An exhibition of photographs and stories that document and celebrate the area’s African and Caribbean communities is on display under Hackney Central railway bridge.
The exhibition, opened at the end of September and was created by arts organisation “Future Hackney” with the cooperation of Network Rail and Transport for London. It is part of a wider Windrush public engagement programme produced by “Create London” in partnership with Hackney Council. Hackney Council commissioned the exhibition with Create London, and provided the vital link between Network Rail and Future Hackney to obtain the necessary permissions.
As the exhibition is under Hackney Central railway bridge, the project needed guidance and approval from Network Rail which owns and operates Britain’s railway infrastructure. This is because whenever companies, community groups or members of the public are carrying out activities on or near the railway, they have to contact a special team within Network Rail to make sure that the works are delivered safely.
The team reviews plans and supervises works to protect the people involved in the project, as well as passengers and railway workers.
Additional support was also provided by the rail industry, as TfL removed old signage from the bridge wall to provide the artists with a blank canvas.
TfL operates the London Overground trains that run over the bridge and serve Hackney Central station.
The council also played a significant role in preparing the site for the installation. Its teams jet washed the area before work started, ensured that appropriate lighting was in place, and kept its local community safety officers updated with the project’s progress.
As with the wider Hackney Windrush public engagement programme, the exhibition has been supported by Freelands Foundation and is free for everyone to visit.
Don Travis and Wayne Crichlow from Future Hackney said: “We think it’s really important for as much visual art as possible to be available on the streets for everyone to see and experience. Of course, this depends on the efforts of many different people and organisations, and we’d like to thank Network Rail and Hackney Council for helping us to bring our exhibition to life.”
Bhavik Parmar, station portfolio surveyor at Network Rail Anglia, said: “Our role as a business is not only to get passengers to their destinations on time but also to serve our lineside neighbours and communities. It’s been very rewarding to work on this project and help to enable a fantastic, important exhibition to go up in the heart of Hackney.”
Cllr Carole Williams, Hackney Council Cabinet Member for Employment, Skills, and Human Resources, and the first UK Council Lead Member for Windrush, said: “There has been great collaboration on this project between our own teams, the arts organisations and the rail industry. It’s great to have everyone working together to honour the huge contribution of the Windrush generation and their descendants. I’d encourage everyone to go and see the installation as well as the other elements of our Windrush public engagement programme.”