The Mural Designs!



Jon, well done for getting things this far, perhaps the location can be changed and the artist’s designs can be transferred/adapted with their co operation and skill. It has been a very positively received project, so I’m sure there might be solutions to be found?!


is the council’s issue 1) visual / aesthetics, or 2) concerning the conservation of the wall (e.g painting directly onto it)?

Because if it’s 2), could the mural be painted onto boards cut to fit the framing / inlet, and the boards fixed into place, thus preserving the underlying brickwork?


and, as an aesthetic compromise, it’s not impossible that the S E 2 6 could be done in the style of #4 (which seems to be the favourite in this thread at least)


HI Joanne,

Yes, Nick is a really good signwriter. Luckily London (and the UK) has a great many signwriters, but sadly many, if not most shops and signage companies tend to go for backlit signs and don’t really care about history, datums, or high streets as a whole. The likes of Nick and others do. I believe Nick painted the Greyhound sign, the Lovely Gallery, Sugahill and the logo my wife designed onto the walls of Trattoria Raffaelle.


Ideally, if the brief is to paint in the natural panels, the original artists and designers should adapt their designs accordingly. It’s a big change and what may in principle may seem like a simple tweak, may not work in reality. It’s best to see all the designs than to speculate. I think No4 would work best on the flank wall of Property World or opposite the platform (where the platform used to be in Sydenham Station) which would make the most of its train influenced graphics.

It is disappointing that after all this work, the council throws a spanner in the works. But it’s not unusual. We have designed half a dozen murals for one conservation area in North London. None went ahead, despite it being a council backed project and the conservation officer initially liking them all (before changing her mind numerous times). And that is one of the easier councils to work with! With another council we painted a large mural and on a listed shop and next to a National Trust Property, under the gaze of English Heritage, Conservation and Design for London we painted a lizard crawling up wall of a shop that sold reptiles. What made that work was the support and will from all the parties involved. They wanted to do it and we worked with them until all parties were happy, which was suprisingly easy.

The point is, if the council make decisions based on good design that adds to the character of the area rather than just enforcing and interpreting rules, you can do some amazing things, even on listed buildings and in conservation areas.

NR was a little different. bridges can be problematic. We had one we designed which ended up having to be removable enamel panels rather than painted directly onto the brickwork. However, NR have become easier to work with recently. Once it was almost a blank no on everything!


This is the conservation area. The wall is in question is partly in and out of the conservation area. However, if the local cllrs, civic groups and community back this, there is no reason why it can’t happen! The Greyhound Mural is in a conservation area. But expect planning to have an input on everything submitted if it’s in the conservation area.


Very sad to hear this Jon, but please don’t give up. It is intersting how the council are so interested in the Thrpes and yet don’t seem to mind the shithole they have created for those of us living in Bell Green.How about Lower Sydenham as a venue instead?


Yes I think would need more clarity regarding what would or wouldn’t be accepted. However also run the risk that council keep changing the goal posts and then very much driven by their preference rather than majority of residents.
I would prefer to find alternative location, the key being accessible, visible and having full authority from owner. This has been much easier when NR own the wall as it seems in recent times have more easily got the necessary acceptance.
Certainly there is appetite in Sydenham for something to be done, just need to keep a focused project. Keen to support but right now no bright ideas of my own!


Just a quick thought re murals. Brief chat to Jon while we were discussing the mural, I mentioned the hoardings (is that the right word? - boarded up shop spaces) to the side of The Greyhound. Could they be painted? it could be then a temporary thing and might give a taste of what it is like to have murals in a public space.

I think we would need permission from the company who is responsible for the hoardings(?) and I guess if it wasn’t forever the council might be willing. Jon had more details!

It could add to the open space next to the pub, sort of piazza style. I’m not sure how artists would feel about it, maybe raise some money or ask them to do it as a project to promote their own work?! There is a lot of space so could co-ordinate with the artists who submitted their ideas.

Just an idea, not sure of the logistics, but happy to discuss further with anyone who might be interested/ feel it has potential or knows more than me?
Many thanks


Sorry for my sporadic replies of late - holiday then very busy at work and weekends at the mo!

Yes Kate, You are right in that as far as I’ve been told by an organisation that does street art “LDN calling” or “Global Street Art” (I can’t remember off top of my head which replied) that all that is needed is the OWNER of the hoardings permission. Not the council (especially as they are not in a conservation area!), the owner of the plot or the people intended to rent (e.g.: Nando’s / KFH). If the owner of the material is happy then I think anyone can do what they want with it (obviously there may need to be proof or something in case police come along) - it may sweeten the deal if the powers that be were to paint it back to gray (as it was) just before they are removed if they reuse hoardings etc.


Hi I have spoken to the premises manager for KFH and apparently the grey boarding is being removed on Monday as work starts on the new offices!

Good to have the boarding off, one less surface opportunity! Have to keep looking!


I’m relieved to read that your idea cannot even now be further contemplated.

A mural on hoarding would look extremely scruffy.

You say:

It could add to the open space next to the pub, sort of piazza style’

I’d seriously question that.

SE26 can get some things right, but my concern is the frequency that people with good intention can get it wrong too.

There’s no better example of this than SEE3.

And the mural does feel a bit like this to me too.

What’s the actual strategy? What’s this going to achieve?

I feel there is a lack of skill /experience around the idea.

We were also only presented with x 4 options, this was not after a well thought through, shortlisting process. That’s all we got.


With regard to the short listing meeting all people were openly invited to take part. I shall be honest it was disappointing that some proposals which had been put forward or posted were not followed up with a full submission. All parties involved did their best to spread the word and get as many submissions as possible but ultimately cannot force people to make submissions.
I think you have made your opinion fairly clear on this project and this isn’t really helping add to the conversation. I am not taking this personally.
As previously mentioned if you can develop a good alternative project then I will try and add my support and help/time if I can.


This forum is intended for friendly collaboration.

We may not always agree, but when we disagree, we must avoid being disagreeable to each other.

This topic is about a choice of mural designs. @JMLF has made it clear that the mural is optional, and should the public decide to discontinue the project, it will be discontinued.

With this in mind, let’s focus on contributing to the range of ideas on offer, or alternatively, use our vote if we wish to prevent the project happening.

There is nothing to be gained by repeating the same personal opinion on this topic to the point where any one of us has posted more times than the organiser himself.


Hoardings are great painting spots IMO. They are temporary and provide great space for people to paint and have their work seen by lots of people. I’ve organised a few Hoarding paint jams in the past quite easily and invited artists to paint with great success.

I would like to make a point about the submissions for the wall in question too. This project had a final short list of four great submissions (I don’t know how many came in in total) An Artist has to read the brief, design the work, produce an image/artwork, price it, do risk assessment, think about logistics and health and safety all with no assurance that he/she will get the gig. Quite a lot of unpaid hours upfront. As it looks now nobody is going to paint it. My point is that for a smallish community we are lucky to have artists willing to take the time to produce a submission, because without them there would be no project.


Agree entirely.

And a finely balanced argument on the whole.

The downside for all of these fine people is that if a project does not attract the votes for its approval and then attract funding it does not happen.


I would like to apologise to the Forum and would have done so earlier today but have been at work.

In my last post I wrote:

‘I’m relieved to read that your idea cannot even now be further contemplated’.

So to clarify here, I meant the latest idea by Kate to use the grey hoarding on KFH’s premises by The Greyhound.

It’s a key area which has only recently been smartened up with the opening of the pub. And the hoarding is that awful composite wood (?name), so not a good surface area.

Exactly the type which attracts graffiti, which has already been removed some time ago.

And this idea reminded me of when SEE3 introduced graffiti to SE26 when the council were simultaneously removing it.

I also wrote:

'What’s the actual strategy? What’s this going to achieve?

I feel there is a lack of skill /experience around the idea.’

Again I was referring to the KFH hoarding idea.

I just felt this lacked insight: aesthetically, location wise, implementation etc

Almost only for the sake of getting Jon’s idea of a mural up.

Overall though, I found myself a bit more open to Jon’s mural idea - if for example it could take a more professional sign writing route.

As a local business owner, running nomadic art galleries, I’m always looking for empty retail spaces for short lets. High up on my criteria will be the appearance of the high street. For years now, I’ve kept thinking about opening a gallery in SE26 on the high street, but unfortunately I still don’t have the confidence to do so.

But if and when there is another mural meeting, then I’d like to come along if this is okay?


I find comments about lack of professionalism a little unfair. Yes this is a community project but the ideas submitted, to me at least, are professional. It comes down to whether you see graffiti-style muralists as having a craft over signwriters. They are all still professions, and ones that I very much respect.

We can critique the ideas subjectively but noone here is any more qualified to judge than anyone else. And we mustn’t dismiss people’s ideas under this pretence.


I agree Audrey, it’s extremely unfair. There are lots of professional illustrators, artists, architects, designers locally who have got involved and done something. Some of the work is great, like Lionel. Saying there is a lack of skill and expertise in about the mural is rather unfair to all involved. OSB board (the ‘awful ’ composite wood’) is fine to paint onto by the way. I used it at the Business Show in Excel earlier this year on my trade stand. It can look great.

I suggest that Joanne start another thread with her ideas and what she can contribute to the area. There is an art gallery in Sydenham that does well and I’m sure it can support another one. There is nothing stopping her. If you wait for Sydenham to turn into Dulwich Village you will be waiting a long, long time.

Back to the mural, what help do you need Jon? We are behind you.


Hi there, I did not mention ‘lack of professionalism’.

I’ve already tried to clarify my thoughts further and only referred to the KFH hoarding.

OSB is not a nice, ideal medium to paint on. It looks awful, cheap, temporary, makeshift, no matter what you do with it! Leaving it painted dark grey is the best option. Anyway it sounds as if it will be removed soon.

My understanding is that the mural would be a permanent feature. Therefore hoarding is not an appropriate solution. Have not mentioned ‘lack of skill and expertise’ to the overall mural idea itself.

Far from it really. I may not be a natural fan of murals, but since Jon’s idea, my eyes have been opened, my perspective has shifted and I’ve surprisingly found myself googling mural examples.

Plus out of interest, discussing Jon’s idea with others. He has engaged me and many others, that’s very positive.

As long as I approach the discussion, concept in a well reasoned, fair way, if I am against a particular angle, aspect, then I don’t think this should be taken personally by anyone.

When someone raises concerns, objections - it can offer an opportunity to revisit, finely tune an idea.

However in SE26, a defensive reaction seems to be provoked.

Lee you suggest that I start another thread.

If I have an idea then I will do so.

Naturally I’m aware of the art gallery ‘The Lovely Gallery’ located towards Lower Sydenham. It has a great reputation, but they only appear to open irregularly around specific events. So that formula must work well for them.

If though I decided to open up a gallery in SE26, I’d find a central location and open say 5 days weekly. Most likely a short let to test the water first.

There are a few factors why I’ve not done this to date. And one very key one is that I would need to change our art collection considerably to suit the location, for us to be successful. Here’s our Instagram link:

Otherwise we’d end up being a destination shop/gallery. If there was a cluster of other independent retailers, then that would help matters. Otherwise, currently people won’t be thinking, ‘Oh let’s make a trip to SE26, spend the afternoon shopping there’.

Can be Catch 22:

It does of course require an independent retailer to make the first move, get the ball rolling too.

I’m not completely against doing so either.

We are a very community orientated business and if I could open in SE26 where I’ve lived for many years, then I’d have an opportunity to contribute, be involved locally. I’d really enjoy that.