Withington has seen a burst of colour as a new mural gracing the exterior of The Albert, an Irish pub central to the community, celebrates a surprising local attraction – parakeets.
The mural is the latest addition to the Withington Walls street art project, painted by artist Peachzz, who finished the work last week. Alongside the flock of colourful parakeets, the mural also pays tribute to Cottongrass, the official flower of Manchester.
Parakeets, while native to Australia, have found a strange home in South Manchester. A regular spectacle, their presence has given rise to a multitude of theories, most of which settle on the idea that they were once pets that found freedom in the 1970s.
The mural isn’t just a tribute to the local fauna but also wraps around a historical gem of Withington – The Albert. This Irish pub has been a fixture since the 1850s, helmed for nearly 40 years by Tommy Grogan. At 91, Grogan is considered the oldest landlord in Britain, hailing originally from County Mayo in North West Ireland.
Expressing his appreciation for the new artwork, Grogan said, “I think it’s wonderful, and Megan (Peachzz) has made it even more precious with the parakeets… this has really brought us to the fore. It’s just marvellous.”
The Withington Walls street art project is a community initiative aimed at revitalising the area through quality street art. Over the years, Withington’s demographic has evolved, shifting from a student hotspot to a home for young professionals and families. The village now boasts over 100 pieces of diverse artwork on structures ranging from shop shutters to utilities boxes.
Commenting on the positive reception to her mural, Megan said, “Everyone’s been so welcoming, they’ve really looked after me. The response has been pretty incredible…They are beautiful birds and it’s really brightened up the area.”
Withington Walls, a project run by volunteers, thrives on public donations, grants, and business support. More details can be found on their website at www.withingtonwalls.co.uk.