Eye-catching mural in Wigan town centre street project
A bid to give one of the best-known roads in the middle of Wigan a lift has got off to a colourful start.
A spectacular mural celebrating the town’s people, culture and history has appeared on the scaffolding on the outside of the Royal Court Theatre on King Street.
The artwork, Say Hi! To King Street, has been created by local talent Dom Foster and appeared at the start of Streets Apart, a three-year revitalisation project for the street best known in recent times as the home of Wigan’s night-time economy.
The Streets Apart consortium, which is led by The Old Courts and contains nine other organisations, has received Historic England funding to put on large-scale art projects in King Street during the next three years.
Artist Dom said he was thrilled to be able to play his part by creating the eye-catching image which takes Wigan from its industrial past to more modern phenomena such as Northern Soul and the Boxing Day fancy dress tradition.
An array of well-known Wiganers past and present have also been included in the mural.
Among the famous faces are musician Richard Ashcroft of The Verve fame, rugby league legend Billy Boston and icon of stage and screen Sir Ian McKellen in his role as Gandalf in The Lord of The Rings film trilogy.
Dom said: “It’s been a total pleasure being given the chance to play a creative part in the regeneration of King Street.
“As a Wiganer myself, I have fond memories of gigs and the general cultural scene .
“I believe Wigan can go from strength to strength because arts and culture are being championed here as they are in the most vibrant towns and cities across Europe.”
The history and heritage group, meanwhile, is hoping to look backwards as well as forwards and celebrate the street’s interesting history at the same time as putting it on the road to a brighter future.
Jim Meehan from Wigan Local History and Heritage Society said: “We’re trying to help bring the Heritage Action Zone back to life by understanding the history of the buildings and the people who lived and worked in them.
“Hopefully this will generate interest in the area and attract people back.
“The Royal Court Theatre, which is being restored, will be the centrepiece. It still has a lot of original features inside.
“There is an awful lot of history in the area. The Heritage Action Zone has 10 listed buildings and another 20 of historical interest, which we are researching at the moment.
“I think the artist Dom has done some great work. It’s an eye-catching thing and hopefully it will get people looking up to appreciate some of the old buildings.”
The King Street Heritage Action Zone website has now also gone live.
Wigan Council said it was an important step in the project as it allows residents to submit their comments and thoughts and will let the town hall gauge public opinion on the work and King Street’s future.
The Streets Apart consortium includes the council, Wigan Little Theatre, Stolen Thread, SL Leisure, Wigan Building Preservation Trust, Wigan Youth Zone, Wigan Local History and Heritage Society and Healthy Arts.
Find out more about the project at www.wiganlocalhistory.org/king-street-heritage-action-zone/introduction-to-the-street-that-was or www.theoldcourts.com/streetsapart
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