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More from Emma Bryning

The History of Leake Street Graffiti Tunnel

Leake Street Graffiti Tunnel, found underneath the platforms and tracks of Waterloo Station, is London’s largest legal graffiti wall at 300-metres in length. The site gained fame after famed British street artist, Banksy, held a street art festival called Cans Festival (a play on The Cannes Film Festival) in the tunnel. Banksy had recognised the potential of the tunnel which had formerly been used as an access road for taxis to pick up passengers from the Eurostar. From the 3rd-5th May 2008, forty street artists from around the world – including Blek le Rat, Ben Eine, Sten & Lex and Vexta – transformed the grimy tunnel into a street art haven. Graffiti and street art are legally permitted in the tunnel meaning that artists can create works without fear of getting arrested by police. This ever-changing gallery now attracts street art tourists and graffiti enthusiasts from around the world and   arches adjacent to the tunnel were recently transformed into bars and restaurants. The site was even home to a temporary cinema, The Lambeth Palace, to celebrate the release of Banksy’s documentary Exit Through the Gift Shop in 2010. 

Historic Graffiti at Hampton Court Palace, London

A variety of graffiti marks can be found across Hampton Court Palace, the Grade I listed royal palace located in the London borough of Richmond upon Thames. Historical graffiti at the site includes marks left on the King’s Staircase including dates, names, initials and even an engraving of a shoe! Further graffiti marks can also be found in the Cumberland Suits (including marks from the 1730s, 1880s and 1980s), in the Tudor Kitchens and in the Processional Gallery (also known as the ‘Haunted Gallery). The marks left behind on the royal palace give a further glimpse into the lives of those that worked and lived in the palace across centuries of its history. 

The Squatters’ Graffiti at Sutton House, London

Sutton House is the oldest domestic building in Hackney and one of London’s last remaining Tudor houses, having been built in 1535 by Tudor Statesman and Secretary of State to King Henry VIII, Ralph Sadlier. Even though the house is called ‘Sutton House’, it was never the dwelling of Thomas Sutton who actually lived in the house next door. The house was originally called ‘Bryk Place’ and was rested among long open green spaces and near to the town centre of Hackney. The history of the house is complex as, over time, it has been a Tudor manor house, a Victorian school, a Men’s Institute during the First World War, a Trade Unions Office in the 1960s-70s and a punk squat in the 1980s. The house was restored in the early 1990s by the National Trust and opened to the public in 1994. In order to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the squatter’s arrival to Sutton House, the National Trust converted the Squatter’s Room to recreate how it would have looked in 1985 with the help of some of the squatters who had lived there. In the room, visitors can see some of the original graffiti art left by the squatters which includes anti-fascist, anti-Thatcher and feminist political slogans. 

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Crossbones Churchyard

Up to 15,000 sex workers and their kin are buried here at Crossbones Churchyard in Lambeth, unhallowed ground since sex workers were designated unrepentant sinners by the Church.