At nearly 2km long one of the longest artworks in the UK is currently being installed in East London by Crossrail.

The art will cover the concrete wall that runs along the future Elizabeth line tracks all the way along its path through Newham, between North Woolwich to Royal Victoria DLR

The British artist, Sonia Boyce OBE was selected to create the lengthy artwork, and chose a patterned background with a lot of text blocks filled in with comments from local residents.

In total 170 memories out of over 300 that were collected will be included in the artwork.

As art, it’s of a certain sort, the patterned background works to not overwhelm the text blocks, but it feels a bit worthy and a bit safe rather than being overly arty. The test of longevity will be whether it survives the attentions of the graffiti taggers.

Completion of the panels is expected in June.


After I wrote this a bit of a fuss blew up about one of the panels, which included the line “The only negative thing is the crime and the murders, which has been increasing” — revealed by a local activist who said that the panel has been erected opposite people’s homes.

The panel has now been removed.

What he didn’t mention is that what is opposite the panel is a solid brick wall. The wall that protects back gardens from the road, and through which it’s impossible to see the panel. It’s impossible to see it from the living room, the dining room, the kitchen or the garden.

If you have good eyesight, you can probably see the panel from the back bedroom, but you would need remarkable eyesight to be able to read any of it. I’ve stood about a comparable distance from other panels, and even with my long-distance glasses on, it’s impossible to read the text at that distance.

So a fuss has been kicked up about some words submitted by a local person to be included in local art because an activist has misrepresented the situation.

I leave the panel a couple of feet further along as a final comment.


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  1. ChrisC says:

    The local activist is “stop city airport”.

    Yeah that went well didn’t it!

    I hope that they have relocated this panel which is actually quite positive about the area in its entirety.

  2. Tom Quinn says:

    Sadly I think the criticism of a so called activist is actually just as short sighted and ignorant as those that installed the quote in the first place. The feelings of residents should be listened to and they never are. It’s not the wall in front of it is a ridiculous observation. If you bother to do your research beforehand, less than 5 minutes walk from the offending panel is a shrine to a young lad that was recently murdered. I’m glad they have seen sense now and removed it. Otherwise the project is better than a blank wall but limited in it’s creativity.

  3. JP says:

    As you say, you won’t have to wait long: three’ll be along in a minute.
    “Tag tag tag” go the young people’s voices.
    Yes all of them, every single one, to a man Jack.

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