The following press release was issued by the local artists who have created a set of mosaic murals at Palmers Green station for Govia Thameslink Railway’s station improvement programme:
If you happened to pass through Palmers Green station in the last few days, something new and shiny might have caught your eye. Four mosaic panels have been installed on Platform 1, the Northbound platform. Designed and made by Alex McHallam and Tamara Froud the works were commissioned by Palmers Green Action Team (PGAT) and funded by Govia Thameslink Railway, parent company of Great Northern.
Local knowledge really helped Alex research for material for the designs as she grew up in the area. Early discussions with PGAT led to a celebration of the local green spaces: the parks, rivers and gardens of the area.
Initial plans to work with local schools and local groups changed dramatically once the pandemic hit as all community involvement ceased and the artists weren’t able to be in the same studio to work on the project. Once restrictions eased over the summer the pair moved back into the studio and started laying down the tiles. Contact was made with Broomfield School and the artists spent two days working with students still attending school. The results of this can be seen in the ‘Palmers Green’ panel which includes a beehive (which appears on the school emblem) as a thank you to the school. The local area is also referenced with a local Fox and familiar fauna and flora including a station pigeon. The colours and design are also a nod to vintage railway posters.
Alex McHallam says of the project ‘I was thrilled to be asked to create site-specific work in an area I know so well. Once I had seen the arches on the platform I knew I wanted to fill them with art. They are so inviting, as they suggest windows or doors into another view. ‘
There is also a small reference to the pandemic as Alex and Tamara have included a discarded face mask with their initials on in the ‘Parks’ panel. ‘There is no doubt that the project has been shaped by the pandemic and we felt we wanted to acknowledge it as well as celebrating all the area’.
Jenny Saunders, Customer Services Director for Thameslink and Great Northern, said: ‘We owe a huge “thank-you” to Alex and Tamara for conceiving and creating this fabulous set of mosaics for Palmers Green, and to our partners PGAT for commissioning such talented local artists. We’re funding over 1,000 projects across our network to give our customers a better experience at their stations. By working with local partners as we’re doing here, we can also make sure stations are the best possible assets for the communities they serve.’