A new history mural has been unveiled in the heart of North Birkenhead today, 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, commissioned the artwork, which has been painted by artist Joseph Venning and stands proudly on the side of St James Centre on Laird Street.
Birkenhead MP, Mick Whitley, was on ribbon-cutting duties at the well-attended unveiling. Speaking to birkenhead.news, he said, “It’s a pleasure to come down and cut the ribbon for the unveiling of the mural. I think the mural is fantastic and depicts the rich history and people of Birkenhead.” On the work that Cradle to Career does, Mr Whitley said, “The work they do is fantastic for young people in the area. I hope that this mural attracts more people into the centre and introduces more people to the great work that they do.”
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.”
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.”
Eastham based artist, Joe Venning, painted the mural and he told birkenhead.news, “This is the biggest mural I’ve done … so far!” He was given a fairly open brief for the subject matter and decided on some of the people and events depicted in the mural to have a close connection to North Birkenhead. As Joe was painting the mural, local people stopped and chatted to him, “A lot of people who I spoke to commented on the subjects I was painting and connected with them on a personal level – I’d get their life stories quite often – one person talked to me about the Tapestry Works and their connection to it.”
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.
Main image: Mural artist Joe Venning. All images: www.fotopiaimages.com