Welcome to Britain? The shocking frieze which will greet visitors to London's Eurostar terminal
An outraged Tory MP is calling for the new public artwork proposed for St. Pancras Station, the Eurostar terminal to be changed. The work shows modern Britain warts and all and some feel it will be a poor greeting for travellers to the UK from Europe on the Eurostar Train. It will sit around the base of the tall 'Meeting Place' statue of two lovers embracing that most people like and now associate with the station.
From next summer, travellers stepping off the train at St Pancras International will be greeted with an artwork that sums up modern Britain.
But it might not be the Britain we'd like them to see.
A copulating couple. A vagabond carrying a bottle. And a hoodie expressing himself with his middle finger.
All these are 'concept' designs for the bronze frieze which is to be installed in the station.
The frieze will sit around the base of the towering Meeting Place statue of an embracing couple, which was unveiled last year.
Designs in clay by the sculptor, Paul Day, were unveiled on Friday at the station.
London and Continental Railways, which commissioned the piece - thought to have cost half a million pounds - admits that the images will be 'bold and edgy'.
Last night Tory MP Andrew Rosindell said he thought some aspects of modern life should not appear in such a high-profile piece of public art.
He voiced particular concern about one image, a skeleton at the wheel of a train, given the number of tragedies on the Underground.
He said: 'I think public art should be in good taste. Some of these images seem to be in poor taste and likely to cause offence.
'I think the skeleton is in particularly poor taste considering the number of people who perished in the King's Cross fire.'
Now, a brief glimpse of a new frieze to wrap around a plinth for The Meeting Place statue has been revealed, depicting "dream-like" scenes inspired by the railways.
Passengers arriving from the continent will be greeted with a series of images, including a Tube train driven by a skeleton as a bearded drunk sways precariously close to the passing train. Another shows the attempted suicide of a jilted lover under a train reflected in the sunglasses of a fellow passenger. Another section reveals a woman in a short skirt with her legs wrapped round her lover while they wait for the next train.
Other less controversial parts of the terracotta draft frieze depicts soldiers leaving on troop trains for the First World War and the evacuation of London's underground network after the terror attacks of 7 July 2005.