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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.

Historic Graffiti of St Augustine’s Tower, Hackney, London

St Augustine’s Tower is the oldest building in Hackney and can be found in the gardens of St John’s Church. This Grade I listed tower is managed by the Hackney Historic Buildings Trust and is usually open on the last Sunday of each month. A church was built on the site in the 12th century and then rebuilt in the 16th century. The church became redundant following the completion of the Church of St-John-at-Hackney in 1792 and the tower is all that remains of the 16th-century church following the demolition of the rest of the building in 1798. Although the tower was also due to be demolished it was kept in order to house the church bells until they could be moved to their new location. It is also reported that the tower stayed after the contractor employed to demolish it found it to be too difficult of a job. After climbing the narrow staircase to the top of the tower, visitors are treated to a view of the City of London whilst a variety of graffiti can be found throughout, including marks left by those visiting the tower in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries and drawings of houses. 

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. 

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Arnos Grove Underground Station

Charles Holden’s mini masterpiece, a marriage of Scandinavian modernism and British Arts and Crafts.