About the project
The Iron Bridge in Staines-upon-Thames sits at the eastern entrance to the town. It carries the railway line between Staines and Wraysbury on the line to Windsor and Eton Riverside, crossing the A308 road and two footpaths. In 2022, Network Rail replaced the Iron Bridge, so to complement this work, in early 2023, we renewed the footpaths underneath the bridge and painted two bright murals on the bridge walls.
The design of the murals was created with input from residents on what they felt was important to them about the town.
The aims of the improvements to the Iron Bridge were to:
- Create a new welcoming entrance to the town centre
- Enhance pedestrian safety and security
- Discourage vandalism
- Improve the physical appearance of the bridge
- Create an opportunity for residents to make a connection with their town through community engagement on the project
- Inform and inspire others of the cultural richness of the local area
- Encourage visitors to the town centre.
Preparation: local history and public engagement
Ahead of the artwork being designed, the artist appointed to the project undertook local research of Staines-upon-Thames to inspire the designs, as well as carrying out engagement with the local community, with the support of Spelthorne Borough Council, to enrich this initial research and ensure that the designs reflected Staines' past, present, and future.
The most popular outputs from the community engagement were:
- Words most associated with Staines: river, food, Thames Bridge, lino, swans
- History of Staines: Romans, lino, Thames Bridge
- Experience of wildlife: swans, foxes, ducks, birds
- Favourite place in Staines: riverside path, Lammas Park, Staines Moor
- Landmark Buildings: Old Town Hall, Thames Bridge, Ashby's Brewery, Oast House
The mural's design
The visual elements in the murals and an explanation of them is given below:
- River Thames: The river is central to Staines and its development as a town. One design is of the riverside life, the other is a more geographical depiction of the shape of the river as it flows through Staines.
- Staines Bridge: A wooden bridge crossing the river at Staines was referenced as early as 1228. The illustrations show the current bridge and celebrate the beauty of the structure with the river below.
- Town Hall: The Town Hall was voted as one of the most iconic buildings in the town. Some of the decorative patterns found on the building are recreated in the mural.
- The Romans: Staines was an important Roman settlement, on the route from London to Silchester. The iconic columns are included as a reference to Roman life.
- Roman artefacts: Some of the items housed in the Spelthorne Museum are included in the designs, simple visual forms that have historical and conceptual links to Staines.
- Roman patterns: Geometric repeat patterns played a significant role in Roman visual language; some of these are recreated in the murals.
- Staines linoleum: In the past, Staines was famous for its linoleum industry. Old factory patterns and floral illustrations are recreated in the murals to represent this history.
- Wildlife: Swans and foxes were identified as the most popular wildlife that the local community associated with Staines and are both recreated in the murals.
- London Stone: Located in the Spelthorne Museum and recreated in Memorial Park, the illustrations capture the iconic shape of the stone.
- Beer brewing: The Oast House, Ashby's Brewery, and Hops are all references to Staines' beer brewing history
- Mustard: Once known for growing mustard seeds, illustrations in the mural of the plants, leaves, seed pods, and grinding process all reflect this history.
- Ancient coins: Coins found in the Leisure Centre dig are recreated in the murals
- Lagonda: The Staines icon that is the Lagonda is depicted in the murals.