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Acton Town Centre

Placing Acton was an urban design scheme supported by the Mayor's Outer London Fund, with the aim of bringing together a targeted set of improvements to Acton Town Centre.  Ealing Council selected artist John Aldus to join the multi-disciplinary design team in 2012. 

Flying Vessels is a series of ceramic vessels created by Aldus, based on archival designs of drinking and storage receptacles relating to Acton’s history. The 21 vessels were crafted and installed on the facades of selected buildings along the high street. The site of each vessel was selected in collaboration with historians and local residents, building upon Acton’s history and heritage. Each vessel incorporates an internal nesting box for small birds, providing a positive, long-term influence on the natural environment of the area.

Aldus also returned the eponymous oak tree to the town centre, with the transformation of the façade of a vacant property on the high street. Aldus’ installation at Beechworth House takes the form of a scaled photographic image of an oak tree, chosen for its symbolic historic connection to Acton. The oak tree is purported to be the origin of the name of Acton – ‘Oak Town’ and is represented on Acton’s Crest. The work was fabricated in panels and runs across the frontage of the building, collectively forming the single image of a section of oak tree.



John Aldus

Title of work

Flying Vessels


Ealing Borough Council





Image credit