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Wednesday 19 December 2012 9.55pm
Richard - in view of tomorrow's murals walk, thought you might be interested in this cutting from the November 1988 issue of the SE1 Community Newspaper

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Wednesday 19 December 2012 10.32pm
And this from a year later, November 1989 (click for larger version):

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Thursday 20 December 2012 8.26am
Very interesting articles, thanks for sharing these James. Some of what was planned for the 1990s upgrade didn't happen from what I've learnt from David Bratby (mural painter of 4 subways) and from a neighbour: the first mural artist resigned mid job and the brief changed, money ran out to do murals at the southern roundabout and the tile pattern was designed by London College of Printing / Communication not Southwark in house... which is perhaps why they're so good! The bright lighting has not been maintained or upgraded like the bright lighting at Bricklayers arms, and of course the upgraded signage did not do a good job*. Too many words, too many of them wrong, not enough use of graphics or maps (e.g. colour coding) and they've not been kept up to date as the landscape has changed - I still can't understand why the subways are labelled as they are, even when we take into account the ones that have gone from the southern junction, it gives the impression there are 20 not 9 as it says here or 7 as there are today. That there were poor efforts to improve them sadly gets logged by the council and TfL as "we tried to fix them... they're unfixable". Which is rather like getting a leaking pipe fixed in a council property - half-hearted incompetence.

*Our little video points out some of these, many of which would be easy to fix... might well do that with some masking tape and permanent marker one day. Video here:
Thursday 20 December 2012 1.13pm
Interesting that the bike route is so old, I presumed it was a more modern addition.
Thursday 20 December 2012 1.32pm
Zoe wrote:
Interesting that the bike route is so old, I presumed it was a more modern addition.

I wonder what happened to the contra flow bike lane on St George's Road that is described here? It's all just one way traffic now heading north west. While I'm not in favour of TfL's controversial 2010 plan to shift all private traffic from London Road onto it as two way traffic a bike lane that enables one to cycle south would be a great alternative to London Road, CS7 (further east) or cycling on the pavement, as I know some do because they are very wide.
Thursday 20 December 2012 11.47pm
After twenty years I may have imagined this, but I vaguely recall someone told me that the ridiculous subway numbering arose because the signage team was given a plan by Southwark that was marked up with zone numbers, but these were actually the phased zones for closure while the refurbishment took place!

(Presumably the odd numbers were the intermediate ramps?)
Friday 21 December 2012 9.23am
I have forever been a fan of the many people here have pointed out, they are a far easier way of crossing what are often quite substantial distances, and when it's raining they are an absolute boon. I was given to understand by someone (I think Lend Lease) that the space was going to be needed for the new centralised utilities hub. But so much water has gone under the bridge that who knows what the plans are now. Indeed there are, I'm sure, ways of making the subways and pleasant, even some light wells from above would make them less subterranean, but in my view they beat waiting for lights to change and nipping across three lots of crossings to get from A to B. Since I am so OLD I dont generally find myself scuttling about at three oclock in the morning so perhaps I'm not the one to ask.
Sunday 23 December 2012 12.31am
If the E&C subways were illuminated in the same way as the London Underground passages (and also subject of an effective video surveillance system), then I would be all for them remaining in place.

As it is, those subways are dim, grotty and, to those who are not used to walking down there, present an intimidating experience, particularly at night.

When it comes to the artwork seen in the northern tunnels, I find it an embarrassing display of naivety that is poorly executed and appears to be editorially dictated by long gone notions of multiculturalism.

(I am a great supporter o multiculturalism, but I am not an idiot who will say that those murals are any good).
Sunday 23 December 2012 1.55am
Yes, I wonder what murals painted today would look like?

I quite like the murals there that feature the old Surrey Docks, the one with the slapstick Chaplin stuff, the one from the Trocadero with lots of different buses, the one with the chess game with local people's face on the pieces.

I also like the fact that they represent some of the local community festivals that used to happen in the area such as the Rockingham Estate and Browning Estate ones. Don't know if that's a sop to multiculturalism as more just having pictures up of what is around the area and what some of those who use the subways might be occasionally enjoying.
Sunday 23 December 2012 7.39am
Lets invite Banksy in to do some, the Council would want to preserve the tunnels then, as they would suddenly appreciate in value.

I think the old murals are quite sweet, I know why you might think they are a bit embarrassing, but they represent a piece of Elephant history and I always think awwww when I see them.

I also wonder what happened to those who painted them, do they still live around, did they go to college, do they have kids. A little while ago someone excitedly pointed out to me a mural they had painted some years before, which made me realise how proud people are of that sort of thing.
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