Top ten London murals
London‘s murals are an endangered species – a depressing number have been knocked down, vandalised, obscured or have faded since their heyday in the 1980s. But an impressive collection remains, if you know where to look. Time Out visits ten of the best
1. Fitzrovia muralWhitfield Gardens, off
Tottenham Court Road, W1This memorial to the characters of Fitzrovia, painted in 1980 by Mick ‘Not the Clash one’ Jones (who did the top half) and Simon Barber (who did the bottom), is one of London’s best known murals. Jones’s half is an attack on large-scale developments, while Barber focuses on Fitzrovia as a place, but who the deuce are all these ‘characters’? We can identify almost one – Arthur Fowler, masquerading as a butcher, to the bottom left. But he’s not real, nor a Fitzrovian, and he post-dates the mural by five years. Nuts. (Also, see if you can spot the hammer and sickle in the top left. Reds!)Rating 4/10. Needs a touch-up.
2. The Spirit of SohoCorner of Carnaby Street and Broadwick Street, W1 This 1991 mural from the Free Form Arts Trust centres on St Anne, dedicatee of the local church. Her gaudy frock contains a veritable A-Z of Soho, with fruit and veg in the warp and local landmarks in the weft. A shifty looking crowd of (mostly male) local notables stand at her feet, hoping to gain a crafty upskirt vantage. And is that a spliff-smoking hare rogering a dog? It’s just not natural.Rating 7/10. A bewildering muddle with plenty of effort, but tries a bit too hard.
3. Cable Street muralCable Street, E1, north of St George-in-the-East burial ground A winning combination of fascists, flags and fisticuffs. When Oswald Mosely decided to march his fascist blackshirts through the East End, the locals took umbrage – and various bits of plywood – and repulsed the bounders. The Battle of Cable Street of 1936 is brilliantly remembered in this staggering mural from 1993. Rating 9/10. Huge, historical, and Hitler in suspenders. Superb.
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