Peter the painter

It’s not a fake, it’s a Peter Blake
It’s navy blue, it’s crimson lake
It takes the cake and no mistake,
For goodness’ sake take a look at those Blakes

Who’s paintings brighten any day, who draws each breath from loving life?
Who’s golden beard and black beret, who’s sharper than a palette knife?

Who treasures every mortal scrap at the Royal Borough of Extremely Thorough?
Peter Blake is the actual chap at the Royal Enclosure of Cool Composure
And such nice beauties do impart from the Royal Exchange of Rare and Strange
The wonders of his noble art at the Royal Tournament of Glad You’re Born-ament

It’s not a cheat, it’s one of Pete’s
It’s Daisy darling, Libby sweet
To ease your mind and soothe your aches,
For goodness’ sake take a look at those Blakes

It’s Peter the painter.

These are lyrics from Ian Dury’s song titled Peter the painter.  My post is all I know of a man called Peter the Painter, a person who is etched in my memory a fairy tale like fellow who I  never will forget but a person I never knew.

Ian Dury’s song Peter the painter is said to be about the artist Peter Blake and I have no doubt that it is.

But When I hear it I always think of a man we called Peter The Painter, you probably think I am talking about the Latvian revolutionary and anarchist known by this name who became a folk law hero in London’s East end  in 1910 after escaping  a police siege on Sidney street.

Well you are wrong the man I am going to talk about was a folk law legend who lived not far from the London’s east end in a town called Romford, if you lived in Romford between the 1950’s and 1980’s you would have known who Peter the Painter was.

Ian Dury lived in Upminster during his childhood and spent his time watching Teddyboy films in a down cinema on the market place.  I have no doubt he probably sore Peter Blundells paintings on display by the bus stops outside the library.

Peter Blundell served in the merchant navy it was said after his death he had been a captain but lost his ticket after an incident and was even said that he was a  millionaire.

It’s hard to ever know the truth but I do know he used to write letters to his family whom believed he was still a mechant Marriner.

It was true he did come from wealth but the gentleman we all knew painted pictures on pieces of scrap wood and cardboard taken from the market, he would paint pictures of ships, draw in chalk and charcoal.  His pictures were always on display outside the library pined to the railings and on the curb.  He rarely took money for his pictures and often gave them away.

Peter Blundell, 'Peter the Painter'

 Peter Blunder, Peter the painter

by S. J. Hotching

Peter slept ruff under a flyover on the A127 and walked everyday to Romford market.  He was a happy chap and never asked for charity.  I remember my mother once see him looking through the bin.   Assuming he was hungry she tried to give him 10 pounds, a lot of money in the 1980’s.  Peter told her calmly he did not need the money and she should keep it.

His belief is that he only needed enough to eat a humble meal.

In the 1970’s he was made an honorary member of  Romfords chamber  of commerce and presented with a certificate at Romford’s town hall.

The library workers were very found of him and used to club together to buy him a christmas box, S J Hotching painted a picture of him that is on display in Havering’s museum, his pictures was displayed in the a gallery in the Romford central library and London weekend television once done a biography on him.

I don’t know how many paintings he sold or painted but i can say it was many.

He was a man of the road who called Romford his home.

A jolly and noble fellow who liven up the market with his presence.

He was a true hobo a man of the road who classed Romford his home.

Peter Blundell died in the late 80’s at Old church hospital of phenomena, I just hope his legend will live on in the story we tell our children.

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3 thoughts on “Peter the painter

  1. Martin Farquhar says:

    I remember him as a local feature from my childhood in Upminster and used to see him walking to Romford as i went to school in Gidea Park. I am desperate to track down a recording of the TV documentary on him, I think it was an episode of Aquarius?

    Martin F

    • I tried to search some information online in regards to the episode that featured Peter, but did not have any luck.
      Would be real interesting if anyone knows if there is some of his art work still around.

  2. stacey61 says:

    every Romfordian must remember peter He was a well known landmark a fixture for so long and sadly missed , His paintings on cardboard a memory from childhood to adult hood . Not forgotten R.I.P peter

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