The Hamtun Street Mosaic is now located in Hamtun Street, Old Town, Southampton, Hampshire and is a perfect example of the use of ceramics to create a historical footprint. This 37-piece mosaic is a stunning glass and concrete mural 19m long and 3m high that has recently been put back on display after 20 years in storage. Ceramic artists Henry and Joyce Collins were commissioned in 1970 by Sainsbury’s supermarket to create this mosaic for a new superstore in Lordshill, Southampton. In 1990 it was removed to make way for redevelopment at the store and subsequently donated to Southampton City Council. Thanks to a grant of £41,800 from the Heritage Lottery Fund it has now been repaired, cleaned and repositioned in the Old Town of Southampton, a short walk from the Tudor House and Garden Museum that recently re-opened.
The mosaic depicts scenes of Southampton’s history, from Roman times to the 20th century. Artists Henry and Joyce Collins were commissioned to produce a number of artworks for the Festival of Britain in the 1950s and this helped to launch their productive and successful careers. Examples of their commissions include: glass screens and tapestry for Grosvenor House Hotel, London; murals for British Home Stores; London’s GPO Tower; KLM airlines and Cwmbran Arts Trust, Wales. The husband and wife team also worked for the Central Office of Information producing posters, murals and illustrations. The level of craftmanship in the Hamtun Street Mosaic is outstanding, one of the finest examples of its kind I have ever come across in England. If you are not able to see it in situ, then I hope my photographs below go some way in providing you with an enjoyable armchair viewing.