After seven months of requesting permission from TfL to be allowed to clean the area under the Turnham Green bridges where the mural is to be installed, the day finally dawned. Last Wednesday evening a team of do-gooders from the fabulous Good Gym (who run to a site, do good things for an intense and hard-working hour, and then jog on) ripped off most of the flyposting from the taxi-cab side, aided by an enthusiastic cabbie.

Then on Saturday we set up the full works: power jets courtesy of Autocheck Motors and Wheelers Gardens for each side, and a team of dedicated Chiswickians. We were not allowed to use any detergent, abrasive or wire brushes – “whatever you would use on your face is fine” said the wonderfully protective TfL expert. Although it felt rather restrictive, we are happy to feel that our heritage structures are in such safe hands! So, it was down to water, soft sponges, soft brushes, fingernails and a lot of elbow grease. Again one or two cabbies joined in, and between us we cleaned off the flyposting, hosed down the lowest five courses of bricks that will remain visible once the mural is in place, squirted pigeon shit off the pavement, and generally had a lot of fun.

As I looked round the team at the end of the session – their faces, hair and clothing liberally spattered with bits of paper pulp and worse – I was truly impressed at the communal desire to sort out this eyesore of a bridge.

When we last looked the bridge had remained clean, although there was a little blip with the framed flypost on the station side, which had always looked a little more official than the taxi side. TfL assured us this was also illegal so we picked off the posters but left the frame on the wall for official removal when the mural goes up. However, the day after we had cleaned everything off, to our irritation another poster appeared in the frame. It was a strange phenomenon, and we swear we had nothing to do with it, but within hours a very localised hurricane removed frame and poster and swept it down the road and round the corner. The advertiser swears it is blameless and that it pays a legitimate advertising company, but somewhere down the line there is a mis-communication. Anyhow, should the flyposting return, we may politely invite them to come out with sponges and powerjets!

We would like to thank Autocheck and Wheelers for power and water, the Chiswick School PTA for high-viz jackets (we have washed them before returning them!), Nick Fletcher for sorting out all the hose connectors, Nigel Whalley and Vanessa & Colm Costello for providing the jets (and working so hard themselves), and the following for elbow grease: Liz Whelan with kids Zac and Rose, Fran Goloway, Andrew “Chip” Chipchase, Amanda Parker, Natsumi Niikura, Sam Parkash, Stephen Nutt, Isaac Kaye and all the Good Gymmers. And to all the people who got damp passing by – apologies!

Photo credits:

The Good Gym in action
Flyposts before @AliceJustatHome
Clean wall @WalleyVision

Artwork and maps