Saturday 13 December 2014

Murals in and out: Camberwell Library and Bath House

The Edwardian building housing Camberwell's former Passmore Edwards Library & Bath House has two murals. The first is something of a local landmark, its tiles depicting a Camberwell Beauty butterfly. They adorn the gable wall of the former baths, now home to Lynn AC Boxing Club. The Royal Doulton tiles were moved here in 1982 when their original home - the factory of stationers Samuel Jones & Co - was demolished.

The library's main room is bright, with windows and skylights: what a contrast to the windowless basement which housed the children's library. However, inside that basement are secret treasures: murals painted on the upper walls. Among the institutional green paint, pipes and wires are wonderful, delicate images from Alice in Wonderland and fairy stories. No wonder that a contemporary news report proclaimed 'Dingy Cellar Becomes a Fairy Palace'!

I visited during Open House weekend. Unfortunately, I've since lost my note of the artist's name: if anyone knows, I would be very grateful!

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