Peter Yates' Bevin Court Mural

Bevan Court Mural by Peter Yates for Lubetkin 1954 edge
Bevin Court, Holford Place, Finsbury, London, England.

Bevin Court is one of several modernist housing projects in London designed in the immediate post-war period by the Tecton architecture practice, led by Berthold Lubetkin. Following the dissolution of Tecton, the project was realised by Lubetkin, Skinner and Bailey. The project was completed in 1954. (Wikipedia)

Bull and Dolphin Painting by Peter Yates 1953
Peter Yates painted a Mural in the Lobby of Bevin Court in 1954, the result of an ongoing collaboration between himself and Berthold Lubetkin. It stands there today, still in good condition not too far from King's Cross Station in London. Studies were carried out before the final design was selected and some remain as paintings. “Lubetkin Murals” are the subject of several studies and paintings by Peter Yates, presumably suggesting that other murals were planned under this same collaboration. Peter Yates went on to work with Berthold Lubetkin on the new town project at Peterlee and remained friends with Lubetkin until Peter's death in 1982. Peter Yates was instrumental in canvassing support for Lubetkin’s successful 1982 nomination for the RIBA Gold Award.

The Mural is a composition of interpreted and stylised elements taken from the Heraldic Arms of Finsbury, the London Borough in which Bevin Court stands.

Finsbury Crest of Arms, London
The arms (as granted in 1931) depict the white cross of St. John (St John are headquartered in Finsbury). The water symbolises the Thames. The red circles and crescent represent the arms of the Charterhouse. There’s a reference to the city walls, as form the southern boundary of the borough. The gateway suggests the old gate from London into the borough. The shield contains elements from the arms used in the past for St. Sepulchre. The two supporters are the symbols of St. Luke (the bull) and St. James (the dolphin). The (dolphin’s) badge with the well is the Clerk's Well (now Clerkenwell).
Incidentally, the Latin inscription 'ALTIORA PETIMUS', meaning ‘We seek higher things’ also appears in the mural.

Update : As of January 2008, the mural is seen to be in generally good condition but is in desperate need of cleaning and conservation work. The mural is intact but dirty and it appears that some white paint has been applied over the Finsbury bull. The colours are still strong but the whites in particular belie it's 55 years.

Update : As of February 2009, the mural is seen to have degraded further. A concerned resident of Bevin Court has kindly contacted me. A plan needs to be put together to ensure the mural can last. Paint is reportedly lifting from the wall and sadly graffiti and burn marks are evident. Concerned residents may contact me and I will try to do what I can to help !

Update : As of February 2016, the ay and Night, Winged Bulls. Finsbury Peter Yates Mural Restored">Peter Yates mural has been restored to it's full former 1954 glory.

Bevin Court Mural Finsbury Lubetkin Peter Yates Bevin Court Mural Peter Yates Bull Lubetkin Finsbury
Photos : January 2008


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