A new mural at Pool Meadow Bus Station will pay tribute to Coventry’s James Starley – widely considered to be the father of the bicycle industry.

Artist Angry Dan is in the process of painting a bright design featuring an Ariel bicycle in tribute to the inventor, incorporating the limerick:

James Starley reveals,

His vision of life on two wheels,

The people, alike,

Can all ride a bike,

And soon we’ll be head over heels.

The London-based artist said: “The limerick was inspired by the significant social transformation brought about the bicycle.

The James Starley mural in progress at Pool Meadow Bus Station.
The James Starley mural in progress at Pool Meadow Bus Station.

“The invention gave people from all backgrounds the ability to travel miles in any direction of their choosing.

“Notably, the bicycle is regarded as giving women greater freedom, and so is considered by many to be a feminist icon. Hence the lines: the people, alike, can all ride a bike.”

James Starley founded The Coventry Sewing Machine Company in 1863 and in 1869 changed its name to the Coventry Machinists’ Company, with Coventry soon becoming the centre of the British bicycle industry.

The colourful tribute will be painted onto the side of Pool Meadow, located next to Sprinkles and facing the entrance to Lady Herbert’s Garden.

Councillor Patricia Hetherton, cabinet member for city services, said it will pay tribute to a “Coventry legend”.

She said: “The bus station is already looking much better. We want to make sure it’s comfortable and easy to use for passengers and it gives a warm Coventry welcome to visitors to the city as well as making local people feel proud.

“The bus station will feature lots of amazing art and I am sure people will recognise some true Coventry legends. I can’t wait to see it all finished.”

The mural forms part of a £1.5m revamp funded by The West Midlands Combined Authority.

As well as new art installations, work includes new electronic passenger information screens, new LED lighting and colour scheme, new benches, bins and planters.

New-look toilets have also been unveiled, sporting a distinctive black and white chequered design to celebrate the 2-Tone music movement that originated in Coventry during the 1970s, made famous by The Specials.

Angry Dan’s tribute to James Starley was chosen after a call from Coventry City Council, Coventry City of Culture Trust and Creative Giants for artists to help celebrate Coventry’s year as UK City of Culture.

Councillor Jim O’Boyle, cabinet member for jobs and regeneration, added: “In 2019, Pool Meadow was handling around 5 million passengers a year and it needed a bit of a facelift.

“Although the pandemic has meant many people are staying at home over the past 12 months, we hope that people will soon be able to see the difference that this work has made to make it feel truly welcoming to people visiting the city centre via bus.”

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