'The Cornerstone' - Atlas Obscura

'The Cornerstone'

A quirky statue in Bermondsey made by 100 public participants with goggles, chisels, and mallets. 


Led by artist and stonemason Austin Emery, ‘The Cornerstone’ is a community artwork made up of numerous individual hand-carved stone blocks.

The blocks were created by public participants consisting of 100 children and adults from the nearby Whites Grounds Estates, as well as the wider community, in public workshops who sported goggles, mallets, and chisels for the effort. What makes the work more curious is that the stone blocks consisted of fragments from Southwark Cathedral, Westminster Abbey, and the Houses of Parliament, as well as bone fragments found on the foreshore of the Thames.

This is symbolic in the art piecing together aspects of London’s history, especially that of Bermondsey, which was once a bustling area of commerce due to its proximity to the Thames. The idea was to create a piece of living art heritage for the communities from the estates around Bermondsey.

As a result, a quirky and eye-catching creation now stands as a sort of landmark in this rather touristic part of town, the artist having initiated the project with the goal of making a project further influenced by residents of the area.

Know Before You Go

The statue is in the public park on the corner of Bermondsey Street and Tanner Street.

Access is level and the statue can be seen at any time. The nearest tube station is London Bridge. 

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August 30, 2023

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