Cats Like Plain Crisps: Brilliant Photos Of Great Graffiti In 1970s London

"Beware the Thunderous Trowel Surgeons" and avoid "authority perverts"

graffiti london 1970s

Richmond, south west London, 1976

 

Roger Perry’s photographs of graffiti in 1970s London were compiled in the 1976 book The Writing On The Wall.  Perry (1944 – 1991), a photographer whose work regularly featured in Time Out, The Sunday Times, Vogue and Nova, captured a side of literary London when the city was hit by recession, poor housing and urban decay.  As singer George Melly (17 August 1926 – 5 July 2007) notes in the book’s introduction: “In a world of supermarkets, office-blocks, processed chickens, VAT forms, computers, ECT, time and motion studies, what graffiti proclaims is ‘Human beings rule OK!’”

 

graffiti london 1970s

Hampstead Heath, London – tagged by Kix (AKA Lee Thompson) and Mr B (AKA Mike Barson), who became two members of the band Madness. The aforesaid Melly was not fan of their work, writing: ” I came out of my garage recently to find that people had sprayed graffiti on it. If I ever catch that Mr B, Kix and Columbo, I’m going to kick their arses.” “How about that?” said Thompson when he read Melly’s intro  intro to The Writing in The Wall. “One minute he wants to kick my arse, next he’s praising me!”

graffiti london 1970s

Telford Road, Notting Hill Gate, London, c.1974

“I used to go down to Basing Street a lot because Island Records had their studios there,” says Pearce Marchbank, who designed the book. “It was really rough around there at night. You’d come out of the studio at 4am and it felt like people were sharpening their knives on the corners of buildings, that kind of thing. Now it’s David Cameron, isn’t it? Shops that sell scented candles.”

 

graffiti london 1970s

Elgin Avenue, Maida Vale, London, c.1974

graffiti london 1970s

Ladbroke Grove, west London, 1975

graffiti london 1970s

Hammersmith and City Line (between Ladbroke Grove and Westbourne Park), c.1974

graffiti london 1970s

Ladbroke Grove, West London

graffiti london 1970s

Graffiti on Avon Road in Islington, north London, around 1974.

graffiti london 1970s

Basing Street in Notting Hill Gate, west London, c. 1974.

graffiti london 1970s

Notting Hill, west London, in 1975

graffiti london 1970s

King Henry’s Road, Chalk Farm, London, c.1974

graffiti london 1970

Kentish Town, north London,

graffiti london 1970

King’s Cross station

graffiti london 1970s

Clapton, east London

graffiti london 1970s

Malden Road in Kentish Town, north London, around 1974.

 

Buy a new edition of the excellent The Writing On The Wall here.