Above: Part of the mural that faces onto New Inn Yard.
It is a sad fact but it has to be admitted that most of Shoreditch is rather drab. The busy roads that cross the land, with their endless traffic – like Great Eastern Street, Shoreditch High Street and Bethnal Green Road – don’t help to improve the image either. Every now and again, an impressive, legally painted mural can be seen on a large wall in the area. One of the most notable covers the large wall opposite Boxpark, situated in Ebor Street. The wall is painted matt black on what seems to be a regular basis, in preparation for a new mural to be created.
The mural in Ebor Street may be large but there is an even larger one to be seen just a few minutes walk away. Towards the southern end of Shoreditch High Street is a turning off its west side called Holywall Lane. Its name relates to the fact it crosses land that was once a religious house called Holywell Priory, which was suppressed at the time of the Dissolution of the Monasteries. Running north off Holywell Lane is a turning called King John Court. How that street name arose is anybody’s guess. It certainly does not have anything to do with King John (who died in 1216).
Between King John Court and Great Eastern Street are two large irregular shaped buildings which are both part of the Shoreditch premises of a telecommunications company called Colt Technology Services. The larger of the two large offices faces onto Great Eastern Street but to the east stands a less elegant building which, until recently, had a textured surface with rectangular windows in it. Being in a side street, the building was functional but unattractive. The company decided that it could do with a makeover and the result is a stunning mural – said to be the largest wall mural in the United Kingdom. The mural not only covers one wall but ‘wraps around’ nearly all the exterior walls.
Above: Part of the mural that faces onto King John Court.
The work took over six months to complete. Because the walls were textured (meaning they were not smooth, like plaster) the first task was to paint all the exterior walls black, which took some 250 litres of paint. Most of the windows were covered over and also painted black to provide an even larger surface. Covering much of the black surface is an impressive piece of artwork that used up 500 cans of spray paint. The artwork was completed by eight pairs of artists working on allocated sections with the result that several differing themes are followed but all of them blend in with the total design in one seamless mammoth creation. Some of the artwork is made up of geometric patterns while other parts are the result of the creative minds of the artists. The whole mural was completed by Global Street Art which, since it spans several walls, the whole design just has to be seen to be believed.