A few weeks ago I was part of a small meet up held by Brutiful Birmingham at the William Mitchell murals under Hockley Flyover alongside representatives from various Birmingham based 20th Century and Modernist groups.
We were also joined by members of the University of Birmingham’s Mountaineering and Climbing Club (UBMC) who explored the various ridges and overhangs of the walls.
As a long time appreciator of public art, the Mitchell Murals have been on my list to visit for some time so I jumped at the chance when this opportunity was offered to me.
Created in 1968 the murals are constructed of cast concrete and form three walls of a large square under the flyover and are a visual delight as you emerge from the underpasses.
Each wall has different abstract patterns and textures which lends themselves nicely for use as climbing walls. I believe they were actually designed for use by Mitchell as climbing walls for children.
Thanks to their somewhat hidden location the murals have remained relatively graffiti free and as you can only reach them on foot I think this has helped preserve their condition. However, unlike some of Mitchell’s other work they are not listed.
These murals are impactful viewing from a distance but it’s well worth walking along their perimeters and taking in all the details up close and making use of their tactile nature.
If you’re interested in public art, brutalism, sculpture or indeed climbing then it’s well worth a visit to these murals.
Please do also check out John Bray’s video of the event for the BBC here