Mayor Toni Letts believes the exciting redevelopment at Leon House can help play a crucial role in helping Croydon become the London Borough of Culture in 2019.
At the heart of the plans to convert the old modernist office block into 263 high-end apartments, is the remarkable sculpture of William Mitchell in the lobby of the building, with other pieces of his artwork also discovered around the site.
Mitchell is a renowned post-war architectural sculptor whose large scale concrete murals have now been given protective, listed status.
For years the brickwork sculptures at Leon House were hidden away behind the walls, but developers FI Real Estate Management and their partners are making the artwork a focal point of their plans.
Speaking at the marketing launch of the Living with Leon project on Thursday evening, Betts said she believed the development and, in particular, Mitchell’s work can only help Croydon in its bid to be named London’s first borough of culture in 2019.
“I’d like to talk a little about William George Mitchell – he seems to be forgotten. He was very ill when he was a child apparently, he didn’t have great education, yet here we have his amazing piece of work,” Mrs Letts said in the vast and impressive foyer of the building where she used to work on the 11th floor in a previous role for the Croydon Primary Care Trust.
“These historic pieces of art now have listed status. They are just fantastic, and I’m so pleased to see them.
“In 2019 we are trying to become London’s City of Culture in Croydon and this will definitely help, that is amazing.
“So, thank you to the developers for what you are doing, thank you for choosing Croydon, you’ve made the right choice.”
Croydon recently launched its bid to become London’s first Borough of Culture.
The initiative, sponsored by the Mayor of London, will see two winners, one for 2019 and one for 2020, each receive over £1million of funding to deliver a huge range of events.
The project is inspired by the UK City of Culture and European Capital of Culture programmes.