The Brandon Estate in Stockwell was the model of community when it was opened in 1958. Sadly, recent decades have seen it getting a bad press for crime, gangs and deprivation. But the strength of local community is starting to change all that through projects like the new community wall mural.
The Brandon Estate Wall (Before)
Brewers Decorator Centre in Peckham branch was approached by local group Bee Urban to help out with an ambitious community scheme, in association with The Brandon Tenants Residents Association. The aim was to paint a massive mural along a 60m wall, making it one of the longest murals in London.
Brewers store manager Jimmy Thomson was delighted to help by donating over 150 litres of Albany Paint to the community project. The Peckham store were blown away by the enthusiasm of Bee Urban’s Barnaby Shaw as his team strove to overcome the negative image created about the estate, seeking instead to highlight a very different message.
The large exterior wall of Hanworth House backs on to Kennington Park extension and is located at the end of Bolton Crescent, off Camberwell New Road (5 minutes walk from Oval station). It’s one of the main entry points to the Brandon Estate.
The wall had spent years looming over the local park, overshadowing the local community with graffiti tags. Not a great welcome to visitors.
The community was in need of undertaking a new challenge to battle the negative image created by the wall, so Bee Urban commissioned two local artists, Jack Fawdry Tatham and Tom Scotcher, to collaborate with the local community to and design 16 hexagons to visualise the thoughts, hopes, culture and history various community groups.
The hexagon spaces, reflecting the formation of a beehive, are a fitting homage to the community and to Bee Urban. “We wanted to convert the graffiti covered wall to something with a very “uplifting and positive” image that brings change to the neighbourhood,” commented Jack.
‘Brewers helped with this huge community mural by donating a large quantity of paint. We wanted to use exterior wall paint instead of spray paint as we could work with lots of people who may not have much experience in painting. ’
Above: Local lads and artists, Jack Tatham and Tom Scotcher with a dedicated team of volunteers.
With funding from Southwark council’s Clean Greener Safer Fund, it was possible to have a series of inspirational community workshops at John Ruskin and St John the Divine primary schools; Highshore Secondary School; Pembroke House; Bethwin Adventure Playground and Women Make Art, as well as a drop-in session at community centers, to develop exuberant and unique imagery for the mural design. The project has embraced all aspects of the community, across all ages.