I go through this thing every so often, where I am commuting on the underground and I have a minute spare so I don’t rush, I might even sit down (gasp!) And this is when I start to realise what’s around me, now its easy to sit topside pretty much anywhere in London and find inspiration. However I think sometimes we all need a bit of a reminder of the effort that goes in to making the underground a nice environment, even if locals don’t always notice it. Now don’t think I am getting too over the top, the usual broken escalators and nasty trash floating around is still there… but if your lucky enough to be in the right station there might be something else to see too.
This post was inspired by a station I went in a couple of weeks ago, one I hadn’t gone in before.
SHADWELL – Overground
The illustrator Sarah Mcmenemy got commission as part of the regeneration plans for the cities transport links back in 2012. This little lift access station is but two platforms in a single tunnel underground with Sarah’s illustrations lining each side. Offering up diverse local landmarks including pubs, market stalls, archways & sailing clubs showing of the interesting mix of features in this historical area. Sarah is a true illustrator with a style that can’t be replicated full of vibrant colour and movement and is represented by on of my favourite illustration agencies The Artworks.
Whether you’re a tourist hoping around the river bank or a regular commuter up to Camden you would have noticed the murals by David Gentleman’s from the 1970s terminus re-work on the Northern Line platform at Charring Cross or the many abstract underground map front covers over the years. So what’s been happening recently? And have you seen it yet?
I had plenty of good research material with sites like Art on the Underground & blogs dedicated to the likes of ‘150 great things about the underground’ so after making a little list and waiting for off-peak I let my oyster card do the walking.
TOTTENHAM COURT ROAD – CENTRAL & NORTHERN LINE
TCR was top of my list of stations to linger in after watching a documentary on BBC about the work that went in to re-laying Sir Eduardo Paolozzi’s mosaic murals works from the 80s after the cross rail refurbishments pretty much gutted the station. Sad that they couldn’t save it all but the attention to detail put in to reapplying the tiles impressed me.
Coming on 31 December 2016 DANIEL BUREN – An Installation for the two new entrances and inside the ticket hall. The renowned French artist was chosen back in 2008 to creative a simple concept of colour and shapes which might be worth a return visit.
KENTISHTOWN – NORTHERN LINE
These screen printed wallpapers located inside the ticket hall & outside the main entrance are called ‘In transit’ and were done by The bridge Secondary School & The Central Foundation Boys School led by artist Holly Graham with its counter part a tile installation found at Old Street station. A playful narrative about the children’s experience on the underground only done back in March this year but already a little weathered.
Brixton Train Station
This one is a little naughty as it isn’t an underground station but I think it deserves a mention these two murals can be found in the stair well down in to the passageway that links Station Road to Atlantic Road. It displays a cornucopia of goods that were sold in the market back in the 80s. Big thanks to the London Mural Preservation Society for filling in the blanks on its history and the artists who worked on both pieces: Karen Smith and Angie Biltcliffe who were working under the name Anchor Designs.
LEYTONSTONE – CENTRAL LINE
To celebrate 100 years since Alfred Hitchcock’s birth back in 2001, 17 mosaics were installed in the entrances and corridors of Leytonstone tube station to commemorate the director’s link to the area. Made out of glass tesserae, using the reverse method, installed by Greenwich Mural Workshop, they depict scenes from his films, there are also images of the area & portraits of Hitchcock. It’s 5 stops East of Liverpool Street and worth a stop in.
I am in the city again tomorrow, so have a couple stations on the list to add to this, Edgware Road & Whitechapel Overground. Anyone got any stations to add to my list? Amazing murals, artworks, installations on London’s busiest transport links that deserve to be added to the list.