The 'Farringdon Snowdrop' Brooch - Preliminary Sketches

Posted by Sally Lees on

'Farringdon Snowdrop' Brooch - Preliminary sketches


I made the 'Farringdon Snowdrop' Brooch as part of a series of brooches for the Transport for London 'The brooch is back' exhibtion held at Craft Central in May 2017. The exhibition brief was to be inspired by the iconic imagery of the London Underground.

I wanted to design a brooch with some meaning behind it so I did a bit of research about the area around Central London. The exhibition was to be held at the Clerkenwell Design Festival in the gallery at Craft Central and the nearest tube station to there is Farringdon.

Much of my jewellery is decorated with my original flower drawings so I decided to research which flowers may be indigenous to that area as many hundreds of years ago the area would have been surrounded by fields. It proved difficult to pinpoint a specific flower so I looked at more recent history and discovered that in the late 1800's there had been markets in the area where young women sold bunches of flowers and watercress. It was the custom at the time for households to buy small bunches of violets and snowdrops daily to brighten up their homes.

The women were poor and some were blind or disabled and most struggled to make ends meet. Observing their hardship a man named John Groom decided to set up a place for them known as  'Watercress and Flower Girls Christian Mission' where they could have hot meals and make flowers in the winter months.


I found this all fascinating and found that it tied in with the female subject matter that inspired in previous work I had done. I decided to design a brooch using drawings of snowdrops which I could in turn make into designs that could be printed onto aluminium.


Read my next blog 'Making the TFL 'Farringdon Snowdrop' Brooch to see how I made the brooch.

Read all about:

John Groom:

Edward Johnston's London Underground roundel design:

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