The Brooch is Back

TubeFlash Exhibition

TubeFlash – Tales from the Underground, has always had close associations with Transport for London so when TfL said they wanted to run a competition inspired by the Flash Fiction project called ‘Design a brooch inspired by the London Underground Map’, I was delighted.

Vogue Brooch for Green ParkThe winning jewellers’ designs were chosen and displayed at The Brooch is Back Exhibition, launched as part of Clerkenwell Design Week. As well as the winning brooches, many of the original TubeFlash brooches that inspired the competition were also on display. It was a one-off chance to see the detail in the 1910 Angel’s head, wonder at how a ‘giveaway’ in Vogue Magazine from the 1930s survived to become ‘Green Park’ (pictured) and gaze  at the glamour of Christian Dior’s ‘Mornington Crescent’.  There were over 60 TubeFlash brooches on show.

The winning brooch designs inspired by London Underground and TubeFlash can be bought at the TfL online shop

True to form I’ve bought a number of the brooches from the designers for my own personal collection. Look out for them as a future ‘Brooch of the Month’.

The exhibition was held at Craft Central close to Farringdon tube station.  As there was not a TubeFlash story for Farringdon, TfL commissioned me to write one especially for the exhibition – read it, below.


Tunnels of Time

A flash fiction by Joanna Sterling

I begin tunnelling, through rock, clay and gravel, cutting through the streets of London. A link from the King to his Knights of St. John. Covered over with arches of bricks. Down the line two dummy house fronts act as camouflage. Engines grind through the bowels of commerce, rattle homes, disturb lives. Yesterday travel around the city was on foot and by horse. Today, we add steam, and tomorrow diesel and electricity. There will be tunnels upon tunnels, a labyrinth of humanity.

My ancestors carved out souterrains, time has eroded their function, their purpose. Catacombs provided a place of rest for thousands. Aggressors undermined city walls laying siege to beleaguered towns. Drains took away the effluent of society. There are unknown tunnels still keeping their secrets.

My grandson will dig trenches at Passchendaele, he will shoot at his enemy and shelter from their mortars. My great-grandson will shelter in my tunnels during the blitz. His descendants will dig deep under the Channel uniting old foes. Tunnels will blast their way through mountains and connect isolated islands. Provide means of escape and life lines in war.

The tunnel I’m constructing is the future taken from the past.