Thursday 14 Sep 2017
Vibrant art brightens the commutes of millions as Network Rail joins forces with artist to transform St Thomas Street
- South East
Passengers commuting into London Bridge this autumn will have their journeys brightened by beautiful artwork, as Network Rail joins with French artist Jennifer Abessira, engineering business Costain and Team London Bridge to bring colour and culture to St Thomas Street.
From 15 September, more than 70 bollards located just outside of the station’s brand new, street-level concourse will be temporarily covered with prints of Abessira’s photographs. The prints, which are a combination of repurposed archival images and impressions of important local symbols, including London Bridge, will provide a colourful focal point that reflects the area’s diverse cultural identity for the enjoyment of local residents, commuters and tourists alike.
The project is the result of a commission by Team London Bridge, the Business Improvement District for the area, of artist agency MTArt and Abessira, who has previously collaborated with the likes of Vivienne Westwood and iTunes. Network Rail, which owns and operates the station, welcomed the timely project, as London Bridge is currently undergoing a transformation itself from London’s oldest station into a modern, vibrant space, as part of the Thameslink Programme.
Lewis Atherton, programme director of the London Bridge redevelopment, Network Rail, said: “We are thrilled to welcome Jennifer Abessira’s artwork to St Thomas Street, where it will brighten up the bollards just outside of London Bridge. From 2018 the brand new station will improve passengers’ journeys with much more space, modern facilities and a whole host of retail offerings set to revitalise the local area and we wholeheartedly support the decision to have artwork installed that reflects the vibrancy of Southwark.”
Marine Tanguy, CEO of MTArt, adds: “It's an honour for both MTArt and our artist, Jennifer Abessira, to be a part of this project. The London Bridge community is vibrant, colourful and has the most incredible story, which will shine through Jennifer’s work. Telling stories visually and integrating art into our cityscape is very important to us as a company and I hope to see commuters smiling when looking at these 72 photographs.”
Nadia Broccardo, CEO Team London Bridge, says: “The reinvention of St Thomas Street is exciting and important to the direction in which London Bridge continues to evolve. With a new entrance to the station beside the Shard Quarter, Guy’s Hospital, King’s College and soon to open Science Gallery London, its location is vital to welcoming people to the area and creating an environment that reflects the culture and identity of our vibrant patch of central London.”
Mark Howard, Costain project director, comments: “Our work at London Bridge station will improve the public’s travelling experience and this project, which reflects the area’s diverse cultural identity, undoubtedly helps us to achieve that. London Bridge is a place that is constantly evolving and changing, so we applaud Jennifer Abessira’s initiative to bring art to the community.”
The redevelopment of London Bridge will improve the journeys of the 54 million passengers who use this station each year with more journey options, greater reliability and a station fit for the 21st century. We welcome the decision to work together with Jennifer to bring her beautiful artwork to St Thomas Street and brighten up passengers’ journeys further.”
The London Bridge redevelopment project is now on the home straight to the upcoming Christmas and New Year period, after which the final section of the new, modern, fully accessible concourse and platforms 1-5 will open for passenger use.
The redevelopment of London Bridge station and the surrounding railway is the cornerstone of the Thameslink Programme, an ambitious programme of enhancements that combines new trains, new track, new signalling, an expanded infrastructure and station improvements that will transform journeys for passengers with greater reliability and more journey options north and south of the Thames to meet the capacity demands of the future.
About Network Rail
Network Rail owns, manages and develops Britain's railway - the 20,000 miles of track, 40,000 bridges and viaducts and the thousands of signals, level crossings and stations (the largest of which we also run). In partnership with train operators we help people take more than 1.65bn journeys by rail every year and move hundreds of millions of tonnes of freight, saving almost 8m lorry journeys. We employ 38,000 people across Britain and work round-the-clock, each and every day, to provide a safe, reliable railway.
About the Railway Upgrade Plan
The Railway Upgrade Plan is Network Rail's investment plan for Britain's railways. It makes up two-thirds of Network Rail's £40bn spending priorities for the five years to 2019 and represents the biggest sustained programme of rail modernisation since the Victoria era. It is designed to provide more capacity, relieve crowding and respond to the tremendous growth Britain's railways continue to experience; passenger numbers have doubled in the past 20 years and are set to double again over the next 25 years - so we need to continue to invest in building a bigger, better railway. For passengers, that means:
- longer, faster more frequent trains;
- better, more reliable infrastructure; and
- better facilities for passengers, especially at stations.