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New mural inspired by Coppergate Dig unveiled at Fenwick 

Friday, 9 February 2024 21:00

By Chantele Hodson

A new mural, inspired by the Coppergate dig, has been unveiled on the side of Fenwick this week. 

The mural, which has been commissioned by York BID and designed by Leah Pendleton, is part of an ongoing programme to tell stories that reflect York’s unique history and identity through a mural trail, launching this summer. It joins the murals on Foss Walk, York Barbican, Coney Street, and Queen Street – all commissioned or supported by the BID – and comes just days after the launch of York BID’s Colour & Light project at the York Art Gallery, celebrating the city’s built heritage through a large-scale outdoor projection.

Rachel Bean, Project Manager at York BID, is leading the mural trail. She said: “York’s 2000-year history is evident everywhere you look, but Leah’s design reminds us that we are all an important part of that history and have something to contribute. This is the third mural commissioned by York BID in the last 12 months, and I’d like to say a huge thank you to the Coppergate Centre and Fenwick for their support”. 

The new 42m² mural was created by York-born artist Leah Pendleton. Leah’s trademark bright, eye-catching style can be seen in the mural’s bold typography and playful illustrations. Leah said: “The design was inspired by photographs of the Coppergate dig, where you can see layers of history being unearthed. I wanted to interpret the history of Coppergate in a contemporary way using brightly coloured lettering. I’ve used the phrase ‘make history every day’ to highlight that each small story contributes to how a place is built and evolves overtime”. 

The mural features bold lettering formed from different coloured layers, inspired by the 9m of archaeological layers discovered during the Coppergate dig in the 1970s. The design celebrates the idea that York’s varied history provides solid foundations for the present and future. The characters dotted around the mural highlight the importance of individual action, while the artefacts represent the deposits unearthed during the dig.

David Jennings, Chief Executive of York Archaeology, notes the dig was not only influential for York, but for “the way museums present their collections across the world”. He said: “it is wonderful to see the dig represented in this way as a reminder of the remarkable archaeological heritage that we have, particularly on a site that is world-renowned for its rich deposits and incredible preservation of items from the Viking Age.” You can take part in celebrating York’s vibrant past during the Jorvik Viking Festival from the 12th to 18th February.  

Prajay Shah, Manager of the Coppergate Centre said: “The new mural is a great addition to the Coppergate Centre and shows why York is such a special place to visit. We were delighted to support this project and further enhance the great experience offering that we have here.” 

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