The Brixton Mural Walk first ran in 2008 as a local history walk for Brixton website, Urban75. Now in its fifth outing, around 20 people came along to look at the murals of Brixton bringing a grand total of approx 100 people walking with us and learning the mural’s history!
To add a little variety to this year’s event and to exercise the other working members of the London Mural Preservation Society, they agreed to do some of the talking about the murals. First stop was the Stockwell Memorial Mural which Pete had researched.
We learn a lot about the history of the deep level shelter as well as the background to the mural subject and the story of local hero Violettee Szabo. We also had one of the original artist’s Brian Barnes who corrected any wrong assumptions and filled in more background details. It was great to have him there.
We swiftly (well as swiftly as 20 people crossing a busy roundabout in Stockwell can!)moved onto the next mural , the Slade Garden Adventure Playground Mural.
What was exciting to see is that someone has tenderly cut back the shrubbery around the mural. They had also cleaned away the green slime that had developed due to a leaky pipe. It was great to see the mural getting some care and attention.
Marching on, we wandered through the Stockwell Park estate and up to the back of the Brixton Academy to view the 1982 Children at Play Mural by Stephen Pusey. Matt was up to speak about this one and even though he had be out celebrating his birthday the night before, did a fantastic job!!
Much of the mural was covered in scaffolding but this is a good thing as the mural has been under some restoration work led by artist Paul Butler who we recommended to the Brixton Academy! The top of the mural is now in a much better shape and hopefully measures are in place to ensure that the mural suffers from less water damage.
From here we marched on to look at the two Bellefields road Murals. Both are in fair condition though the one has work going on in front of it. Hopefully the view won’t be obscured. And then we moved onto the two pieces in the railway station.
We hope to persuade South Eastern train to invest a little time and energy into repairing these pieces – not much work is needed but it could secure the future of the paintings for many years to come.
Next stop was Nuclear Dawn where Brian Barnes told us bits about the history before we all took a welcome rest in the Dogstar.
From here we look at the tiny slithers of mural remains, left from two pieces created for the 1983 GLC Year for Peace. Most people had never spotted these remaining bits before.
After this, we took a long walk up Acre Lane to look at the Big Splash mural.
Painted in 1985, this colourful piece often becomes many people’s favourite. It has an abundance of wildlife and I have yet to find someone who can identify all the plants and creatures on the mural.
Further up the road is another mural, the Mauleverer Road Mural, full of references to local history.
Unfortunately this has been under threat by potential development to the building that the wall belongs to. We have submitted an application for local listing but have struggled to get the council to pay attention. We will wait to see what happens.
Finally the mural walkers hit the last mural, the Windmill mural painted in 1983.
This is the piece that is a sharp reminder of what is happening to the majority of London’s murals – the paintings fade or fall into ruins and become unloved. However there is good news as it is very likely the mural is to be restored. Watch this space for more information!!
Finally we made our way to a local pub for a well deserved rest!! Thanks to the speakers, the artists and all those who came along !!