Artist charts the changing face of Bury

Graham Cooper with his new publication Transient Town

Graham Cooper with his new publication Transient Town

First published in News This Is Lancashire: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter

A newly published book has documented the “dramatic” changes to the architectural fabric of Bury over the past 30 years.

Graham Cooper has collected the works of his father Joseph, who died in 2001, and produced a book which compares his work to modern-day Bury.

Joseph worked at Bury Town Hall as a rates evaluation officer for much of his career, after attending Bury Grammar School, and also being conscripted during the Second World War based in South Wales, where he met his future wife Margaret.

After retiring in 1974 he took up painting as a pastime, and was interested in depicting scenes in his locality which fuelled his imagination.

He held an exhibition at Bury Art Gallery in 1978 alongside his son to display his works, and in 2009 more than 50 of his paintings depicting scenes in Bury were donated to the Bury Art Museum.

The paintings were then displayed on the BBC website as part of an initiative to document works of art in museums and galleries across the country, which influenced Graham to publish the book.

Graham, aged 64, said: “It was a very proud moment, because it is a national collection and they must have been deemed worthwhile for people to look at. I then thought maybe I can do something with it.

“For some time, I had been thinking about how Bury had been changing. A lot of the places have vanished. The town has lost a lot — that is what the book is all about.

“We have lost our seven cinemas, we have lost lots of churches of architectural interest, we have lost more than 60 pubs, a lot of them over the past couple of years.

“It was quite revealing really, there has been a dramatic change and whether it is for better or worse is arguable.”

The book features the changing faces of areas such as The Rock, Bury Market, Kay Gardens and the Old Market Hall.

It also gives a rollcall of all the pubs that no longer exist in the town.

Joseph lived in Bury until moving to Sidmouth, Devon in 1997, where his son Graham now lives.

Graham added: “He had a great ability for drawing and was struck by the architecture, old buildings and familiar landmarks and tried to capture them.

“He had all these paintings showing different views of Bury and we were saving them over the years.

“After he passed away occurred to me that there was a whole series of images showing how Bury was.”

The book, entitled ‘Transient Town’, can be purchased for £10 by emailing Graham at cooper.graham@btinternet.com

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