New Brighton is a town which is fast becoming known for it’s open air street art gallery. Located on the Wirral, the majority of the murals in New Brighton are located around the Victoria Quarter. Part of a wider regeneration project, it is led by Rockpoint Leisure who have provided support for the majority of the murals.
Centering around Victoria Road, many of the murals in New Brighton are within an easy walk of each other. The murals and smaller street art pieces spread out from this central hub. The road also contains a number of smaller, independent businesses. Many supported by Rockpoint Leisure who have bought up a number of property’s with a view to breathing life back into them.
Regeneration through Street Art
As a project, the street art gallery of New Brighton began in earnest in 2018. Since then over 20 pieces have been created. Ranging from works by local artist Brez to more recent pieces from French artists Nerone and Adele Renault. Notable other murals include viral works form Australian artist SMUG, Northern duo ‘The Nomad Clan’, Ben Eine’s vibrant ‘I See the Sea’ and a range of pieces from Dotmasters. The mix of street pieces is a neat blend of local, national and international artists.
Murals of New Brighton
Many of murals in New Brighton also have a story to tell. In some ways, exploring the street art of the area can also help in becoming familiar with the area itself. The Nomad Clan, Brez and SMUG in particular have chosen to examine some of the hidden stories. This is both modern and from days gone by. SMUG’s portrait of Mike Jones celebrates 40 years with the RNLI whilst also recognising that great institution. Dark days of shipwrecking and smuggling are remembered by the Nomad Clad. Brez meanwhile pays tribute to Peggy Gadsby, the one legged diver who dived for pennies off New Brighton pier.
Colourful and Vibrant
Elsewhere the works are just plain fun and pieces from Mr Penfold, Adele Renault and Matt Dosa stand out in terms of just colour and vibrancy. Fine art and graffiti meanwhile merge in the work of Mr Cenz, Pref and to a different degree in the delicate excellence of Stamford duo ‘Snik’. The James Atherton also boasts a unique pub sign, ‘The Three Bell Ends’ went viral when it was unveiled and is a witty take on today’s political class.
New Brighton History
As a town New Brighton was once seen as a premier holiday destination. It’s pier, tower, lido and ballroom would have been well known across the UK. The tower, once the tallest in the country lasted only a couple of decades. Having opened in 1900 it suffered from a lack of maintenance during World War I and was fully dismantled by 1921. The pier, once a grand reminder of former glory, has also gone. First established in the 1830’s it was originally made of wood. This was prior to a revamp and a grand iron structure replaced it in 1867. After ferry services stopped in 1971 it would eventually be closed. Eventually being demolished in 1978. New Brighton’s once famous Lido and ballroom have also disappeared. The latter being destroyed by fire in 1969. It was famous as being a venue where the Beatles played 27 times more than anywhere other than the Cavern Club.
New Age for New Brighton
Regeneration is a key driver for New Brighton’s street art gallery. The town has suffered from a real lack of investment and imagination over the years. The murals are a means to try and restore some of the energy it has lost. Working alongside a substantive investment in local business it has become a complimentary means of drawing life back in. Street art acts as the backdrop for a new energy unleashed by the re-purposing of old shop units. An art gallery, a pub and a number of other smaller businesses have been added to the high street. There are many other plans too. Old buildings once boarded up will eventually be re-opened with local businesses placed inside.
Map of New Brighton Street Art
The New Brighton Street Art Gallery began in 2018 and is supported by Rockpoint Leisure. All the murals are open to the public to see with a few needing special access inside Rockpoint Records. More details about the murals and the gallery can be found at the New Brighton Street Art webpage. You can also have a look at their instagram for the latest goings on.
New Brighton Street Art Gallery
Walking around the street art gallery of New Brighton is easy and shouldn’t take much more than an hour. Each mural is located a short distance from one another and each can be seen within an hours walk. Sitting at the heart of the gallery is Victoria Road which has a number of options in terms of food and drink. The murals are shown in what we feel is a good order to see them.
- Nomad Clan – Waterloo Road
Painted in February 2020 the mural by the Nomad Clan is a nod to New Brighton’s coastal history. In particular it references the areas history of ship wrecking. Smugglers would lure unsuspecting ships onto the rocks through the lighting of fires on the hillsides. Ships would then be looted and sunk. The phrase ‘Seekings Finding and Findings Keeping’ is said to date from these times. The Nomad Clan are a duo known for their murals which explore elements of an areas history.
- Fanakapan – Virginia Road
Fanakapan’s mural on Virginia Road says ‘I heart NB’ or ‘I Love New Brighton’. It consists of four different foil balloons of three silver letters and one red heart. The heart balloon reflects across the other three giving an illusion of 3D. This type of mural is something that Fanakapan had been perfecting for years and his foil balloons look like they are lifting off the wall and about to fly away.
- SMUG – Virginia Road
Further down Virginia Road, Australian street artist SMUG has painted a mural which pays homage to the RNLI. Painted in September 2020 it is a portrait of Mike Jones who had recently celebrated 40 years of service with the organisation. Indeed Mike still volunteers at the New Brighton Lifeboat station. The mural can be seen from the harbourside looking from there into the town.
- Nerone – Virginia Road / Belmont Road
French artist Nerone is known for his bright palette and his dripping flowers. His work in New Brighton on the corner of Virginia and Belmont Road doesn’t disappoint. One of the biggest murals in terms of wall space, he has called the piece ‘Belladonna’.
- Brez – Neptune Hotel, Victoria Road
On the side of the Neptune Hotel a one legged man can be seen diving amidst an array of golden coins all gently drifting to the ocean floor. The mural remembers Frank ‘Peggy’ Gadsby who would dive for pennies off New Brighton pier. He became known for his phrase ‘Don’t forget the diver sir, don’t forget the diver. Ever penny makes the water warmer’.
- Alexander ‘New Brighton Peter Pan’ – Windsor Street
Now in the heart of the Victoria Quarter. The building on the corner of Victoria Road and Windsor Street contains a mural called the ‘New Brighton Peter Pan’. It is the second mural by painted in the town by ‘Alexander’ and is a celebration of New Brighton’s history as a tourist destination. Within the mural it’s grand former tower is remembered. Also shown is the lighthouse and the promenade. Peter Pan is shown flying above in a nod to Michelangelo’s ‘The Creation of Adam’. The piece is completed by a quote: ‘‘The moment you doubt whether you can fly you cease forever to be able to do it’’.
- Tiananmen Bell ‘Peter Pan Wings’ – Windsor Street
Butterfly wings have since been added to the ‘New Brighton Peter Pan’ mural. From another local artist Tiananmen Bell, she paints under the name of ‘canvaslifeonline’. The wings also play to the Peter Pan theme and contain imagery from the famous story.
- Dotmasters ‘Rude Kids House’ – Windsor Street
Next to the ‘New Brighton Peter Pan’ sits a smaller work from Dotmasters. Called the ‘Rude Kids House’ he has used his familiar wallpaper-esque background with his his rude kids stencilled on top. There are several Dotmasters pieces in the area.
- Ben Eine ‘I See the Sea’ – Windsor Street
Overlooking a secure car park Ben Eine’s ‘I See The Sea’ it a bright neon yellow mural which is just pure fun. Known for his use of different typefaces he will often paint statements big and bold on walls he is asked to paint. If he’s anything like me, growing up away from the seaside then the excited childish cry of ‘I see the sea’ was a familiar one when, on family trips, we got near the coast.
- Mr Penfold ‘Torn but not Broken’ – Rockpoint Records, Victoria Road
Back to the main Victoria Road and above Rockpoint Records can be seen a large colourful mural form Mr Penfold. The artist is known for his bright abstract works making use of shapes and colour. His street art in New Brighton appears to be a series of patterns revealed through torn layers. He has called the piece ‘Torn but not Broken’ and you can see why. The tears reveal the layers of his imaginary surface and together it makes a whole.
- Oakland Cali Bear – Oakland Gallery, Victoria Road
A throw back to a time before the real development of street art in the area. It’s uncertain who actually painted the Cali Bear which now sits over the Oakland Gallery. From what I can discover, the original space for the gallery was due to be a Californian themed restaurant. The Cali Bear was then painted as part of the branding for that space as the bear is a symbol of California.
- Insa Mansions – Victoria Road / Waterloo Road
Wrapping around the side of a building fronting the post office is a giant mural from Insa. His swirling pattern style is what he calls ‘graffiti fetish’. It is artwork which can be found on clothing and furniture as well as remaining popular on the street and in the gallery. This colourful piece is probably the biggest mural in New Brighton. It’s also one of the brightest.
- Dotmasters ‘Phone Box Ice Cream’ – Victoria Road / Waterloo Roard
A little random goodie, hidden yet in plain sight. The overturned ‘phone box ice-cream’ is just a large stencil of a big cone. From Dotmasters it’s one of a number of his pieces which can be found in the area.
- Snik ‘Cold Tenderness’ – Waterloo Road
Further down Waterloo Road the first of two planned murals in New Brighton. Snik are a street art duo known for their giant hand cut stencils. Their work is delicate and full of detail. Easily they rank amongst the best stencil artists in the world. On the big walls they tend to combine this with more free hand detail. Looking over an access yard just off Waterloo Road it shows the mirror image of a woman looking out over it.
- Dotmasters ‘Otto’ – Waterloo Road
Nearby ‘Otto’ was the first of Dotmaster’s rude kids to be painted in the area. It shows Otto with a roller painting a long red line across the a wallpaper type background. The mural overlooks Waterloo Road and along it runs an alley with access to the backs of some houses. There too, Dotmasters has placed some additional stencils.
- Matt Dosa ‘Abstract Seaside’ – Victoria Road
Back onto the main Victoria Road, Matt Dosa’s colourful work was partly Inspired by the nearby seaside. Covering the whole upper floor of three buildings. It uses a combination of shapes and colours. The piece is pure fun and is complete proof of the power of street art to transform an environment.
- Three Bell Ends – The James Atherton, Victoria Road
The Three Bell Ends sign hangs above the James Atherton pub on Victoria Road. Showing some of our favourite political leaders wearing bells on their head, the three bell ends was born. Created by the team from New Brighton street art themselves it was an image that quickly went viral. The Bell Ends in question being a respectful nod to the political masters of messrs Cummings, Johnson and Hancock.
- Pref ‘So Y R U Here’ – The James Atherton, Grosvenor Road
‘So Y R U Here’ is a an abstract calligraphic work from a master of this particular medium, Pref. The artist is known for taking phrases and words and then using them to create his artworks. The piece sits on the side of the James Atherton pub along Grosvenor Road.
- Brez – The Harbour Pub, Grosvenor Road
Local artist Brez’s mural on the Harbour pub is a homage to the days of piracy and the sea. The area was once known for the shipwreckers which would lure unsuspecting sailors to it’s shore.
- Luke Smile ‘Smile’ – Habibi, Grosvenor Road
‘Smile’ is a typography piece painted to celebrate the launch of the Oakland Gallery in October 2020. It has been painted onto the side of ‘Habibi’ in the town centre and can be seen be entering the car park to the side. Luke Smile will often combine his calligraphy work with backdrops of smiley faces and that’s what can be seen in this piece.
- Art by Alexander ‘Pride’- Perch Rock Hotel, Grosvenor Road / Hope Street
This first of a series of five murals in New Brighton from local artists led by ‘Art by Alexander’. The portrait of Martin Luther King is painted on the back of the Perch Rock Hotel. It takes it’s inspiration from the U2 song Pride (In the Name of Love). This was written about Martin Luther King and the portrait is the same as the image U2 featured on the front cover of the song. Beneath the portrait is included the second verse from the actual single. Around the portrait are a series of UK flags. Each have had their colours changed and replaced with flag colours from different nations. This is representative of diversification and inclusivity which the artist felt was important at the time of painting in April 2019. A time when the UK was gripped in rancour about the Brexit referendum. This was the first mural to be painted for what would become the New Brighton Street Art Gallery.
- Art by Alexander ‘The Wallasey 79’ – Hope Street
A tribute to the New Brighton tram line has been painted onto the back of the New Brighton Hotel. The ‘Wallasey 78’ was a tram which used to run down Victoria Road and past the hotel. For this mural from local artist ‘Art by Alexander’, a fictional tram, ‘The Wallasey 79’ has been painted. It is sitting at the equally fictional stop of ‘Hope Street’ yet remembers the real route which ran nearby. Sitting inside are a few local famous faces. New Brighton’s founder James Atherton is portrayed as the conductor and local war hero Ian Fraser is shown sitting next to Wilfred Owen in the window.
- Art by Alexander ‘The Black Pearl’ – Hope Street
The Black Pearl was an interactive artwork which once sat on the shores of the Mersey. Created by Frank Lund and Major Mace in 2013. It has been maintained since by a small group of volunteers who had helped rebuild it after storms and even after an arson attack. Eventually the Black Pearl succumbed to a storm and was broken up by the waves of the Mersey in March 2020. The name was inspired by the pirate ship which featured in Pirate of the Caribbean. Painted by ‘Art by Alexander’ this is the fourth mural created by the artist painted in the town. The phase at the top of the artwork says ‘Go and Retrieve that Horizon’. It was taken from a personal message sent by Johnny Depp to the artist Frank Lund after hearing that the artwork had been damaged.
- Art by Alexander ‘New Brighton Beatles and the Tower’ – Mason Street
Based on artwork from the late Tony Booth the image on Mason Street remembers the old posters promoting music at the former Tower ballroom. In particular it features silhouettes of the Beatles, who played 27 times at the venue. Shown running along the bottom of the wall they are portrayed as being late for a gig. Sadly the tower ballroom has long since gone and the mural was painted to commemorate 50 years since it burnt down in 1969. The mural is the third to be painted by local artists led by ‘Art by Alexander’ in the area.
- Adele Renault – Seymour Street
French artist Adele Renault has become renowned for her feathered walls. Painted onto the gable end of a house on Seymour Street in May 2021 it is a work which stretches the range of the street art in New Brighton. Plans are in place to move further into some of the surrounding streets so that the street art trail begins to take in more of the town. Her feathers murals were initially inspired by pigeons but have since taken on a texture and flow that now defines her style.
- Mr Cenz ‘Rainbow Goddess’ – Grosvenor Road
Created in November 2019, Mr Cenz’s Rainbow Goddess looks out over Grosvenor Road. Mr Cenz has perfected a kind of street art and graffiti mix with his portraits which are at the same time both realistic and abstract. Working freehand he takes an image that he likes and then freestyles around it. His work has become instantly recognisable as a result.