London

London riots: Woolwich 'wall of hope' painted over

The boarded up Great Harry pub
Image caption The Great Harry after its makeover

The creators of a wall of messages on a pub hit by the recent riots have reacted with dismay after it was painted over.

The boards covering riot-damage at the Great Harry pub became a place for the community to express its hopes for a brighter future.

But contractors have now painted over the messages left after the riots.

Pub owners Powis Street Estates said it was about to replace them with different hoardings.

Stephen Cradick, from Powis Street Estates, said it had consulted with Greenwich council before carrying out the works.

He said: "The council said it had taken a photographic record of the messages and were comfortable with us tidying it up."

Mr Cradick also revealed the hoardings would remain while a structural engineer decided whether or not the building could be repaired.

Mike Jelves, one of the individuals behind the wall's creation, said it came about when a group of people started leaving message on the boards on the Saturday after the riots.

He said the community had been brought together around the wall and were "shocked and appalled" by it being painted over.

He claimed contractors working on the pub, community support officers and the police had allowed the wall to be created.

Image caption The wall was a place for the community to leave positive messages about Woolwich.

"It is disappointing the council has retrospectively labelled it as graffiti," he added.

"All we were trying to do was raise the spirits of the community after the riots."

Mr Jelves contrasted the removal of the wall in Woolwich with what happened in Peckham, south London, where messages of goodwill left on a Poundland shop are being preserved.

Poundland welcomed the Peckham's "Wall of Love" and Southwark Council is carefully removing the wall and transplanting it to the local library for the public to view.

Southwark Council said it hoped the wall would continue to act as a rallying point for the local community.

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