Wednesday 17 Oct 2018
Landmark Artwork Unveiled at Opening of New ‘Community’ Walkway at London Bridge Station
- South East
- Stainer Street transformed into ‘pedestrian-only’ walkway for first time reconnecting communities on either side of station
- Adorned by artwork by leading South London artist Mark Titchner offering visitors a chance to reflect
A new walkway linking communities either side of London Bridge station has opened today following the transformation of Stainer Street, alongside an iconic new artwork from a leading contemporary artist.
The walkway connects communities directly enabling pedestrians to walk through from Bermondsey to Bankside without going into the station.
It is crowned by a landmark new artwork by South London based artist Mark Titchner, called ‘Me. Here. Now.’
The work comprises of three polished stainless steel domes, measuring from 4.5 to 6.5 metres in diameter, suspended from the ceiling of the northern end of the walkway, and printed on either side of geometric designs with three succinct texts. They offer a mantra to passengers and visitors underneath encouraging a moment of pause and self-reflection, whilst mirroring the brickwork ceiling and the movement of everyday life below.
Stainer Street has a rich history from being the one-time residence of famous poet John Keats, to its use for storage by the wine trade in the 18th and 19th centuries, to a bomb shelter during World War Two, where during one raid 68 people were tragically killed. In recent times, following various station works, the street had been neglected, becoming a polluted cut-through for traffic and unwelcoming for pedestrians.
The Thameslink Programme, responsible for the reconstruction of London Bridge station, was determined to transform the space and ensure that the street would play a more positive role in connecting those living and working nearby the station.
The 168-metre street has now been fully restored with its original brickwork cleaned and repointed creating a 9-metre wide brightly-lit walkway, together with new retail units which will be opening soon to help generate more income for rail improvement projects.
The walkway was opened at 11am on Wednesday, 17 October, by dignitaries from the local community and the artist, who pulled the gates aside, letting the public through for the first time.
Simon Blanchflower, Thameslink Programme Director for Network Rail, said: “As well as enhancing London’s fourth busiest station for travellers, we wanted to improve the experience of living in the area for the local community and its attractiveness as a destination for visitors.
“We’ve done this through the conversion of Stainer Street into a walkway that is bright and welcoming. Working with leading artist Mark Titchner we’ve been able to create something special which we hope will encourage users to engage with their surroundings, be wowed and reflect in one of the busiest parts of London.“
Artist, Mark Titchner added: “During the frantic activity of commuting, one’s thoughts tend to wander away from the ‘here and now’ and travel becomes the space between two destinations of the mind as well as the body.
“Although we’re surrounded by others, we remain separate, quietly alone with our thoughts, dreams and anxieties and this work seeks to address that by providing a space for self-reflection with our fellow travellers giving that mental space a physical form which unites us as individuals with those around us.”
Sherry Dobbin, Cultural Director at Futurecity, said: “The Arts Advisory Panel assembled for this commission responded to the importance of Mark Titchner as a local South London artist and his direct consideration of ‘travel’ in his proposal. By interpreting the physical activity of movement and the metaphor for a journey of self-improvement and growth in this work, he has opened up a safe space for the millions of travellers daily who rarely are invited to pause and think or look at their environment.”
Nadia Broccardo, CEO Team London Bridge, said: “The London Bridge business community asked Network Rail for improved public spaces and cultural features in the new station and Stainer Street delivers both in style. The newly pedestrianised walkway provides a fantastic new location in which our culture ctrategy can be realised. The artwork welcomes and draws people through the station to explore, shop and visit the attractions in London Bridge.”
About Network Rail
We own, operate and develop Britain's railway infrastructure; that's 20,000 miles of track, 30,000 bridges, tunnels and viaducts and the thousands of signals, level crossings and stations. We run 20 of the UK's largest stations while all the others, over 2,500, are run by the country's train operating companies.
Every day, there are more than 4.8 million journeys made in the UK and over 600 freight trains run on the network. People depend on Britain's railway for their daily commute, to visit friends and loved ones and to get them home safe every day. Our role is to deliver a safe and reliable railway, so we carefully manage and deliver thousands of projects every year that form part of the multi-billion pound Railway Upgrade Plan, to grow and expand the nation's railway network to respond to the tremendous growth and demand the railway has experienced - a doubling of passenger journeys over the past 20 years.