A community mural competition has been launched by the C2C group, which is appealing for residents in North Birkenhead to vote for one of three local heroes who will be painted as a 30-foot mural in the heart of the town.
Liverpool City Region Artist of the Year, Paul Curtis, best known for his striking turquoise “wings” mural in Liverpool’s Baltic Triangle, will complete the project having been selected during an open commissioning process.
The nominees for the mural are Everton FC, Tranmere FC and England great Dixie Dean, country music legend and Birkenhead son Charlie Landsborough, and the town’s first female mayor Mary Ann Mercer. In the coming weeks, all residents of North Birkenhead will receive a postcard via Royal Mail and have the opportunity to choose who they would like to honour in the town.
William Ralph “Dixie“ Dean (22 January 1907 – 1 March 1980) was a footballer who played as a centre forward. He is regarded as one of the greatest centre-forwards of his generation. Dean was born at 313 Laird Street in Birkenhead and was educated at Laird Street School. He began his footballing career at Tranmere Rovers before moving on to Everton. He is best known for his exploits during the 1927–28 season, which saw him score a record 60 league goals. He also scored 18 goals in 16 appearances for England.
Charles Alexander Landsborough (born 26 October 1941) is a British country and folk musician and singer-songwriter. He was born in Wrexham, but his family moved back to Birkenhead was soon as the war was over and the danger of the Blitz had ceased. He became a teacher at Portland Primary School on Laird street. He is perhaps best known for his 1994 song “What Colour is the Wind”, which tells the story of a young blind child’s attempts to envision the world.
Mary Ann Mercer (1883 – 26 September 1945) was a politician, who served as the first woman and first Labour Party Mayor of Birkenhead. Born in Newport, Shropshire, her father died when she was three. She trained as a nurse and then worked in Belfast as a district visitor. While there, she met and married a Labour Party activist and journalist in 1912. In 1914 they moved to Wirral and had a family. She died in 1945 and is buried in Flaybrick cemetery. Mercer Road is named after her. She was commemorated in 2018 with a blue plaque on 103 Norman Street, where she once lived.
Eve Barrett, trust manager for North Birkenhead Development Trust and chair of the Community Working Group, said, “The murals are a celebration of the passion, talent and creativity that has come from the North End over the years.
“This competition means local people, of all ages and backgrounds, are the ones deciding which part of our wonderful past we are celebrating.”
Artist Paul Curtis said, “I’m really proud to be asked to paint the mural of a local legend in North Birkenhead. I can’t wait to see who the community chooses and get designing something iconic to celebrate the people and history of this area.”