Maryport is an historic harbour town on the West Cumbrian coast. Past industries included shipbuilding and fishing, but now the town is re-inventing itself in post-industrial West Cumbria…

Commission for Allerdale Borough Council, 2002
A civil engineering project to create a new flood defence wall on renovating disintegrating the North harbour wall allowed scope for artworks..

Commissioned to create an artwork involving the sandstone flood defence wall, consultations took place with the townspeople, who were asked to provide images of the town, recollections and memories. Further research involved the town’s Maritime and Senhouse (Roman) Museums, and the Cumbria County Council archive at Carlisle Library.

As a result I accumulated hundreds of images of the town, maps, postcards, old photographs, roman images, an engraving of a ship entering the harbour during a storm, tiles from a butchers shop, bits of old wallpaper and willow pattern lino; and very distinct impressions of individual pride in the town, and some anger over its post-industrial decline (the demolition of the towns fabulous railway station in post Beeching Britain particularly bitterly felt)…

The tile commission for North Harbour flood defence wall is a patterned narrative based on elements of the town’s history. Screen-printed in-glaze cobalt blue images and patterns on porcelain tiles, inset into the sandstone wall, they are a permanent installation, which should last for hundreds of years…

A vaguely chronological sequence starts at Tongue Pier, and heads towards the town…. Of course many may start a walk along the wall from the town end towards Tongue Pier, in which case the sequence noted here is reversed…

Tiles depicting waves are based on images from an engraving showing a ship entering the harbour in a storm.

Patterned fish tiles refer to varieties fish traditionally landed in Maryport for hundreds (probably thousands) of years.

The Roman presence and influence on the area are recognised by a series of patterned tiles made up from images of objects (sculptures and details) sourced from the Senhouse Museum.

Throughout the mural, repeated details of old maps make patterns on a larger scale, referencing changed places; the location of old shipyards, railway lines and evidence of other activities and presences, which enabled the town to develop.

Other patterns are made up from images of side-launched ships, buttons referencing the old Hornflower factory (which used to make buttons and other products from animal horn). The bull tile was created by using a map detail (trees), and a print from Logan’s (now closed) butcher’s shop paper carrier bag. It not only references the agricultural hinterland of the town and a local business, but also the old trade of importing cattle from Ireland.

Two tile patterns contain very domestic references, after all Maryport is a home to thousands of people; they are composed from fragments of wallpaper found in a local Georgian house.

Finally looking from South Quay, where the detailed patterns of each tile are on the whole too fine for easy contemplation, the arrangement of tiles in the wall, although constrained by structural and engineering considerations, does have logic. They are not randomly patterned as may appear at first sight, but have been deliberately placed using Morse code as the arbiter.

Additional Mayport Projects
In 2008 Paul was commissioned by Capita Symonds to help in the development of a signage strategy for the town, and to design signage and interpretation panels for the River Ellen corridor and Shipping Brow areas which were subject to renovation and re-development.

In 2009 Paul was commissioned to integrate artwork into the new Maryport Business Centre being built on the site of the old Hornflowa button factory.