Former Rochdale resident who calls the town home is latest to submit entry for giant artwork mural

Date published: 26 August 2020

A former Rochdale resident has become the latest person to submit an entry for possible use in a giant artwork planned for Rochdale town centre.

Judith Hunt, 60, has thrown her hat into the ring for Rochdale Development Agency's request for 88 budding artists to have their work featured on the side of 21 Baillie Street for the next year.

All the images have to depict what Rochdale means to the sender and can be a drawing, painting, photograph, craft item - or even a piece of knitting - and is open to everybody from novices to more experienced artists. 

It’s been 40 years since Judith left Rochdale - but that hasn't stopped her from submitting a black and white photograph of ‘The Walk’, taken during a recent trip back to the town which she calls 'home'.


21 Baillie Street is next to the entrance of the Wheatsheaf Shopping Centre, next to Rochdale Riverside


Judith, who now lives in Suffolk, said: “If you ask anyone when you went into town, you’d meet at the end of The Walk and head up Yorkshire Street into the town centre.

“The Walk is basically a narrow ginnel but it took you to the high street and, in my day, you’d turn right and go to the covered market.

“I came back recently and took one particular photo of the light shining across the ginnel.

“Then my sister-in-law, who still lives in Rochdale, saw the initiative to transform 21 Baillie Street and said I should enter.

“Although I don’t live in Rochdale, I’ve never lost my accent and I’m proud of where I’m from. When I’m returning to Rochdale, I have a very nice feeling inside of me the moment I get to the highest point on the M62 - because I know I’m coming home.”

Judith spent the first 19 years of her life in Rochdale, living in Edenfield Road and then Bury Road.

“When we moved to Bury Road, we lived near Lisa Stansfield’s house,” recalled Judith. “My brother, Richard, was in the same class as her at Oulder Hill Community School.

“After my A-levels, I did an art foundation course at Rochdale Art College, which had a very good reputation. At the end of the art foundation course, this very shy quiet girl won student of the year. I received a cheque for £20 and I bought a special art pen, which I still have. The head at the time said, which I’ve never forgotten to this day, ‘Judith Thomas you are a true artist’. Art is vital to me. Always was, is and would be.”


Judith Hunt
Judith Hunt


Judith then did a degree in three dimensional design before becoming an art and design teacher. She retired at the age of 55 to run an art business.

The mother-of-two said she’s been massively impressed by the changes to Rochdale in recent years.

“Opening up the river has transformed the town centre,” she said. “I made a special visit to the town centre recently and I was amazed at what they’d done. The town centre looks great. I’ll always be a proud Rochdalian.”

As well as being a celebration of the best bits of Rochdale, it’s hoped the transformation of 21 Baillie Street will become a magnet to entice people back into the town centre in the same way that the Dippy the Dinosaur exhibition attracted more than 100,000 visitors when it was displayed at Number One Riverside.

The ‘Find Your Space’ art project is a multi-agency initiative led by Rochdale Development Agency and also involves Rochdale Borough Council; Action Together, Link4Life, Rochdale Business Improvement District (Rochdale BID); and Marketing Manchester.

Anyone with a Rochdale link can submit an entry, and it’s hoped some famous Rochdalians will also take part.

For more details of how to take part and the full terms and conditions, go to:

Entries need to be roughly A4 in size and landscape.

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