Destruction of Gorton Beyer Peacock artwork without warning 'shocking'

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Beyer Peacock mosaicImage source, Geograph/Gerald England
Image caption,
The mosaic was created by artist Ian McKay and local residents in 2010

A housing association's decision to pull down a much-loved public artwork without consultation was "pretty shocking", an MP has said.

One Manchester (OM) removed the mosaic, which celebrated the work of local locomotive engineers, from Thomas Regis Court in Gorton on Thursday.

OM tweeted that it was removed because it was attached to unsafe cladding.

Manchester Gorton MP Afzal Kahn said he had asked OM why it was destroyed after removal, but had not received a reply.

Image source, Gorton Visual Arts
Image caption,
Photos showed the remains of the mosaic piled up near the housing complex

The 45ft (14m) work celebrated the local community's role in producing steam engines at the Beyer Peacock works in nearby Openshaw.

The foundry, which opened in 1854, exported steam engines all over the world and produced armaments in World Wars One and Two, before closing in 1968.

The mosaic was created by artist Ian McKay and local residents in 2010.

The artist said losing the work, which cost £10,000 to produce was like suffering a bereavement, particularly as it was doen without warning.

"We have maintained the mosaic down the years and if people had contacted us, we could have preserved it while the work was taking place," he said.

"Everyone knew somebody who had worked at Beyer and Peacock and this mosaic reflected that."

Mr Kahn said he was "pretty shocked" at the mosaic's removal and the lack of an explanation from OM was "very disappointing".

The housing association, which manages more than 12,000 properties across Manchester, has been contacted for a comment, but said in a tweet that it would be working to replace the mosaic with "new community-led artwork".

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