Going Underground: Portraits of Londoners in their Treasured Historic Places
In London? Prepare to encounter some new faces and places on the Tube this week.
- Historic England’s 'I am London' portraits arrive at Aldgate East, Barbican, Canary Wharf, St Paul’s and Walthamstow Central
- Great Ormond Street nurse, London Zoo keeper, Billingsgate fish seller, pie and mash shop owners and a pearly king stand alongside Bank of England Chief Cashier, Dean of St Paul’s and Big Issue seller to say ‘I am London’, and speak up for the city they love
Historic England has partnered with Transport for London to install a series of 33 photographs celebrating London’s unique identity at five underground stations across the capital.
'I am London' is a collection of portraits by Historic England which shows London’s historic buildings and places are as much a part of the city’s DNA as the people who live and work in it.
The installation is part of Historic England’s 'Keep it London' campaign to get Londoners to notice, celebrate and speak up for the heritage of their city.
From artist Bob and Roberta Smith at the William Morris Gallery to a ‘Beefeater’ at the Tower of London, each photograph depicts a Londoner at a historic building or place special to them.
Aldgate East, Barbican, Canary Wharf, St Paul’s and Walthamstow Central stations will host the portraits of Londoners over the coming months. They include market traders at Billingsgate and Columbia Road, Big Issue seller George at his West-End pitch and Zookeeper Lucy at a Modernist Penguin Pool, to show how inextricably linked London’s people and historic places are.
For these Londoners, the city’s heritage is a source of pride, a reminder of their city’s past, a foundation for its present, and the building blocks for its future.
The installation includes a new portrait - Transport for London chose Tracey Hayward, a Customer Service Assistant on the Underground, in recognition of her work championing the importance of looking after our mental health among colleagues across the Tube network.
Tracey has worked for the Underground since 2005 and was photographed at Canary Wharf station where her portrait is now on display. Tracey’s portrait can also be seen at Walthamstow Central.
Duncan Wilson, Chief Executive of Historic England, said: “London’s identity is rooted in its people and places. Through these photographs we want to draw attention to the amazing buildings, streets and character of London that are close to the heart of so many.
“While change is inevitable, the capital must evolve by building on its unique character and identity, rather than by turning into a generic world city. This is why it’s encouraging to see heritage and culture given due attention in the Mayor’s draft London Plan – a plan which will be a key influence on the way the capital develops over the next two decades.”
Mark Wild, Managing Director of London Underground, said: “We recently celebrated the 155th anniversary of the London Underground which continues to be an iconic symbol of our capital city and remains as vital as it ever was in the lives of Londoners. We are very proud to be partnering with Historic England on this campaign celebrating London’s unique identity.”
I am London portraits were first shown at an exhibition at Central Saint Martins in summer 2016 followed by a display in April 2017 in and outside City Hall.