Boscombe Alleyway Steps into Narnia

A dilapidated Boscombe alleyway is to be transformed into a Narnia-inspired community mural at the weekend.

The alleyway in Borthwick Road, Boscombe, has been a source of contention for residents for many months.
Alleyway. Photo credit: Robin Webster

It has been used for fly tipping, vandalism, drug dealing and drinking, making it unsafe and unpleasant to use.

Resident Hilary Ferris’s garden wall backs on to the alleyway. She said: ‘I never go down the alleyway; it is such a mess. It will be fantastic once it’s painted and I will make a point of walking there.’

Founder of MBN ARTS, Mike Ness, was approached by Bournemouth Council to transform the alleyway in partnership with Boscombe Regeneration.

Mr Ness has been working for the past two months with Boscombe schools and residents, providing coaching sessions on street art, not only teaching art, he said: ‘But transferable skills, confidence building and education about the art form. Street art traditionally has a bad name, but we want to celebrate it and show it can be done well and legally. By creating art, we are creating community.’

Boscombe Neighborhood Warden, Amanda Caitlin said:

‘It is great to see people taking ownership and pride in their local area. We want it to have a positive impact for the community and the people it serves.’

The residents, along with Mr Ness and Miss Caitlin have held workshops to create the images they wanted on the alleyway.

Snow scene. Photo credit: Dave S (Flickr)

The theme of Narnia was chosen because, ‘It is multi-generational, and the stories are enjoyed by both young and old,’ Mr Ness said.

The regeneration is being funded by donations from Boscombe residents, Bournemouth council’s Local Improvement Fund and Community Safety Partnership.

Bournemouth cabinet member and councillor Jane Kelly said: ‘Myself, along with fellow board councillors, are delighted to support and encourage creativeness. As long as you have permission, I hope it will empower young people.’

One resident has opposed the mural, suggesting that it will encourage illegal graffiti. Robert Logue, Chairman of Boscombe Business Association in response said: ‘Legal wall spaces create safe places for education and expression.’

Street artist, Pierre Cochart, 19, said:

‘There are only two places in Bournemouth where you can legally spray paint; there needs to be more. It gives us something to do and provides enjoyment and a way to express ourselves.’

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