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More from Emma Bryning

Skateboarding and Graffiti at the Southbank Undercroft, London

The Southbank Undercroft is a space under the Queen Elizabeth Hall of the Southbank Centre that has been a very popular with skateboarders and graffiti artists for over four decades. The Undercroft was completed in the 1960s and became popular with skateboarders in the 1970s. Over the years it has been covered and re-covered in graffiti and contains work created by thousands of artists over the years. The history of the Undercroft was made famous by Winston Whitter’s documentary Rollin Through the Decades (2005) which focused on the history of UK skateboarding from the 1970s to the mid-2000s. In 2013, the planned redevelopment of the area endangered the Undercroft but skaters and local enthusiasts campaigned and fought to safeguard the site, through the non-profit organisation Long Live Southbank (LLSB), and won.

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. 

The Lord Napier Graffiti Pub, Hackney Wick, London

For about twenty years, not a single pint was been pulled in The Lord Napier pub, located near to the Hackney Wick overground station. The pub was licensed in 1868 under the name The White’s Arms and was then advertised for sale, whereupon its news owners changed its name to The Lord Napier. During the twentieth century, the pub appeared in the local and national news as the site of numerous robberies and assaults. After its closure in 1995, the former pub attracted squat parties, became known as a destination for illegal raves in the early 2000s and began to be covered in graffiti. In 2016, artist Aida Wilde commissioned 29 local street artists as part of a 48-hour takeover of the building as a ‘symbol of protest against [the] gentrification’ which was happening in the local area. The pub has been attracting tourists to its ever changing exterior ever since it was reimagined with its iconic graffiti makeover. After attracting new ownership, the pub is expected to go through an extensive programme of refurbishment. 

More in United Kingdom

Warren Estate, Stanmore

The Warren Estate, Stanmore. A well preserved group of modernist houses at the end of the Jubilee line in Stanmore, the definition of modernism in metro-land.