Friday, 10 June 2016

The Fleece Inn in Mossley, a challenge and an exhibition

Peter paints pictures and as he told me once “is drawn to sandsone built pubs since we were once tenants of a Thwaites house, The Wellington Hotel in Clayton-le-Moors” and that led him to paint the Fleece Inn in Mossley.

Now he also likes to offer me a challenge which is the simple one of being able to admit visiting the pubs he paints.

And to make the challenge just that bit more difficult he often chooses ones he and Linda have come across on their motoring holidays which pretty much means anywhere between north Wales, the Yorkshire Moors and deepest Cornwall.

But he lost the challenge with the Fleece, because unknown to him I spent three years in Ashton-Under-Lyne in the 1970s.

And back then being very young we would often walk to Mossley and yes more than once passed the pub.

As to whether we went in, sampled the beer or just bought two packets of crisps I can’t remember.

But then I no longer remember the colour of the socks I put on yesterday or which dreadful reality TV show bounced across the telly over the weekend.

What I do know is that Mossley is in the upper Tame Valley in the foothills of the Pennines, is four and a bit miles from our old house on Raynham Street in Ashton and along with Stalybridge and Uppermill helped launch the annual Whit Friday Band Contest after all three had staged a brass band event on the same day back on June 6 1884.

At present I have no idea if the Fleece was offering up pints to thirsty bandsmen back then but I bet there will be someone who can give us chapter and verse so I shall just wait and see.

But after a brief closure it has reopened owned by a consortium and Mike Tebbs one of the group has bought Peter's picture of the pub and soon it will be available to see along with a pint.

In the meantime I have every confidence another challenge will be issued and for those who want to see just how many of those earlier challenges were met and turned around, Peter and I will be in Manchester Town Hall tomorrow as part of the Manchester History Festival with the story of our collaboration.*

"He paints the pictures......... And I tell the stories" is a celebration of that collaboration. **

It’s less Darby and Jone and more a partnership perfected over the last six years where we combine paintings of buildings and look for the stories behind the doors.

Painting; the Fleece Inn, Mossely, © 2012 Peter Topping, Paintings from Pictures,

* Manchester History Festival June 3-12,

**"He paints the pictures......... And I tell the stories",

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