More from Emma Bryning
Historic Graffiti of St Augustine’s Tower, Hackney, London
St Augustine’s Tower is the oldest building in Hackney and can be found in the gardens of St John’s Church. This Grade I listed tower is managed by the Hackney Historic Buildings Trust and is usually open on the last Sunday of each month. A church was built on the site in the 12th century and then rebuilt in the 16th century. The church became redundant following the completion of the Church of St-John-at-Hackney in 1792 and the tower is all that remains of the 16th-century church following the demolition of the rest of the building in 1798. Although the tower was also due to be demolished it was kept in order to house the church bells until they could be moved to their new location. It is also reported that the tower stayed after the contractor employed to demolish it found it to be too difficult of a job. After climbing the narrow staircase to the top of the tower, visitors are treated to a view of the City of London whilst a variety of graffiti can be found throughout, including marks left by those visiting the tower in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries and drawings of houses.
Victorian Police Graffiti on Myddelton Passage, Clerkenwell, London
Although they may be easy to miss, Myddelton Passage in Clerkenwell contains a unique historical record as a series of numbers, letters and dates can be found carved into the brickwork on the left side of the passage, many of which were scratched onto the wall by officers of the London Metropolitan Police. The practice started at some point around the mid to late 19th century and continued until around the time of the First World War, with many of the carvings referring to personal collar numbers and divisions, carved by local Police Constables.
‘G. DAVIS IS INNOCENT’ Graffiti, East London
Under a railway bridge on Salmon Lane in the Limehouse area of East London is an inconspicuous piece of graffiti left in large white letters, ‘G. DAVIES IS INNOCENT’. The graffiti is one of the few remaining pieces painted in the 1970s as part of a grassroots public campaign to have George Davis freed from prison. In 1974, Davis was sentenced to twenty years in prison for the robbery of the London Electricity Board in Ilford. After family and friends raised questions about the evidence used to convict Davis, the phrase ‘George Davis Is Innocent OK’ began appearing all over East London and the rest of the country. The campaign paid off and in May 1976 Davis was released under the royal prerogative on the advice of the then home secretary, Roy Jenkins. However, only 18-months later, Davis was caught robbing the bank of Cyprus in Holloway and pleaded guilty to his involvement in this armed bank raid.