Chip on the Dalston block: survey made of mural

Dalston mural London E8 130813 © david.altheer@gmail.com

DALSTONERS passing by the mural may have been alarmed to see hard-hatted men apparently chipping at the much-loved artwork.

They can relax: the mural, which is almost 30 years old, is being given an exploratory examination by Hirst Conservation, a Lincolnshire firm with a reputation for restoration work on Windsor Castle, the Tower of London and Ely Cathedral. The business was founded in 1986 by Elizabeth Hirst, who has an impeccable conservation pedigree.

 Dalston mural London E8 130813 © david.altheer@gmail.com
Clean machine: White and team check mural

Amanda White, who studied fine art and conservation at universities in England, told Loving Dalston that recent Hirst projects included Kensington Palace, a royal residence [Don’t royals live in houses like real people? — Ed.] in Kensington Gardens W8 4PX.

Reports earlier this year, including one on Loving Dalston, said that the mural had been privatised, raising doubts about the quality of any restoration. This was denied by businessman Anthony Thomas, who phoned Loving Dalston to reject the privatisation claim and assure Hackneyites that the mural would be safe with Dalston Lane Property LLP, one of his companies, which would be taking control of the buildings at 17-19 Dalston Lane E8 3DF, which include the artwork wall.

Councillor Karen Alcock, cabinet member for property, told Loving Dalston that Hirst had been commissioned “to carry out a full audit of the mural and set out what work needs be carried out to preserve it”.

The London Mural Preservation Society said it had “not heard much from the council”. The society did not appear to have been told that restorers had been appointed.

The three-floor-high painting, inspired by an anti-nuke carnival and completed in 1985. A local landmark, it features in ads for local pop band Rudimental’s hit album and was the subject of an affectionate Boris Johnson article in The Spectator in the 1990s years before he became Mayor of London.

Hamish Scott 130813

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