Apr 11


Big Daves Gusset

On the train on the way to work, as you leave London Bridge heading towards Waterloo East, there is an empty yard. On the wall of an old building someone has spray painted in large letters the words, “BIG DAVE’S GUSSET”. I have no idea who dave is or why his gusset was worthy of such proclamation.

Now In the Aquarium has solved one of London’s great mysteries, she has actually written a poem about this, and has been in touch with Big Dave himself. Here is the story behind Big Dave’s Gusset.

Big Daves Gusset


Big Dave’s GussetIn June 2005 I wrote a poem that started with a piece of graffiti that I saw sprayed in a building on the train journey from London Bridge to Waterloo East. Its a great journey – over rooftops of ye olde London, interspaced with derelict signal buildings that would make great hideaways (typewriter laptop, kettle, perfect).

London Bridge to Waterloo East

Big Dave’s Gusset
sprayed on a derelict building.
Chimney pots of Borough.
A black cat sleeps
like a king
on a discarded sofa.
A platinum blond
watery blue eyes
fluffs her Marilynesque hair.
Sunlight golden on brick.
Many people must have seen the grafitti and searched for big dave’s gusset out of curiosity for what it all means. No answers were forthcoming from my blog….

Until now. I have been emailing with Big Dave himself, I suspect because he must have come across my poem. And I am pleased to be able to splash the scoop of this little bit of underground London.

So I quote Dave:

I worked as an Engineer on the Jubilee Line Extension Project on London Bridge station’s expansion between summer 94 & summer 97. I was based in an office set up in the roof of the big shed you can see from the Southwark St railway bridge. Adjacent to this, at the end of the shed was a concrete batching plant which me & my colleagues in our little department were responsible for managing, it produced all the concrete that went into the structural linings of the tunnels. We also ran a materials testing laboratory on the ground level below our office, adjacent to this plant.

Now the concrete batcher was operated 24/7. 3 shifts of two men operated it so we had a responsibility to manage these guys where the quality control of the concrete was concerned. Working, as you do, with people like this, day & nightshifts, weekends etc some good friends were made and it was one of the batcher ops, Jason Gregory, who daubed the slogan ‘Big Daves Gusset’ across the end wall of the shed. There was an open gantry which he will have stood on to do it (it has been dismantled now).

The slogan was a homage to myself as I was known to some as Big Dave, or ‘The Biggun’ (that got a bit tedious actually but hey ho…) because I am a big guy & called Dave, and a placid even tempered character so very easy going and good for a laugh. The gusset reference was to my taste in underpants at the time. I had bought a job lot of Champion brand y-front style undies from TK Maxx and wore these most of the time. At the beginning and end of each shift we would change in or out of our civvies into our regulation orange hi-viz outfits and this is when folks caught a glimpse of Big Daves Gusset, it was often remarked upon as of course these trolleys weren’t the most fashionable, but comfort was the rule.

It was actually a mistake on my part that I bought these pants though as I had meant to get the same brand’s trendy trunk style however I realised I’d picked up 7 – yes one for everyday of the week – pairs of the Y-front style.

There you go. I’m loving this story. And this is what I love about blogging – all the coincidental tying up of loose ends. Fab!

written by Pinewood Design \\ tags: , , , ,

2 Pings to “Big Dave’s Gusset”

  1. Is it time to start calling out bad cyclists? - Page 42 - London Fixed-gear and Single-speed Says:

    […] Originally Posted by Big Dave Wow. http://pinewooddesign.co.uk/2008/04/…-daves-gusset/ […]

  2. The story of Big Dave’s Gusset « HURTYOUBAD SUPERBLOG Says:

    […] “Now the concrete batcher was operated 24/7. 3 shifts of two men operated it so we had a responsibility to manage these guys where the quality control of the concrete was concerned. Working, as you do, with people like this, day & nightshifts, weekends etc some good friends were made and it was one of the batcher ops, Jason Gregory, who daubed the slogan ‘Big Daves Gusset’ across the end wall of the shed. There was an open gantry which he will have stood on to do it (it has been dismantled now).” Read the rest of the story here. […]

22 Responses to “Big Dave’s Gusset”

  1. 1. Helen Mills Says:

    I’m Big Dave’s big sister and our family have only just found out about our little brother’s fame in old London town. We are quite shocked that he was caught wearing a Big Gusset in private and now in public. But Dave wears it well as his blog testifies. Your task is now to track down the lovely Macham who wrote it. PS: Send us a t.shirt!

  2. 2. Granty Boys Says:

    we’ve discovered this “Big Dave” stuff on line with mixed feelings. I noticed the legend some years ago, and took delight in showing it to my sons (wife and daughter didn’t get the humour)- indeed at one stage i would text them the “BDG” words every time I passed. They in turn told there mates-but it kind of remained our secret.

    Now we discover it is all over the web (including a T shirt company for God’s sake!). Feel as if our secret joke has been rumbled.

    But may I make a plea for accuracy. There is no apostrophe on the wall….

  3. 3. SeanR Says:

    Big Dave’s Gusset is no more.

  4. 4. Isabel White Says:

    Big Daves Gusset is alive and well and my daily comforter- everyone who sees it raises a smile; can we get it listed? Move over Banksy – here comes Big Dave!

  5. 5. JasonK Says:

    your all sad its a frigging wall with big daves gusset on it you all need a life

  6. 6. Neil Bartlett Says:


    Just passed this sign again today and it made me smile. It’s nice to be part of the joke or ‘secret’ without having to read about it in the paper.
    I must get a T-shirt now.


  7. 7. Billy YATES Says:


    My dad pointing this out to me on the train up to london once as he comutes quite often and as he was saying it to me everyone else could obviously hear us and thought it was extremely funny and now everytime I go past it i giggle to myself and try and deliberatly make a song and dance out of it to try and make people laugh. Its also quite funny if you say it in a deep cockney accent and exagurate the gusset “BIG DAVES GUSSET”! Haha

    Billy Yates

    – English By Birth, Millwall By The Grace Of God –

  8. 8. Isabel White Says:

    An extract from a much longer poem (Keeping the faith!)
    Heh Cattermole!
    Saw you hanging out with Foat
    Its all bustle here
    Emily Moxsom penned the Tropic Death;
    now she is merely jetsam,
    as transient as Big Dave
    whose gusset is remembered in another place
    on a more unlikely grave.

  9. 9. Isabel White Says:

    “We’ll be on it in a minit
    Its Big Dave’s gusset, innit!”
    (Inspired by Billy)

  10. 10. Brian Duffin Says:

    I moved away from Sahf-East London a few years ago, but still consider it the Homeland, and also consider Big Dave’s Gusset to be one of our national treasures.

    This morning, a mate of mine posted a facebook update that he was “worried about Big Dave’s Gusset”.

    When I asked how it was looking, he replied, “It looks like some more of the roof has gone, and some walls— they are tearing down a lot around there, most of the old side of the market is down….”

    It’s a real shame. I’ve chucked a few tweets about it on twitter with links to this article (hope you don’t mind). They’ve got the hashtag #bigdavesgusset.

  11. 11. Brian Duffin Says:

    By the way, I hope you don’t mind, but I’ve just set my twitter (@brianduffin) & facebook profile pics to a close-up of the graffito from your photo. If you object, let me know and I’ll remove it.


  12. 12. phil elston Says:

    after a couple of knockbacks have now got a pic on google earth. ( not showing yet.)

    will post again when it’s up.

  13. 13. phil elston Says:

    now on google earth !!

    title is ‘intersting graffito’

  14. 14. Dan James Says:

    Sorry to tell you guys but it is no more. I saw the demolition vehicles move in this morning for the sake of Crossrail. I tried to get a mate to chain himself to it but he got there just too late. We’ve asked about buying the rubble but early indications are that it is futile. 15 years of smiles…now sadly gone.

  15. 15. grellifer Says:

    RIP big dave’s gusset. as of 14 December 2010 it is no more. It has been knocked down. :(

  16. 16. Annabella Hill Says:

    RIP Big Daves Gusset – will miss you.

  17. 17. John Strong Says:

    I went by the site a few days ago and didn’t notice BIG DAVE’S GUSSET…assumed I fell asleep for a few seconds and missed it but my worse fears were confirmed when I passed by the next day! A historic London landmark loved by thousands gone forever! It should have been removed brick by brick and placed on display in a museum.
    My daily commute will never be the same again…nor will that of the others who loved it.

  18. 18. Ishbel Says:

    BDG has reached Norway. My daughter pointed this out a long time ago when I was visiting. Made me laugh too.

  19. 19. phil elston Says:

    RIP BDG :{

    still, it’s immortalised on google earth

  20. 20. Susie Says:

    Sad sad day….the gusset has gone, pulled down like a real life gusset would be…….

    Long live the Gusset :-(

  21. 21. Mr Spoons Says:

    I used to see this from the train, for years untilo it disappeared. Weirdly, always made me think of a job i had when I left school where a tall softly spoken chap was nicknamed Big Dave.
    Last saw it back in 2009, then 4 years later, I find a link to here from a forum discussing funny grafitti. And now I knwo the story……..I think it may be the “SAME Big Dave!” For my job after leaving school was working at the materials testing lab on the M40 link in Oxfordshire! Well, if it is you “Big Dave”, I hope all is well. I often think about the lads, “Tommy” “Scouse” “Jammo” “Sean ‘Hrat!’ “Wong Commander”etc. That job taught me to swear, a skill Ive kept for the last 24 years!! hahahaa My nickname was “Mr Spoons” or “Spooner” for some reason, as it bore no relation to my name! PS, I never saw Big Dave’s gusset!! hahahaha

  22. 22. weight loss tips Says:

    Cool blog! Is your theme custom made or did you download
    it from somewhere? A design like yours with a few simple tweeks would really make my blog jump out.
    Please let me know where you got your theme. Bless you

    my page :: weight loss tips

Clicky Web Analytics