Regular readers will know that I find some of the material for my posts by striking off in a random direction to see what I can discover. After my visit to the Ragged School Museum yesterday I wandered in the direction of Stepney Green. Passing by Stepney City Farm (which is currently being encroached upon by a massive Crossrail dig site) I found a really interesting mural executed in ceramics at the corner of White Horse Lane and Ben Jonson Road. It depicts the course of the River Thames through London with colourful illustrations of some of the buildings that you’ll find on the riverside. The river itself is picked out in tiles which appear to be designs by individual school pupils, and there’s a dramatic starfield complimenting it above the windows.
The mural carries the legend ‘Ocean New Deal For Communities’ so I would surmise that it was erected as part of the regeneration programme for the nearby Ocean estate which started in 2000 and ended in 2011. Several of the tiles that pick out the river’s path also carry the date 2002, which is obviously the year in which it was put on display. It’s on the edge of the Stepney Green Maths, Computing and Science College site but there’s extensive redevelopment underway at the moment, and the building that the mural is affixed to doesn’t look particularly permanent. I wonder whether it will survive until the end of the building project? If it doesn’t it will be yet another piece of London’s public art lost to history – a shame since the Ocean New Deal For Communities mural is a colourful addition to what is a very drab street – so drab in fact that there’s a boarded up community centre just on the other side of the road! I’m sure Stepney Green Farm could find a nice spot for it if someone asked them… You’ll find a few more photographs of the mural here on Google+.