The Hampstead egg: Giant Easter egg in Flask Walk cracks shops crisis

Artist Sarah John who made the giant egg for the Hampstead Easter egg hunt. Picture: Nigel Sutton

Artist Sarah John who made the giant egg for the Hampstead Easter egg hunt. Picture: Nigel Sutton - Credit: Nigel Sutton

Independent shops in Hampstead have a new champion in the fight to reinvigorate the high street – a giant 3ft egg.

The painted and bejewelled polystyrene egg has been unveiled in Flask Walk as the centrepiece of Hampstead’s Easter egg hunt.

It has been created by artist Sarah John, operations director of Hampstead School of Art in Kidderpore Avenue, and bears a secret word that egg hunt participants needs to find.

It is hoped the hunt, requiring participants to collect stickers from five different independent shops, will remind people how fun Hampstead High Street can be.

Solicitor Jessica Learmond-Criqui, of the Hampstead Shops Campaign, said people were “simply breaking out into smiles” when they saw the giant egg.

But she added that the “serious side to this” was to “help the crisis on our high street”.

“This is to remind people that the high street is a fun place to be. Independent traders are at the heart of the community,” she said. “It is also about reinvigorating Hampstead’s artistic heritage. Constable painted some of his landscapes on the Heath.”

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Traders have been enjoying the buzz created by the giant egg, with 25 different shops taking part in the event – including Joule in Flask Walk, which donated semi-precious stones to decorate the egg, JM Pennifeather in Flask Walk, which is displaying silk painting from the school of art, and Le Petit Nicola in Heath Street, which is giving three lucky customers a chocolate Easter egg full of goodies. Café Rouge in Hampstead High Street also hosted a day of egg painting for children, organised by the school of art.

The giant egg will be auctioned after the event to raise money for the school of art and the Hampstead Shops Campaign as will a 3in Fabergé-style egg by art school principal Isabel Langtry.

n Anyone who wants to join in the egg hunt, which runs until April 10, should download a map from