Campaign launched to save London Tube mosaics

Eduardo Paolozzi mosaic at Tottenham Court Road

Eduardo Paolozzi mosaic at Tottenham Court Road Image by Mark Hillary / CC BY 2.0

Heritage campaigners have warned that mosaics in a London underground station will be lost through redevelopment work.

The group - Twentieth Century Society – are worried that mosaics created by Sir Eduardo Paolozzi will be lost because of the work to be carried out at Tottenham Court Road station.

And they have called on the authorities to save the “very high-quality archways”.

Extensive redevelopment work is intended at the station, aiming to improve passenger access with new entrances and lifts, the BBC reports.

However, Transport for London (TfL) explained that while every effort had been made – with 95% of the Paolozzi mosaics being preserved in their current position or with a mixture of new and original tiles – it was not possible to save the mosaic covered arches for structural reasons..

Senior conservation adviser at the Twentieth Century Society, Henrietta Billings, has pointed out that mosaic covered arches over escalators and a large decorative panel faced imminent demolition.

She stressed that both of these pieces “are of very high quality and we believe they could be successfully retained within the new station - or relocated.”

She added: "To destroy them would be a tragic loss and London deserves better."

Gareth Powell, director of strategy and service development at London Underground, disclosed that the Paolozzi Foundation was involved in efforts to ensure the station continues “to provide a home for the work.”

He added: "This process involved colour matching and following the same production used for the original tiles. We also have plans to relocate the signature pieces at the former Oxford Street entrance.”

In the past, mosaics have been restored and replaced on the Northern Line, while similar type work is to be carried out on the Central Line.

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