A series of neglected spaces outside Hatton Cross tube station in west London have been given an ecological makeover.

The raised beds were created in the 1970s along with the tube station, and although at times looked after, they have generally not been that well cared for over the decades and had become rather overgrown. It has now been transformed thanks to two projects coming together to improve the station. The gardens have been given a makeover, while a new mural has softened the brutalist building somewhat.

A joint partnership between TfL and the Energy Garden has revamped the greenery, and artist, Dan Maier was commissioned to work the station. Funding came from TfL, the Energy Garden and was supported by British Airways.

With support from volunteers at the Energy Garden, the overgrown shrubbery was cut back and cleared to make space for a much wider range of wildflowers and bedding plants. The flowers were chosen explicitly to be particularly vibrant against the brutalist backdrop of the station building and attention-grabbing for people walking past.

A number of new bird boxes have been installed, and some thought has gone into how the plants were laid out to create continuous paths for birds and wildlife to stay in the undergrowth.

The tired remains of an old advertising sign that had long ceased to broadcast messages of mammon have been repurposed into a solar panel to power the garden lights at night. There’s even a USB socket installed so volunteers tending the garden can recharge their phones while weeding.

The Energy Garden provides the resources for volunteers to look after the spaces created, and some of their garden spaces are also used to harvest herbs and edible flowers.

A second cluster of potted plants has also been added on the other side of the station, next to the bus stops.

Hatton Cross joins the Energy Garden network of 20 community gardens across London’s railways.

The other project has been to brighten the station with a new mural by Dan Maier.

Taking inspiration from British Airway’s speedbird logo on the station platforms and the Concorde tailfin mural at Heathrow Airport’s Terminal 2&3 tube station, designed by Tom Eckersley, Dan Maier came up with a fusion of the two to create a new multicoloured frieze around the upper windows in the station entrance.

Although the art is quite obvious, it’s also hard to see the artwork as a new addition, as it’s inspired by the art of the era when the station was built. You can almost imagine it’s been here since the station opened. Of course, the translucent mural is new and casts a warm glow into the station, slightly reminding me of how churches with plain windows can look rather barren compared to churches with stained glass.

From the outside, the coloured graphics contrast nicely with the concrete frieze that runs around the top of the station. That mural was created by William Mitchell, who, among other things, was responsible for the Rochester Row frieze and the Cavendish hotel car park entrance.

More “stained glass” can be found in the ticket hall, where botanical designs have filled some slats in the brutalist wall. These were inspired by a former local resident, the botanist Frank Kingdon-Ward, whose house is now underneath the airport’s truck depot next to the north runway.

They give the tiled ticket hall area a new floral warmth that was decidedly lacking before. And all just in time for the station’s 50th anniversary next year.

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4 comments
  1. Marc Ricketts says:

    It’s amazing that to see Flowers and Plants outside Hatton Cross Tube Station. But what would be nice. And what would be good if Hatton Cross Tube Station was Step Free Access in the future. 1

  2. Bob says:

    You can put lipstick on a turd…

    HX is probably one of the ugliest, dirtiest and most unpleasant stations on the whole network.

  3. dsd says:

    Good to see the weeds gone and the front looking better.

    Always wondered if Hatton X was the biggest single line station on the tube.

  4. John ives says:

    Would also be nice if a coffee shop, e.g. Cafe Nero could be opened inside the station foyer

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