More from Emma Bryning
The Trellick Tower and Graffiti Hall of Fame, Kensal Green, London
Trellick Tower is a Grade II* listed tower block on Cheltenham Estate in Kensal Green which was designed in a Brutalist style by architect Ernö Goldfinger and opened in 1972. The base of the tower is renowned as a centre for urban arts and is another example of one of London’s legal ‘Graffiti Halls of Fame’, where graffiti artists can paint without the risk of arrest and, consequently, have a safe space to hone their skills. In the Autumn of 2020, it was revealed that the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea council were taking steps to implement a new development onto the grounds of the Trellick Tower which would leave the graffiti hall of fame at risk of destruction. In response to the plans, Anna Gudbrands created a documentary film, ‘Trellick: The Writing is on The Wall’ highlighting the importance of both the tower and the Graffiti Hall of Fame.
‘A Couple Hold Hands in the Street’ by Stik and ‘The Crane’ by ROA, Brick Lane Street Art, London
Brick Lane, in the heart of the East End of London, is often considered one of the most famous locations in the UK for graffiti and street art. Whilst international street artists aspire to paint on Brick Lane, it is kept fresh by local artists who change the graffiti on a weekly basis. Works can be found by famous street artists from around the world, including Phlegm, Ben Eine, Banksy, Noriaki, C215, ROA, Vhils and Shepard Fairey, to name just a few. One of the most popular works of street art in the area is that of ‘A Couple Hold Hands in the Street’ on Princelet Street by local artist Stik. The piece, created in 2010, shows a woman in a niqab holding hands with a second stick figure and was voted the nation’s 17th favourite artwork in a poll in 2017. One of the other long-standing pieces in the area is The Crane on Hanbury street which was created by Belgian street artist, ROA. The work was originally intended to be a heron but was changed to a crane after ROA learnt that they were sacred to the Bengali community, who make up a significant portion of the local population.
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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Palestine Place was the nineteenth-century headquarters of the London Jews Society, an Anglican missionary society that worked to demonstrate the value of Christianity to Jewish populations.