Drive out of London on the A1 and you must cross an entire solar system. Beneath the Barnet bypass, at Mill Hill, a pedestrian subway sports images of our Sun, the eight planets, and the dwarf planet Pluto. The tiled murals were erected in 1998 and carry the signatures of ‘S Burnett’ and ‘J Deardey’. Here, you can quite literally be in the gutter, but looking at the stars.
What might, at first, seem like an unusually grand subject for something as humdrum as a subway makes more sense when you know that the University of London Observatory is just around the corner. Although primarily a teaching observatory, its astronomers have made several discoveries regarding exoplanets and supernovae.
In another cosmic association, Mill Hill was also the birthplace of Doctor Who actor Patrick Troughton.