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More from Emma Bryning

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.

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. 

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.

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The House of the Future at Olympia London

This viewpoint focusses on a futuristic vision for plastics in architecture and interior design: Alison and Peter Smithson‘s House of the Future, which was shown at the Daily Mail Ideal Home Show at the London Olympia Exhibition Centre in 1956. The exhibition structure, containing everything from chairs made of fibreglass to bedding fashioned out of Nylon, popularised an aesthetic for the materials’ use in architectural and visual design which has lasted until the present day.