The rich and eclectic history of the coastal town of Whitehead has been preserved in colour on a new mural which was unveiled by the Mayor of Mid and East Antrim, Councillor William McCaughey, last Friday, 28 January.
Acclaimed artist, Dee Craig, created the masterpiece in consultation with the local community as part of the Mid and East Antrim Borough Council ‘Our Story in the Making’ art project, which was funded by the Northern Ireland Office.
Located at the entrance to the Diamond Jubilee Wood in Whitehead, the mural depicts the town’s railway heritage and that of Berkley Deane Wise, the engineer responsible for the promenade, as well as Blackhead Path and The Gobbins Path.
The steam train which dominates the piece is also a nod to the Whitehead of modern times, which is home to the Railway Preservation Society of Ireland Museum.
Speaking as the mural was unveiled, the Mayor said:
“There is the colourful row of houses at the seafront, and a signboard of local names reminding us that Whitehead is ‘the town with no streets’. There are also trees which will never lose their leaves, and will remind us of the Diamond Jubilee Wood, the only one of its’ kind in Northern Ireland.
“No mural of Whitehead would be complete without Blackhead Lighthouse, which has been a sentinel for shipping since 1902, and in the sky above it is a spitfire, reminding us of a wartime connection and two Battle of Britain pilots from the town, Flight Sergeant John McAdam and Squadron Leader Noel Corry DFC.
“The very fitting motto on the mural was chosen in consultation with the local community in respect of what message they would like to send out about Whitehead.
“It states that Whitehead is ‘Diverse, Welcoming and Forward Thinking’. All of those are great attributes to hold to, and hopefully that motto in itself will be an inspiration to those who pass by on a daily basis.”
The Mayor also congratulated all those involved in the mural.
“I would like to thank all those involved in this project, in particular the mural artist Dee Craig of Belfast Mural Arts, as well as the local community who engaged with Council staff in putting forward thoughts and ideas, and the NIO, which advised and liaised with us throughout.”