I grew up in a family that never had a car. We walked everywhere. A regular route was past the clayhole (literally a huge pit, from which boulder clay was excavated to make bricks on site), through the rucks (coal mining slag heaps), crossing the brook bridge, then under Parsonage Colliery railway through a short tiled tunnel, and out onto the terraced housing along Victoria St.
Can you feel the romance of living in Leigh?
As we approached the tunnel, we always read out loud BEATLES STON, which had been daubed on the wall. For most of these years we thought it was something to do with insects in the rocks; as we got older, perhaps it was a protest about the quality of the construction work, or that it had been left unkempt.
Clearly, STON was an unfinished word, but was it STONE? And why was it never finished?
As a teenager, discovering who the Beatles and Rolling Stones were, it then became obvious. What it meant, why it was written, and an appreciation of the feeling with which it was done. A monument, a work of veneration, a tribute. No longer a childish playing with meaning, but a mature appreciation of the sense of it all.
I’ve always had a feeling that the writing on the wall that inspired the song, below, being performed by Neil Innes, has touched him, and is still doing it’s job. Returning to its meaning as his perception of the world changes. See what you think.