24 January 2015

A kind of welcome

Welcome to the home of people who make and create, reads the slogan, plastered across a gable end where it’s the first thing you see coming out of Blackhorse Road tube station, driving into Walthamstow by car or riding the top deck of the 230 bus. It’s part of a raft of improvements around Blackhorse Lane, a rather baffling mix of projects, some sensible, others downright silly. The sensible stuff includes new shopfronts for the tired-looking row of shops on this corner. The rest of the improvements are mainly signage, one way or another, and the Welcome mural is the culmination of this sign-making tendency. You can't help wondering what options were considered and rejected before this version was, presumably, approved by some committee in the Town Hall. 

The amazing God’s Own Junkyard is behind this, and rumours last summer did suggest they were going to be doing something here. Something made out of their collection of vintage metal signs might have been nice. Instead we get a sparkly glitter heart and some half-baked figures illustrating art and industry. It’s good to see something unique replacing the inevitable Specsavers hoarding that was there before. But the people who make and create? Tell that to all the teachers and social workers who actually live nearby. This is supposed to promote the attractions of the post-industrial stretch along Blackhorse Lane, a mixture of industrial estates, artists' studios and other creative ventures, which is all very well except that huge areas of factory buildings are currently being demolished to make way for blocks of flats. But perhaps the seemingly duff slogan is in fact intentionally ironic.