Rest in peas – land­mark graf­fiti gone


Hayes & Harlington Gazette - - News - By QASIM PERACHA qasim.peracha@trin­i­tymir­ Twit­ter: @qasim­per­acha

A WELL-LOVED piece of graf­fiti on a bridge over the M25 has been erased and changed and no­body quite knows what it means now.

The orig­i­nal “Give peas a chance” graf­fiti was cleared re­cently, be­fore be­ing re­placed with “Helch a chance”.

Mo­torists who have grown fond of the John Len­non pun adorn­ing the only Ed­war­dian bridge over the M25 are left shocked and con­fused, with no­body quite sure who, or what, “Helch” is.

The bridge, between Junc­tions 16 and 17 is tech­ni­cally in Buck­ing­hamshire, but is just past the M40 junc­tion at Den­ham and is well loved and well known among west Lon­don­ers who of­ten see it as a sign they are near home.

BBC News has re­ported that the bridge, of­fi­cially known as the Chal­font Viaduct, is owned by Net­work Rail , which has de­nied that it is re­spon­si­ble for re­mov­ing the graf­fiti.

The ori­gins of the sign, par­tic­u­larly how ex­actly some­one man­aged to paint the words on, is not very well known but the lore sur­round­ing the sign is rich.

It’s com­mon con­sen­sus that the first stage was the bridge be­ing tagged with the word “peas”, a moniker of a sup­posed Lon­don graf­fiti artist.

At some point, the words “give” and “a chance” were added to the bridge, leav­ing us with the per­plex­ing and yet catchy slo­gan “give peas a chance”.

There are al­ter­na­tive the­o­ries that are pop­u­lar among west Lon­don­ers, in­clud­ing but not lim­ited to:

■ A PR firm for Birds Eye try­ing to sub­lim­i­nally tell you that you fancy some gar­den peas with your din­ner

■ A peace cam­paigner try­ing to share their mes­sage but with un­for­tu­nately poor spell­ing

■ A mar­ket­ing cam­paign be­hind a new ver­sion of Monopoly where all the play­ing pieces are veg­eta­bles

Ob­vi­ously the whole phrase is a play on words, re­fer­ring to John Len­non’s song Give Peace A Chance which got to num­ber 2 in the charts in 1969.

The graf­fi­tists could not have cho­sen a bet­ter bridge, with the Chal­font Viaduct hav­ing been built at the start of the 20th cen­tury, some­time between 1902 and 1906 and is the only Ed­war­dian brick bridge over the M25.

The fa­mous ‘peas’ mes­sage on the Chal­font Viaduct, between junc­tions 16 and 17 of the M25

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