Friday, 2 March 2012

Row over Newport Chartist mural goes to Downing Street

A mural created nearly 30 years ago in the centre of Newport to mark the Chartist uprising of 1839 is under threat.
With the city centre being redeveloped, the whole set of buildings where the mural is located are to be torn down. The local authority is insisting that the developers must either relocate the mural or create a new one.
This has provoked some debate in the city, which is proud of its Chartist heritage.
Some insist that the original artwork must be retained and relocated. Others say that since it is currently in a " narrow dimly-lit urine-soaked 1960s tunnel" attached to a crumbling multi-storey car park, the 1978 mural is beyond saving.
Never having been to the city, I have no idea who is right and who is wrong. Newport City Council has set out its position, and the South Wales Argus reported on the plans back in April and generated quite a debate.
The row prompted ten-year-old Carlton French to start a petition on the 10 Downing Street website urging that the original artwork should be saved, and history lecturer Les James raised the issue at a European conference on history teaching.
How excellent that Chartism is still causing a furore in Newport 150 years on.

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