26 MAR 2018

It was once a place to paint the town red. However, installation artist Joyce Iwaszko has chosen a splash of blue for her unique mural in the former home of the iconic Maxims nightclub and Newcastle-under-Lyme’s oldest building. She is currently putting the finishing touches to a 15-feet-long artwork, which will be a permanent feature in Samuel Bell’s tea room when the building reopens as the Belong Heritage Gallery in April.

The acclaimed local artist is giving ‘Banksy’ a run for his money with her creative homage, which takes inspiration from the designs of the William Steers’ pottery once produced on the site and helps to celebrate the building’s history and its unique place within the town’s cultural landscape.

Joyce was commissioned to produce the mural by care village operator Belong, as part of a wider programme of activities to record the site’s heritage and history, from its days as the town’s first pottery, through to its use as a coaching house and its time as one of the county’s most famous night spots.

Made possible by a £1.8m grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund, the transformation of the Maxims building to create the Belong Heritage Gallery is part of a wider £13.5 million Belong care village development at the site, incorporating 28 apartments for independent living and six 24-hour care households. A village hub will provide access to amenities for residents and the wider community, including a hair salon, bistro and exercise studio, as well as providing specialist day care.