Tour: George Mayer-Marton’s ‘Oldham Mural’ in Context

Date / time: 17 September, 10:30 am - 4:45 pm

Tour: George Mayer-Marton’s ‘Oldham Mural’ in Context


SAVE Britain’s Heritage and Twentieth Century Society and George Mayer-Marton’s ‘Oldham Mural’ in Context Tour

Saturday 17th September 2022 – 10.30-16.45 (approx)


A tour led by Howard Smith with experts, Clare A P Willsdon, Dr Judith LeGrove and Henrietta Billings, to see the 1955 ‘Oldham Mural’, at the Church of the Holy Rosary, Oldham. We will also visit two further churches on post-war estates in Greater Manchester to reveal unexpected masterpieces.

A rare and exclusive opportunity to see the acclaimed ‘Oldham Mural’ at the Church of the Holy Rosary, Oldham, by the visionary émigré artist George Mayer-Marton (1897-1960). The mosaic mural was originally flanked by fresco representations of the mourning Mary and St John, but currently only the glittering mosaic of the Crucifixion is visible following overpainting in the 1980s. The church has been closed since 2017 and is the subject of a SAVE/C20 campaign.

We will also visit Mayer-Marton’s only other ecclesiastical mural that survives in situ at nearby St Clare’s, Blackley, occupying almost the full height of the east end. Prof. Clare A. P. Willsdon will introduce both works.

Finally, All Saints and Martyrs, Middleton (listed in 2021 Grade II) which shares several features with Coventry Cathedral, in particular a work of art that totally dominates the lofty interior and which was commissioned for the church. This is the awesome ‘Langley Cross’ by Geoffrey Clarke, a sculpture which deserves to be recognised as of national significance. Dr Judith LeGrove will talk about the work.

Clare A.P. Willsdon, Professor of the History of Western Art at Glasgow University, will highlight her research on the Oldham Mural as a Gesamtkunstwerk or ‘Total Work of Art’. She authored the pioneering book Mural Painting in Britain 1840-1940 (2000) and was a member of the House of Lords expert panel on murals for the Palace of Westminster (2008-10).

Dr Judith LeGrove is the author of a monograph on Geoffrey Clarke and has written extensively on British post-war sculpture.

Henrietta Billings, director of SAVE Britain’s Heritage, will discuss the growing momentum behind the campaign to save the ‘Oldham Mural’.

A Twentieth Century Society and SAVE Britain’s Heritage event, organised by C20 Northwest

SAVE Friends/Saviours:  £25

Members of the public: £28

Meeting Place: Manchester Piccadilly station (further details to follow)(includes coach travel but not lunch – a stop will be made for lunch)

To find out more about supporting SAVE and receiving discounts on future events please visit our our Support Us page.

Places are strictly limited, booking is essential. If you are unable to book a ticket please email Leigh Stanford at

Image: The Oldham Mural (1955) before its partial overpainting. [Credit: Estate of George Mayer-Marton]