Wednesday 1 January 2020

Your chance to see the Wembley Park Tile Murals in LBOC 2020

 Guest post by Philip Grant in a personal capacity

  Rugby League players tile mural, Olympic Way (courtesy of Brent Archives)

In a guest blog last November, I asked whether we would be allowed to see the Bobby Moore Bridge tile murals during Brent’s year as London Borough of Culture LINK .

I had written to Josh McNorton (the Cultural Director of Wembley Park Arts, appointed by Quintain to co-ordinate their arts input to LBOC 2020) on 9 November, with copy to Brent’s Chief Executive and others at the Council and LBOC 2020 on 13 November, to suggest ways in which they could work together to put at least some of the murals back on public display during 2020.

I have received no response from the Civic Centre, despite a sympathetic councillor “chasing up” the matter, but on 16 December I did hear back from Josh McNorton (with copy to Carolyn Downs at Brent]. He gave me the good news that four tile mural scenes on the walls of Olympic Way, outside the subway, currently covered by vinyl sheets advertising the Boxpark, will be on public display between 17 January and 25 February 2020.
These scenes show a Rock Drummer (part of a larger mural celebrating stadium concerts), and American Football, Rugby League and Ice Hockey players.

Part of the Ice Hockey tile mural in Olympic Way

The timing of the "reveal" of these mural scenes is to coincide with the LBOC 2020 launch event, RISE, which is taking place in Olympic Way on Saturday 18 January LINK . Because the subway with the murals was named after one of England’s great footballers, the mural scenes will stay on display until after the anniversary of Bobby Moore’s death (on 24 February 1993).

I understand that plans for other possible showings of the tile murals during 2020 are still under consideration. In case these do not come to anything, I hope that as many people as possible will come to see them (and the England Footballers / Twin Towers Stadium mural scene in the subway itself, which Quintain put back on display earlier this year, in response to pressure from Wembley History Society) between 17 January and 25 February 2020.

 The Footballers tile mural scene, now on display in the Bobby Moore Bridge subway

If you do go to see these murals at Wembley Park, please use the chance to take photographs of them. If you are on social media (Instagram, Facebook or Twitter), please share your best photos with your friends and followers, copying them to the London Borough of Culture sites at: @lboc2020, #Brent2020, or @LBOC2020, and Wembley Park sites at: @wembley_park,   #WembleyPark, or @WembleyParkOfficial

The Bobby Moore Bridge tile murals are a Council-owned public work of art, specially commissioned for the subway between Wembley Park Station and Olympic Way in 1993. They are a heritage asset, colourfully celebrating a wide range of sports and entertainment events held at the Stadium and Arena over nearly 100 years. We should not let them be forgotten, and I will continue to do my best to get them put back on permanent public display.

Philip Grant


Philip Grant said...

I have heard, indirectly, that Brent does plan to publicise that some of the tile murals will be available to view, as part of LBOC 2020, although the dates they have given are from 18 January to 24 February (not 17 Jan. to 25 Feb. as I was advised by Josh McNorton).

I also understand that there will be a "photo call" at the murals on 18 January, with the Mayor of Brent and invited guests. (I have not received my invitation, yet, but there is still time. I'm sure that someone at the Civic Centre must keep an eye on "Wembley Matters"!)

Philip Grant said...


Although residents and visitors will have the chance to see four of the tile mural scenes for five weeks in January and February, I hope that there will be other opportunities for them to be seen during LBOC 2020!

I will copy below some ideas that I have sent to Josh McNorton (with copy to Brent's Chief Executive). If YOU have any other ideas for this, please share them, with a comment to this blog yourself. Thank you!

'I hope that there will other chances to see at least some of the tile mural scenes during Brent's LBOC year.

Although the "footballers / twin towers stadium" mural will be on show throughout 2020, the Euro football matches between 14 June and 12 July would be an excellent chance to highlight some of Wembley's other sporting history, by showing the murals on the eastern flank wall of Olympic Way (including the boxing mural) during that period.

I know that there is often special advertising on the walls for particular Wembley events, paid for by sponsors. Can you ask your Wembley Park colleagues who organise this, please, to suggest that particular mural scenes should be left uncovered, as part of the advertising package? This would work for the following events, allowing fans to take photos / selfies with:

1) the Rugby League players mural, for the Challenge Cup Final on 18 July;

2) the rock drummer mural, for "The Eagles" and any other stadium concerts in August; and

3) the American Footballers mural, for the NFL games in the autumn.

My other suggestions in my letter of 9 November, about possible showing of mural scenes in the subway itself, still stand. I look forward to hearing your response to any of these ideas in due course.'

Jaine Lunn said...

I suppose something is better than nothing and we can hope after another few years we can still ask for Heritage status.

Philip Grant said...


I have not seen any Brent Council publicity about the four tile mural scenes being on display yet, but have heard that the Mayor's "reveal" of the tile murals in Olympic Way will take place between 1pm and 2pm on Saturday 18th January.

The Council's Communications team has asked Wembley History Society to nominate two members, who will be invited to take part in the "reveal" (or perhaps just be in the photo with the Mayor, along with representatives of Wembley Park). All the Society's members, and presumably any other member of the public who is aware of it, and chooses to be in Olympic Way, just outside the Bobby Moore Bridge subway, are welcome to be "in attendance" at this event.

The big event in Olympic Way on Saturday 18th is, of course, "RISE", the LBOC 2020 launch at 7pm. The Brent Council publicity machine is in overdrive to promote that, as most readers will probably have noticed.

Philip Grant said...

Dear Jaine,

I agree that 'something is better than nothing', but it is also important that Brent Council is seen to acknowledge that the Bobby Moore Bridge tile murals have a cultural value.

Once they have done that publicly, and there is documentary and pictorial evidence to prove it, they can no longer ignore, or pretend they are unaware of, that fact.

And yes, in 2023 (the earliest that it can be done) there will be an application to give these tile murals Grade II listed heritage status.