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More from Emma Bryning

‘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. 

Graffiti Art on Camden Lock Railway Bridge, created by Street Artist by John Bulley

The graffiti piece on Camden Lock Railway Bridge is considered to be the oldest surviving pieces of street art in Camden, having been created by John Bulley in 1989. Whilst working on a number of new shop signs in the area, Bulley was asked if he could come up with an idea for the Camden Lock Railway Bridge as it was about to be refurbished and repainted by British Rail. Knowing that he wanted the design to be visible from a distance and have some humour in it, Bulley used a bold typeface and photographed two men he was working with to include in his design. The resulting work features the two men who appear to be constantly painting the bridge.  The work has been repainted in recent years to freshen up the paint but using the same iconic design. Having lasted for over thirty years, the piece is considered an icon of London’s oldest pieces of street art. 

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. 

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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.