A beautiful new street art piece has transformed a dilapidated building in Purley and spread mental health awareness in the process.
The My Old China building on Godstone Road closed some time ago, and fell into a state of disrepair.
However, with funding from the Purley Business Improvement District (BID) the building was transformed into a stunning artwork with large blocks of vibrant colour.
Each section represents different aspects of mental health awareness, as a spokesperson for Purley BID described:
“The orange section represents two of the five steps to mental wellbeing – ‘Learn’ and ‘Take Notice’.
“This section celebrates some of the history of the town including mentions of the iron railway, the links to aviation and the newly restored Purley memorial water fountain.
“People are encouraged to learn more about the town hence the inclusion of topics such as “Morgan’s” which relates to Henry Morgan, a pioneer of the town who ran a newsagent on the High Street for over 80 years.
— Purley BID (@inPurley) April 13, 2021
“The green section represents ‘Be Active’ encouraging people to use the green and open space round the area such as Riddlesdown Common, Happy Valley and the Rotary Field.
“The blue section represents ‘Give’ and ‘Connect’. The Purley community is abundant with lots of charities and organisations to allow people to give their time and support to help others…”
Local Purley artist Kevin Zuchowski-Morrison from KZM studio provided the inspiration for the stunning piece of art.
“It’s been a real pleasure to undertake this mural with Purley BID. It was really important for us all that, opposed to just being an artwork for artworks sake, the mural held real significance for the community and I feel it’s really achieved that,” he said.
“The community has been so encouraging while we have been working there. Some buying us sandwiches and coffees while we have been working which was so nice.
“Purley has got such a lovely community spirit, it’s nice to celebrate and encourage that. This building is right on my doorstep, so it’s lovely to see it have a face lift.
“Although this isn’t a permanent solution, it’s great for now and it’s certainly made it look better even if it’s only temporary,” Kevin added.
Purley BID said they hope the My Old China building, which still lies unused behind the mural, would be redeveloped.
In the meantime, however, it lifts a former eyesore in the community into something much more interesting, poignant and joyful.
Karen Tyne, owner of Diane’s Hair and Beauty on the High Street added her thoughts after the artwork was unveiled:
“We’re passionate about the town and the great community spirit which is why we’ve had our business here for many years,” she said.
“We hope the artwork encourages more people to delve into the town’s history and become as passionate about the place as we are.”