Historic railway bridges have been transformed into stunning pieces of art thanks to Network Rail’s unique partnership with community groups, schools, and artists.

The bridge structure on the corner of New Spring Gardens Walk in Vauxhall now pays homage to a balloon record that stood between 1836-1914. Charles Green, a professional balloonist who had made 200 ascents at the time, flew 480 miles from Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens to Nassau, Germany in the balloon Royal Vauxhall.  

This historic voyage took place at the Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens which was in its day, one of the most famous pleasure gardens in 19th century London; combining music, drinking, socialising and spectacular entertainments, like a combination of a modern nightclub and theme park.  

The mural was painted by Nerone, a celebrated street artist and walls bearing his work can be seen in many places including Paris, New York, Bangkok and Marrakech.

Throughout his career, he has been commissioned to work for different artistic events around the world, such as the International Flowers Festival in Seoul, the FIA Formula E Championship in Berlin, and the Flower Show Turkey in Istanbul.

Nerone said:

“I've really enjoyed working in Vauxhall and it has been a great experience despite the difficult weather conditions. Many people were curious to discover the new addition in the neighbourhood and congratulated me while I was painting.

“Compliments are always appreciated and I'm getting ready to paint more art in this amazing borough.”

Almost all relics from this golden age are now sadly gone, however its history, achievements and the amazing characters it produced is something community groups such as Vauxhall One are very keen to promote.

Bernard Collier, chief executive at Vauxhall One said:

“People have been coming to Vauxhall to have fun since 1661. The mural celebrates Charles Green's Balloon rides of the 1800s, but also Vauxhall's culture of fun and embracing of difference. Vauxhall One is supporting this culture as the area develops and changes.“

Robert Hodgkinson, franchise & access manager at Network Rail said:

“I am delighted we have finally created this fantastic mural in Vauxhall that represents both the historical accomplishments of the past, and the diverse, multi-cultural heartbeat, now so warmly felt in the area.

“The design, artistic talent and endeavour that has gone into making this artwork such a poignant but celebratory creation, establishes a standard for future murals and artwork still to come.

“I would like to thank Vauxhall One and colleagues at Network Rail, for their help in making this such a great success.”