I originally had today’s post sorted out at the beginning of the week but it was put on hold when I got wind of something else – a new street art installation has just appeared on the side of a building on the fringe of the town centre so I just had to go check it out and take a few photos.
The building in question was once a 4-storey textile mill dating from the late 19th century, joined to its 4-storey twin by a 2-storey central annexe, and set in the wall above what would once have been a doorway is a carved date stone – ‘J B & Co 1890’. Abandoned and derelict for many years the buildings are now owned by a north east property development company and are in the process of being converted into luxury apartments as part of a regeneration scheme, and it was this company which commissioned the artwork.
Measuring 50ft x 40ft and depicting much of the town’s history and heritage the mural was painted over the last three months by Manchester-based artists Kelzo and Entise using eight tiers of scaffolding, and it was only fully revealed last weekend. Included in the picture are Samuel Crompton’s Spinning Mule, the town hall and three of the town’s symbolic elephants, plus a couple of Manchester bees which represent the two artists. The peaks of the old mill’s original roofline are depicted in the hills at the top of the picture and the man featured is Joshua Barber, a Victorian cotton waste merchant who once owned the mill and whose initials are carved in the date stone.
Unfortunately a high wall and solid double gates prevented me from getting the very bottom of the mural in the photo but I didn’t miss much out. A comment in the local press said the mural has ruined the side of the building but I’m sure many others will think differently – after all, a well painted piece of artwork brightening up a currently run down area has got to look better than a blank brick wall. I know which I prefer.