There are several important pieces of public art in our Ward.
The Messenger is a statue, a sculpture in bronze with very dark patination, completed by David Wynne in 1981, of a large horse and rider. The horse, with a slightly raised left leg, looks towards the railway station. The rider, seated bareback, raises his left hand in the air above his head and his right hand to his mouth, as if calling. It is fully life-size and mounted on a high (7 foot) plinth of marble and granite slabs. The total height is 150 inches. It was a major commission for the sculptor, which took four years to complete from his first idea and inspiration, on receipt of the brief – through roughing out, refining and casting in a foundry, to the final unveiling and installation.The creation is located directly outside the main entrance to Quadrant House in the Quadrant.
Even more striking is the remarkable mural by the famous Spanish “street” artist from Bilbao, Eva Mena, on a wall in Wellesley Road. This is said to be of the American singer and musician Erykah Badu. The work was commissioned by the owners of the building, Indepth Hygiene Services. It was painted in three days in 2010, when the artist came over from Spain to paint it. It is entirely typical of her street art, which is to be found on walls in many parts of the world, including Egypt, Ireland and Spain, as well as Sutton.
There are four structures of some historic significance in our Ward.
Most people are aware that historic buildings might be “listed” to prevent their being inappropriately developed or demolished. This is, however, a national system, and local authorities can prepare lists of local structures that are of significance locally though not grand enough to go on the national list.
There are four such structures in Sutton South Ward.
- the Registrar’s office (The Russetings) in Worcester Road, a Victorian house that it is believed the Walls family, famous for Walls ice cream and Walls sausages, lived in, though this is disputed
- Stowford in Brighton Road, a Victorian house, now the Eagle House school
- the pavilion of the Highfield Lawns tennis club at the junction of Mayfield Road and The Ridgway, as an example of an Edwardian tennis pavilion, build by local builder Percy Vere Windebank in 1908
- a Victorian sewer vent pipe in Hillcroome Road, one of 24 in the area, manufactured at an ironworks (W. Macfarlane and Co.) in Glasgow and erected when mains sewerage came to the area in the nineteenth century.
Perhaps the most unusual of these is the sewer vent pipe, pictured below.
The railway bridge at Sutton station is to be brightened up with a painting by the renowned artist Lionel Stanhope, whose art has brightened up many railway stations.
The façade of the railway bridge, as you come out of Sutton station and turn left, is currently a patchwork of various colours. The Council first tried to interest Network Rail in making the bridge look more attractive, over four years ago, during the “Sutton Gateway” project, which involved re-paving the area around the station and the installation of the clock opposite Sutton station.
The parapet of the bridge will require extensive cleaning and preparation before the painting can commence. Lionel Stanhope has produced a design which will incorporate the word “Sutton” in the typeface traditionally used by Southern railway, and a depiction of the historic Sutton locomotive. The locomotive “Sutton” came into the possession of the Council many years ago and is a 144 year old, 28 tonne, 26 feet, A1 class Terrier steam engine. It is currently with a heritage railway undertaking in Tunbridge Wells who have undertaken to restore it.
The work will be jointly funded by Network Rail and Sutton Council. The painting will be an addition to an area becoming famous for its street art. Within two hundred yards you can find the remarkable statue “The Messenger”, described above, and the remarkable mural by the famous Spanish “street” artist from Bilbao, Eva Mena, on a wall in nearby Wellesley Road, also described above.