Street art sensation Lionel Stanhope has been spreading joy across south London with a series of murals commissioned by Network Rail, the latest celebrating Dulwich’s sporting history
Lead image courtesy Network Rail
One year after unveiling a mural celebrating the 400th anniversary of Shakespearean actor Richard Burbage, Network Rail has again partnered with community groups to celebrate local history.
Historic railway bridges across south London have been transformed into colourful contemporary art works thanks to Lionel Stanhope, a street artist renowned for his vintage typography work, thanks to Network Rail’s partnerships with community groups, schools and artists.
The latest, a mural on Burbage Road, Dulwich celebrating sports played on the road, has been created in partnership with Dulwich Sports Club, home to cricket, croquet, squash, tennis and hockey clubs.
‘It’s always good to work with Network Rail on these murals,’ said Stanhope. ‘They’re so big and make such a massive difference to the places I’m working in. I get such great feedback from people when I’m painting them, just people walking past.’
The mural, sketched by local artist Katrina Russell-Adams was painted as part of the virtual Dulwich Festival Artists’ Open House, and also incorporates colours from Herne Hill Velodrome (one of the oldest in the world) and Dulwich Hamlet Football Club, two other legendary sports clubs/facilities in the area.
‘I’m an abstract artist and local too so this was perfect for me,’ said Russell-Adams. ‘Lionel’s done a fantastic job and it’s lovely to see it on such a large scale and nice and bright under this bridge.’
‘I’m delighted that we can return to Dulwich and celebrate the rich sporting history in the area,’ added Eddie Burton, community engagement manager at Network Rail. ‘I hope locals will enjoy this artwork and I’d like to thank all the community groups involved for their help.’
If you’d like one of Lionel Stanhope’s signs to brighten up a railway structure in your neighbourhood, contact Eddie Burton on firstname.lastname@example.org
A time-lapse video of Network Rails’ previous Dulwich project, Exit: Burbage
Dulwich’s sporting history IN BRIEF
Herne Hill Velodrome
Herne Hill Velodrome, which hosted track cycling events in the 1948 Summer Olympics and was briefly the home of Crystal Palace Football Club during World War I, was revamped in 2017 thanks to the energy and determination of residents led by Hillary Peachey and a crowdfunding campaign.
The ambitious appeal of creating a sustainable travel system, fighting childhood obesity and responding to climate change attracted several national partners to support the endeavour, including British Cycling, Sport England, the National Lottery, the Mayor’s Office and Southwark Council, along with the designer of the London Olympic velodrome, Mike Taylor.
With the support of the land owners, Dulwich Estate, its long-term future as an illustrious sporting venue is secure.
An English Heritage blue plaque at 84 Burbage Road marks the former home of athletics coach ‘Sam’ Mussabini (1867-1927). A pioneering figure in professional and amateur sport in Britain, Sam transformed athletics using science and psychology to boost performance and instilled powerful self-belief in his athletes.
Mussabini’s innovative training methods led to his runners winning 11 Olympic medals, including five gold medals. He is best known for coaching Harold Abrahams, who won gold in the 100m sprint at the 1924 Paris Olympics, and both are immortalised in the 1981 film Chariots of Fire.
Dulwich Hamlet Football Club
Dulwich Hamlet FC hits the headlines rather a lot for a local football team. As well as drawing huge crowds even when it was a non-league club, it was labelled London’s most hipster football club by The Guardian.
The Dulwich Hamlet Story began way back in 1893, and after 111 years of Isthmian League football, The Hamlet was promoted to the Vanarama National League at the end of season 2017-18, before being unceremoniously evicted from its Champion Hill stadium in March 2018 by developers Meadow Residential.
The club was then forced to groundshare with rivals Tooting & Mitcham at the Imperial Fields stadium, before returning to Champion Hill in December 2018 after reaching an agreement with Meadow Residential and Southwark Council.