Home > Just Me > The Boy From The Black Stuff, J.B.

The Boy From The Black Stuff, J.B.

John Booth 1943-2009
 John Booth was born in Glasgow 1943 and moved to England as a young man looking for a passion in life. He began work as a roofer for a local company in Stockport and for 35 years this was the trade he loved. Through a devotion to his work he provided a solid foundation for himself and family to flourish.
Stanley Grove House Roof Art (Source:Stockport News Extra)


In 1976 John’s artistic side of his personality showed through when he thought it would be a good idea to play a joke on his work mates, whom were all Manchester City fans and decide to inscribe the letters M U (Manchester United) using tiles on the roof they were working on.

News article (Source: Stockport News Extra)

The culprit remained a secret  for many years until John was reading his local newspaper and saw an article searching for the person who was responsible. He then contacted the newspaper and revealed himself as the budding artist.

All though in 1976 this was the first time Johns artistic skills had come to light in the public eye, he continued to hone his skill as a roofer. It was not until some years later, when he was recovering  from an illness that he discovered how much he enjoyed art.




” I am doing this for myself. But perhaps I’m bringing a bit of joy to the world with a bit of colour and a bit of bitumen”
John Booth
John Booth (Photo By Where will you draw the line)

one afternoon while he was in hospital, someone suggested that he should draw with some paper and pens to pass the time and from that moment on he knew what his true talent was. In the following months after leaving hospital he attended night classes in life drawing, but this was not satisfying his newly found passion and so he signed up for a full-time foundation course at Stockport College.

During a lecture in which people spoke of their obsessions John thought of “bitumen”, he liked the smell of it, he liked the feel of it and it was something he had learned to control over the 35 years as a roofer with some amount of accuracy. So with a somewhat nervous approval from the college, John brought his bitumen burner into college turned it up to 300 degrees Celsius and a new form of art was born.

He completed his course at Stockport College, achieving a distinction and the college’s Turner prize for best student then quickly set about acquiring a studio. He found his second home from home in the form of the Vernon Mill Art Studio were he was one of the first artists to set up a permanent studio, which is now home to around 43 artists situated over two  floors of the building.

Vernon Mill (Photo By A G 1)

The foundation stone of the mill was laid 31 October 1881, it was the first Limited liability cotton mill to open in Stockport. The industry peaked in 1912 when it produced 8 billion yards of cloth. The great war of 1914- 1918 halted the supply of raw cotton, and the British government encouraged its colonies to build mills to spin and weave cotton. The war over, Lancashire never regained its markets. The independent mills were struggling and the Bank of England set up the Lancashire Cotton Corporation in 1929 to attempt to rationalize and save the industry. Vernon Mill, Stockport was one of 104 mills bought by the LCC, and one of the 53 mills that survived through to 1950. It is still standing, occupied by multiple companies, and the Vernon Mill Artists (VMA).

From his studio in Vernon Mill he created somewhat of a stir in the artistic world, with exhibitions in City’s all over the UK , Ireland and Europe including private collections being held in countries like the USA, Italy, Germany, Australia, China and Spain. In 1998 was awarded the Gallery Prize by Stockport Municipal Art Gallery for production of the most original painting.

John Booth (Photo By Where will you draw the line)

” It’s quite a transformation from been a hairy arsed roofer to a student of fine arts”
John Booth

Fluttery Things By John Booth

His works have been seen at auctions up and down the UK and on a regular yearly charity auction for Ronald McDonald House in his native city of Glasgow. He would donate one of his works of art to the charity every year and the proceeds would go to help raising funds to provide family’s a temporary home close to the Yorkhill’s Sick Children’s Hospital, this enabled the family to live close to the hospital due to one of the kids being seriously ill.

John’s Q & A

Charlie Chaplin By John Booth
Q. What would be your perfect day ?
A. Painting and listening to classic FM.
Q. What is your greatest extravagance ?
A. My children and grand-children.
Q. What is the most exciting thing you have ever received through the post ?
A. A questionnaire.
Q. What’s your idea of a perfect meal ?
A. Sunday Dinner “Maggie’s cooking”.
Q. Do you have a favorite hangover cure ?
A. Don’t touch it in the first place.
Q. What Vehicle do you own ?
A. A little 7cwt van. It’s a little gem.
Q. Do you have any irrational fears ?
A. Cancer.
Q. What is the oldest item of clothing you wear?
A. A suit to funerals and weddings.
Squares 1 By John Booth
Q. Who do you love?
A. My family and some good friends.
Q. Who or what do you hate?
A. Bad drivers.
Q. What is your favourite television program ?
A. Match of the day.
Q. what is your most annoying habit ?
A. Annoying the wife.
Do You……
Believe in god ?: Yes
Believe in love at first sight ?: Yes
Know who is No1 in the charts ?: No
Support the death penalty ?: No
Understand how to work a video recorder ?: No
Sing in the bath ?: Yes
Dolphins By John Booth
” Part of what motivates me is that I hate waste. I try to use things up. We are just raping the world, and we need to slow down and go back to the drawing board “
John Booth

Unfortunately John Booth ( The Boy From The Black Stuff ) left this world for pastures greener in 2009.

John Booth, My Uncle R.I.P.

  1. August 28, 2010 at 2:55 am

    Great story Mark…….im sure Uncle John will be missed !!

  2. paul mcguire
    August 28, 2010 at 4:28 pm

    great peice off writing mark a lot off intresting stuff i didnt know about uncle john ,cheers cuz

  3. Joan
    August 28, 2010 at 6:05 pm

    Mark…”I love this” You read him well and showed us the man he was. Your article makes me proud that he was my brother, Thankyou.

    • joanne his daughter
      August 28, 2010 at 8:20 pm

      well mark thank you so much i love it what a amazing dad he was love and miss him so much and that was a lovely reminder of him a big thankyou. joanne

      • andrew maddocks
        August 28, 2010 at 8:28 pm

        love it,a great piece of work on a much loved man . thanx.

  4. Jodi
    August 28, 2010 at 8:49 pm

    Aww Mark that’s amazing well done 🙂 Uncle John would love that!! Can’t wait to show my mum xx

  5. James
    August 28, 2010 at 9:09 pm

    It was a pleasure to know this man and I had some good times and laughs with him. Perfect brother in law. Well done son for doing this.

  6. wendy knowles
    August 29, 2010 at 9:18 am

    mark ive just seen your article and its great, the Q&A’s part is bril, thankyou, you made me laugh reading them, and thats a rare thing at the moment, so thankyou very much

  7. August 29, 2010 at 1:35 pm

    that was so true about a man we all know and loved your article is amazing.

  8. August 29, 2010 at 7:02 pm

    I would just like to say thanks to everyone for your great comments. With over 100 hits and 26 facebook shares in 24hrs this is my most popular post and it’s all down to one man.

    J.B. You still have that magic touch….

  9. caroline daughter
    August 29, 2010 at 7:31 pm

    thank you mark my dad will love this cos he is watchin everythin so im told hey dad on face book at last lol xx

  10. katy
    August 29, 2010 at 7:55 pm

    thank you mark this is really nice u have just shown what a great man he was & im so proud to be his grand-daughter he always had the magic touch when it came to us xx

  11. julie mcginty
    August 29, 2010 at 10:37 pm

    What a great tribute to a great man, didnt know him that long but loved him lots n he will be looking down on us all and telling us not to be sad. well done mark xx

  12. Johnston
    August 30, 2010 at 5:52 am

    Hi Mark. Loved this tribute. He sure was a talented guy.

  13. margaret
    August 30, 2010 at 6:26 pm

    thank you mark this was really nice to read and a great tribute to your uncle john it was a lovely thing to do auntie mags xxx

  14. simon owens
    September 8, 2010 at 7:15 pm

    just read this tribute to a legend..
    so many vivid memories, some good, some awesome… i’m sure wherever he is, he and my old fella are either causing mayhem or having a bloody good laugh

    R.I.P big John….

  15. September 10, 2010 at 11:36 am

    Great tribute mark… to your uncle john loved it love auntie vi xxx

  16. Anonymous
    October 6, 2013 at 12:24 am

    Just reading through this chat as another man claims my dad’s work as his own, saddens me to witness this in 2013 rip dad (john booth) we all know the real truth was back there with you cxxxx

  17. Joan Connelly
    October 12, 2015 at 5:01 am

    It’s October 2015 and I find myself reading over this tribute to my brother again!!!…This still makes me laugh and I am still shedding some tears for a very talented man. So much has happened since you’re passing 6 years ago John…but one thing remains the same…”you are still very much loved and missed by everyone who knew you” R.I.P John Booth xx

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