This is Bottle of Notes, a 1993 steel and enamel sculpture by Claes Oldenburg and Coosje van Bruggen which forms text from Captain Cook’s journals into a white bottle; a blue note inside is formed of a line of poetry by one of the artists. It’s about 35 feet tall, and leans at a considerable angle. It was forged a little further north in Hebburn.
Since the bottle’s 1993 installation, mima – the Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art – has been built behind it. It opened in 2007, but is (perhaps unfortunately?) best known for hosting Jeremy Clarkson et al’s Top Gear exhibition of automotive art in 2009.