Hunt is on for Exeter’s ‘missing’ mural people
Two people who were immortalised in an Exeter mural are being sought again for the relaunching of the landmark piece of art.
The colourful mural on the side of the Globe Backpackers Tourist Hostel in Exeter is currently undergoing restoration. The mural has greeted motorists, pedestrians and tourists entering Exeter via the Topsham Road since it was completed in the 80s by artist Andrew Stacey.
Now the artist is trying to identify two of the people who were featured in the mural at the top of Holloway Street, so that they can be involved in the unveiling this summer.
Andrew told the Devon Week: “We need people to cast their minds back to the early 1980s. Were you the then unemployed young man, minding your own business strolling down Bonhay Road with a newspaper in your hand, when you were approached by a young up and coming artist?”
The young man was asked to pose reading the newspaper leaning against a wall. “Little did he know that he would end up in the final design of a local iconic, and now 21st Century Society listed mural on a building on a main road entering the City of Exeter!” said Andrew.
As far as Andrew is aware, the man in question not long after went off backpacking to the other side of the world.
At the time, Andrew Stacey was working out of his Bonhay Road studio and had been commissioned by the then owner of 71 Holloway Street, Catherine Borgen, of Globe English Centre fame, to design and paint a landmark mural on the side of her language school building. The theme tied in with the 150th anniversary of RIBA (Royal Institute of British Architects) and the Chartered Institute of Builders and played on the diversity of languages.
The building has since become the Globe Backpackers Tourist Hostel and at the turn of the century, its owner, Caroline Heaton met a woman by chance, who told her that the figure in the mural was her son. She said that at the time of the painting she had found great comfort in the fact that although her son was away on the other side of the World, she passed him daily on her way to work casually reading his newspaper leaning against the building. Although the conversation took place, the identity of the man remains unknown.
The second unknown figure – a young lady wearing a red and white t-shirt – is depicted leaning over about to mix paints up on the scaffolding. Andrew remembers the person clearly but sadly can’t recollect a name. It was very relevant at the time because the young woman had studied for a Diploma in Building/ Construction at Exeter College in 1984.
Anyone who knows the identity of the two individuals is urged to contact Paul Osborne, on 01392 265274, or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Andrew said: “We would particularly like to locate our ‘missing persons’ to invite them to come along to join us at the relaunch, bringing the past and the present together.
The backpacking link has continued during the restoration, with a young Australian artist, Natasha, helping out.
The mural is one of two painted by Andrew in the 1980s. The other mural is at the West Gate on New Bridge Street. It is recognised as a high-quality mural and has been suggested for listing by the 20th Century Society. The restoration at Holloway Street is being carried out by Exeter City Council in partnership with Globe Backpackers owners Caroline and Paul Heaton.
(image: Mural painted on the side of the Globe Backpackers by Schlamniel used under Creative Commons)