Ruined is a permanent public artwork by Hew Locke sited in an 18th century cemetery garden, Brunswick Cemetery in Bristol. 

Launched on Saturday 13th November 2010, the work is open seven days a week.

The work consists of a series of cast iron grave markers, which have been fabricated using the artist’s original designs and relate to the share certificates and historical documents of commercial companies, which no longer exist or have undergone transformation through takeovers, bankruptcy, nationalisation or other economic or political changes.

Brunswick Cemetery was established around 1770 and later, it became a Unitarian burial ground until 1963 when it became a public park. The gardens retain a number of historic features including monuments, boundary walls and a Georgian mortuary chapel. Since the mid 1980s, the cemetery has been used as a public park and, following extensive re-landscaping in 2010, is now known as Brunswick Cemetery Gardens, which received a Planting Places Award in 2011.

For Ruined, Hew Locke overlaid the company information from historical documents with other forms such as drips, slashes and shrouds, and casts from objects such as cheap jewellery. In some cases, these layers obscure the underlying information and in others, draw our attention to it. Some of the companies will be well known locally for their connections to Bristol’s trade history, whilst others tell of more recent global events. Ruined points to the inevitable stories of rise and fall underpinning our economy and the boom and bust of global trade.

About the artist
Hew Locke was born in Edinburgh and moved to Guyana where he spent his formative years before moving back to the UK. Locke is known internationally for his use of familiar symbols of power, which he embellishes and adorns in ways that might either be seen as a form of admiration or critique

Location and accessibility
This artwork consists of 10 cast iron grave markers located on a raised grassy mound in Brunswick Cemetery Gardens, Bristol. (View on Google Maps)

The work has a relief surface depicting information taken from historical share certificates overlaid with decorative forms by the artist. Brunswick Cemetery Gardens can be accessed at all times from either Brunswick Square, or Wilder Street, with a path navigating around the gardens and in front of the artwork.


Ruined was commissioned by Bristol City Council as part of the Brunswick Cemetery Gardens Improvement Project (2010) and produced by Situations. The artwork and improvements to the gardens were made possible by a Big Lottery Fund grant delivered in partnership between Bristol City Council and Places for People, with support from the Unitarian Meeting Bristol, St Paul’s Unlimited and Knightstone Housing Association.

Supported by