Herne Hill’s long, dark and grotty underpass between Station Square and Milkwood Road is set to be transformed on 12th September with the world’s most contributions to a colour by numbers painting.  Around 1,500 local primary kids from Herne Hill have agreed to help beat the Guinness World Record for the most contributions to a colour by numbers painting, and are aiming to complete this mammoth task on a single day. Previous record holders Sam’s Club  achieved 455 participants, so the organisers, Herne Hill Forum, are confident that with the help of the primary school children they will successfully beat the world record.

Herne Hill Forum has commissioned local artist Victor Szepessy to create a design for the 40 metre long mural, which will incorporate Herne Hill’s key people, places fables and myths.  Did you know that a Nobel Prize was achieved in Herne Hill? Or that we had our very own Great Train Crash? Children from seven schools in Herne Hill – Jessop, Michael Tippett, Herne Hill School, St Jude’s, Turney, Rosendale and Judith Kerr – will be aiming to colour in the whole mural with paint pens on just one day – a whopping 1,500 kids. And if any sections remain unfinished when the school bell rings at 3pm, they will invite passers by and volunteers to help finish the task!  Everyone is welcome to get stuck in and help complete the world record from 4- 8pm.  Adults and children accompanied with adults from across Herne Hill should meet at the station to register.

The record breaking attempt, led by Herne Hill Forum with funding, resources and support from Aviva, Southeastern, Network Rail, Lambeth Council and local businesses, will take place on Wednesday 12th September in Station Square, Herne Hill.

Once completed the new 40 metre mural will be placed on the wall that runs the whole length of the “piano” side of the underpass. This extensively used passageway provides a vital link between local shops, businesses, transport hubs and public spaces, and the mural is just one element of a big and ambitious transformation programme. Renovations have already commenced, with Southeastern investing in new strip lighting, removing anti-graffiti panelling, and providing a new lick of paint. The station side of the pass will also undergo a facelift, with new display boards allowing the local community to display artwork, exhibitions and local information.

“The idea behind the world record attempt was to give the children of Herne Hill a day they will remember for the rest of their lives, whilst creating a beautiful space right at the heart of the Herne Hill community. The mural was inspired by local residents who wanted to have a focal point where they can understand the history of where they live,” explained Lucy Reynolds, Project Manager, Herne Hill Forum.

“This massive community colouring in mural came from working with kids on the Brockwell Passage mural. As I was painting the outline on the wall, local kids started running up and asking if they could colour in, so I gave them brushes and paint and we ended up making it together. It was a very dynamic process and after it was finished we saw kids going by with their parents, pointing and saying “I made that.” I hope that creating a nice space together as a community will give the kids and everyone involved a sense of connection to and pride in their area. And that we can experience what we’re capable of when we all work together in divided times,” said Victor Szepessy, Illustrator and Muralist.

The renovation of the underpass is just the start of a wider regeneration programme in Herne Hill, which is intended to culminate in the renovation of the space above the station.  Currently the room above the station is mothballed and inaccessible. However, Herne Hill Forum is working with South Eastern to plan how they can develop the space as a new town hall and community centre for Herne Hill.  The Forum are exploring ways to raise funds for the new space, including a bid to the GLA Good Growth Fund.

“The space above the station is huge, with beautiful views across Herne Hill. Our vision is to turn this forgotten place into a vibrant forum for events, activities and entrepreneurship, harnessing the demand for a new civic space right at the heart of our community. We would love to hear people’s ideas for how we might use this space,”  said Lucy Reynolds, Project Manager, Herne Hill Forum.