The 30ft mechanical spider terrorising Liverpool

Posted on 3:14 AM by Sameer Shah

It was not a good day to be an arachnophobe in Liverpool. As part of the city's Capital of Culture celebrations, this scary 50ft mechanical spider was suspended from a building near Lime Street station.

Even worse, La Princess, as the creature is known, is to move around the city at speeds of up to 2mph before it escapes down the Mersey Tunnel on Sunday.

The steel and wood spider has sophisticated hydraulics which allow the dozen engineers strapped to its frame to operate its eyes, legs and abdomen.

The 37-ton artwork has been billed as the largest and most spectacular piece of street theatre ever staged in the UK.

Created by French company La Machine, the installation cost £1.8million to bring to Liverpool – and all but £250,000 of this was funded by the taxpayer.

The story behind the artwork is that French 'scientists' have arrived in the city to investigate it.

They will use cranes to remove the animal off the tower block, before taking it to their 'research base' in Liverpool's new concert venue, the Echo Arena.

There, the creature will undergo a series of experiments, allowing the team to show off special effects using water, fire and artificial snow.

Organisers hope the spider will attract huge crowds, but onlookers appeared more bemused than enthralled.

Eric Wilson, 82, from West Derby, said: 'What the devil are they going to think of next? It's novel, I think some will like it. There's never a dull moment in Liverpool.'

His wife Dorothy, also 82, added: 'I wouldn't like to meet it in the dark. They say it's going to walk the streets but I hope I'm not down here when it does.'

And after one driver pranged his car trying to catch a glimpse of the creature, police warned motorists not to become distracted by it.

Helen Marriage, producer of the show, said: 'We brought the elephant to London in 2006 and that weighed 42 tons, moved slowly through the streets and definitely did not climb buildings.

'This one's more mobile and much more flexible. It has 50 axes of movement so it moves as you would expect an insect to move.'

The TaxPayers' Alliance has called the artwork an 'outrageous waste of taxpayers' money'.

Spokesman Matthew Sinclair said: 'Who on Earth would want their hard-earned cash spent on a mechanical spider? It's bonkers.'

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