It’d be fair to say the mural along the side of Clapham Baptist Church, at the eastern end of Lavender Hill, has seen better days. It’s been there for a good few years and has done remarkably well considering it’s in a difficult spot, exposed to pollution, a small amount of graffiti and vandalism, and the inevitable gradual effect of crowds of people waiting for buses along this stretch of pavement – certainly compared to the other mural along Lavender Hill, the Tree of Life which we have written about a while ago. The Baptist Church’s mural brightens up what would otherwise be a pretty bleak part of the building – but some of it does now need a bit of TLC.
Which is why we’re pleased to see there are plans to refresh and rejuvenate it, as well as developing a community garden. The photo above is one of a series of leaflets distributed to local businesses, and a Zoom call was held to discuss the new project.
The mural itself is well developed and features a series of key Biblical events – with Adam and Eve (and the serpent) making an appearance in a Garden of Eden that includes a large pink flamingo right at the start, as well as Noah’s Ark and the Crucifixion – although one of the more curious aspects of the current mural is that it seems to never have been quite finished! As our photo below shows, the sketches for some of the faces are still there in pencil.
The small plaque visible in the photo above is ‘a gift to those who wait’ from the Church; we’re not sure if it is a reference to the mural itself or maybe also (given the position of the plaque) to a long lost bench. It also looks as though the mural was originally planned to be longer, and run the full length of the building – but the end nearest Tesco has been left as a white undercoat from the beginning (now very much showing the effect of traffic pollution where cars wait for the lights), and could sorely do with a bit more colour and interest.
It’s easy to see how a bit more work on the existing mural could turn this in to the feature – improving the whole look of this stretch of pavement. Which is why we’re pleased to see the enthusiasm for this at Clapham Baptist Church.
We sadly weren’t able to make the introductory talk – but we’ll keep you posted if we hear more about the plans.