Street artist Paul Curtis is creating a new mural at Toad Hall in Ainsdale in Southport

One of Britain’s biggest murals, which is being painted on an historic building in Southport, is beginning to take shape. 

Street artist Paul Curtis is currently in the process of transforming the three-storey Tpad Hall in Ainsdale. 

When completed, it will be the biggest mural in Britain to be created outside London. 

Scores of people have been heading down to the seafront at Ainsdale to watch the work taking place, as they try and guess what the mystery design is going to be. 

So far, the colours of blue, yellow and white give a clue that the mural is going to have a seafront theme. 

Speaking on Stand Up For Southport, Mel Pinnington wrote: “Just drove out to see the work in progress – looks amazing so far – friendly wave from the man himself too up in the cherry picker.”

Nina Halliwell wrote: “Looking forward to the finished artwork.”

Jackie Sutton wrote: “I think it will attract tourists and as it’s only temporary its got to be an improvement. Just need to sort out Pontins now.”

Paul Curtis was declared Liverpool City Region Artist of the Year by the LCR Culture & Creativity Awards last year, after painting a giant 15m four-storey high mural of Red Rum on the gable end of a row of buildings on the corner of Scarisbrick Avenue and the Promenade in Southport. The work was commissioned for Sefton Borough of Culture. 

He has also painted a mural of Red Rum on the side of the Bold Hotel on Lord Street; a floor to ceiling Red Rum mural in The Atkinson on Lord Street; and an Audrey Hepburn artwork at David H Myers opticians on London Street. 

Sefton Council has commissioned Paul Curtis as part of its plans to invest in and develop the Ainsdale-on-Sea coastal area.

The 780m2 mural is the equivalent size of about four tennis courts.

Paul Curtis said: “I am excited to be involved in this large-scale project – my largest piece to date and I think the biggest mural in Britain outside of London! This will be my first in Ainsdale and I hope the building’s unique face-lift will have a positive impact.

“The mural itself is a secret at the moment, but it will have an obvious link to the area and people will start to work it out as it progresses. 

“It will definitely be a challenge. The scale is one thing, but the building is also full of angles, contours, corners and recesses. This is not a straightforward flat canvas, but I am looking forward to rising to these challenges. Let’s hope the weather is on my side!”

The art installation is being funded through the Council’s already agreed £350,000 of investments to improve facilities around the entrance to Ainsdale beach. People are also reminded that they have until the end of September to submit their views on the wider, long-term development of the Ainsdale-on-Sea area and can take part online at www.yourseftonyoursay.sefton.gov.uk  

The idea for an art installation on the Toad Hall building has been developed by the Green Sefton team. They have consulted with members of the community and community groups as well as ward Councillors on the design for the mural. Everyone has positively contributed to the creative process and are excited to see Paul’s work come to fruition.

The Council’s Estates department, who manage the building, has carried out the necessary safety checks ahead of the work and re-boarded the doors and windows ready for the fresh paintwork.  

The Hall itself was originally constructed in the 1920s and was set to be the start of a promenade but it never fully materialised. Many local people may remember the building as a popular nightclub, but since it closed the building has remained empty.

Do you have a story for Stand Up For Southport? Please message Andrew Brown via Facebook here or email me at: mediaandrewbrown@gmail.com

3 Comments
  1. Enid Banks 12 months ago

    Yes a mural on beautiful Accrington brick why oh why hasn’t it been converted to apartments it looks an eyesore. Is he painting the whole building or as is the case only the front, the remainder looking shoddy as is the building by the roundabout for goodness sake up the image on these two derelict buildings. At least you can boast a lovely beach, not like Birkdale and Southport beaches whom I think are in competition with Parkgate. I rest my case.

  2. Madeline 12 months ago

    I was sitting at a bus stop in Hoghton Street last week, when a cyclist passed, on the pavement. Not only that, but across the road, there was a cyclist going towards town, also on the pavement. Both of these were ignoring the cycle paths. They are a waste of time.

  3. Alex Smith 12 months ago

    I agree, it looks cheap and tasteless. Why couldn’t they save the money and put it towards a proper renovation. The building could have been converted into apartments and/or hotel accommodation. Just so long as it does not iinvolve Brittania. Demolish Pontins and build a conservation centre, with a decent restaurant, fast food outlet, gift shops entertainment for families and a large car park.This would stop all the surrounding roads being blocked by visitors’ cars every time we have a sunny weekend then local people would not have to clear their front gardens of dirty nappies and discarded food. Sefton are only encouraging the wrong sort of visitors to Ainsdale. If they aren’t careful it will end up like fourth rate Blackpool, without the lights!!
    They should be encouraging families. I read that someone said it was just a five minute walk from the railway station to the beach. They obviously hadn’t been to Ainsdale!!
    It takes a bit longer than that especially if there are young children!!!
    So why don’t Sefton and Mersey Rail come up with a plan for a bus service? Even if it only ran at the weekends, surely it could be done? I know Arriva have problems turning their large buses around in Station Road, so use smaller buses and the station carpark. It isn’t rocket science. It would be better for the environment ( fewer cars) and eventually increase revenues.
    Just one last thing, I live close to the beach and I don’t remember Sefton canvassing my neighbourhood and asking what our thoughts were on painting graffiti all over the lovely red bricks of a building which could have been restored thoughtfully, with a mural inside instead. I suspect that Sefton’s claim that the project was widely welcomed, is based on the opinions of those visiting the area.

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