Bid to track down 1950s ‘street artist’

The mural in Somerford Grove

The mural in Somerford Grove - Credit: Archant

A group of residents are working with the London Mural Preservation Society to discover the identity of the artist who painted the iconic mural on their Stoke Newington estate.

The image painted on the Somerford Grove Estate in 1950 - pre-dating the modern street art movement - depicts a couple sitting in armchairs before a cosy gas fire, while their little boy plays with his train and their daughter reads her book.

The group wants to restore the mural, which covers the whole side of an end-of-terrace house, to its former colours and protect it for future generations.

Helen Brown said: “The picture of comfortable post-war domestic life that it paints would have been a radically new experience for the council tenants who lived there.

“The unknown artist who painted the mural probably didn’t dream that it would become part of the unique character of the estate, they didn’t sign their work and the paint they used has faded.

“We are intrigued about the mural’s history and hope that someone can confirm the date and history of this charming painting.”

Built in 1949 to replace bomb-damaged housing, Somerford Grove Estate represented a new vision in social housing and its tenants enjoyed gardens and modern comforts such as inside toilets and hot water.

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With housing options to suit every stage of life, Somerford Grove was the first mixed housing estate ever built in England and was written about in the architectural journals of the time, even in in France and Germany.

Ms Brown added: “My previous next-door neighbour told me that she and her family moved into their home when it was first built.

“They thought they had died and gone to heaven. To have an indoor bathroom, hot water and their own garden had been beyond their wildest dreams.”

A free event on Saturday May 30 from 1.30pm to 3.30pm at the estate’s community centre will display archive photos and films about the estate’s history, with art workshops for children to explore what is special about the estate.