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The art (and soul) of Democracy’s Chorlton mural

Anyone passing our offices on beautiful Beech Road in Chorlton might have noticed something different by the front door.

To show our appreciation of the street we work on and the area we have built our business in and call home, we commissioned artist Russell Meehan to create a lasting tribute to all things Chorlton.

We want the artwork to be something people stop to pore over, that they see something new in every time they look, that asks questions and sparks debates.

Most of all, we wanted it to showcase the unique spirit, creativity, talent and claims to fame of this fabulous little corner of South Manchester.

In just four days, Russell (below) created his masterpiece – and we LOVE the results. We hope everyone else does, too.

mural2

Oh, and if you’re really stuck on what some of the references in there are, here are a few explanations…

How Deep Is Your Love

The Bee Gees spent nearly eight years of their childhood living at 51, Keppel Road, Chorlton, they also attended Oswald Road Primary School. In 1958 they moved to Australia. The street also lent its name to a Bee Gees documentary in 1997.

TV/Chorlton & The Wheelies/Dangermouse

Until January 2009, Brantingham Road, Chorlton was the location for the Cosgrove Hall animation studios, where children’s TV favourites such as Chorlton & The Wheelies, Dangermouse and Count Duckula were all created.

Chorlton Library

The library was built in 1914 to a design by architect Henry Price. It was funded by a £5,000 donation from steel magnate and philanthropist Andrew Carnegie, one of about 3,000 Carnegie libraries around the world. On 21 August 2013 it was designated a Grade II listed building.

Essoldo Cinema

The Rivoli Cinema opened on Barlow Moor Road in 1937 and was bombed four years later in the Second World War. It then became the Essoldo Cinema, The Classic and finally the Shalimar before eventually closing in the 1980s.  It reopened, but closed for good in 1991. The site where it once stood now houses a KFC.

Badly Drawn Boy (the pencil)

Local celeb Damon Gough, aka Badly Drawn Boy indie singer/songwriter rarely seen without his trademark hat.

Chorltonville

Manchester City Council designated Chorlton Green a conservation area in 1970 and Chorltonville in 1991.

Propellor

The first men to fly across the Atlantic Ocean, Alcock and Brown, were long-term residents of Chorlton and a house on Oswald Road has a blue plaque in honour of Brown.

The Lych Gate

Located at the entrance to the old churchyard at the end of Chorlton Green, this gate dates back to the 19th Century.

Magic Balloon

A tribute to Mary Paul, stalwart of the Beech Road Traders and proprietor of Magic Balloons, who sadly passed away in 2016.

Temperance Hall

This beautiful building on Manchester Road was a symbol of the 19th Century trend for abstention from alcohol by the working classes in particular. It is now a Wetherspoons pub, the Sedge Lynn.

Chorlton Ice Skating

In the early part of the 20th Century, this stood on Oswald Road.

Chorlton Water Park

Stands on the site of the former Barlow Hall Farm, the park owes its current existence to the construction of the M60. Gravel excavated from the site in the 1970s to help build the motorway led to the creation of a gravel pit, which was then flooded to make the lake that is there today.

Princess Ballroom

Located on Barlow Moor Road, the Princess hosted big name acts such as Tom Jones, Ben E King, The Drifters, Del Shannon and Lonnie Donegan in the 1960s. It originally opened in the 1920s as the Chorlton Palais de Dance and was popular with generations of Chorltonians.

Didn’t It Rain

Sister Rosetta Tharpe ( ‘the godmother of rock & roll’) performed at the Blues and Gospel Train concert in rainy Manchester on 7th May, 1964.   This was actually at Wilbraham Road station, renamed Chorltonville for the show.  She performed Didn’t It Rain and the rain came down! If you’ve never seen it, watch the amazing footage here.

Kingspot

Fondly remembered ‘pocket money’ shop on Barlow Moor Road, ‘Kingy’ had its heyday long before the explosion of the pound shop.

Quentin Crisp

The author, raconteur and notable gay icon died in Chorlton in 1999, while visiting the UK on the eve of performing his one-man show, and was cremated at Southern Cemetery.

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