The disappearing Waterloo poem and why you should care

Eurydice by Sue Hubbard in situ

Eurydice by Sue Hubbard in situ

“Eurydice” by Sue Hubbard was commissioned as a public artwork by the British Film Institute and Arts Council and installed in the tunnel at Waterloo underground station in London.  It stayed there for 10 years until Network Rail decided to ‘tidy up’ the tunnel and painted over it. Whilst Network Rail own the tunnel, they do not own the poem.  That poem is owned by the BFI and Arts Council and paid for by public money (ie the taxpayers’).  Network Rail did not discuss their plans to repaint the tunnel with the poet, the BFI or Arts Council.  They simply went ahead without permission.

A spokesperson for Network Rail said, “Permission to install the poem was originally given by Railtrack. However, no agreement was made about how long it would be there. The underpass had become shabby so we repainted it.”

Sue Hubbard has started a Facebook campaign and the campaign has been featured in the “Evening Standard” and “The Guardian” newspapers.  Network Rail have now agreed to restore the poem but are not going to fund its restoration, even though they were guilty of removing it in the first place.  So the public will have to pay again for the restoration of a poem paid for from public funds and removed by a private company without permission.

Therefore a fund has been set up and Salt publishers are kindly welcoming contributions at http://blog.saltpublishing.com/2009/12/17/fundraiser-to-put-the-poem-back-in-waterloo-underpass/.  Any unused monies over will go to a homeless charity.

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3 Responses to “The disappearing Waterloo poem and why you should care”

  1. dt Says:

    photo credit – dave tidd

  2. Sheenagh Pugh Says:

    One question. What happens next time the underpass gets shabby and needs repainting? Who is responsible for putting the poem back each time this happens? Seems to me this is not a permanent solution.

  3. Laertes Says:

    National Rail is a public company too – so we have paid to have our own poem painted over.


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