Enderby Mission Church and Enderby Parish Council recently joined forces to improve a local eyesore by transforming it into a work of art celebrating the history of the village.
Enderby Parish Council had started to improve the Townsend Road area of the village, by introducing a short one-way system and landscaping the area outside the old toilet block. The parish provides toilet facilities in the nearby civic centre and community run library.
Enderby Mission Church, which was established in 1890 to meet the spiritual needs of the men who worked in the local quarry, was successful in achieving a grant from the Enderby Co-op ‘Local Community Causes’ fund.
Two artists, Rebecca Bromley and Ellie-Rose, met with Enderby Heritage Group and explored the idea of constructing murals – each spanning one of the three sides of the building – and the work began in earnest during July/August. At a Council meeting Councillors considered various sketches and after some deliberation three were chosen.
As work on the project progressed it attracted daily attention from passers-by who expressed their appreciation of the artists work. On Saturday 17th August a number of local residents volunteered to paint the building white as a ‘canvas’ for the proposed artwork.
The picture on the main (front) wall (shown at the top of this article) celebrates a street scene which depicts the pink/red brick of Enderby and the quarrymen returning from work at the quarry. The background of the street scene depicts the roads that the quarry stone was used to build.
The right-hand side wall contains images of the quarry trucks, or ‘hoppers’. A competition was held, open to all residents, to create a design for the sides of the trucks. It attracted entries from the age range 5yrs to 70yrs! The entries were judged by Chairman of Enderby Parish Council, Nigel Grundy.
Local children who had their design selected in the Truck Design Competition were also in attendance for the mural’s public launch. In the days preceding the project’s completion creators of the winning designs had visited the mural to apply their own artwork, depicting the things which mean the most to them about the Village.
The designs include local facilities, including the library and sports centre, local parks, churches and pubs. The children and adults painted their artwork onto the wall over the August bank holiday weekend.
The story behind each mural…
The scene on the right-hand wall depicts trucks, showing them being supported by seventy-nine rocks, representing the seventy-nine men from Enderby who lost their lives in the two world wars. Also depicted is Whistle Way, a disused railway line that ran from the quarry, but which is now popular with local residents as a place to stroll or walk their dogs.
The left-hand wall depicts a ‘frame knitter’, one of a number of women who worked from home in the local area, using local wool to create products. The picture is inspired by an original picture by local artist Mary Sloane, whose original picture featured at the Royal Academy.
The Leicester branch of Brewers Decorators Centres assisted the project with providing a discount on the paint.
The project was officially opened on a slightly grey and windy day by Cllr. Grundy and Pastor Chris Thompson at 4pm on Wednesday 4th September – with a short ceremony on the Townsend Road site followed by drinks in the Library, where more information about the history of the village was on display and attendees had the opportunity to meet and talk to the artists.
Enderby Parish Council thanks everyone involved for their commitment to the project and believes the murals will be enjoyed for many years to come.
Anyone who would like more details of the history behind the scenes depicted are invited to visit the Parish Office.
Information on the services of the Mission church is available on their website: www.enderbymissionchurch.org.uk
The Enderby Heritage group meets bi-monthly at Enderby Civic Centre to share and learn information about the history of Enderby village. Visit their website at www.enderbyheritage.org.uk