back, to help with parking capacity at the site.