‘A Century of Change’

I discovered these wonderful murals and subsequently the story behind them by chance as I looked for somewhere to park in Stockton town centre. The murals caught my interest and after a quick google here is what I found…

In 2005 artist Zak Newton who is responsible for a number of artworks located in the town centre, created two murals with historic significance, representing George Stephenson’s Locomotion No. 1 and the invention of the first friction match created by Stocktons’ chemist, John Walker.

A number of years later as part of Stocktons’ multi-million-pound regeneration scheme, Zak was commissioned to create The West Row Mural, celebrating ‘A Century of Change’ located at the former Stockton Fire Station, now the refurbished West Row Arts building.

Very sadly Zak passed away before completing the mural.

20-year-old John Newton, Zak’s son took over the project and finished the mural on behalf of his father.

“The mural leaves us all with a lasting reminder of my dad’s artistic vision and passion for art by the people, for the people”

The murals played an important part in the regeneration of the town. Stockton Council’s Cabinet Member for Regeneration and Transport, Councillor Mike Smith, said: “Not only does the mural contribute another exciting element to our town’s regeneration, it is also a lasting legacy to Zak whose artworks have complemented the look and feel of Stockton Town Centre for many years.”

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