Grenfell Tower: A Look At The Many Tributes And Memorials Of North Kensington

By M@ Last edited 30 months ago

Last Updated 05 November 2021

Grenfell Tower: A Look At The Many Tributes And Memorials Of North Kensington
A tube roundel adapted into a heart shape and bearing the word Grenfell. It is attached to white hoarding covered in memorial graffiti

Every street around the Grenfell Tower holds its memorials.

The Grenfell Tower in North Kensington caught fire on 14 June 2017. At least 72 people lost their lives in the tragedy.

Almost immediately, the tributes appeared. Flowers, photographs, hand-written messages on nearby fences and, everywhere, green ribbons, leaves and hearts.

More than four years on and the area is still home to dozens of memorials, some informal, others carefully organised and maintained. Some pay gentle tribute to lives lost; others call for justice and reform. Even now, it's impossible to walk around the area without a lump in your throat because, above it all, the Grenfell Tower still stands, shrouded in white wrap while it awaits demolition.

Grenfell Tower Memorial Wall

One of the largest organised memorial sites lies in the sunset shadow of the Grenfell Tower, beside Kensington Leisure Centre. Here we find the adapted tube roundel shown in our top image, as well as many other tributes.

A collection of leaf-shaped memorials to Grenfell on a wall

Much of what you see here was arranged by arts charity ACAVA in partnership with Al Manaar Muslim Cultural Heritage Centre. The wall is regularly updated with new mosaics, messages and even commemorative olive and box trees. Space has been left around these tributes for visitors to add their own flowers, photographs, prayers and memories. These are plentiful.

The white-shrouded Grenfell Tower looms over a memorial wall

The memorial wall is only a temporary structure. Once the tower has been demolished, it too will be removed, and replaced by a permanent memorial to the lives lost in 2017.

Under the Westway

A second major memorial site lies beneath the Westway, the great concrete overpass that snakes through the area. Here, on Kingsdown Close, we find the Maxilla Space and community centre. This area provided a refuge for residents and neighbours of Grenfell in the immediate aftermath of the tragedy. It's since played an ongoing role in the campaign to find justice for those affected.

Every inch of wall and column is painted with tributes to the Grenfell victims. Pride of place is the Wall of Truth, a space for collecting first-hand accounts of the fire. Elsewhere, murals call for housing reform, and putting people before profit.

A wall of political messaging beneath the Westway
Hearts on a coluouful background beneath the Westway concrete flyover

The space even includes an old piano that's clearly led a colourful life.

A battered wooden piano and stool stand in front of a green-painted wall carrying the word Justice.
A mural showing a heart and a woman

Ladbroke Grove

One of the more artistic memorials can be found opposite Ladbroke Grove underground station. Here, a mural composed of ceramic leaves makes an arresting addition to part of the railway bridge wall (note also the green for Grenfell ribbon on the foreground tree — many can be found in the area).

A circular memorial to Grenfell is situated on a wall. In the foreground a green ribbon is tied around a tree.

Surprisingly little information about the mural can be found online, though it appears to have been put together by local ceramicist Paprika Williams with help from the community.

A ceramic green and brown leaf, bearing the word Grenfell

Other tributes

The area is peppered with further tributes to the Grenfell disaster. The immediate neighbourhood has memorials along every street of one form or another. Green painted leaves resembling butterflies are everywhere. The steps of the local Methodist church carry numerous personal tributes.

The Grenfell Tower Memorial Commission is collecting thoughts to help shape the permanent memorial that will one day be erected on the Grenfell site. You can learn more about its progress and contribute your own thoughts over on its website.