Thatched, BAW (Beaconsfield Artworks), 1996, LB Camden, Commissioned by FAT (Fashion Architecture Taste) as part of the project Roadworks, in partnership with JC Dexaux and Camden Mix Music Festival. Photo: courtesy BAW
One of a series of ten commissions for bus stops in LB Camden that were transformed for a month, each by a different artist or architect, coinciding with the Camden Mix Music Festival. This commission, by artists David Crawforth and Naomi Siderfin (BAW), was located in front of a high street building society. The artists hired Jason Morely from the Master Guild of Thatchers to thatch the roof, under which they displayed housing statistics relating to Margaret Thatcher’s Right to Buy scheme. The visual pun of a rural icon in this urban environment was intended to provoke thoughts about the relative levels of security that come with the notion of a roof over one’s head and commented on government housing policy.
Planning permission was not required because the commissions lasted under 28 days (a stipulation that can vary between boroughs), and each were checked by the Highways Department. Funding came from Camden Arts and Tourism Board (£10,000), JC Deceaux (£10,000) and ABSA (£10,000). The works helped draw cultural tourism and widespread attention to the area – press coverage included BBC Greater London Radio, who was media partner, and a documentary on Channel 4.