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More from Emma Bryning

Prison Graffiti in the Beauchamp Tower, Tower of London

The Tower of London is home to some of the most well-known historic graffiti in the city, and many of the marks are located in the Beauchamp Tower. The Beauchamp Tower was built between 1275-1281 during the reign of King Edward I and was later used as a state prison, housing high-ranking prisoners including Lady Jane Grey and her husband, Guildford Dudley. This former prison contains over three-hundred graffiti inscriptions which were created over four centuries by the imprisoned inhabitants to help alleviate their boredom during their confinement and so that they could make sure that they would be remembered. 

‘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 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. 

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