I very much enjoyed reading the two articles by Ollie McAteer (‘Warnham Artist…’ and ‘What will be the future for Horsham’s sporting mural?’) in the May 23 edition of the County Times.
I am the ‘man with bushy eye brows’ who dug out the original County Times article published when the murals were painted at Broadbridge Heath Leisure Centrein 1989.
I am also delighted that in this Thursday’s edition the County Times has published a letter from Louise Heafield who was the other artist who with Alison Ingram painted the murals.
There seem to be three alternative ways of responding to the necessity of preserving these murals which are artistically and historically important.
If we were being challenged to protect the environment of some threatened species we would respond appropriately. Do you recall that the exact location of the site for the Sydney Olympics was changed in order to protect wildlife?
These murals have not been painted by artists with the reputation of a Van Gogh or a Picasso in which case they would definitely be preserved in toto nor are they ‘cave art’ in which case they would also be preserved but they are a highly significantrecord of Britain’s leading athletes over one hundred years.
They have inspired generations of young athletes while they put in their hours of dedicated training in the indoor training facilities (‘The Tube’) at Broadbridge Heath Leisure Centre. All the painted surfaces of those walls should be protected by a laminate covering and re-located safely.
Failing that plan ‘b’ would be for a photo of all the murals to be taken and given a quality mounting with named details of each athlete.
The third alternative – which should happen anyway since such a good precedent was set by Horsham District Council in 1989 – the third alternative is that new murals should be painted to adorn the walls of the new Broadbridge Heath Leisure Centre.
It is not at all impossible that the original sponsors of the 1989 project, Brewers and Permoglaze, would be interested again (Brewers have already received this suggestion from me and did show interest).
The quality of the art is good and the achievements of the athletes depicted exceptional. Let us do our bit for British and Horsham athletics and for the continuity of culture, history and sport in Horsham and preserve these murals.
Kings Road, Horsham