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Artwork commissioned for Lea and Cottam to help people feel proud of their area

Posted on - 31st January, 2024 - 7:00am | Author - | Posted in - Arts, Cottam, Lea, Preston Council, Preston News, Redevelopment
Cottam archway, Cottam Way
Cottam archway, Cottam Way

A Preston parish councillor says he hopes artwork the authority has commissioned of the local streetscene will help people better appreciate the part of the city they call home.

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Chris Smith, who sits on Lea and Cottam Parish Council, wanted to capture some of the best known elements of the neighbourhood landscape and put them side-by-side in a way that reminded residents that they live somewhere special.

Luckily for Chris, Lea is home to renowned illustrator David Robinson, who has become famed in recent years for his prints of local landmarks across Lancashire, and has now created separate montages portraying each of the two localities.

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“I just wanted to make people proud of where they live,” Chris explained.

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“We’ve got a lot of greenery around here and I think that’s quite unique for an area with so much new-build [housing].”

For David – who is Lea born and bred – the opportunity to show off his suburban surroundings was one that delighted him, but initially proved daunting.   He says he had not really appreciated everything that he had on his doorstep until he was confronted with the need to reflect it in his work.

“At first, I thought, ‘What am I going to draw?’ And then when I started looking around, you realise that there is absolutely loads – to the extent that I had to leave some things out or the images would have been too [crowded].

“Of course, these are things I see every day, but when you draw them, you start to look at them differently, which was really interesting.   I think it’s easy to take things for granted in your own area.

“One place that stood out for me was Lea police station, which is a really nice building.  Cottam has also got some really nice features, like its statues,” David said.

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The 44-year-old also hopes that the familiar sights he has highlighted will resonate with the locals who pass by them every day.

“What I’ve learned by doing these kind of prints is that people have an emotional connection to where they’re from.  They are fond of buildings that you wouldn’t necessarily think [of as] beautiful – but people love them, because of how they feel about them,” David explained.

All proceeds from the sale of the prints will go to local charities which the parish council has yet to decide upon. Chris – who is originally from Northampton, but settled in Cottam 20 years ago – says he hopes that the prints could be the start of a wider project, with local landmarks also being captured on the likes of coasters and tea towels.

“Part of what I feel a parish council should do is improve the awareness of local history, especially for people like me who have moved in from elsewhere.   We recently got a local historian to make a video about Lea and Cottam for that reason.

“I think some of the other areas of Preston, like Ashton, Tulketh and Fulwood, have got a better log of their history, whereas people don’t know as much about Cottam and Lea Town”.

To purchase David Robinson’s prints of Lea and Cottam, visit his website: daverobshop.com

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