When you tell people you live in Boscombe, it conjures up conflicting images of a lovely sandy beach, complete with Victorian pier or a rather seedy town populated by junkies congregating around the ugly concrete jungle of a town centre. Once ranked one of the worst places to live in the UK, it is having a bit of a facelift. More and more of that ugly concrete has been covered in some wonderful street art. Recently, I cycled round Boscombe and have compiled a walking/cycling route which covers the artwork I saw.
Underpass Woodland Mural
Start at Boscombe Bus Station. Make your way to the underpass which crosses from the precinct under the A35. Here, you will find Boscombe’s most recent artwork. The length of the underpass has been painted with a woodland scene portraying a collection British wildlife, complete with seagull soaring overhead.
Return past the bus station and make your way along Ashley Road to the corner of the Pedestrian Precinct. Here, on the side of record shop Snu-Peas, is a 12.5 metre tall owl mural. This the work of Tech Moon (artist Krishna Malla). Krishna came to Bournemouth two decades ago to study at Bournemouth Arts University and has remained in the town, adorning it with his wonderful art work.
The Boscombe Owl was inspired by an owl which had taken refuge in nearby Boscombe Gardens. The mural was painted for the 2021 BEAF Festival.
The BEAF (Bournemouth Emerging Arts Fringe) is behind much of the street art in the area and holds an annual festival (unless there’s a pandemic).
Walk through the pedestrian shopping precinct to the Sovereign Centre shopping arcade. Above the entrance is ‘A Memory of Elephants’, another piece by Tech Moon. It might seem a strange theme for an English seaside town, but a century ago, when the circus came to town, the elephants used to be paraded up and down the high street between performances. This 29 x 6 metre mural depicting 6 elephants pays homage to these beautiful creatures.
Walk through the alleyway next to Sainburys, past the violet peace sign.
This peace sign marks the premises of nail salon Ultra Violet. Continue through the alleyway into Sainburys car park.
In the car park between Sainsburys and Costa, you will find a shipping container with another work created for BEAF Festival (this time 2018) by local artist Miroslav Lucan aka LucanArt. Artist and designer Miroslav has lived in Bournemouth for may years and plenty of his work can be seen around the town, both on walls (and shipping containers) and in local businesses.
Continue along Hawkwood Road, turn right briefly onto Sea Road where a pair of angels mark the entrance to the Back Door Project, a local homeless charity.
The entrance to Roumelia Lane is just behind you. This little lane, primarily a service road for the high street shop boasts several murals amidst the bins. First, is a Boscombe seaside scene.
A little further down, in the entrance to a block of flats is a cute seahorse.
A few doors further down, is a jungle scene. This was painted by MBN Arts as part of the Alleyway Art Project, which aims to improve the local area through a combination of murals and community clean ups.
Rosie’s Cafe Mural
Meanwhile, on the other side of the road, a cat is watching from a Mediterranean garden on the wall of Rosie’s Cafe.
Pass the rear of Chaplin’s Bar, from where Charlie Chaplin and a friend are peeking out from the corner of an outhouse. Continue to the rear of Iceland.
In the Iceland car par are two murals, to the right are three intrepid astronauts off in search of adventure. Or maybe they just don’t like frozen food?
Opposite is an abstract mural created in 2014 by Bark Lloyd as part of the Great Exhibition of Boscombe. I like to think of it as a groovy black hole about to suck the astronauts into a whole new world…
At the end of the road, on the side of The Majestic Gym is some Boscombe Graffiti
Turn right into Adeline Road and right again onto Christchurch Road (A35). Shortly, you will reach Chaplin’s Bar, which is colourfully decorated in a bold art deco style, with Charlie and a friend looking on. This is the work of Bournemouth artist and designer Vivien Hofmann. Vivien didn’t stop with the building’s facade; her work continues throughout the bar and restaurant and out into the beer garden, which includes a mural of a man with a living beard!
Sausage Dog Mural
On the corner, just past Aldi are two shipping containers. These have been adorned with a sausage dog, another piece by Tech Moon, created for the 2019 BEAF Festival.
Churchill Gardens Mural
Turn left into Palmerstone Road, continue to the end, then left into St Clements Road. In an alleyway, just before the junction with Walpole Road is another mural by MBN Arts for the Alleyway Art Project. This depicts some of the residents of Churchill Gardens; a pigeon and squirrel with attitude.
That’s the end of the tour, continue through the alleyway, into Churchill Gardens back towards Boscombe.
Alternatively, return along St Clements Road, turn left into Ashley Road and continue until you reach Kings Park. Here, you can see Tech Moon’s most recent work at the Skatepark, with its new nautical skater theme.
Updated: September 2022