Julian Walker

Art & Work Award 2002

Home | Languages and the First World War | Introduction | Gone Away, 2010 | Births, Chimneys and Lightermen - Collecting Greenwich Peninsula, 2008 | Words and Forgetting, 2007 | Encounters with Objects, EV+A, Limerick 2006 | Art out of place, Norwich, 2005 | Interventionist embroidery | Treat Yourself, 2003 | The Best in Heritage, 2002 | Hygiene, 2002 | Art & Work Award 2002 | Unit 2 Gallery, 2002 | Lies & Belonging, 2001 | Walking On Eggshells, 2000 | In The Picture, 2000 | New Contemporaries 99 | Projects 1995 to 2001 | Mr and Mrs Walker have moved, 1998 | Curriculum Vitae | Smaller Individual Works | Work data: size, date, medium | Writing | Reviews | Catalogue Texts | Current work | Drawing | The British Library | Do Bees Like Van Gogh? | Transmission: Provenance - talk Nov 2004 | Tablets and sculptures | Educational work | Books on language


Collection: Norwich Street
A site-specific installation for the offices of Macfarlanes,               
10, Norwich Street, London EC4
Joint First Prize-winner in the 2002 Art & Work Awards

This work is one of a number of site-specific installations that use objects presented as a collection to explore ideas of the continuity of history and the presence and desirability of the past. Using the visual language of the museum collection, taken to a point where only physical boundaries prevent it from continuing endlessly, the work also looks at how simple objects can become precious and desirable, and can carry with them something of the reality of the past.

Several strands have come together in the making of the work: the idea of the history of the site presented as a continuous narrative of identities, anecdotes, and records, interwoven with the experiences of people working here; the combined chronologies of a single day and the entire history of the site; the text deriving from a wide range of sources including Boswell's London Journal, Peter Ackroyd's London, eighteenth century tax assessments, censuses, seventeenth century political pamphlets, plea and memoranda rolls, records of citizen deaths during the Second World War, thirteenth century possessory assize records, parish registers, as well as information and comments provided by staff members; manufactured objects dating back more than two thousand years beside contemporary objects donated by staff members. The majority of the objects have been selected and arranged to create a chronological structure; rather than being arranged in archaeological strata they follow the linear pattern of the narrative.

Norwich Street first appears in maps in Faithorne and Hollar's maps in 1658; it was then called variously Magpie Yard, Magpie Alley, and Magpie Court, though in some parish records it is considered as just part of Fetter Lane. During the mediaeval period the area was developed from common land into small-holdings and market-gardens. It was a fairly prosperous residential and artisan area during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, with several people dependent on the legal profession. The nineteenth century brought increasing density of population, with sudden changes between small areas of gentility and poverty. The 1871 census records 219 residents of Norwich Court. At the outbreak of the Second World War the street was still largely residential, but suffered badly in the Blitz; three members of one family living at No. 93 were killed in a shelter at the Monotype Corporation where Fetter Lane meets New Fetter Lane, and incendiary bombs destroyed practically everything between Shoe Lane and Furnival Street on the night of 29th December 1940.

As is often the case with London streets, one gets the impression of life's major events happening just around the corner. Several famous people lived or worked in neighbouring streets, and while we do not know whether Samuel Johnson, Titus Oates, Kier Hardie or Charles Dickens walked along Magpie Alley or Norwich Street, it seems improbable that they did not. Research into daily life brings out items of interest to balance the absence of great deeds: the mediaeval law of infangthief which allowed the instant punishment of thieves caught red-handed; John Stow's observations on the obsessive nature of football in 1598; the routine thickening of wine with lead in the eighteenth century; and the Victorian use of hedgehogs to deal with infestations of black beetle.

Julian Walker has made installations using large numbers of objects for the Natural History Museum, Arnold & Porter, the City of Nottingham, the World Health Organisation, Worcester and Hastings Museums, and other institutions; he has also worked with the British Museum, the Ikon Gallery and Kettle's Yard, Cambridge. His installation for the New Contemporaries at the 99 Liverpool Biennial, based on the destroyed collection of Liverpool City Museum, was widely praised; his work has been exhibited widely in the UK, and in the US and Europe, and is represented in a number of public and private collections.

The Art & Work Awards 2002 were sponsored by Gatehouse Investment Management Ltd., a property investment manager that provides a focussed and personal service for institutions and professional investors.

The quality and scope of the entries reviewed at the presentation of The Art & Work Awards 2002 reflect the importance which companies now attach to the benefits that art can bring to their business environment and activities. Results of research into these benefits were recently published in Art Collecting: Its Benefits for Your Business, a booklet produced by International Art Consultants/Art For Offices in conjunction with Arts & Business.

The 2002 Award Winners are:

Joint Winners of the Award for a Site-Specific Commission

  • Macfarlanes solicitors for Collection: Norwich Street, 1400 shelves in a13x8 foot space with words and objects combining the chronologies of a single day and the entire history of Norwich Street created by Julian Walker for their offices in the City of London.


  • McKinsey & Company for a series of specially commissioned works in offices designed by Gensler at Kensington Church Street: Field of Rods, a roof-top field of 700 polished stainless steel rods by Vong Phaophanit, Bench Rocks, rocky cliff faced sculptural benches by Tania Kovats, untitled photographic panels by Martyn Rose, and 72 Hours, an oil on aluminium 2-panel mural by Jason Martin.

Winner of the Award for a Corporate Art Collection

  • Pfizer Ltd

Winner of the Special Award for an Outstanding Contribution to Art in the Working Environment

  • Canary Wharf Group plc

The Art & Work Awards were established in 1985 to encourage property developers, businesses, architects and designers, local authorities and artists to collaborate in producing better working environments. They now set the standard for good practice in art for working environments in the UK and are presented every two years for outstanding examples of art in the workplace.


The judges of this years Awards were:

Ben Johnson RCA Hon.FRIBA (Chairman)

Colin Tweedy, Chief Executive, Arts & Business

Sir Richard MacCormac CBE MA PPRIBA RA, MacCormac Jamieson Prichard

Sir Geoffrey Chipperfield, Former Permanent Secretary of the Department of Energy and Chief Executive of the PSA.


1380 objects, 14 x 8ft, 2001