Condemned to an eternity of waiting for trains that they can never board are these life-size bronze sculptures of three passengers on Brixton railway station, south London.
The sculptures by Kevin Atherton (b.1959) were made of three volunteers who regularly used the station (Peter Lloyd, Joy Battick and Karin Heistermann), and were unveiled on 30th June 1986 by Sir Hugh Casson as part of a £1m renovation of the overground station.
Collectively named “Platform Pieces” and the result of a joint venture between British Rail and Lambeth Council, it’s been suggested that they were the first sculptures made of black British people.
Two of the sculptures face each other across the platforms in public use, while a third stands rather forlornly on the abandoned Catford platform, hidden to passengers by an oversized metal fence (you can just see it behind the female sculpture in the top photo).
The sculptures have suffered all sorts of comedy additions over the years – I’ve seen them draped in hats, clothes and traffic cones, made up with lipstick and eye shadow and all manner of other indignities.
The gentleman on the London platform is currently sporting a rather dashing white moustache.
Businessman and sculpture. Feb 2003 view.
Snowy scene on Brixton station (Dec 2010)
Update: Photos of the third statue!
Here’s a photo taken shortly after the sculptures were installed in 1987 showing the third figure, now hidden behind a forest of horrible fencing.
[© Lambeth Landmark]