Some street art in Croydon

Saturday, April 15th 2017

Among the many attractions of Croydon is the extensive areas given over to street art. We visit Croydon regularly to see what is new in the art of the street painter. Today’s expedition was one such catch-up session.

Park Hill Park and Recreation Ground
Park Hill Park and Recreation Ground

The first thing we did, however, was to take a walk in the park. To be precise, we visited the Park Hill Park and Recreation Ground.

Trees in Flower in Park Hill Park
Trees in Flower in Park Hill Park

I was quite impressed with it, finding it well laid out and impeccably kept. There were flower beds in bloom and trees in blossom adding welcome colour to what was unfortunately a grey and rather chilly day. Park facilities include a netball and basketball court and tennis courts with changing rooms and public toilets. There is even an open-air cafe.

Park Hill Water Tower
Park Hill Water Tower

Among the cited attractions of the park is the water tower, with its curious central turret. It was built in 1867 and is Grade II listed. It fell out of use in the 1920s, I think, and there may be uncertainty as to its future. You need special permission to visit it.

The self-powered skateboarder
The self-powered skateboarder

Another item of interest in the park was this colourful character travelling round and round it on what appeared to be a self-powered skateboard.

Croydon Town Hall
Croydon Town Hall

Moving on from the park, we had this rather fine view of the Victorian Town Hall, becomingly framed by greenery. I had already photographed the building close-up (see Rambling around Croydon and Morden) but I found this glimpse of it particularly charming.

And so to the street art. What follows is my own selection and not intended as anything approaching a complete catalogue. I will acknowledge the artists but not go into details of location. The artists’ names are linked to my evolving page, Street Artists, if entries exist for them. For best effect, click to see a larger version of each picture.

Art by Samer
Samer

Art by Sr. X
Sr. X

Art by Woskerski
Woskerski

Art by Giusi Tomasello
Giusi Tomasello

Art by Olivier Roubieu
Olivier Roubieu

Art by Airborne Mark
Airborne Mark

Art by Ali Hamish
Ali Hamish

Art by Dreph
Dreph

Art by Carleen de Sözer
Carleen de Sözer

Art by Autone
Autone

Art by Samer
Samer

Art by JXC
JXC

There is plenty of scope for street art in Croydon and many shops have also commissioned paintings for their shutters and shop fronts. While the latter works are likely to be fairly long lived, the art elsewhere in the streets changes continually, making Croydon a rewarding district to return to again and again.

Copyright 2017 SilverTiger, https://tigergrowl.wordpress.com, All rights reserved.

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A stroll around Shoreditch and Bethnal Green

Friday, April 14th 2017

As the evenings are drawing out and it is still light after work, Tigger fancied taking a look around the Shoreditch area to see if there was any new street art on show. There was very little, in fact. The eight photos that follow show such items of interest as I was able to ‘collect’ during our stroll.

Elvis by Shok-1
Elvis
Shok-1

Shok-1 specializes in X-ray representations of human and animal body parts. This painting in Dray Walk has a title, written small, at top right, under the artist’s name: Elvis. Do people still remember that when Elvis Presley first burst upon the music scene, his erotic gyrations earned him the soubriquet ‘Elvis the Pelvis’? His later fame and the respect it brought with it tended to push the earlier, slightly denigratory, nickname into the background.

Art by Jay Kaes
Jay Kaes

Pedley Street is a normal street that turns into a pedestrian path along the north edge of Allen Park and emerges at its western end in Brick Lane. On its corner with Brick Lane stands a premises that is currently a Thai restaurant called Kinkao. The Pedley Street façade of the restaurant provides a massive ‘canvas’ for street art. These paintings are hard to photograph because the narrowness of the path does not allow you to step back far enough to include the whole painting in the frame. Consequently, this rendering is formed of several photos stitched together. The artist is Jay Kaes and the work is untitled.

Yumchaa in Brick Lane
Yumchaa in Brick Lane

Brick Lane lies in the heart of an area that has seen successive waves of immigration since at least the 17th century. The Huguenots came here and, more recently, so did people from the Indian Subcontinent, gaining Brick Lane and its neighbourhood the name ‘Banglatown’. The Lane is famous for its Indian restaurants (and their touts who importune passers-by despite the risk of fines for doing so) but the discerning eye may discover other interesting shops and boutiques. We entered number 137 which is the Brick Lane branch of tea specialists Yumchaa. They sell packets of tea on the premises and online but the main attraction is to partake of one (or more) of their teas, served properly in teapots, in their tea rooms.

Yumchaa in Brick Lane occupies what was a Victorian pub called ‘The Duke’s Motto’ (possibly after the book by Justin Huntly McCarthy). It had a rather seamy reputation from what I gather, but closed in the 1980s. After that, the building was occupied by a succession of fashion boutiques and is now the local branch of Yumchaa. We partook of a pot of tea each before continuing on our way.

Paul Kirby's Upholstery Shop and house
Paul Kirby’s Upholstery Shop and house

At the top end of Brick Lane, my attention was caught by this quaint remnant of the past. It stands isolated among modern blocks of flats and it seems impossible that it should have survived on its own. One side has windows to the street while the other is blank and this leads me to suppose that it was originally the last house in a terrace, all of its companions having since been destroyed. The first-floor window comes from a ship, though from what ship I do not know.

A notice in the shop window advertises ‘FOAM’, this being the foam nowadays used by upholsterers to stuff chairs and settees. The owner, Paul Kirby started as an employee of the shop but eventually became its sole owner. The building survives mainly because of Mr Kirby’s stout defence of it against threats of demolition and ‘development’. An account of their intriguing joint history may be found in this Spitalfields Life article.

The Royal Oak
The Royal Oak

On the corner of Columbia Road and Ezra Street stands the Grade II listed pub, the Royal Oak. It was built in 1923 by Truman’s Brewery, long established in this area. Why is the date so prominently displayed? Perhaps because Truman’s were particularly proud of this pub and its position within the philosophy of the time. In order to combat what was perceived to be a problem of widespread drunkenness, the authorities decided, not to ban pubs, but to make them better. The plan was that instead of mean drinking dens, pubs should be spacious venues, perhaps with restaurants attached, which would attract respectable people and their families and thus acting as a disincentive to bad behaviour. The Royal Oak was Truman’s response to the proposal for better pubs.

Church of St Peter with St Thomas
Church of St Peter with St Thomas

The foundation stone for the Church of St Peter (as it was originally called) was laid in 1840. This church was part of a remarkable wave of church building in the area leading to the creation of no fewer than 12 churches, which became known as ‘the Twelve Apostles’. It seems that the area might have been somewhat ungodly at the time and the story is told (A History of the County of Middlesex) that the laying of the stone was witnessed by a jeering crowd who loosed an ox to add to the jollity of the occasion. By the 1950s, what with war damage and the fall-off in attendance, 12 churches were deemed to be an over-provision. Some needed to be closed and so St Thomas lost his own church and must perforce bunk up with St Peter, hence the renaming of the parish church as ‘St Peter with St Thomas’.

St Peter's Mission Hall
St Peter’s Mission Hall

Nearby stands this attractive building known as St Peter’s Mission Hall. Unfortunately, I know nothing about it except that it currently forms part of the borough’s catalogue of premises for hire  for events and conferences. I assume it was built at about the same time as its companion church and for some special purpose of its own.

The Queen Elizabeth Hospital for Children
The Queen Elizabeth Hospital for Children

This building appealed to me for its general handsomeness and the decorative motifs shown in the above picture. The large signage left in place along the front shows that it was once the Queen Elizabeth Hospital for Children. Sisters Ellen and Mary Phillips founded their Dispensary for Women and Children in 1867. The institution grew and became the North-Eastern Hospital for Children. It moved to this site in 1870 and was renamed The Queen Elizabeth Hospital for Children in 1907. After a number of changes, the hospital was absorbed into the NHS and its services were moved to the Royal London Hospital in 1996. After a period of uncertainty, the building found new purpose as a residential block. For a more detailed history see here.

We didn’t manage to see much new street art – a lot of what there was was either mediocre or had been defaced by taggers – but we had found other points of interest and enjoyed a good cup of tea at Yumchaa.  Pretty much a win, I would say.

Copyright 2017 SilverTiger, https://tigergrowl.wordpress.com, All rights reserved.

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Five from Shoreditch

Thursday, April 6th 2017

This evening after work, Tigger wanted to take a tour around familiar street art hot spots in Shoreditch to see whether anything new had appeared since our last visit. We were somewhat disappointed. Shoreditch used to be a lively place for street art but seems recently to have ‘gone off the boil’. This may partly be because a lot of the building projects whose fencing produced acres of ‘canvas’ for artists have been completed and the fencing taken down. Besides this, though, I seem to detect a loss of enthusiasm and a slowing of the pace. Perhaps the artists have moved their focus elsewhere and Shoreditch is no longer a favoured location.

One problem concerns those destructive agents called ‘taggers’. These seem to take a delight in defacing street art works as soon as they appear. There were paintings that I would have photographed if they had not been spoiled in this manner.

We dutifully toured the streets and photographed anything that seemed worthy of the effort. The ‘catch’ was meagre and I retained only five works, of which one, the fourth below, is collaborative. These days, street artists are better at signing their works (though most still use pseudonyms, even when painting on legal walls) and all the artists are identified. You can click on a name to see links to that artist’s own Web site(s) and on an image to see a larger version of it.

Art by Dr Zadock
Dr Zadock

Art by Argiris Ser
Argiris Ser

Art by Manyoly
Manyoly

Art by drtlondon and Autone
drtlondon and Autone

Art by Minto
Minto

Of course, I might have missed works worth ‘collecting’ – street art, after all, often turns up in the most unexpected (and sometimes apparently inaccessible) places, so you can easily fail to spot something. Also. a work I dismiss as not interesting may appeal to another viewer.

Copyright 2017 SilverTiger, https://tigergrowl.wordpress.com, All rights reserved.

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