The Newham trackside wall, a fund of £1 million and every intent of covering every bit of this 2km so called ‘Berlin wall’ through the southern part of the borough. And what? The area is commemorated in a perverse way it seems for having a high crime and murder rate. Its meant to be illustrated simply as a downside to living in the area, but its not achieving the intent it has set out to convey. The matter has caught the irk of locals who have to live in the area and alongside the new Crossrail/Elizabeth Line route (whose trains don’t even stop there anyway.) The London Borough of Newham are aware of the matter and have also expressed the wish that the offending mural should be taken down.
The matter has been picked up on social media and even the local press, all trying to find out exactly what Crossrail’s intents are. The Spectator calls it ‘Crossrail’s criminal blunder’ and it suggests ‘If this was an attempt to win over hearts and minds of local residents contending with further TfL-inspired disruption to their lives, the reaction on social media suggests it has fallen somewhat short.’ (Spectator)
The Evening Standard so far has been more lucky at getting a response from Crossrail who said, ‘Following concerns about the language on part of the Newham Trackside Wall, the panel will now be covered up to allow the content to be further considered with the local community and council.’ (Evening Standard)
I took some pictures of the new mural. I think it looks great and has potential to give vibe to the area, however this part of the mural does let it down somewhat and I think those supervising the installation should have been more alert to this. Its not usual to see this sort of thing in such a public way because one would want people to have a positive sense when admiring the mural. The following tweets shows the locals’ feelings rather more strongly however.
Crossrail issued a news release (in pdf format) warning that this new arts mural was about to be installed and that there might be road closures and events in due course.
Newham Council have issued their view on the matter and whilst the project is something the council supports, the council does not agree with the said piece which is causing offence and has requested to Crossrail that the piece should be taken down.
The Newham Trackside Wall is said to be the longest art installation in Europe. Whilst the main section for the project will be the 2km long Silvertown trackside wall (stretching from near London City Airport to North Woolwich) other sections will also be seen be at Victoria Dock Road and at Custom House station.
Parts of the work have been completed including a section at Custom House. Work had initially begun in January 2021. Source: Twitter
As my picture shows, a good bit of the mural that I’ve seen so far covers the history of the Royal Docks, and its shipping and ferries. The Woolwich Ferry is nearby. The mural is a good reflection of how the area once looked when the docks existed and how people came to work and live here. When its finished it will no doubt be a very long read!
Crossrail’s criminal blunder (Spectator)
Mural sparks criticism after ‘crime and murders’ describe North Woolwich (Newham Recorder)
Crossrail Controversy: Mural in North Woolwich where ‘life is good except the murders’ (Evening Standard)