If you walk past Westminster Magistrates’ Court in Marylebone, you might notice a complex work of art on the wall reminiscent of steampunk designs.

This is a metalwork sculpture by the artist Bex Simon, which tells, if you squint a bit, the timeline of justice in London and the area that the magistrate’s court sits on.

Running through the art is a representation of the River Thames, rather more obviously on the right-hand side, as it becomes more geometrical on the left. The timeline runs from the right to the left, starting with hop plants in memory of the old Yorkshire Stingo Tavern that used to be on the site.

The wheels are said to represent London’s first buses, and then you moved forward in time to bridges and wash houses.

Appropriately for art on the courts of justice, there are references to jails and keys, and the names of the local school children who contributed to the design. Offenders from Coldingley Prison also made some of the structure as part of their education programme.

The London Underground is here, with the roundels and escalators, but also again at the end, in a computer chip which represents modern justice — and if you look carefully, you’ll realise the background is in the shape of the tube map’s Zone 1 fares zone.

Called There and Now, the art was added in 2017, and as it is quite abstract, fortunately, there’s a sign explaining what all the shapes mean. It’s also, apparently, back-lit at night, although I haven’t been past at night to notice yet.


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