Anger grows over Chartist mural demolition
Updated 5:45pm Friday 4th October 2013 in News
Enable automatic updates every 30 seconds? YES NO
- Anger grows over Chartist mural demolition
- 'Display of mourning' called for tomorrow in John Frost Square
Sian Adams, whose late father, Walter Lucas, was depicted in the Newport Chartist Mural said: “I realise that having a close relative depicted in the mural is bound to affect my view but, that apart, I think it so short-sighted that this work of art, recognised as being one of quality and also being of local and historical interest has been allowed to be lost.
"The best forms of forward-looking progress are those that pay due regard to the past and it would have been so wonderful had the proposed new development of this part of Newport been able to incorporate the mural.
“I didn't realise things would now move so quickly.”
Her late father, Walter was Keeper of Social and Industrial History at Newport Museum and helped Kenneth Budd with background research for the mural.
4:06pm Fri 4 Oct 13
I didn't even realise until reading this article that it was being demolished. It is a shame as it holds dear childhood memories for me with my grandfather saying to my brother and I "can you find...." and we would race each other to find what he was asking. Shame it couldn't be preserved :(
Bill Kershaw, who was pictured in the mural, said: “I’m very very sad that it’s happened, but more appalled at the way they went about it.
“Perhaps it had to go, but if it did there had to be a better way than this.
“It could have been an opportunity to do a ceremony and do something special.”
His daughter, Tracey Kershaw, has travelled back to Newport for the weekend and will be attending the demonstration tomorrow. She said: “I feel really sad because if it had to be taken down I would have liked a bit of my Dad.
“It could have been relocated and it could have been moved.
“It’s the way they did it – when people like me were in work and couldn’t get down.”
Newport council has replied to some of our questions this morning.
A Newport council spokeswoman said: “The removal of the Chartist mural was part of essential pre-demolitions work that had to be carried out before the major contract begins at the end of October.
“Contrary to reports, the mural was integrally linked to the car park. It was glued to a skin of bricks, which also came down yesterday, and this skin was attached by brick ties to the inner skin of the columns and fixed to the reinforced concrete of the car park.
“The area was fenced off back in July following a survey of the Capitol car park by structural engineers that flagged up that urgent advance works were required for safety reasons to protect the public.
“The car park is suffering from concrete cancer and has been deteriorating at an accelerated rate. Parts of the car park have been breaking off internally and it is continually monitored. It would have to be demolished as soon as possible even if it was not part of the development area.
“Our prime concern at all times has been the safety and protection of members of the public. Appropriate equipment was used for the work which was carried out by council employees as it did not form part of the demolition contract.
“The attachment of the mosaic wall to the car park was also the reason for the high cost given for removal. It should be noted that the cost given for this was not a quote but an estimate as part of a report prepared by structural engineering consultants. They also said it would be unlikely to survive relocation.
“A decision to demolish the whole area in readiness for Friars Walk was taken in March 2012 as part of the planning application for the development.”
As it stands the following queries haven’t had an answer:
• Was there a link between the date of the demolition and the protest on Saturday?
• Last week, when we had incorrect reports coming in that the mural was being demolished, the council’s reply to our questions said the contract was yet to be awarded for the demolition. Has it?
• Can we see the report that priced moving the mural at £600,000 but warned moving the artwork will damage it?
• Were cabinet members informed of the demolition work taking place yesterday?
• Who took the decision to go ahead with demolition yesterday?
We are still chasing a response to these questions.
Horrified by maladroit brutal destruction of Chartist Mural-inconceivable to create a worst PR blunder. MPs had no role in this decision.— Paul Flynn (@Paulflynnmp) October 4, 2013
Meg Cox, 13, with her bit of the mural. pic.twitter.com/UFhXWTi0am— Ruth Mansfield (@ArgusRMansfield) October 3, 2013
Geoff Thomas was working for Newport council at the time of the mural’s commission and was one of the people who first bought artist, Kenneth Budd to Newport to work on the Old Green roundabout.
He was pictured twice in the mural, once carrying a pike and again firing a gun.
He said: “I have to speak of great pangs of disappointment really.
“There have been many disappointed people, not only locally but globally.”
Mr Thomas has a number of photographs of the parts of the mural where himself and his colleagues were pictured.
“That’s all I do have now,” he said.
12:06pm Fri 4 Oct 13
CADW were always the wrong body to decide on the protection of the mural - thats why the council asked them. The mural had no architectural merit for preservation as it wasn't architectural, it was artistic, something CADW does not have the remit to judge
Political reaction has continued to come in over the Chartist Mural.
Charles Ferris, a Tory councillor for Allt-yr-Yn, said: “I feel absolutely appalled. It was half way peeling off the wall. The majority of it could be saved.
“I really want to know who gave this order.”
11:04am Fri 4 Oct 13
For the past 6 YEARS it has been the plan to knock the mural down, as part of the development and only in the past few months has anybody actually given a monkeys about it, that's 6 whole years where people could have been fundraising to raise the money to preserve it, but did anybody do that? NO!
There is nothing swift about this, the council waited for the outcome from CADW before knocking it down and it makes perfect sense that they would have it demolished without prior notice of when it would take place, not least of all because the whole area is due to be demolished this month and they need to bring closure on this whole saga.
Pictures from Mike Starczak of the remains of the Chartist mural today:
What's really irksome is the number of Newport Labour Councillors coming out decrying the loss of the Chartist mural. Too little too late.— David Howell (@Kasuutta) October 4, 2013
Here's a selection of your thoughts from yesterday's demolition of the Chartist mural:
Hannah Hartley: “Disgusting! Shame on them!”
Lucy Mather: “That is the final nail in the coffin!! Will not shop in Newport town centre again!!”
Goldie Lookin’ Chain member Maggot: “absolutely sickening”
Josh Knapman of Newport: “Disgusted the Chartist mural has been demolished. Which muppet had that bright idea?”
Deborah Lloyd told the Newport council account: “I’m so angry to hear you have snuck in to demolish the Chartist mural. You really have lost the plot! “
This morning we have asked Newport council the following questions:
- Why did the demolition take place yesterday?
- Was there a link between the date of the demolition and the protest on Saturday?
- It was previously stated that ”the current Chartist mural is in a very precarious position as it is attached to the wall of the multi-storey car park which is extremely unsafe”. However in our pictures and on TV it doesn’t appear to be fixed to a car park wall at all. How was it fixed to the wall of the car park?
- If the council had to take a decision immediately because of the dangerous and unsafe nature of the car park wall – what is the nature of that?
- If it was dangerous and unsafe was the best way to deal with it hitting it with a digger?
- Last week, when we had incorrect reports coming in that the mural was being demolished, the council’s reply to our questions said the contract was yet to be awarded for the demolition. Has it? Why were council employees demolishing the mural and not demolition contractors?
- Can we see the report that priced moving the mural at £600,000 but warned moving the artwork will damage it?
- Were cabinet members informed of the demolition work taking place yesterday?
- Who took the decision to go ahead with demolition yesterday?
We await their reply.
Geoff Williams sent this heartfelt message to us:
I grew up in the Newport area and I must have been one of many who viewed the coverage of the destruction of the Chartist Mural in Newport town centre with a sense of complete disbelief.
The story of the Chartist march on Newport is one of the few proud episodes in the city's history which placed it truly in the national eye and the mural of 1978 was a worthy commemoration of that event.
On visits to Newport I could not but pause, to think and to admire it, as I passed by. The City Council's action in bringing in the wrecking ball so swiftly, to forestall any reasoned debate on the issue was the action of a philistine, a cheapskate developer with an eye on a quick buck.
It was clear as the destruction continued that skilled engineers could readily have preserved the mural, which was not cemented to the face of the wall behind, its integrity assured by a backing metal mesh.
It did not fall readily to the demolition men. That rather dark and dank passageway was not the best place to display it and surely most people in Newport would have welcomed a plan to properly feature it in the new shopping mall. Shame on you, Newport City Council!
Memo to Newport City Council. Elections coming. Bye bye. #Chartist mural— Eyejayaitch (@eyejayaitch) October 4, 2013
NEWPORT is set to see a "public display of mourning" to mark the demolition of the city's Chartist mural.
Comments are closed on this article.