Underpass Regeneration & Mural

Herne Hill Forum - mural and Helen Hayes
Herne Hill Mural being coloured in by young children
Herne Hill Mural being coloured in by children in Station Hall, Herne Hill
Herne Hill mural being coloured in by the community in Station Hall
Herne Hill mural being installed
Young child pointing to the colouring in on the record breaking Herne Hill mural
Herne Hill - The Wonderful Walk mural
Mark Rylance being licked by his dog amongst school children colouring in the Herne Hill mural

The Underpass was the most complained about ‘grot-spot’ in Herne Hill. Years of relationship building with the site owners (Network and Southeastern Rail) and the local council (Lambeth) resulted in its successful redevelopment in 2018/9.

To complete the project, the Forum won an Aviva Community Fund award which allowed us to decorate the tunnel, install notice boards and art frames and cover a forty metre wall with a World Record breaking colour-by-numbers mural completed by 2,332 locals.

What we did

This was a long and complicated project. Over a period of five years, we:

  • Convinced Lambeth Council that the project was worthwhile and to fund the majority of the works
  • Got consent and support from Southeastern and Network Rail
  • Secured further funding via the Aviva Community Fund
  • Project managed all the redevelopment works
  • Engaged the community and local schools
  • Recruited volunteers from both stakeholders and the community
  • Arranged a twelve hour ‘Mural Day’ for folk to colour individual sections of the Mural
  • Arranged bespoke painting sessions to include those unable to participate on the day

This project exemplifies some of the Forum’s key objectives:

  • A significant improvement to our neighbourhood
  • Achieved via the participation by a wide range of locals, so fostering community spirit
  • Producing a lasting benefit for the future

Local film maker Sue Carpenter made a lovely film about the project.

I regularly use this underpass – what was once a very unattractive space, will now be transformed. It’s great that this space can be celebrated and has been decorated especially by the children.

Mark Rylance, Actor


  • Date of completion2019
  • Budget£55,000
  • Funding SourceLambeth Council £30,000 & Aviva Community Fund £25,000
  • ParticipantsNetwork Rail, Southeastern Rail, Lambeth Council
  • Project TeamLucy Reynolds, Giles Gibson, Alison Gibbs, Charlotte Ashworth, Jasia Warren, Rosie Zach, George Hornby