I saw the amazing Banksy organised tunnel of street art 'Cans Festival' (love the name) at Leake Street, Waterloo station the other week and thought what a fantastic way of decorating a dreary environment.
I then thought surely the same could be done to the one on Bermondsey Street. It relatively cheap - fantastic to look at, and the natural textures/dampness etc will only add to the art on display. This is not graffiti of tags but beautifully crafted illustrations/collage and painting, and deserves a permanant showcase.
It could also be constantly updated by street artists (which would naturally happen anyway) and would need no maintainance at all.
The Cans festival was packed and this was weeks after it was officially over, and would be a great catalyst to people who may not be aware of the delights of Bermondsey Street, or tourists put off by walking down the dark, dank tunnel.
Anything at all would help to make those dreary tunnels a bit more appealing....and something like this would be a great idea.
On a slightly different track I somehow rememeber that there was some money pledged (maybe as part of the More London development...or maybe something else) to do up the tunnels under the rail tracks but not a lot seems to have happened. Anyone know anything about this?
I've often thought the same myself - if the tunnels were full of colourful, imaginative street art, it would certainly draw more people down to B St. and the surrounding area and make it a more pleasant walk for locals each day...
Why don't you email the chaps at the Cans Festival?
Just some imaginative lighting would tranform those spaces. I hate speed bumps, but they could slow vehicles, making the place a little less hostile to pedestrians. Unfortunately even when you get to the south end, it's necessary to negotiate the traffic thundering down Crucifix Lane to get to the 'delights of Bermondsey Street' - the streetscape at top end of which doesn't encourage people to explore further, IMO.
Re adding 'art work', there used to be a Banksy painted low down on a door towards the south end of one of the tunnels, [I took a photo a couple of years ago] but it disappeared a while ago. I can't imagine why someone thought it was worth the effort to scrub it off, but they must be regretting it now - that door could have been worth thousands...:)
Not so sure myself - Cans Festival was amazing, but part of the attraction is that it is "unique" and not sure replication elsewhere would necessarily work. Moreover I think it would never happen in a working road because of that dreadful phrase "highway safety". Imaginative lighting would be good though, and some improvements have already been made in the vicinity underneath the arches/bridges near Tower Bridge Way.
Great Idea! The tunnel is well lit - so that would make it look even better.....as long as people didn't step back to admire, and get run over by the loony wrong-way cyclists or the speed-freaks in cars :P
Okay, doesn't look as if this is going to go down too well but one of the things I love about Bermondsey St. is the unadorned tunnel and its current lighting. The contrasts between the clean sharpness of More London, the increasingly gentrified Bermondsey St. itself and the dark brickwork and workmanlike lighting of the tunnel between them are beautiful. So, to my eye at least, art work of any kind would spoil a walk that I enjoy every time I take it.
When we first came to the Bermondsey Street area in 1989, there were reports of two attempted rapes in the tunnel at 8/8.30 in the morning and local shops were held up by guys with sawn-off shotguns! The area has changed enormously - there is much more pedestrian movement now and lots of people carrying M&S bags! About eight years ago moves were made to clean and re-light the tunnel - £1M of funding fell apart. Last year it was promised that TfL were getting a new tunnel-cleaning machine and that the Bermondsey Street Tunnel would be started this past January. Funding has also been promised from LBS Cleaner, Greener, Safer funds to clean the beautiful viaduct brickwork along Crucifix Lane. The BSAP and others have been campaigning for many years to make this very long tunnel feel safer, and connect the More London development to historic Bermondsey Street. This would be beneficial to all businesses and residents. It will happen, hopefully soon.
I agree the Victorioan patterned brickwork would look wonderful cleaned, but this has been promised for years!
You could start the first half with glorious London brick and slowly transforming into the more unique textured/painted southern end...representing the change from More London city slickness to the edgy 'street' transition ;-)
I'm tempted to cut a stencil out, don a hoody and become the new Banksy right now!