Signs are on the right track to bridge the gap


An artist is on a mission to bring some colour to South Londoners’ daily commute.

Lionel Stanhope, of Brockley, has been painting murals on a number of railway arches across South London for the past few months.

He has completed nine so far. His work is part-funded by residents, and Network Rail also contributed to each piece.

Lionel, who has lived on the edge of Hilly Fields for more than 15 years, said: “Some of these railway bridges are on the South Circular. All the heavy traffic has made them quite grim to look at.

“So these murals really help brighten the place up. I design the signs, all in the same typography but with two or three colours to choose from, then the community usually creates an online poll to vote for their favourite.”

The vintage railway-style signs first appeared in Herne Hill after the community launched a highly successful crowdfunding campaigning for artwork, which they hoped would help rejuvenate the Area.

Lionel Stanhope and his artwork

Since then, community groups keen to make their neighbourhoods cooler have crowdfunded for similar work, with two signs in Hither Green, two more in Catford, one in Brockley, one in Nunhead and another in Forest Hill.

Residents in Lee called on his help after a poster advertising Deliveroo appeared under their railway bridge claiming it was Grove Park.

Lionel, who works at Elstree Studios painting scenes for TV shows and movies, said: “I’ve also personalised some of the signs based on suggestions from local people, so I painted a Walrus in Forest Hill because they have had one on display in their local museum for more than a century, and I added a heron in Lee because they’ve got herons in the park.

“I’ve been inundated with emails from communities who want something similar and I plan to paint another five before the end of the year, so we could end up doing 20 in total.”

The next murals will go up in West Norwood, Brixton, Clapham and Selhurst.

He said: “I trained as a sign writer so lettering is my thing and I paint scenery for films.

“So I love working on anything big and these signs are 50ft wide by 12ft deep.

“It’s cool to get so much positive feedback from people, especially in Brockley where I’ve lived for 15 years.”

Eddie Burton, customer service manager at Network Rail, said: “It’s been incredible working with Lionel to breathe new life into the railway.

“The artwork will inspire pride in people’s neighbourhoods and encourage people to respect railway bridges and other structures.

“We are currently reviewing similar areas that could benefit from a makeover and hope to continue the murals across the capital.”

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