The Tommy Flowers from the series Responses to Locations in Transition

After exploring the work and legacy of Michael Faraday, who had his large laboratories and experimental lighthouse (still standing next to our 2011-18 Trinity Buoy Wharf studio) we looked at new Poplar placemaking, by highlighting the work of another major innovator born on the Aberfeldy Estate, post office engineer and inventor Tommy Flowers.

This former florists had lain empty for six years before we were offered the opportunity to make it into a site-responsive community pub, by Poplar HARCA housing association, with whom we had previously collaborated, to bring public art to the streets of Poplar. We commissioned a mural of Tommy by spray paint pointillist Jimmy C for the gable end and an etched and sandblasted front window by Tom Chadwin, detailing the mechanics of Colossus, the world’s first semi-programmable computer built by Tommy for Bletchley Park in 1943. Our launch event was attended by Tommy’s family and two veteran Wrens who operated Colossus as teenagers in the mid 1940s, Betty O’Connell and Irene Dixon (pictured above) as we began to deliver two years of arts, culture and heritage engagement. Using new tech, our friends The People Speak held 15 open discussion Talkaoke forums at the pub.

Project Title
The Tommy Flowers from the series Responses to Locations in Transition

50 Aberfeldy Street and environs, London E14

Project lead
Garry Hunter for Fitzrovia Noir

Nicholas Joubinaux and Ged Lynn

Talkaoke photography
Ricardo Sleiman

Guest artists
Alex Allmont
Alexandra Buhl
Ben Wilson AKA Chewing Gum Man
Chris Campbell
Doralba Picerno
Gary Carter
Graham Carrick
Guillermo Monroy
Jimmy C
Jonathan Turner
Judith Kusi
Katelyn Toth Fejel
Linda Lieberman
Manuel Sanmartin
Paul Robinson
Paul DON Smith
Tom Chadwin

Partner Organisations
Aberfeldy Big Local
Bangladeshi Youth Football
FabLab Roskilde University
Geek Physical
Heritage Lottery Fund
Kintsugi Design
Siger Gallery
Poplar HARCA
Quaker Social Action
The People Speak
The Plunkett Foundation
Tim Burton Animation
Trinity Buoy Wharf Trust

March 2018 – February 2020

“ The Tommy Flowers is a shrine to the value of community at a time of change.”

Matt Leach, Chief Executive, Local Trust

“ A terrific bit of Outreach about Tommy Flowers who was brought up in this area.”

Dr Stephen Fleming, The National Museum of Computing, Bletchley Park

“ To have a pub named after him is the ultimate accolade.”

Kenneth Flowers, son of Tommy, who visited with his family, from Yorkshire

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