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Calls to uncover hidden historic tile murals in Wembley

PUBLISHED: 09:49 26 April 2018 | UPDATED: 16:49 30 April 2018

World Cup tile mural in Wembley Park (Picture: Wembley History Society and Brent Archives)

World Cup tile mural in Wembley Park (Picture: Wembley History Society and Brent Archives)

Archant

On the walls of the Bobby Moore Bridge subway in Wembley Park are colourful tile murals which no-one can see as they have been covered up for years.

Murals on Olympic Way in 2011 (left) and hidden in 2018 (Picture: Wembley History Society and Brent Archives)Murals on Olympic Way in 2011 (left) and hidden in 2018 (Picture: Wembley History Society and Brent Archives)

On the walls of the Bobby Moore Bridge subway in Wembley Park are colourful tiled murals that no one can see – because they’ve been covered up for years.

Members of the Wembley History Society (WHS) are now calling on Brent Council and regeneration giants Quintain to return the art to permanent public view as part of the public space improvements planned for Olympic Way.

The colourful tiles depict scenes of Wembley Park’s heritage from famous sports and entertainment events at Wembley Stadium and SSE Arena.

But there are rumours that “light boxes” could be fixed over the murals to display illuminated adverts – which campaigners fear will be a “loss to Wembley’s heritage”. They’ve been covered up by hoarding since 2013 when London Designer Outlet was opened.

Michael Jackson tile mural in Wembley Park (Picture: Wembley History Society and Brent Archives)Michael Jackson tile mural in Wembley Park (Picture: Wembley History Society and Brent Archives)

In January the the council’s cabinet approved a four year advertising deal to one of Quintain’s companies.

Philip Grant, a WHS member, told the Brent & Kilburn Times: “The Bobby Moore Bridge subway is the gateway to Wembley for millions of people every year.
“The colourful tile murals should be on view, welcoming them to the ‘Venue of Legends’ that the scenes on them depict.

“The tile murals should be seen and enjoyed by residents and visitors alike, in time for Brent’s London Borough of Culture celebrations in 2020. They are already there, and paid for – they just need to be uncovered.”

The murals date back to September 1993 when Bobby Moore’s widow came to Wembley to open the subway and unveil a plaque in her husband’s honour, as well as a tile mural picture of an England footballer at the old “twin towers” stadium.

Olympic torch tile mural in Wembley Park (Picture: Wembley History Society and Brent Archives)Olympic torch tile mural in Wembley Park (Picture: Wembley History Society and Brent Archives)

Mr Grant added: “One of our society’s roles is to encourage others to preserve things of historic interest, for the benefit of the people interested in Wembley’s heritage, and that is what we are asking Brent Council and Quintain to do.

“The current improvement plans to Olympic Way, which Brent Council is contributing £17.8million towards, are an ideal opportunity to restore these murals to public view before they are forgotten.”

A Brent Council spokesman said: “The council currently has an agreement in place with Quintain which allows advertising on Bobby Moore Bridge and this income helps to protect vital public services.”

But he added: “We will discuss options to make the murals available for visitors to enjoy with the Wembley History Society and other interested parties.”

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