A NATIONAL appeal has been launched to find a futuristic beacon which gave a Hereford business park its name.

Skylon, a 300ft cigar-shaped structure which became the icon of the Festival of Britain in 1951, was built as a post-war morale booster by Painter Bros in 1939 at a workshop on Mortimer Road in Hereford.

It has since given its name to Skylon Park, the 100-acre business park in Rotherwas.

But Historic England has issued a plea for the public to help find the original sculpture, and dozens more post-war pieces of art which have disappeared from public view.

The group says Skylon's base brass-ring plate is kept at the Museum of London, but "no-one has been able to prove what happened to the rest of the structure".

Skylon was the centrepiece of the Festival celebrations where it stood on London's Southbank.

Previous newspaper reports suggest it was scrapped soon after the festival, although it is not clear where the parts ended up.

Just over ten years ago there was talk of a 'Skylon 2004' being erected close to the sculpture's previous spot in London.

Historic England said: "Artworks created by some of the most acclaimed artists of the 20th century, from Henry Moore to Barbara Hepworth, have already been destroyed.

"Created and sited in the open for all of us to enjoy, these pieces were made for our public spaces, our schools, hospitals, housing estates, civic areas and communities. They were commissioned and designed with a social spirit to add colour to our local places and our daily lives.

"Such sculptures, murals and architectural reliefs are disappearing for many reasons, and for some pieces, it is already too late. Stolen and melted down for their scrap value, neglected and vandalised beyond repair, sold and moved from their intended public spaces, destroyed by redevelopment, or just forgotten - location unknown. The nation's great outdoor collection of public art is in jeopardy."

Other lost structures highlighted by Historic England include 'The Pineapple' in Basildon, Essex which was last seen in 2011 when its new owner moved it into storage ahead of plans to turn the building it sat outside into housing.

Anyone who has any information on Skylon is asked to email Historic England on outthere@HistoricEngland.org.uk or by calling 0207 973 3295.