Work Begins to Professionally Clean and Survey Mural

WORK to professionally clean and survey Reading’s black history mural begins this week (w/c Oct 9).

Reading’s historic mural dates back to 1990 and is showing signs of deterioration. Reading Borough Council continues to be clear that it remains fully committed to securing its future. The mural remains of huge importance to the black community, the wider community and the Council itself, as it represents Reading’s long history of celebrating different cultures and promoting tolerance.

In order to help secure the mural’s future, the Council is taking steps now to invest in a programme of professional light conservation cleaning by experts Arte Conservation Ltd (www.arteconservation.com), who specialise in the treatment of painted structures and whose clients include English Heritage and the National Trust.

This professional cleaning will allow for a detailed photograph survey of the mural to take place and a detailed assessment of the condition of the structure and the mural itself. Work is expected to take two weeks to complete.

Councillor Jo Lovelock, Reading Borough Council Leader, said:

“Reading’s mural is a cultural icon and remains of huge importance to the black community, the wider community and the Council. It represents Reading’s long history of celebrating different cultures and promoting tolerance and the Council has been completely clear that it remains fully committed to securing its future.

“The mural is now 27 years old and has shown recent signs of deterioration. The Council is therefore taking action now so that it can be professionally and sympathetically cleaned by experts in this field, and for the structure to be surveyed so that we can establish the best way forward. We have also been in contact with the mural artist to invite him to discuss its future treatment and preservation.

“The survey work will mean the Council will be in a much better position to identify the next steps and to establish the best way of securing the mural for future generations.”

Later this Autumn Reading Borough Council will invite bids for the former Central Club building. As part of that process the Council is very clear that it expects any offers received in the next round of bidding to include plans to secure the mural’s future.

Notes To Editors:

Arte Conservation Ltd is an independent team of consultants and conservators specialising in the treatment of painted and applied decoration on plaster, stone, wood, canvas and mosaics. Clients include English Heritage, the National Trust, cathedrals, churches, museums and public and private owners of historic buildings. Projects have included the conservation of works of art dating from the 6th to the 21st century. Conservation services include condition surveys, specifications, historical research and technical analysis as part of a comprehensive approach to dealing with conservation problems. Arte Conservation Ltd operates throughout the UK and has been involved in a number of prestigious conservation projects abroad. (www.arteconservation.com)

Oscar Mortali

For media enquiries about this release email oscar.mortali@reading.gov.uk or call 0118 937 2301