Newport City council destroying Chartist Mural with complete contempt for local people and history of Wales

(20 Posts)
Earthymama Thu 03-Oct-13 14:40:07

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/insurrection-brewing-in-wales-over-chartist-murals-destruction-as-newport-city-council-plans-100m-shopping-centre-8851893.html
The people of Newport planned to come together on Saturday to protest at the Council's plans to destroy this local icon.
Sadly as I write this it is being trashed and torn down.
What contempt by elected members and officers for the people they should represent.
A symptom of the power of commerce to override decency and democracy.

Earthymama Thu 03-Oct-13 14:40:41

I think your post is a tad melodramatic.

It was first supposed to be demolished in 2009, it hasn't been sprung onto anyone, and Cadw have stated it does not meet the criteria to be listed. The mural itself is only 6 years older than me, it may depict an important historical event but it in itself is not "historical". The council have stated there will be some sort of memorial in its place, so the event will still be remembered.

I'd rather Newport had the opportunity to sort itself out a bit with "the power of commerce" than remained a desolated shit-tip with a 70s mural in the middle of a load of empty shops.

DEBBIERA123 Thu 03-Oct-13 19:07:34

I don't agree with you BeyondTheLimitsOfAcceptability at all.

The mural was well known by historians outside of Newport and appreciated by serious art fans nationwide for the clever piece of artwork it was. It was a beautiful piece of work, set aside by it's use of shading and dimension.

It was an interesting piece which passing visitors would stop to admire. With their lack of taste I dread to think what the council will decide to replace it with - another ugly red drainpipe like the one that sits beside the river Usk perhaps?

The council moved the demolition men in today without giving any notice, supposedly to prevent any questions that might have been asked or pressure applied to retain it after the demo that was due to go ahead on Saturday. All they have done by their cowardly, insensitive and contemptuous act is to alienate half the residents of Newport.

I don't buy the local rag as I'm not impressed by the 'boy jams finger in car door' headlines they run, so wasn't aware of plans to remove the mosaic until earlier this week or else I would have done something about it - and I'm sure this must be true of many other residents.

I'm obviously older than you and had a certain fondness for this mosaic which I grew up with - which many other people had. It has become clear that it could easily have been moved and for far less than £600,000 - one tutor even offered to move it for free as a project for her students but the council did not even reply to her offer.

It is pretty clear that somebody at the council didn't like it and so sod the rest of us that did. At the end of the day Newport council is there to work for US the taxpayers who pay their wages, and they have failed spectacularly in this case. Heads should roll.

So where does the removal of the mural leave us now? In a desolated shit-tip with nothing of any significance that people would come here just to see (and I personally know people who came here JUST to see the mural before you say anything). The promise of more shops does not excite me in the slightest. It's a very sad day for Newport.

If it were as serious a piece an artwork as that, the protestors who have known about it for four years (and even the facebook group is 18m old) should have had no problem getting it recognised as such and protected. But thanks (seriously - not being sarcastic!) for giving me a new pov, all I've heard so far is people saying it is historically important smile

Ps, the promise of shops may not excite you, but I'm sure the thousands of people who are unemployed in the city would disagree

NicholasTeakozy Thu 03-Oct-13 20:26:27

Ps, the promise of shops may not excite you, but I'm sure the thousands of people who are unemployed in the city would disagree

I'm positive too that they'll be ecstatic at having to staff these stores on Workfare. Everyone's a winner. Newport loses a culturally significant public work of art and gains a fucking shopping mall (we all need more of those) which will be staffed by people on slave 'wages'. Lovely.

I don't think I said I agree with workfare?! confused for the record, i very, very strongly don't!

Not sure what the solution to mass unemployment is though if new business isn't it?

Earthymama Thu 03-Oct-13 22:32:12

I wrote o long post and it has disappeared!
Too tired to repeat, I will do so in the morning.
A sad day for this part of Wales and for Labour.

MaryMotherOfCheeses Thu 03-Oct-13 23:01:25

Newport desperately needs new business and employment.

I'd never heard of the mural and certainly wouldn't visit a subway in Newport to see it.

If you can get a load of people to protest, good luck to you. If there was that much interest, it's a shame it couldn't have been moved rather than destroyed.

Given that Newport is run by a Labour council, I can't imagine it's full of people who don't appreciate the Chartist movement.

4000 people signed the petition. That is how much interest there was in this before a load of people jumped on the facebook slactivism bandwagon today.
If it were important art or of important historical interest in itself, it would have been protected, as the people protesting already tried to have happen. I am in no way anti-chartist and am actually more upset than I was expecting to be by a random mn thread by the leap to assumptions about workfare above.
I want my city to get back to what it was, it needs development for that to happen, it cannot stay how it is.
Perhaps if people care so much about this city yet have not heard about this until today, they should show a little more interest.

Heres the statement from the council:

Newport City Council have released a statement saying they: "recognise how important the Chartist history is to Newport.

"The decision was taken in March 2012 to replace the Chartist mural following demolition as part of the Friars Walk development.

"The mural is a modern day depiction of an historical event that happened in Newport and has served to remind us of Newport’s past, but we must now focus on Newport’s future.

"CADW has determined NOT to list the mural as it fell short of the criteria to be listed at the national level on grounds of its lack of special architectural interest.

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. The council has had to take immediate action with regards to pre-demolition preparations and safety precautions.

"Major demolition work will be starting at the end of this month.

"The council is committed to commissioning an alternative solution to commemorate the Chartist movement and will be consulting with the public on the nature of this different form of celebration shortly.

"The council would like the communities of Newport to decide on the nature of the new commemoration to celebrate the Chartist movement and the council would like this to be in a more accessible location which can be enjoyed by residents and visitors alike, as well as enhancing the historical connection between Newport and the Chartist movement.

MaryMotherOfCheeses Fri 04-Oct-13 07:58:00

Sounds fair enough to me.

DEBBIERA123 Fri 04-Oct-13 10:22:11

The fact is that Newport residents wanted to keep the mural. We do not want some random alternative. We loved the mural, we wanted to save it and have it moved.

So a few points for you to bear in mind:

1. The People of Newport wanted to keep the mural
2. The council knew that the people of Newport wanted to keep the mural
3. It is obvious that certain members of the council didn't want to keep it
4. The council obtained 1 excessive quote from the construction company behind the new development for £600,000 to remove it. They did not ask anyone else for a quote and did not reply to the arts lecturer who said he could assemble a group to remove it and re-erect it somewhere else for free
5. A peaceful demonstration had been arranged for Saturday to highlight the people's wishes to move the mural
6. The council arranged for the mural to be ripped down without any prior notice before the demo could take place

Please don't anyone say we've had years to sort this out as I live in Newport and only found out about the risk to the mural on Monday this week - that's how well publicised it was, and yet over 4000 people had signed the petition to save it even without much publicity.

The fact is that this act of destruction was performed out of malice and contempt. The council is not a private company, it is supposed to act according to the wishes of the local people. It cannot behave just how it likes, completely disregarding the views of Newport residents. It is a poorly run council anyway but it has really overstepped the mark this time.

I'm guessing, but i would imagine the reason the council didnt want volunteers removing it probably had something to do with it being attached to a dangerous building - the car park has been closed for years and the subway has been closed for the last few months too.

Some of the people of Newport wanted to keep the mural, not all of them. Most of the people I have spoken to about it don't particularly care.

(About that particular mural, not about commemorating the chartist rebellion)

DEBBIERA123 Fri 04-Oct-13 11:45:56

It turned out it wasn't attached to the car park building at all, just an independent wall built next to the carpark wall. It was so dangerous they used a jcb to knock it over!

If they were so intent on removing it why didn't the council let it come down as part of the demolition for the carpark, why did they have to remove it separately?

They just wanted to ensure it was demolished - and they made sure it could not be recreated by letting the police hand out pieces of it to members of the public. Quite a spiteful turn of events.

No you're quite right, obviously not every Newport resident was so concerned, but a large proportion of those I have asked are angry about the whole sorry saga. It's not just the destruction of the mural, it's the principal of ignoring public opinion and the underhand way the council went about it.

flatpackhamster Mon 07-Oct-13 15:42:46

Well I hope you remember what's happened next time the elections come around.

3asAbird Tue 22-Oct-13 14:12:49

I used to live in newport.

It was very small subway very busy one near icelands/littlewoods and square outside the kingsway cant remember car park being near bus station was other side.

It was quite old been there since i was kid and im in my 30s

Feel sad remember it and some crazy old bloke used to sing next to it.

Is the old garden festival clock still in the square?

did the kingsway centre ever get done up heard in shops shut down .

couldent they have taken it down and relocated it?

you hear about banksby art beng stolen.

I really dont get it how would that hinder progress of devlopment?

whos actually investing in redevelopment of newport?

3asAbird Tue 22-Oct-13 14:21:19

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-24578061

heres a better picture was major walk through not a huge subway.

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