A new history mural has been unveiled in the heart of North Birkenhead, celebrating key moments in the town’s heritage, such as the appointment of Lady Mary Ann Mercer as the first female mayor of Birkenhead and the building of Birkenhead Town Hall.
Cradle to Career, a multi-million-pound, long-term initiative that aims to transform the lives of children and young people in North Birkenhead, has commissioned the artwork, which has been painted by artist Joseph Venning and will stand proudly on the side of St James Centre on Laird Street.
Eve Barrett, trust manager for North Birkenhead Development Trust, which runs the St James Centre, and chair of the Cradle to Career Community Working Group, said: “The mural has become a vehicle for storytelling, and for celebrating the history and people that make North Birkenhead what it is. It has been beautiful to be a part of and we hope that it continues! It has given the St James Centre a new lease of life.”
The mural was officially unveiled in a ribbon cutting ceremony on Friday 9 July, with local residents invited to safely admire the new piece of art, hear the stories that inspired it, and enjoy some tea, coffee and cake.
Steve Baker, Cradle to Career programme director, added: “Local pride was one of the priorities chosen by the Cradle to Career community group, and this mural is just the start. We hope local community members will get involved in the other #OurNorthEnd campaign activities, and visit the St James Centre to find out what other opportunities are available to them.”
Chester-based contemporary painter Joseph Venning, has previously produced work for the Royal Liver Building and for a display outside Old Trafford stadium, which reached nearly £50,000 at auction.
Speaking about this latest project, Joseph said: “I wanted to present local history in a contemporary style, creating a scene that as people walk along the street they travel through time! It really seems to be getting people talking. While painting I heard lots of people telling stories, sharing memories and even reciting poems about the things on the mural.”
Cradle to Career launched in May this year, supported by Wirral Council and by charitable donations from the Steve Morgan Foundation and SHINE Trust. The programme is managed by Right to Succeed.