Bishop of Stepney joins fight to restore kids’ 90ft Thames street mural

Thames mural used to be in Ben Johnson Road in Stepney

Thames mural used to be in Ben Johnson Road in Stepney - Credit: Craig Bragdy Design

The Bishop of Stepney is calling for a 90ft street mural of the River Thames by schoolkids in London’s East End to be restored after being removed from the street by contractors.

The Rt Rev Adrian Newman has written to the Mayor of Tower Hamlets urging his help to restore the artwork created 11 years ago so that it remains accessible to the public.

Also joining the call for its restoration is Bethnal Green & Bow MP Rushanara Ali in a separate letter to the mayor’s head of culture.

The mural was created in 2002 by internationally-renowned artist Jean Powell outside Stepney Green School in Ben Jonson Road as part of the Ocean housing estate regeneration.

She recruited pupils to design the ceramic tiles showing the Thames winding its way through colourful buildings along the foreshore.

But former head teacher Sean McGrath, who left in 2006, discovered last month that it had disappeared from the street—contractors were reassembling it inside the playground as part of the school’s rebuilding scheme.

Critics are calling for it to be placed in public again and have suggested the nearby Stepney City Farm once the temporary Crossrail construction site closes.