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Shops in Birkenhead down to a Fine Art

If you are in Birkenhead this month and need a diversion from Christmas shopping, why not see if you can find one of Wirral's hidden gems, a life-size mural from celebrated Wirral artist David Hillhouse.

‘The Shop Front’ is located in Henry Street car-park and depicts two shops – an old fashioned fruiterer (what we would term today a greengrocer) and a pawnbrokers, real businesses that existed in buildings demolished to make way for the Mersey Tunnel approaches.

The piece was commissioned by Alun Hughes, Chief Executive at Wirral Methodist Housing Association, as part of WMHA's ongoing support of art in the community which includes a Summer Art Project for children at the Williamson Art Gallery.

The artist, David Hillhouse (1945 - 2013), was a pupil at Birkenhead Institute and until 2000 he was Principal Museums Officer for Wirral.

When you visit, look out for the ghostly images reflected in the windows, depicting the grand old buildings that stood opposite and also the Manx cat, Kelly, who lived until the grand age of 26 and always used to sit in a nearby shop window. The bike was owned by the greengrocers delivery boy, who was inside the shop to collect his next order.

The growing number of pieces of public art around Wirral, include a mural at the Swinging Arm pub in Birkenhead, 'And the River Flows On' art panels gracing the dockside at Tower Road and a tree carving (pictured right) in Hamilton Road, New Brighton.

In March 2018, you'll be able to find two new pieces of art in Birkenhead. 'Venus Over the Mersey' on Henry Street will be Wirral's very own version of Botticelli's 'The Birth of Venus' and there will be a new stucco panel design on the side of the former Copperfield pub in Market Street.

• TELL US about your 'hidden gems' in Wirral. Post a photo on facebook.com/LoveWirral and we may include it in a future issue.