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More from Emma Bryning

Shakespeare’s ‘The Theatre’ and the Romeo & Juliet Street Art Mural

On New Inn Broadway in Shoreditch you can find a mural paying homage to two of Shakespeare’s most famous characters, Romeo and Juliet, located near to the site where it is believed that the play was first performed. In 2018, a team of archaeologists from the Museum of London Archaeology (MOLA) excavated the site of Shakespeare’s playhouse, ‘The Theatre’, building on evidence uncovered in their 2008 excavations. The street art piece on the outside of the building depicts the tragic romance of Romeo and Juliet in a fresco-style mural and was created by the Global Street Art Agency. 

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. 

Graffiti of Wellclose Prison Debtors’ Cell at the Museum of London

Wellclose Prison, also known as Neptune Street Prison, was located off Wellclose Square near to the Tower of London. The 18th-century small prison was run on a commercial basis and the majority of inmates were insolvent debtors who were either imprisoned until they could repay their debts or were awaiting transfer to Newgate Prison. The prison was below a public tavern which was connected to a courthouse, where the tavern’s landlord acted as gaoler. By the 1790s, the prison was empty and in a state of disrepair. The prison was finally closed in the 19th century and the building it was housed within was turned into a lodging house. When the building was demolished in 1911, two cells from the prison were dismantled and transferred to the London Museum at Kensington Palace and elements of both cells can now be found on display in the Museum of London. Prisoners in the cells were known to scratch and carve their names and initials or write messages or draw pictures onto the walls of the cells and many of these marks can still be seen today. 

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The Plastic Eggcups by Camden Lock

In this viewpoint, I tell the story of Terry Farrell & Partners’ TV-AM building (1981-83), a maverick television studios near Camden Lock. The TV-AM building, which – as the name suggests – was home to one Britain’s first breakfast television programmes, is associated with the architectural style of postmodernism and with colour in architecture and interior design. The building was substantially refurbished by architects Jacobs Webber in 2012-13 and is now home to Viacom International.