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Marchmont Association
Bloomsbury London WC1

'Residents and businesses improving
the local area for the benefit of all'

Marchmont Parade landscaping and 'Tokens' public art project by Staff

  Marchmont Parade landscaping and 'Tokens' public art project

 

Marchmont Parade landscaping and 'Tokens' public art project

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A major eyesore identified through feedback from local people in 2005 was the land in front of the north end of Foundling, which had become an overgrown shrubbery, dogs toilet and syringe depository for drug takers, with adjacent residents frequently subjected to the anti-social behaviour of 'passing strangers'.

The Marchmont Association set about identifying the funds to improve the site, securing an initial allocation of £50,000 from the Section 106 budget allocated for environmental improvements in the vicinity of the Brunswick re-development. We formed a multi-agency steering group, which organised a design competition, in which the public were consulted on proposals devised by 3 accomplished artists. After selecting the artist - John Aldus - the project was delayed, firstly by a funding shortfall and secondly by changes to the ownership of the Brunswick. Then the 'credit crunch' led Allied London Properties to withdraw their additional financial contribution to the scheme.

Our pragmatic response was to significantly revise the scheme, recycling the existing pavers and installing a block of new pavers to contain the art works, the size of which needed to be reduced significantly. With the help of Camden Highways and Arts and the support of Hermes and Brunswick TRA, the scheme was completed in the summer of 2010.

It features John Aldus' 'Tokens' public art works (see below), enclosed by an avenue of 7 ornamental Amelanchier Lamarckii trees. Fibre-optic down-lighters on the Brunswick banners and a 'defensive' hedge along the front of the residential properties combine to provide the community safety element. The photo opposite shows the 'Parade' after completion of the public realm improvements in Spring 2011, with the first show of blossom providing a hint of things to come.

John Aldus's 'Tokens' are enlarged replicas of the tokens given to the Foundling Hospital by destitute mothers as they handed their infants into the care of the hospital in the 18th and 19th centuries. The site is directly in front of Foundling Court, on land which was part of the former Foundling Estate, with the 'Tokens' linking back to the collections held by the unique Foundling Museum at 40 Brunswick Square. The interpretive board on the 'Parade' helpfully reciprocates by directing visitors to the Museum (web site link below). We are grateful to the owners of The Brunswick for allowing us to install the 'Tokens' on their land and for the care they have been taking of the artwork and its setting since it was installed. We hope you agree that this project has restored 'pride of place' to the locality, whilst also providing a safe and attractive public space for all to enjoy. A 'Timeline' illustrating key stages in the development of the project can be viewed via the .pdf link below. There is also a link to a sympathetic blog on the london-hotels website.

Additional Info:  

www.foundlingmuseum.org.uk
http://www.marchmontassociation.org.uk/pdf/marchmont-parade-timeline.pdf
http://london-hotels.co.uk/blog/marchmont-street-tokens/

Created On 04 November 2010

 
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