Sydenham Mural - Site Location and Condition Assessment

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The NR asset managers generally have a good up-to-date view of the asset’s condition and you quote this, “the Network Rail guy when walking around the site/s mentioned that it was in decent condition and a lot better than the location of some of the other walls they have worked on murals with, particularly citing FH’s impending piece”.

Happy to examine the wall’s condition in more detail over the next few days.

Will leave the artistic representational critique to those who know better than me.

However it might be agreed that this point has significant relevance.

That would be handy if you happen to be passing JGD! According to the estimated average entry and exit figures from 2016-2017 (which I suspect would be similar or has risen slightly 2017-2018?) 4.282 million entries/exits occur across the year which makes it close to 12,000 a day. A figure plucked out of nowhere would for me be 7000-10000 using the larger entrance and although not all will take the road up to the high street, those that take the alleyway still have line of sight on the way to the station (obviously not on way home unless they turn around!) so at a conservative guess maybe 5000-7000 pairs of eyes will see the mural there daily?! I get the figures are very much plucked out of the air but I believe they show that a good few thousand people at least (?!) a day would see this location.
Obviously not sure on the figures of cars coming over the bridge or indeed how many of those people driving or bussing then walking over are from SE26 who will be voting/donating for the piece and will get to see it regularly. It’ll never please everyone but hopefully if a few excellent designs are submitted and one of the artists has real concerns then we can maybe shift things with regards to artist preference/thoughts and when the vote comes there will be this design at this location or this design at this location and see which people prefer…

Oh I’m always passing somewhere or other.

Will try to get a close look without snow.

Interesting pick-up by a damp proof company - not sure if in response to Nick’s comments on the other thread or just mere coincidence?!

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I wouldn’t bother with the damp company, they are just touting for work. There is, however, a surface issue with this wall, which has been pointed out by one of the artists. Salts on the brickwork will be hard to manage, and once such a reaction is set up, it continues. If this wall is to be decorated, perhaps it would be longer lasting if it could be done on metal signs, attached to the wall. I am quite disappointed that the organiser is so reluctant to hear anyone who says this wall is not the best site. I know it is difficult once your heart is set, but if this mural is to truly represent the community, other people need to be heard too.

I still think the bridge is the best site. Saying it isn’t high enough ignores the fact that it sits on the crest of the hill, and therefore is more visible than if the ground were flat. There is also the determination that the mural should be a banner shape. Unfortunately, we have no suitable walls, other than the Southend Road rail bridge. Someone on another forum suggested a mural that could be repeated, sort of branding the area. If mural was designed in a squarer format, Sydenham on top with se26 beneath, it could be repeated in many smaller sites along the main road. What about repeats in each panel of the bridge wall.

Please believe that this project is brilliant, and you are doing an excellent job running it. I just feel that Sydenham deserves a symbol that represents the community best.

I do not feel either comment is justified.

I see no offer from the damp company to execute any work - they seem to be commenting that nitrate salts could be present - a fact of life for many external brickwork structures.

The expression of disappointment at the organiser is more puzzling.

From where has this view arisen ?

Jon has been open in all of his dealings and expressions - and across more than one forum.

Matters that are appropriate to site selection have been discussed openly and views have been received, heard and are being considered - both in forums and at the - so far - one meeting.

Come along to this evening’s meeting and witness it for yourself - before electing to perpetuate any view that all voices are not being heard.

It would be good to see you.

@jrw - Unless there are a number of forum dwellers with the same acronym, it looks like you are planning on attending this evening so can discuss any points in addition to @jgdoherty’s kind explanation of points.
I’ve continually been as open as possible and actually repeated a lot of information a number of times across forums to explain questions put forward by people (many based around location) so rather than do that again, I’ll clear up any questions in person this evening. As a brief synopsis I guess, almost every location has its pros and cons (location, size, surface, sight lines, access, permission, cost etc.) and everyone will not be able to agree on one location. The aim of the project was for a large typographic piece with feedback from an artist (and from others) established that a large surface would support this, rather than a smaller surface with little frames (like the bridge) which would be more suitable for something more intricate/image based that would play better with those walking/driving over the bridge and therefore close to the artwork (like the greyhounds in Catford). In addition, up until a few weeks ago, it was known that in previous year/s when the bridge had been raised as a potential art piece Chris Best / The Council were against it for health and safety reasons and distractions to drivers. It appears Chris Best / The Council have changed their mind on this which opens it up for artwork in the future.

Looking forward to seeing a few people tonight :slight_smile:


As @JMLF pointed out, there are pros and cons of all sites, and this was discussed at length in the last meeting.

In a project like this it is very important to make key choices and stick to them - particularly now that artists are preparing submissions.

The bridge will be a great place for future works, but for now, in my opinion we must stick with the decision on location for the current project.


Only one comment - perhaps we should avoid vesting powers in the Council where none exists.

Naturally where a need to consult is identified and mandated, that party should be engaged at the earliest opportunity - for example if a site is selected that is within a Conservation Area

Irrespective of what may or may not have been felt to be the historic case, in all other circumstances Landlord Consent is the sole key.

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I am a bit stunned by the hostility of the responses. As a member of the community I wish to contribute, but it seems that the community is unwelcome. I will be there, however.

Let me apologise - my response is direct - but it is not intended to be hostile in anyway.

What has taken me by surprise was the emerging view that Jon is “reluctant” in any form - hence my question about the source of the view.

Your views in every way are welcome - and I repeat my comment that it will be good to see you.

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To second @jgdoherty’s response, my comment was also not intended as hostile. You and your views are very welcome here.

I yield to no-one in admiration of jmlf’s work in getting the project together. The reluctance I mentioned that many, many contributors have expressed polite reservations about that particular wall, which have not been seriously considered. The passion for the project has perhaps made people keen to get it done quickly, meaning sticking rigidly to the original inspiration.

Thanks for the kind words, and to some extent I don’t disagree that there has been a push to keep momentum going but equally I do believe opinions and views have have been taken into consideration *whilst keeping within the general original premise of a large typographic sign on a NR owned site.

Very happy to discuss/try answer anything as best as I can this evening as well as update on the many aspects that have luckily come in time for the meeting!

I’ll be the one in the green hoodie probably looking very warm!

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Many thanks to all for coming and contributing to the meeting. Intendvto have a synopsis/minutes up over the next few days!



Good meeting last night - well done.

I re-checked the Conservation Area Drawing - and I stand corrected. There is a portion of the wall inside the boundary of the Conservation Area. In my mind I thought the line went through the corner of the taxi-office and thereby included all of the station buildings only.

The drawing has insufficient features (such as lampost positions to establish precisely where the boundary is drawn.

Do you have a diagram of your own about how far down the wall you envisage the mural extending ?

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