Thursday 16 Jul 2020
Looks like Victory… Network Rail mural brightens railway landmark and pays tribute to maritime history of Chatham, Kent
Network Rail has joined with organisation Arches Local and artist Lionel Stanhope to brighten up a corner of Chatham, Kent, under local railway landmark the Luton Arches.
The mural features another lost landmark, the Driver Fountain that once stood on the spot, and the HMS Victory warship, which was built down the hill at Chatham Dockyard.
Arches Local’s Stephen Perez said: “We’ve been working with Network Rail on the arches for the last four or five years and we’ve seen lots of improvements in that time. I think is fantastic, it’s a celebration of the arches, the Driver Fountain and of course the HMS Victory.
“I hope that, as with all the work we’ve done with Network Rail, it changes the narrative of the area, and gives people a sense of belonging, a sense of pride, which has sadly been missing here in some ways for a long time. We’re going to enjoy this for years to come.”
Arches Local was formed as part of the Big Local initiative, funded by the National Lottery, to improve areas across the UK, including central Chatham, ending in 2026.
Lionel Stanhope said: “I love the fact we’re so close to the sea here and the blues are lovely and really pop out of the wall, as well as the Victory itself, which was built here. It’s a much bigger, grander structure than the ones I normally work on and you can see this mural from all the way down the road.
“Some areas are really deserving of art and brightening up and it’s great to give this area a boost. It gets things moving and makes things happen.”
The 1858-built arches help the London to Faversham main line over the steep Luton valley – including trains from the better-known Luton in Bedfordshire - and are seen by thousands of people every day on their way in and out of the town on the A2 road. In addition to Lionel’s artwork, the structures themselves are due for improvement work in the near future.
As for the Driver Fountain, it was moved in the 1970s and now sits in Chatham Cemetery, while HMS Victory is in a dry dock in Portsmouth. Chatham Historic Dockyard reopens to the public on 25 July.
Anyone interested in improving their local railway structures with a bright mural should drop Eddie at Network Rail Southern region a line at Eddie.Burton@networkrail.co.uk
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