Dear Readers, I was meeting my friend S at Blackhorse Road on Monday, but somehow the stars aligned and I arrived early, so I took a little walk around the station to see if there was any artwork of note. Blackhorse Road Station is on the Victoria Line, which opened in 1968, and this work was made by David McFall, who made the design for the horse, first in clay and then in fibreglass, while the mosaic that surrounds it was made by Trata Maria Dreschna, who also made the mosaic floor in the Chapel of Unity in Coventry Cathedral, which was designed by Swedish artist Einar Forseth.
Around the corner, though, are some very interesting mosaic roundels. Each individual tile was made by a local person, over 500 people in total, including some of the workers on the railway and their families. These were then combined into steel frames made by the local Blackhorse Workshop. They were created in a collaboration between Maud Milton and Artyface Community Art. I love them! If you’re ever twiddling your thumbs at Blackhorse Station, come around the corner and have a close look at these roundels – there are so many elements, and so many details to pick out.
Harry Beck, in case you’re wondering (as I was) was the creator of the London Underground map, to my mind one of the best topographical maps of any transport system.
And of course, the one that I love most is the Nature one. I love all the tiny portraits of plants and animals.
And on that note, it was off to see some actual nature at Walthamstow Wetlands. I was very happy to see a Great Crested Grebe with one of his/her stripey offspring. It’s been a good year for birds at the Wetlands, with several families of Kingfishers, a Barn Owl, some Alpine Swifts and a Great Egret. When I retire (in only five weeks!) I shall be spending a lot more time here with my binoculars at the ready.
Planning for my retirement is taking up a bit of headspace at the moment, but one project that I’m very attracted to is attempting to visit all of the London Wildlife Trust reserves during the next year. There are 33 in all, including 4 with restricted access, so that shouldn’t be too much of a push, though I do notice that many of them are in Hillingdon, which is a bit of a slog from here. No matter! Fresh air and a bit of walking can only be for the good, and it’s good to have a plan. Let’s see how we get on.