Stunning hidden mural discovered in old town hall in Wigan

Building workers at a former council building were left stunned after discovering a beautiful mural hidden behind a wall.

Contractors working on the former Ince Town Hall uncovered the huge piece of art, which appears to be a scene of the Bay of Naples, hidden behind wallpaper while preparing to gut a section of the building.

The ornate mural shortly after its discovery

The ornate mural shortly after its discovery

To add to the mystery, the incredible painting does not have an artist’s signature, nor is it dated. The building dates back to the early 20th century, meaning the painting could potentially be more than 100 years old.

It’s a discovery that has “changed the ball game” for the building project, according to John Barnwell, one of the bricklayers who made the discovery.

“There was a stage there, which is being taken out.

“As we pulled back the wallpaper, it revealed this huge painting. Once we’d taken out the plaster and the wallpaper, it was there.

Contractors, from left, John Barnwell, Jimmy Maher and Adam Burton, who discovered the incredible artwork

Contractors, from left, John Barnwell, Jimmy Maher and Adam Burton, who discovered the incredible artwork

“It’s actually been painted onto the wall. It’s been hand painted by somebody very skilled.”

He added: “It’s been hidden for years, nobody even knew this was here.

“We were taken aback as we were revealing more and more. I didn’t expect to see that, especially in Ince. You don’t get stuff like that around here!”

John added: “We kept saying, when we were taking the wallpaper off, to keep an eye out for any name on it, but nothing’s been revealed.”

John and his workmates were carrying out interior works to renovate a section of the former town hall in Ince Green Lane, which is now home to the Little Giggles Nursery.

But the hidden artwork has now upset the apple cart, leaving the fate of the painting hanging in the balance.

“We’ve no idea what’s going to happen to it,” John said.

“We don’t want to ruin it though. It might even bring more people into the nursery!

“For now it’s been left as it is. There’s no decision made yet. All the work we’re doing for now is on the ceiling, so it’s going to be left for a while. It was due to be plastered over, but suddenly this little hidden treasure has changed the ball game.”

The former town hall dates back to 1903, and was put up for sale by Wigan Council in 2015.