Eye-catching mural takes shape at Brunel Engine Shed

Cllr John Chilver, Cabinet Member for Property and Assets, with Dan ‘Decreate’ Wilson, Hayley Newell and Rupert Kalkalata at the start of the work.

Isambard Kingdom Brunel, the Red Lion – and chairs – all feature in a new mural on the hoardings around Brunel Engine Shed opposite High Wycombe station.

The hand-painted artwork is a joint project between Buckinghamshire Council, Wycombe Museum, HWBIDCo and Wycombe Arts Centre and is designed to enliven people’s journey after a difficult year.

Behind the hoardings the Brunel Engine Shed is currently undergoing a major makeover. Built by legendary engineer Isambard Kingdom Brunel in 1854, the grade II listed shed had been abandoned for some time until the council bought it in 2019.

The sensitive restoration will provide a mix of businesses, shops or food outlets and is expected to be completed by late summer.

Cllr John Chilver, Cabinet Member for Property and Assets at Buckinghamshire Council, said: “The renovation work currently under way will breathe new life into the Brunel Engine Shed and give it a new purpose in the 21st century while still reflecting its proud railway heritage.

“Buying and developing this building, which is an integral part of Wycombe’s history, was a popular move locally. Once completed it will offer an iconic first view of the town, an attractive opportunity for the right tenants and an exciting step in the regeneration of Wycombe’s Wye North area.

“This artwork project will brighten up the area for visitors while the work progresses and is a visible example of the great partnership work that is happening to improve the town centre for residents and visitors.”

Local creatives have been uplifting spirits through their art by ‘colouring in town’ for a while, in particular the Desborough area where Wycombe Arts Centre is based. This new mural featuring a modern design is being painted by Hayley Newell, Rupert Kalkalata and Dan ‘Decreate’ Wilson.

Dan created the original ‘trompe l’oeil’ train mural, commissioned by HWBIDCo, that was at the front of the Brunel Engine Shed for several years, and the White Hart Street mural, also commissioned by HWBIDCo, around the former Ottakar’s building, another Buckinghamshire Council project that will house an Italian restaurant and gelateria.

Hannah Ellams of Wycombe Museum said: “We are excited to be contributing to such a fantastic public-facing example of the wonderful heritage and talent that Wycombe represents.”

Melanie Williams, Chief Executive of HWBIDCo, said the mural will feature in a heritage video on a new website being planned for the town centre.

Melanie added: “It is a really important time to focus on the look and feel of the town centre; there are some exciting regeneration plans afoot and now is the time to be getting the town ready for visitors to return.

“Local businesses had a fantastic bounce back in visitor numbers in 2020 and we are looking forward to the same in 2021. The work these artists are carrying out around the town centre is invaluable to supporting local recovery.”

The Brunel mural artwork is happening on Thursday 18 and Friday 19 March.

For more information on arts projects in the local area, visit the Wycombe Arts Centre and Wycombe Museum websites.

Any enquiries about the finished building can be directed to Matthew Parry of JLL at matthew.parry@eu.jll.com or on 0207 852 4120.