Just outside Leytonstone tube station, by the bus stop, is a most appropriate work of public art – a cluster of buses, made from bricks. This is Time Terminus by the local artist, Lodewyk Pretor and was put here in 1999.
Although it looks circular, it’s actually two halves, with one side having a double-decker bus, surmounted by a single-decker bus and an early wooden-wheeled bus. On the other side is a double-decker bus, a tram and assorted motorised public transport vehicles from various decades.
The brickie art owes its origins to the aftermath of the devastation caused by the digging of the M11 Link Road, a hugely controversial road project that saw hundreds of houses demolished to create the space for the roar of road traffic.
Sitting here, above the cutting, a roundabout was built with a bus and taxi stop for the tube station — and as part of the borough’s funding to improve the area after the road opened, they commissioned a piece of public art. Built on site in early 1999, it’s made from brick to fit in with the old tube station and the paving of the roundabout. The artist said that he wanted the sculpture to blend with the surrounds rather than being a bold foreign material intrusion into the landscape.
At the heart of the central core of concrete and reinforced steel, and unknown to anyone other than the artist, Mr Pretor placed two items – a kitchen sink and a roll of wallpaper, taken from the site of one of the Leytonstone houses demolished in order to make way for the new road.
It was seen as both a homage to the demolished houses, and a conceit to conceal such a memorial within a sculpture that championed road transport.