Bermondsey primary school pupils have joined forces with an artist to design the entrance to a divisive new ‘super sewer’ ahead of the start of construction.
The artwork that features river sketchings and materials taken from the area will be in place on the temporary hoarding for two years at Tideway’s Chambers Wharf construction site.
Artist John Walter, of Old Kent Road, was awarded the commission to work with Riverside Primary School in Janeway Street, and is busy coming up with the final design that will be unveiled later in the year.
He said: “It’s an amazing opportunity to exhibit on an epic scale in central London.
“Being a local resident, I have followed the super sewer with interest. It’s great be involved in such an important project.”
Patrick Seller, learning support manager at the school, said it was an exciting opportunity for the pupils to make their mark on the £4.2billion project.
He said: “John took the children out to explore how the river and sewer meet the city. Children took manhole cover rubbings and made drawings from the surrounding area.
“This is a great opportunity for our children to get inspired and create some fantastic artwork.”
Southwark Council had planned to object to the project that will cause severe disruption for residents close to the site, where 24-hour construction is expected to take place over seven or eight years, but missed the deadline.
But environmental groups, including the London Wildlife Trust and the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, praised the move that will remove millions of tonnes of untreated sewage from the river each year.
Phil Stride, a director at Tideway, said the company were delighted that the community were getting involved with the fifteen mile tunnel that begins round-the-clock construction next year. He said: “The first workshops with Riverside primary were a fantastic opportunity for the youngsters to engage with the River Thames, and we look forward to seeing their ideas come to life.”