Damien Hirst /YBA Brixton 1990’s pub to be demolished for 13-storey towerblock

Plans to demolish a pub in Brixton which was at the centre of the 1990s ‘YBA’ art movement and replace it with a 13-storey tower have been given the green light by Lambeth council.

The Hero of Switzerland pub on the Loughborough Estate was a haunt of a group of local artists who went on to transform the British art scene. The ‘YBAs’ included Damien Hirst, who is now the UK’s wealthiest living artist with a net worth of £315m.
Designed by Gensler for developer UDN Redevelopments, the tower is set to provide 36 homes and will include space for a replacement pub in the basement.

The small two-room pub, housed in a brutalist post-war building which replaced an earlier pub destroyed by bombing during the second world war, will be demolished to make way for the scheme. The Campaign for Real Ale said the pub, which retains its original post-war features including a copper bar and a mural, has “an historical interior of regional importance.”

The plans have come under fire from locals, with members of the Loughborough Junction Action Group calling the pub a rare example of a post-war pub contemporary with the Loughborough Estate.

The Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living 1991 2170 x 5420 x 1800 mm | 85.5 x 213.4 x 70.9 in Glass, painted steel, silicone, monofilament, shark and formaldehyde solution Formaldehyde Image: Photographed by Prudence Cuming Associates © Damien Hirst and Science Ltd. All rights reserved, DACS 2012
The Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living 1991 2170 x 5420 x 1800 mm | 85.5 x 213.4 x 70.9 in
Glass, painted steel, silicone, monofilament, shark and formaldehyde solution Formaldehyde Image: Photographed by Prudence Cuming Associates © Damien Hirst and Science Ltd. All rights reserved, DACS 2012

Hirst produced many of his most famous works while living on nearby Minet Road with other members of the ‘YBA’ movement, including his most well-known work, ‘The Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living’, which consisted of a shark floating in a tank of formaldehyde. Marcus Harvey, another member of the group, also produced his best known work, an 11ft tall portrait of Myra Hindley, while living on Minet Road.

About Mark Westall

Mark Westall is the Founder and Editor of FAD magazine Founder and co-publisher Art of Conversation and founder of the platform @worldoffad