Oh! I do like to be beside the embankment – sheds by the Thames

If you are in London pop down to the embankment and you may see a shed load of beach huts (shed by the sea) – they are there to celebrate 50th anniversary of the Festival of Britain.

Some great photos of them from our Just Sheds Flickr Group

sea-side walk

South Bank beach huts

The Stranger

beach hut with cloud sign bbc on Thames south bank London 14th July 2011 18:28.16pm

The Thames beach huts

Polka dot Shed

Hutstock on the South Bank

I may try and visit when Iam down that London for the Great British Beer Festival.


Here are the details

A gorgeous line of colourful and inspiring artist-designed beach huts line Queen’s Walk along the river in front of Royal Festival Hall.

Friday 22 April 2011, 10am – Sunday 4 September 2011, 11pm.

Various huts open throughout the day, mainly from 11am till 6pm.

Walking from Hungerford Bridge towards Waterloo Bridge, or looking left to right as you face them, the huts are:

Bare Life

Beach hut design, Oreet Ashery; beach hut structure, vegetation roof, 2011

Influences: Bare Life – A term coined by the Italian political philosopher Giorgio Agamben to describe the fragility of life without basic rights; Sukkah – In Jewish tradition a Sukkah is a temporary hut topped with branches symbolising haphazard nomadic life in the desert; Postcolonial beach huts – Many Indian, Middle Eastern and Caribbean beach huts use local vegetation as roofs. The postcolonial beach hut references migration and complex colonial history.

Dazzle Pillbox (exterior)

Artist – Gordon Allum; materials – wood, paint; designed February 2011

Dazzle Pillbox is an homage to navy lieutenant and marine artist Norman Wilkinson who originated the idea of ‘dazzle camouflage’. Applied to thousands of ships during World Wars I and II as a counter-measure to submarine attack, it is a fascinating example of the contribution of artists to the saving of lives and the defense of the realm.


Until 11 July – Inspector Sands Theatre Company installation; from 11 July 4 Sept – The Big Noise installation.

ALL MOD CONS (exterior)

Markus Birdman 2011

I took inspiration from the style of the mods. I felt they were often associated with glorious days out at the seaside. Theirs was a quintessentially British parade of sharp suits and stylish parkas on Vespas and Lambrettas, emblazoned with targets, union jacks and checker board. They were looking for excitement, recognition, celebration and trouble!

Postcards from the Sea (interior)

Exhibition of selected postcards from 1900 to the present day. Kindly loaned by The Southend Museum, Southend on Sea, from their extensive collection.

This exhibition provides a poignant snapshot of British 20th-century social history through everyday postcards sent from Southend on Sea. From a frozen River Thames, two World Wars, to the emergent glorious technicolor of the 1950s and beyond.

Essex Coastal Beach Hut (exterior)

An assemblage of wood, glass and paint imagined by Phill Jupitus in 2011.

A traditional seaside shelter decorated with the names of those places in Essex which are directly adjacent to either the River Thames or the North sea.

Before the Flood (interior)

The Under the Pier show (exterior & interior)

A seaside amusement arcade on Southwold pier, Suffolk. ‘Is it art’ (the machine in the beach hut) is part of the arcade. It was made by Tim Hunkin in 2005.

The Under the pier show contains a collection of home-made coin operated machines and low-tech simulator rides. New machines are added every year. For more details see underthepier.com.

Jimmy Pursey’s Trousers (exterior)

Artist – Sadie Hennessy; materials – mixed media; 2011

This hut is inspired by some trousers I saw Jimmy Pursey (of Sham 69) wearing in 1979 at Sham’s Last Stand at London’s Rainbow Theatre. Sadly the event descended into a terrifying, skinhead riot, but not before I had time to notice that, up close, Jimmy’s punky black jeans were actually made of something slinky, almost satiny with diamanté on the seams and studs. I liked the idea that something that looked ordinary from a distance was actually very fancy up close.


From 1 July – an exhibition of Hutstock photos.

Hut/Eye (exterior)

Grenville Davey, 2011; materials – wood and paint.

Describing the hut Chloe Tinsley from The Land Concept says: ‘You can’t tell me you haven’t been there. Your mind is working overtime on some specialty of yours; and as you experience something pleasurable – beautiful, for example – your mind jumps right through associative images. Maybe they are memories, montages of visualised ideas. But they are there. Unobtrusively, unconcerned, mustering in on this new experience.

(interior) Festival of Britain gallery hut

Visual Art from UK coastal towns and cities curated by various studio groups and arts organizations:

(13 May – 27 May) Favourite Sounds of Southend by Peter Cusack; commissioned by Metal, Southend on Sea.

(28 May – 10 June) Temporary Art Project (TAP), Southend on Sea.

(17 June – 1 July) The Royal Standard, Liverpool (Crosby Beach).

artist/curator: Andy Smith

Title: De-censored at the Seaside.

Materials: latex, acrylic, inkjet on paper, metal, card

De-Censored at the Seaside explores the role of British sculpture in the Festival of Britain and its relationship to the construction of national identity.

The work appropriates various cultural artifacts: Donald McGill’s saucy postcard, a ‘low’ art form which were to be seen at the British seaside towns until they were censored in the 1950s by a conservative led government; neoclassical depictions of the Queen Victoria; and a lesser known public sculpture, Ray & Julie, displaced from its original location in a run-down area of Liverpool.

Within the context of the beach hut a dialogue emerges between each component, questioning imperialism, national identity and historical narratives in relation to the Festival of Britain.

(29 July – 14 August) Favourite Sounds of Southend by Peter Cusack; commissioned by Metal, Southend on Sea.

(19 August – 4 September) To be announced.

Plain white exterior + (interior) Shell Grotto

Heidi Wigmore; May 2011; Materials – British shells, found objects, mixed media.

The shell grotto is a mysterious curiosity. Originally a pagan shrine dedicated to water nymphs in ancient Greece, it became fashionable as a cavern-like retreat in 19th-century England; a melancholy place associated with creativity.

51/11 (exterior)

Heidi Wigmore; March 2011; Materials – emulsion paint.

The design is an affectionate reference to Lucienne Day’s iconic textile designs of the 1951 Festival. ‘Rather than the original microscopic crystal structures, I have incorporated a digital motif: fragments of complex fractal patterns, discovered through computer technology. These are often seen as “crop circles”, an idiosyncratic feature of English high summer,’ explains Heidi Wigmore.

(interior) Festival of Britain 60th Anniversary Celebrations with MasterCard – Welcome Film

Sea View (exterior)

Bill Mitchell

Bill Mitchell explains his inspiration: ‘My first memory of the seaside was a bank holiday in Margate, the beach packed so full my family found it hard to walk to the sea, let along find a place to sit. And stripes everywhere – deck-chars, wind-breaks, beach towels and beach balls.’

Sandcastles and Silhouettes (interior)

Exhibition of beachwear from the 1950s. Exhibition designed and curated by Holly Murray. Beachwear on kind loan from Beecroft Art Gallery, Southend on Sea. The 1950s were a time of great fabrics, colours and tailoring techniques. These beautiful costumes are exquisite examples of this potent changing era.

Costume designer, Holly Murray grew up in Southend and spent many sunny afternoons at her family beach hut. Sandcastles and Silhouettes is a celebration of these heady, carefree, sun-kissed afternoons combined with her love of design, pattern, colour and materials.

Literature of the Sea (exterior and interior)

An eclectic mix of fact and fiction, new and second-hand books about the sea.

Curated by Lemn Sissay as a partnership project to the Festival of Literature of the Sea in Southend on Sea (15 to 17 July 2011).

Even a brief look at contemporary writing and the classics reveal that the sea has been and still is an enormous subject that continues fascinate writers, poets and historians. We have collected just a few of the thousands of examples of adventure, survival, mythology, discovery and migration for you to browse in our Literature of the Sea Beach Hut.

Mosaic Hut (exterior and interior)

An exhibition by Southbank Mosaics.

Weather Symbols 01 (exterior)

Artist – Patrick Loan; materials – wooden hut, industrial paint; 2011.

Influenced by symbols from old BBC weather forecasts, the enlarged, zoomed-in, pixilated images of weather symbols wrap around the hut, leading the viewer round the physical object. With a play on scale and by removing these graphic symbols from their original context, on a television screen, they become an integral part of a larger object.

UK Coastal Hut (interior)

Sand, found objects, text and photographs; 2011.

Fifteen coastal beaches, towns and resorts selected by The Seaside Land convener are highlighted in this installation, to demonstrate a tiny portion of the wealth of beauty, diversity, ingenuity and creativity found along the UK’s coastline.

Moonlit Serenade (exterior)

Artist – Richard Sharpe; materials – wooden hut, industrial paint; 2011.

‘Did you ever see a mermaids choir, madam?’ said Sharpe to a lady who happened to sit next to him. ‘Never, Sir!’ said the lady. ‘I have,’ said Sharpe, ‘but not before last night.’ And he went on to tell how, from his beach hut, he had seen ‘a procession of creatures in shades of grey, in rapture to the moon, they worshipped with songs, then disappeared’.

(interior) Southbank Centre Festival of Britain Information Point

By Andrew Wilcox

I love sheds Founder & judge of Shed of the year - Wilco writes mainly about sheds. About the blog Enter your shed into #shedoftheyear