Mandela Way T-34 Tank
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The Mandela Way T-34 Tank, nicknamed Stompie or Stumpie, is a decommissioned Soviet-built T-34-85 medium tank, now permanently located on the corner of Mandela Way and Page's Walk in Bermondsey, London, England. It is regularly repainted in a wide variety of colour schemes, often by graffiti artists.
The tank is a former Czech army tank that is said to have taken part in the suppression of the Prague Spring uprising in 1968. Following the "Velvet Revolution" and the dissolution of Czechoslovakia, it was decommissioned and sold, and was used as a prop in the making of the 1995 film Richard III in London. On completion of the film, it was bought in 1995 by Russell Gray, who lives locally, for £7,000 as a present for his son. He had previously failed to secure planning permission from Southwark Council to redevelop a vacant plot of land that he owned; and so, in an act of humorous protest, he placed the tank on the site, with its gun turret turned towards the council offices. He had previously allegedly obtained permission for the installation of a "tank" there, assumed by council officials to mean a septic tank.
The tank is regularly repainted, and its colour scheme changed, often by local graffiti artists. In 2002 it was painted pink by Cubitt Artists and Aleksandra Mir. In April 2017 it was temporarily repainted by artist Charlotte Meldon to its authentic military olive drab. In April 2020, during the coronavirus pandemic, it was painted sky blue in support of the National Health Service.
The tank in its original military olive drab colour
2009 design inspired by US yellow cabs
November 2020, with remembrance poppies added to the turret
Similar graffitied tanks
The Monument to Soviet tank crews was a memorial located in Prague, Czech Republic, made up of an IS-2m tank on a pedestal. In 1991, the artist David Cerny painted the tank pink and hoisted a large middle finger over the turret in protest against the controversial monument. The monument was later removed and the tank is now displayed at Military Museum Lešany, painted pink.
- "Stompie: the Mandela Way T-34 Tank". www.atlasobscura.com/. Atlas Obscura. Retrieved 4 November 2016.
- Hoare, Martin (Summer 2019). "Out and about with the hidden histories of Kennington and the Elephant and Castle". The Historian. Historical Association. 142: 42–46.(subscription required)
- Mandela Way T-34 Tank, Sean Spurr, Bermondsey.org, Accessed 5 August 2012
- Gibbs, Jonathan (2 November 2003). "Talk of the Town: Pink Tank". The Independent on Sunday. Archived from the original on 4 September 2005.
- Salisbury, Josh (24 April 2020). "Tanks to the NHS! Iconic Bermondsey tank given makeover to thank nurses and doctors". Southwark News. Retrieved 26 April 2020.
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- Carmichael, Sri (11 April 2008). "Revealed: the story behind the Soviet tank with its guns trained on council HQ". Evening Standard.
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