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Alfred Daniels’ Murals

October 12, 2022
by the gentle author

Tickets are available for my Spitalfields tour throughout October & November


Old Hammersmith Bridge by Alfred Daniels

When I met Alfred Daniels, the painter from Bow, almost the first thing he said to me was, ‘Have you seen my murals in Hammersmith Town Hall? I’m very proud of them.’ So it was with more than a twinge of regret when I went to see the murals for the first time, years since he died, realising I should have gone while Alfred was here to tell me about them.

Yet it proved an exhilarating experience to discover these pictures that declare themselves readily and do not require explanation. Five vast paintings command the vestibule of the old town hall, created with all the exuberance you might expect of a young painter fresh from the Royal College of Art in 1956.

On the south wall, three interlinked paintings show scenes on the riverbank at Hammersmith Mall, which was just across the lawn at the back of the Town Hall before the Great West Road came through. The first looks east, portraying rowers standing outside The Rutland Arms with Hammersmith Bridge in the background. The second painting looks south, showing rowers embarking in their sculls from a pontoon, while the third looks west, showing a Thames pleasure boat arriving at the pier. A walk along this stretch of river, reveals that these pictures are – in Alfred Daniels’ characteristic mode – composites of the landscape reconfigured, creating a pleasing and convincing panorama. In Alfred’s painting the river appears closer to how you know it is than to any literal reality.

These three pictures are flanked by two historical scenes from the early nineteenth century, showing old Hammersmith Bridge and the Grand Union Canal, adding up to an immensely effective series of murals which command the neo-classical thirties interior authoritatively and engagingly, without ever becoming pompous.

This must have once been an impressive spectacle upon arrival at Hammersmith Town Hall, after crossing the small park and then climbing the stairs to the first floor entrance, before they built the brutalist concrete extension onto the front in 1971. This overshadows its predecessor and offers a new low-ceilinged entrance hall on the ground floor which has all the charisma of a generic corporate reception. Yet this reconfiguration of the Town Hall has protected Alfred Daniels murals even if it has obscured them from the gaze of most visitors for the past forty years.

However, the murals can be viewed free of charge when the Town Hall is open and I recommend you pay a visit.. You just need to drop an email to and make an appointment.

Painted by Alfred Daniels and John Mitchell in 1956, cleaned and restored by Alfred Daniels assisted by Vic Carrara and Robyn Davis, 1983

Mural on the west wall

At Hammersmith Pier

You may also like to read about

So Long, Alfred Daniels

A Return Visit to Alfred Daniels

Happy 90th Birthday, Alfred Daniels!

7 Responses leave one →
  1. October 12, 2022

    What a marvellous set of murals: thank you for telling us about them. They remind me of my journey to primary school, riding the 72 bus up to Brooke Green – the bridge was a special landmark marking the final part of the journey all the way from Roehampton.

  2. October 12, 2022

    I’d completely forgotten he made these and would love to see them. So now I’m definitely going to go. I particularly like Daniels early work and these are great. Thanks for reminding me and for another superb story.

  3. October 12, 2022

    I believe this is the same artist that did The Gramophone Man — correct? He has such a distinctive, admirable style. I am so grateful that these murals are intact (and fairly recently cleaned!) — since it seems that so many works like this are overlooked and eventually discarded. Dare I say, Mr. Daniels style reminds me of other GREAT British artists/designers like Ravilious and Bawden. Your country has a long, proud tradition of artist/chroniclers — and I am so grateful to read about them here at Spitalfields Life.

    Thanks for shining a light.

  4. October 12, 2022

    I love the colours here; so fresh after all these years. The sense of work, community, leisure and family is great too. Proper civic art.

  5. Rupert permalink
    October 12, 2022

    surely the last mural is Hammersmith Creek, not the Grand Union? There is a photo here which it bears a striking resemblenace to:

    I went to school in Hammersmith and have never heard about these before, so thank you.

  6. Nick permalink
    October 12, 2022

    Beautiful subtle colours

  7. permalink
    October 12, 2022

    These are exactly the sort of painting my dad would would have liked, and for someone who had on the face of it an anti social , yet refined aesthetic judgement, a much deserved compliment.

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