Woolwich wall messages were "graffiti" says landlord

By Rob Virtue on August 22, 2011 4:14 PM |

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A wall of messages created by members of the Woolwich community saddened by the riots in the town was painted over because it was seen as graffiti.

Powis Street Estates, owners of the site of the Great Harry pub which was destroyed in an arson attack nearly two weeks ago, said it took the decision to paint over the messages after talking to Greenwich Council.

A spokesman for Powis Street said the painting was carried out in order to "improve the appearance of the building" and also to provide a backdrop for a "planned campaign of advertising".

"The painting was undertaken after consultation with Greenwich council who confirmed that a photographic record had been taken of the graffiti," said the spokesman.

He added similar hoardings would be put up on other properties owned by the group in the town centre.

The Great Harry pub was the site of some of the worst vandalism during the rioting which devastated the town centre earlier this month.

It was gutted by fire and the next day hoardings were erected across the front of the building.

Within days Woolwich residents began using the wall to write messages on condemning the social disorder as well as paying tribute to the town and the Wetherspoon's pub.

However, many were shocked on Monday morning to find workmen were covering the wall in grey paint to hide the messages.

Greenwich Council said the decision to remove the tributes was taken by the site's landlord.

A spokesman for the council said: "We can confirm that the site of the Great Harry pub is owned by Powis Street Estates and they are responsible for painting over the graffiti this morning."