Wednesday, 16 December 2020

Co-Op, Hull


The Co-op Mosaic is a mural in Kingston upon Hull, England, by the artist Alan Boyson. Commissioned by the Hull and East Riding Co-operative Society, for the exterior of the side of their new store at 32-38 Jameson Street, it was erected in 1963. Depicting three stylised trawlers, it commemorates Hull's fishing fleet.

The mural is made from 4,224 panels, each 1 foot (30 cm) square and made in turn from 225 cubes of Italian glass - over one million in all. The panels are fixed to a curved, 66 by 64 feet (20 by 20 m), concrete wall.

The mural was built to Boyson's design, by Richards Tiles Ltd (subsequently part of Johnsons Tiles Ltd).

Included in the mural is the Latin text res per industriam prosperae ("the success of industry"). It also includes the letters "H U L L" in the ships' masts. These appear fortuitously and not through deliberate design.

After the Co-operative Society vacated the building, it was for a time a branch of BHS.

In May 2007 the mural was locally listed by Hull City Council, who described it was a "superb example of modern public art". The council subsequently pledged to retain the mural when the site is developed. In November 2016, a proposal by Hull Civic Society to give the mural statutory protection at a national level was rejected. The society announced its intention to appeal the decision. The mural was placed on the National Heritage List for England on 21 November 2019 at Grade II.

An additional mural by Boyson, inside the store on the fourth floor, was rediscovered during refurbishment in 2011. Depicting a shoal of fish, it is over 22 feet (6.7 m) long and is made from ceramic tiles, marble and stone. Located outside the former Skyline Ballroom (later Romeo and Juliet's, a nightclub), it had been hidden behind a false wall. The building's then owners, Manor Property Group, announced plans to feature it in their designs for the building's decor. It was made as part of the same commission as the exterior mural.


Esoteric Eric

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