23 February 2009

Blake's mosaics in a non-existent street

Some new mosaics celebrating William Blake have just gone up to decorate the gloomy tunnels under the railway just west of Waterloo station (right).

Blake lived in Hercules Road from 1790 to 1800, during which time he wrote his celebrated poem The Tyger.

I chased them up yesterday to add to the William Blake section of the Taking Liberties bike tour map, which accompanies the British Library exhibition that ends next Sunday.

The mosaics are in Carlisle Lane South and Centaur Road, brightening up a nondescript area a few hundred metres from the station.

Exploring them all was yet another of those experiences perfect for bikes: too dull and attenuated to do on foot; unparkable by car (though this yellow Volvo, above right, somehow managed it in the bizarre Zen street mentioned below); too intricate and costly by public transport; but a modest delight by bike.

There are also some enjoyable mosaics in Boyce St, in front of Waterloo station, which reference Boticelli, Seurat, and possibly the Ribblehead Viaduct, though I'm not sure (right).

But I was just as intrigued by the status Boyce St itself, which seems an even Zenner street than Leigh Hunt St, mentioned in a previous post. It clearly exists, as this detail (right) of a Lambeth council map shows, and indeed was cited as the venue for the ante-station mosaics in various emailouts to us.

But it's invisible to Google, to Microsoft Live Search, to Multimaps... to everyone. It's just a walk-through under a railway arch (right), without buildings, without a road surface, without even a name plate. London's Zennest Zen street for cyclists.

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