Last month, I wrote about the public artworks installed in Harlesden as part of the City Challenge project in the 1990s. There was one I definitely knew about, the Sundisc in the community garden outside the beautiful and historic Victorian villa at 1 Morland Gardens (which Brent Council plans to demolish!).
The Sundisc sculpture, in the City Challenge
community garden outside 1 Morland Gardens.
(Photo by Irina Porter)
I asked for your help, with any information and photos that you could provide about other public art dating from this time (1993 to 1998) in the Harlesden and Stonebridge areas. Our intention is to put together an illustrated record of all those artworks, which could be made available online for anyone to view, read and enjoy. We have received some responses, which I will share with you here, but I still need your help, please, to fill in some gaps!
I have been sent copies of some photos of two Harlesden artworks that I wasn’t aware of before. These were taken more than a decade ago by Robert Russell, and had been posted on the Willesden Local History Society Facebook pages. Many thanks for these! Because of “lockdown” and staying at home, I have not been out to see these myself yet, but I look forward to when I can.
The first two pairs of photographs show a variety of views of two remarkable mosaic columns, situated by the corner of Mordaunt Road and Winchelsea Road, not far from Harlesden Station in Acton Lane. The collage of mosaic pictures really captures the vibrancy of Harlesden life. Can anyone tell me please (via the “comments” box below), what this artwork is called and who was the artist who created it?
Views of the Mordaunt Road mosaic columns. (Photos by Robert Russell, 2007)
The second artwork appears to be a mosaic mural, along a wall beside Church Path, just behind the Brent Samaritans building in Leopold Road. It depicts a street scene showing a range of adults and children from Harlesden’s diverse community, going about a variety of everyday activities. Again, I have not seen this vibrant piece of public art before – have you? I hope it is still there, brightening the lives of anyone who walks past it.
I would be grateful if anyone reading this, and seeing the photograph below, can tell me and other readers more about this mural, including what it is called and who designed and made it. Thank you!
The Church Path mural, near Leopold Road. (Photo by Robert Russell, 2010)
After my first article, someone suggested that I try to contact Gerry Davis, who was the Chief Executive of Harlesden City Challenge, to see whether he could help with any information about the artworks. Luckily, a friend was able to let me have his address. I sent Gerry a paper copy of last month’s article, and he kindly supplied the following reply:
‘The provision of Art was done under the City Challenge "Art in the City" project at a cost of just over £150k in the early 1990's.
I regret that I no longer have details of all the Art Works funded by HCC, but I am happy to let you know what I remember.
There should be a plaque at each HCC art site, like the one next to the Sundisc. Other Art Works were:
· THE HEAD - outside TESCO in the car park.
· Sculptures in front and alongside the building which was called "The Design Works " on the corner of Rucklidge Avenue and Park Parade.
· Raised Bed Garden and Pavement art, at the roundabout at Craven Park / Craven Park Road
· There were Giraffes at the corner of Scrubs Lane and Harrow Road, but I think that they were removed during the new development
· The murals on the bridge (at Acton Lane, see photo in previous blog) may be HCC art works, but I do not remember.
There must be more but I regret that I do not remember them. However, the area was devoid of artworks when HCC started, so any works which are there now are most likely from HCC.’
I have managed to “find” one large sculpture outside “The Design Works” building in Rucklidge Avenue by looking on Google street view. Again, it’s an interesting piece, and my guess at its name would be “Men at Work”. Here is an image of it, and any information on it that you can provide would be appreciated, thank you.
The sculpture outside
“The Design Works”, at the corner of Rucklidge Avenue.
(From Google street view)
“The Head” in the car park outside Tesco in the centre of Harlesden was apparently stolen! I understand that this was during a time when thieves removed a number of metal sculptures around the country, to melt down for their scrap value. Can anyone tell me more about this artwork, or send a digital photograph of it (c/o Martin Francis at: email@example.com ), please? The same request goes for the pavement art on the roundabout at Craven Park / Craven Park Road.
Gerry suggested that one of the artworks, at the corner of Scrubs Lane and Harrow Road, may have been lost during redevelopment. I have now read that the giraffe heads were a sculpture by Rebecca Nassauer, and that they were removed (or stolen?) during the construction of a new church building around 2009. Surely a piece of public art showing giraffe heads, and 5.5 metres tall, must have caught the attention of passers-by? Has anyone got a photograph of these missing giraffes, please (even a pre-digital one, which could be scanned)?
All of the artworks I’ve mentioned are part of Harlesden’s Public Art heritage, and it deserves to be preserved and recorded so that future generations can enjoy it too. Let’s take this opportunity to celebrate the efforts made in the 1990s to brighten up Harlesden with public art that enriches the lives of residents and visitors. Thanks in advance for the photos and details that we look forward to YOU sharing with us!