The Twentieth Century Society

Campaigning for outstanding buildings

PRESS RELEASE: Tottenham Court Road Paolozzi panel saved

The Twentieth Century Society is delighted that TfL has given us assurances that the original Oxford Street entrance mosaic panel by Sir Eduardo Paolozzi at Tottenham Court Road tube station will not be demolished and will be saved, rather than replicated. It will be removed from its current location and relocated. We understand that they have identified a suitable new location as part of the upgrade works where it can be reinstated without adjusting its size.

We met TfL/London Underground and architects Hawkins Brown yesterday, and they confirmed that they are seeking professional conservator advice regarding an appropriate relocation methodology. Unfortunately TfL has not been able to save the arches above the escalators despite assuring us that they have thoroughly investigated possibilities for retention – three of the four arches have now been demolished.

Catherine Croft Twentieth Century Society Director said, “We are very pleased that TfL has confirmed that it is set to save the large entrance panel at the former Oxford Street entrance. They have also stated that we will be consulted on the methodology for removal and relocation.”

However, we are sad that the arches over the escalators have been lost. There has also been a sizeable amount of replication of the murals on the platforms, rather than retention of the original works, which we would have preferred. We were given assurances when the station upgrade plans were first mooted that the mosaics would be safe, and because of this we held off putting them in for listing. With hindsight we feel these mosaics would have been better protected through the listing process. We would have then been more involved in the decision making process from the beginning, and the outcome may have different.”

The interest shown in the fate of the mosaics at Tottenham Court Road Underground station highlights the significance of high quality public art – and how much pieces like these are cherished by the public. Over 7,500 people signed an on-line petition to save these pieces, and we hope that this campaign will focus English Heritage’s attention on the urgency of a thematic nationwide survey of 20th century public art.