Southbank Mosaics: In the footsteps of William Blake

This short walk in Southbank will give you an insight into the life of William Blake and the work of Southbank Mosaics. Take it in your lunchtime or after work to get inspired by the beautiful art of both.

Today, I’m excited to welcome on the blog David Tootill, director and founder of Southbank Mosaics, social enterprise that works with young people in trouble with the law. Below, you can read his posts about the walk in the footsteps of William Blake, English poet, painter, and printmaker, who lived in Lambeth. Southbank Mosaics has turned some of his works into mosaics that you can see in South London as you walk.

The enterprise also offers personalised learning for school students/adults with additional needs, short courses and accredited qualification in mosaic making.

Blake’s Lambeth: see the world in a grain of sand and hold infinity in the palm of your hand

Blake’s Lambeth is the first quarter of a city in the UK dedicated to a world class artist. It is a street art exhibition open 24/7 and free for all to enjoy. Over 2000 artists and volunteers took part in this project. The trail is a hidden gem of South London.

Redeemed Captive - one of the Southbank Mosaics' work on William Blake's trail

Redeemed Captive – one of the Southbank Mosaics’ work on William Blake’s trail; photo Southbank Mosaics

You can begin at St John’s Church Waterloo, (73 Waterloo Road, London SE1) where the mosaics that form Blake’s Lambeth were originally made. When the studio is open (Mon- Fri 10am – 4pm), you can see where the art works were designed and assembled. There’s also a gallery here, with at least two works of William Blake on the walls.

Cross from the church towards Waterloo station and there are two more mosaics, inspired by William Blake in the Railway Arch that leads to the train station (which also is home to iconic signs “To the Trains” and “To the Buses”. Opposite the signs are two Blake pieces, with a summary of the project and a map of the walk on the wall.

Ancient of Days - one of the mosaics on William Blake's trail in Lambeth

Ancient of Days – one of the mosaics on William Blake’s trail in Lambeth; photo Southbank Mosaics

Turn immediately right and left into York Way and walk towards Westminster Bridge roundabout. Before you arrive you will pass Leake Street – the renowned graffiti street started by Banksi and friends and still being renewed daily by artists with their spray cans. At the end of Leake Street, turn right into Lower Marsh and cross over Westminster Bridge Road. Take a left turn and then immediate right into Carlisle Lane. There are about 68 pieces of art work on the walls of Carlisle Lane (North & South) and in Centaur Street and Virgil Street. The previously rundown rail tunnels have been turned into galleries of fine art.

Blake lived in Hercules Road 1790-1800 which runs parallel to Carlisle Lane and he described Lambeth as blessed. It seems he and his wife (their portraits are in Virgil Street) were most happy here. Information about the exhibition and Southbank Mosaics can be seen on the walls of the tunnels.

Mosaics in the rail tunnel on Carlisle Road

Mosaics in the rail tunnel on Carlisle Road; photo by Southbank Mosaics

William Blake's trail in #Lambeth is a hidden gem of #SouthLondon Click To Tweet

For further details and a map of the walk you can go to Southbank Mosaics’ website

If you’re interested in taking courses and learning how to make mosaics click here.

Southbank Mosaics is a social enterprise that works with young people in trouble with the law. Blake’s Lambeth is evidence that young people can make a great contribution to their neighbourhood.


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Welcome to Walk & Talk. I’m Joanna and I love strolling in London. Here, I share with you about the best walks in different parts of the capital. Happy walking!

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