Residents and workers in the Fitzrovia area are very aware of the mural off Tottenham court road - some because they walk past it every day, others because they were around when it was created. However, are those same people aware of the small mural located on the side of the Fitzrovia Neighbour Centre on Goodge place?
This painting covers the lower part of the side of the building. It was painted in 2000 by Brian Barnes. In the mural are famous people or buildings in the area. The gentleman in the red coat is Olaudah_Equiano who lived in the area during the later years of his life. He was a prominent African involved with the British movement to abolish slavery. Behind Olaudah is an image of a ship. This scene is taken from the painting by J M W Turner called The Slave Ship.
Below Olaudah is Marie Stopes who was responsible for opening the first family planning clinic. This establishment set up it's head quarters on Whitfield Street in Fitzrovia in 1925. To the right of Stopes is Simon Bolivar, a Venezuelan political leader who helped free Latin America from the Spanish. He was sent to London in 1810 to seek protection from the British Government. Whilst in London he met with Francisco de Miranda who is portrayed to the bottom right of Bolivar. He was also a Venezuelan revolutionary who had led a previous revolt in Latin America. De Miranda settled in Fitzrovia. Both men are remembered in the area; there is Bolivar Hall which is part of The Venezuelan Embassy and a statue of De Miranda on Fitzroy Square.
Above De Miranda and next to Bolivar is the writer George Bernard Shaw who had a home in Fitzroy Street. Moving to the top of the mural is an image of the Middlesex Hospital. The first hospital was built in the mid 17th century and functioned up until quite recently. The place was closed in 2005 and most of the buildings have been pulled down; the site is still waiting to be redeveloped.
To the left of the mural at the top is Totterhall Manor, an Elizabethan building whose land is now occupied by Fitzroy Square. Below the building ia a former resident of this place, the writer Virginia Woolf. Next to her is a stalwart for the Fitzrovia Play Association, Cynthia Williams, a local resident for more than 50 years who passed away during 2000 and was commemorated in the mural. Finally below her we have some Bengali dancers. The neighborhood centre does much work with local Bengali people. Next to this picture is an image of the BT tower,completed in 1962 and at one point the tallest building in London.
This mural offers an education about just a small number of the famous people associated with the area. Sadly it's possible that the Fitzrovia Neighbour Centre will move out of the building after 36 years of service. It will be most likely that the mural will be destroyed after that so pop down and have a look at it before it goes.