Public art in Stevenage listed by Historic England
Two local public artworks have been listed at Grade II by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) on the advice of Historic England.
The tiled mural by Hungarian artist Gyula Bajó at the former Co-operative House in Stevenage town square was installed between 1956 and 1958. It is the earliest of the four major surviving Co-op murals of the 1950s and 1960s.
Co-operative House (now Primark) was the ‘Stevenage Super Store’ of the Letchworth, Hitchin and District Co-operative Society, and the first large retail shop to open in the town centre in June 1958.
‘Scenes of Contemporary Life’, by sculptor William Mitchell, is a two-part sculptural wall mural at Park Place underpass and a fascinating artistic record of local Stevenage life and significant events in 1972.
The mural’s panels show social, political and cultural events of the time alongside scenes of everyday life in Stevenage; vehicles and the developing town; political demonstrators; a group of figures representing the hippie movement and an American space rocket and cosmonauts in a Soviet landing capsule.
Cllr Sharon Taylor OBE, Leader of Stevenage Borough Council said:
“As we move towards a new, exciting phase in the life of Stevenage amid our regeneration programme, we are proud to celebrate our historic cultural heritage. I welcome the listing of these tremendous pieces of public art that outline the vision of Stevenage as a dynamic and cooperative town. The recognition of the great value of these artworks is long overdue, and are rightly celebrated as Stevenage is regenerated.”
Cllr Richard Henry, Stevenage Borough Council’s Deputy Leader and portfolio holder for Culture, Leisure, Children & Young People, said:
“I am thankful to Historic England for recognising these artworks in Stevenage that will help to protect them for the future. Stevenage has a history of pride in its heritage and indeed culture-led regeneration is also an important component of our future. This allows our residents and visitors spaces and activities for them to enjoy.
We also look forward to working on our New Towns Heritage centre to celebrate the past and welcome the future.”
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