In 2006 to 2007 I painted a series of twelve murals at the Leopard Hotel in Burslem, Stoke-on-Trent. Recently the pub has been closed down after the previous owner left.
I was asked by the owners Neil Crisp and Neil Cox to do a series of Murals based on the history of Burslem. I painted the Burslem riot scene whose characters included local residents and pub staff, a murder scene of a woman said to have been killed there, a pottery worker at the end or start of her shift. I also painted ‘the Leopardess’ one of the original owners, a picture of Molly Leigh, the Burslem witch, pottery owner Josiah Wedgwood, and three of his friends discussing the building of the Trent and Mersey canal. Also Arthur Berry, famous artist and my tutor at college. Walter a pub regular who had drunk there since his youth. A Clarice Cliff design called Umbrellas, and a painting of the Burslem Angel that stands in top of the old town Hall. I also designed and painted a design for a coat of arms for the hotel.
I always wanted some decent photos of the murals but only have a few pictures. The lighting was not very good in the Arnold Bennett suite. They at least are some memories I have.
The pub was renowned for being haunted and regular ghost tours of the empty hotel rooms attracted a lot of attention. It was even featured in ‘Britains most haunted’ a TV show.
It was a couple of years ago that it closed. Covid didn’t help. I was sad to see it shut but it sounded like they had someone interested in getting it going again.
Over the last few days a report came out that it had been broken into and someone had been arrested ror growing cannabis in there.
Now? Who knows. Apparently three people have been arrested for setting fire to it? Whatever happens its so sad. I guess it will be unrecoverable, destroyed. Part of my life has gone with it.