The Most Famous Man on Marsh Road
Fascinating insights into life growing up in interwar Middlesbrough’s Marsh Road in the town’s Cannon Street area have been published following the discovery of the memoir of Patrick Durkin.
The Most Famous Man on Marsh Road tells the story of the son of Irish migrants, Durkin’s memoir recollects his early life in Middlesbrough in the aftermath of the First World War. The former shop owner describes schooling in the 1920s, life as a 15-year-old working at Furness Shipbuilding Company, the insanitary conditions of the area and some of the incredible characters and events that shaped the lost community.
The memoir was uncovered in 2015 by Middlesbrough artist Sean Durkin whilst sorting through the effects of his late father John Durkin, who famously stole L.S. Lowry’s painting of the Old Town Hall from Middlesbrough Art Gallery in protest at the Gallery’s closure on a Sunday, which he considered prohibitive to working-class access to art.
Believing his grandfather’s account to be of historical significance, Sean contacted historian and Heritage Unlocked consultant Dr Tosh Warwick who convinced him to publish the memoir. Now, accompanied by an essay by Dr Warwick on Patrick Durkin’s Middlesbrough, photographs from Teesside Archives and new artwork by Durkin, the memoir has been published as The Most Famous Man on Marsh Road.
The artist and historian are now exploring the potential of an exhibition based upon the memoir alongside developing new education and heritage resources.
The Most Famous Man on Marsh Road and Durkin originals and limited edition prints are available to purchase at https://www.seandurkin.co.uk/book.php#!/The-Most-Famous-Man-on-Marsh-Road/ and will also be available at The Art House, Middlesbrough after lockdown.