New mural created in honour of Joy Division frontman Ian Curtis in his hometown of Macclesfield

Video report by Granada Reports Correspondent Mel Barham


A brand new mural has been created in honour of Joy Division frontman Ian Curtis in his hometown of Macclesfield.

The band were together for less than four years, recording just two studio albums, and yet they remain one of the most infuential groups of all time with their hit Love Will Tear Us Apart still commanding radio airtime more than 40 years after its release.

Ian was brought up in Macclesfield and won a scholarship to King’s School in the town.

He took his own life on the eve of the band's first US tour at the age of 23. His ashes are buried at Macclesfield Cemetery.

The remaining members of the band went on to form New Order and continue to enjoy great success.

Joy Division co-founder Peter Hook, who will officially unveil the mural on Saturday at 1pm, told ITV Granada Reports he thinks the mural is beautiful.

He said: "I'm watching all the people going down the street and every single one of them is drawn to it.

"Some young kids walking down had no idea who he was but now they do. Hopefully they'll listen to the music and get the gist of what we were trying to do as kids."

Joy Division play Shadowplay on Granada in 1978 during their first appearance on TV Credit: ITV Granada

The mural, funded by Cheshire East Council, was painted by Manchester-based street artist Akse and adorns a building on Mill Street opposite Macclesfield bus station.

Councillor Nick Mannion, chair of the authority's economy and growth committee, said: "Before today, I spoke about how perhaps this beautiful mural has been somewhat overdue but now that I’m here seeing it for myself for the first time, I can say without any doubt that it has truly been worth the wait.

"I am a huge fan of Joy Division – the cultural significance of the band and Ian stretches well beyond my home town of Macclesfield. This is such a proud moment, I’m feeling very emotional about it right now."


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Akse puts the finishing touches to the work Credit: Cheshire East Council

Akse has been spray-painting similar projects over a varied 30-year career.

His recent works include murals of the late British army officer and fundraiser Captain Tom Moore and Manchester United footballer Marcus Rashford MBE.

He said it was an honour to paint the portrait of Ian Curtis and hoped local people were excited about it.

On completing the mural, he added: "Although I’ve been working on murals most of my life, it’s still always an incredible feeling to get to the end of the journey – well the end of my journey at least. Now it’s time for the people of Macclesfield to enjoy the mural, as I know how much Ian meant to so many of them."

Ian Curtis on Granada's So It Goes in September 1978 Credit: ITV Granada

Janet Jackson MBE of the Macclesfield Cultural Forum, said: "This is a wonderful day for anyone with a connection to Macclesfield and particularly those, who may have grown up with or simply felt a connection to Ian and Joy Division.

"This mural speaks even more loudly than that though. It can, and will be, a tremendous source of inspiration for many years to come."

Simon Bushell, arts project manager and member of the Cultural Forum added: "Bringing someone of the calibre of Akse in to deliver this fantastic project is a real coup, his work is outstanding. But today is about remembering someone, who for many, was a real trailblazer – the legendary Ian Curtis."

The mural is based on an original photograph taken by Kevin Cummins at The Factory/Russell Club in Hulme, Manchester on 13 July 1979.