If you’ve read Ghost Alley, you will know that I’m fascinated by what might loosely be called ‘street art’. However, I never expected to see anything of this kind in my home town.
Earlier in the summer, I noticed that the walls of the passageway connecting the bottom end of Bluebell Lane to Little Dockray had been painted in vibrant shades of yellow and orange but thought no more of it at the time. However, I was walking through this alley a couple of weeks ago when I noticed that a range of decorative motifs had been added to the walls. A friend told me that they had been painted by children under the tutelage of an established street artist, who showed his students how to achieve smooth edges to their designs and other skills.
The first photograph is a general view of the passage from the Bluebell Lane end. This is followed by a view from the Little Dockray end.
The remaining pictures are of individual designs on the walls. The symmetry evident in these designs suggests to me that stencils and other templates have been used in their creation, although this is not to imply any kind of criticism. After all, Banksy uses stencils, and nobody criticizes him for doing so. I believe this to be a welcome modern addition to the town’s historic landscape. The next time you’re in Penrith, check it out.
Anyone who is familiar with Penrith will recognize motifs in the fourth and fifth photos that are based on the tower on top of the Beacon, which was erected in the mid-eighteenth century to commemorate hundreds of years of pillaging by Scots marauders, by then coming to an end, and in the second and fifth pictures, a stylized version of the Musgrave Monument, which was built by a prominent local family to mark the loss of their son in the Crimean War (1853–56) and which is usually considered to be the centre of town. I’m not sure what the cupola that appears in several images is supposed to represent, although there are no examples of this architectural feature in the town that are as prominent as the Beacon Tower or the Monument.