The opening of London Underground’s new Northern line extension could be marked by a public celebratory procession along the route of the tunnels.

The extension is currently on target to open in the Autumn of 2021, and while transport extensions in recent years have usually been sedate affairs, usually a few well-informed transport geeks, members of the public using the new link as if it’s always been there — followed at a more sensible hour by some officials and a small ribbon-cutting event — not much really happens.

Wandsworth council wants to make a bit of a splash with its new tube line though. Although the extension actually crosses Southwark and Lambeth, most of it is in Wandsworth – so they are leading the publicity.

Details are at a very early stage, but they propose to follow the journey of the first tube train – from Kennington to Battersea Power Station (and perhaps back again) – staying as close as possible to the exact location of the tunnel above ground with a processional performance in the streets.

There’s also talk of pyrotechnics, light or movement to capture, from the air, the image of the NLE in its entirety

To get things started, Wandsworth council is seeking a cultural producer or creative company to develop options for the route and performance. Although there’s funding for the options review, there’s no money for the procession itself, which needs to be raised from arts bodies later.

The feasibility brief is here.

The deadline for applications is Monday 16 November.

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9 comments on “A grand procession to open the Northern line extension
  1. JP says:

    What’s Ryoji Ikeda’s number? Lights, linear, celestial, public participation ~ sounds right up his street.
    Nonetheless, I can’t help thinking that it would be a bit much. It’s a grand effort without question, but it’s not the Channel Tunnel or a state funeral is it?

  2. Christine Coxhyy says:

    Is this a joke? I find it amazing that Wansworth Council thinks it is a good idea to spend money on an event like this when our country is in the middle of the current situation. The Councils are being given money to feed children at lunch times during school holidays because many are hungry! ÌThis is a shocking waste of resources.

    • ianvisits says:

      Councils always spend modest sums on money on pleasure — as life is a bit dull without it — fireworks, christmas decorations, maintaining parks and keeping streets clean, etc, and £5,000 that will give pleasure to several thousand people seems like a bit of a bargain.

      As we live in a democracy, you are free to set up the grumy tightwad party, get elected, and refuse to spend any money on giving people pleasure, but I doubt many people will agree with you

    • ChrisC says:

      The £5k is just to write a plan for it. As you yourself say there is NO funding for the actual parade.

      I don’t see them raising much. Any firm that does sponsor it will be immediately criticised for frittering money away when they have likely made staff redundant.

      BTW Wandsworth charged for going to its fire works display for bonfire night. That stopped many families from going because it was so expensive. They are already the grumpy tightwad party!

      BTW maintaining parks and sweeping the streets are statutory duties of the councils. They don’t do it because it gives people pleasure. They do it because that have to.

    • ianvisits says:

      And who creates these statutory obligations? Elected governments, because as I have said, the government is more than just spending the bare minimum on keeping society functioning, but on wellbeing and general nice things – like parks.

  3. JP says:

    Oh well if it’s only a matter of a few grand then I stand corrected.

    What’s that though? A few battery powered fairy lights from Argos and the Boys’ Brigade marching band or equivalent.
    I’d envisaged a much more grandiloquent tour de force with celestial illumination and self-aggrandizing councillors rather than a good old walk in the rain with some free sparklers. Where do I sign?

    By the way, I hope that most kids will not need to be fed by HMG by then, the parents of same re-hired and that the lurgy will be in abeyance or even conquered. Otherwise we’ll all have failed at being human beings.

  4. Allan Smith says:

    They may be ‘grumpy tight wads’ with regards events as Chris C says but they also have one of the lowest Council Tax rates in the country so they are doing pretty well. Wandsworth Band H (the top rate) is £1,647.95, compare that to Middlesbrough where Band D is £2,050.00 and Band H is £4,100.00.

  5. Andrew Gwilt says:

    I probably would think that Battersea Park station could have a new tube station next to the National Rail station that would be like Brixton and with step-free access at Battersea Park. By looking at the map of the Northern Line extension to Battersea Power Station. Or was it intended to be extended to Clapham Junction.

  6. Adam says:

    Lights, pyrotechnics, Battersea power station… anyone thinking Pink Floyd type concert? 🙂

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