Artist restores much-loved Titanic mural to former glory
A famous east Belfast mural has been restored to its former glory.
Admirers of the black and white Titanic wall painting - a popular stop-off point on the city's bus and taxi tours - had complained that it had become tatty, weathered and dilapidated.
It was only after a £3,000 cash injection that artist John Stewart was able to spruce up his original creation, which is located on the corner of Newtownards Road and Dee Street.
The mural - first painted in 2003 - commemorates the world-famous liner and the Harland and Wolff shipyard workers who built it.
Speaking to the Belfast Telegraph yesterday after completing the project in six weeks, Mr Stewart said he was over the moon with how it has turned out.
"I received hundreds of emails from people complaining about the shabby state of the mural," he said.
"And I'd been wanting to fix it up for ages because it is really popular with locals and tourists.
"Thankfully, Sammy Douglas, the DUP MLA, stepped in and helped to secure money for the assignment."
Mr Stewart said: "I'm delighted with how it looks now and I can't wait to start my next project." The 42-year-old east Belfast native is also the man behind another of the city's murals - the renowned depiction of David Healy's famous winning goal, on the corner of Albertbridge Road and Cranforth Street.
That too has seen better days but Mr Douglas told the Belfast Telegraph that he also hopes to put that right soon.
"I'm very interested in the Titanic mural because it's right beside my office but also because my father worked in the shipyard so I've got a long association and admiration for it," he said. "The initial painting was beginning to look a bit tired so we managed to get £3,000 in government funding to paint and plaster the wall. John has done a fabulous job and there's no doubt that it's one of the best murals in Northern Ireland."
Mr Douglas said the money came from a government initative called Urban Villages - which concentrates on disadvantaged areas - and was distributed by EastSide Partnership.
And he confirmed that the Healy mural, also in east Belfast, is his next refurbishment target.
"Since I read the story in the Belfast Telegraph about that in August I've been attempting to raise money to start work on it," the veteran politician said.
"I'm in talks with a businessman and the Northern Ireland Housing Executive so I'm hopeful we'll secure the funds required."
Goal hero Healy himself said he would be delighted to see the mural restored. "I was really proud when it first went up and it would be great to see it back to the way it was," said Northern Ireland's record goalscorer.