restoring alan boyson's frieze

by The Modernist Society in Manchester, England, United Kingdom

restoring alan boyson's frieze
We did it
On 3rd September 2021 we successfully raised £2,572 with 72 supporters in 28 days

To restore the Alan Boyson frieze at the Queens Hotel, Collyhurst, Manchester.

by The Modernist Society in Manchester, England, United Kingdom

New stretch target

If we raise more than our target - we will put this money towards further celebrating the work of the artist Alan Boyson - dependent on how much we raise this might take the form of a tour, a pamphlet or even a book.

The Queen's Hotel in Collyhurst, just north of Manchester city centre, is in many respects the archetypal 'estate pub'.

Low, flat roofed built of brick and concrete and sitting amidst a large characterless car park and surrounded by low rise social housing.

What sets apart The Queen's Hotel however is the remarkable fibre glass frieze that sits on one of its outside wall.


(photo above courtesy of Manchester Archives+)

Designed by the increasingly notable sculptor, muralist and public artist Alan Boyson, it is a riotously colourful bullseye of abstract shapes with a bold Union Jack dominating one quarter of the panel.

Alan Boyson, who died in 2018, was born in Marple in 1930 and studied at The Manchester School of Art and The Royal College of Art.

His work can be found across the country but his most notable works are in the north of England. 

Three buildings where is work are in situ are now Grade II listed - The Tree of Knowledge at the former Cromwell High School in Salford,  St Raphael's Church, Stalybridge and The Three Ships mural on the former Co-Op building in Hull.

In Greater Manchester, as well as The Queen's Hotel, his work graces the MerseyWay carpark in Stockport, a stained glass window at St Ann's church in Manchester city centre, a recently (re)discovered frieze in the CIS Building, a concrete screen at Salford College and some charming tiles on a greengrocers in Denton.

Boyson's legacy is gaining in stature and his work gaining wider recognition and The Queen's Hotel is part of that exciting and wide ranging body of work.

Collyhurst, like many inner-city areas has not been treated kindly in recent decades and The Queens Hotel hangs on bravely in the face of many challenges. The frieze has hung on (literally and metaphorically), bleached by the sun, adapted by historic over painting and assaulted by Manchester's wind and rain and really needs restoration.


The current landlord is very proud of Collyhurst, the pub, and the frieze and he would very much like to see it restored. Sadly he does not have the knowledge or funds to restore the the mural himself, despite the best of intentions. The frieze is not listed and the landlord need not have sought to protect it, but he, and his family, really want to do the right thing for the work and the community.

He therefore contacted us at The Modernist Society to see if we could help.

Using our wide range of knowledgable contacts - including experts in Boyson's works - we were able to find an artist who has the requisite skills to repair and repaint the fibre glass and restore it to its original glory. 


(photo above courtesy of Boyson family)

This restoration however will take time and money so this is where you come in.

We at The Modernist Society think fibre glass frieze's on estate pubs have as much value as grand cathedrals and starchitect designed office blocks so we would love to see Boyson's work bring a little ray of sunshine into this part of north Manchester.

We have set up a crowdfunder whereby you can donate to the restoration fund of this little gem and save another piece of Alan Boyson's legacy for future generations. 

Join the Modernist Society or subscribe to the modernist magazine.

The four Alan Boyson tiles shown below are available as one of the rewards for helping to fund this project. (*see £150 pledge)



This project offers rewards in return for your donation

£50 or more

9 of 50 claimed

£50 Reward

Meet the experts. Pledge £50 and not only will you be invited to the reveal, but we will invite you to a talk by the team of Alan Boyson experts that have advised us on this project. Talkers will include Boyson authority, Christopher Marsden, Dr. Richard Brook from the Manchester School of Architecture, film-maker Esher Johnson and big Boyson fan, photographer Stephen Marland. You will also be invited to the reveal.

£10 or more

£10 Reward

Just for the joy of it! Pledge £10 and help bring this mural back to its former glory.

£20 or more

£20 Reward

Attend the 'launch event' big reveal. Pledge £20 and we'll invite you to the reveal of the work once the restoration is completed.

£500 or more

£500 Reward

Be a patron of the arts. Pledge £500 - feel like a Northern Medici! Why not use your spare funds to bring art the people? You will also be invited to the reveal and talks.

£150 or more

4 of 4 claimed

£150 Reward

Pledge £150 or more and you will receive one of just four 6"× 3"glazed Alan Boyson tiles (*As pictured at the bottom of the main page.)

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