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Botanic Gardens lakeside mural to be repainted by its original artist Robert Newbiggin

Artist Robert Newbiggin has been given the green light from Sefton Council to create a replacement mural that will adorn the lakeside area of Southport’s Botanic Gardens.

The current mural was painted by Robert around 14 years ago and local students have added to it as part of their studies. It has weathered in the elements over the years and now Robert has offered his time, at no cost, to replace the mural. 

The new design will depict Victorian scenes within the park, reminding people of the history of the site and its inclusion on the Historic Parks and Gardens Register.

Pastel sketch of the proposed mural background. Victorian figures enjoying the scene will be included in the final design.
Pastel sketch of the proposed mural background. Victorian figures enjoying the scene will be included in the final design.

The initial concept and design have been signed-off by both Sefton Council and the Botanic Gardens Community Association (BGCA).

Robert will now begin the painting process in his studio across a series of boards, that once finished, will be put into position in the park. It is hoped that the project will be completed by spring 2022.  

The Council’s Green Sefton Service works in partnership with the dedicated volunteers of the BGCA to maintain the popular park. The materials required for the mural will be funded by the Association.

Cllr Ian Moncur, Cabinet Member for Health and Wellbeing, said:

“I’m so pleased that we’re seeing another of the phased improvements planned for the Botanic Gardens lakeside area coming to fruition. The park has such a rich heritage and the new mural design will really showcase this to both visitors and park users.

“I’d like to thank Rob for offering his time at no cost to undertake the painting in his studio and to the volunteers of the Botanic Gardens Community Association for their contribution for the mural materials.

“I know that the community is very excited about the mural, as well as the wider park improvements, and can’t wait to see it take pride of place by the lake next year, which by that point will be fitted with new aerating fountains too.” 

Robert grew up in Southport and spent a huge part of his teenage years drawing and painting – often in the Botanic Gardens studying and sketching the flora and fauna. His career as a self-taught artist has taken him around the globe, but closer to home people may know him for his Southport town centre mural of Captain Sir Tom Moore that he painted last year.

Robert Newbiggin, said:

“I’m excited to start as I have the boards now, and the fact I’m the artist I am today will make all the difference.”

David Cobham, Botanic Gardens Community Association (BGCA), said:

“The Botanic Gardens Community Association volunteers have kept the existing mural going for the past few years with a new surround. But, time marches on and we are delighted that Rob has offered to carry out the artwork for free to add to his magnificent portfolio.

“The new mural will be far longer lasting, and we are equally delighted to fund the first-class infrastructure materials.”

The new and improved mural installation works follows last month’s news that two aeration fountains have been ordered as part of the first phase of lakeside improvements at the park.

The costs of the fountains have been met by recent fundraising efforts from the Make a Change for Ben group who have donated their funds raised to the BGCA for improvement projects and on-going maintenance within the park.

A longer-term vision to source a multi-million-pound investment for the park remains at the early stages of development. Next steps will include launching a public consultation in 2022.

Anyone interested in helping to shape the developing project, or would like to volunteer in the Botanic Gardens, can contact the Botanic Gardens Community Association at https://botanicgardensca.org.uk/