The Foot and Mouth Memorial

Almost opposite the Cutty Sark Pub, sandwiched between a little cobbled street and the river wall at Ballast Quay is a delightful little Italianate garden. Hardly a few feet across, and behind black-painted iron railings far too high to climb (thank God) its shady trees, graceful urns and what is possibly the prettiest potting shed in the world provide a sudden and charming respite from the stolidly urban, if picturesque, landscape around it.

I am convinced that many walk past it without even noticing it – which is a shame as I have spent much time pondering over the curious little home made memorial within its dappled sunlit quiet. Made from old plumbing pipes and other found objects, a life-size white ram rears up at a gnarled old tree, at its feet a plaque remembering the thousands of animals who were slaughtered – not because they were infected with foot and mouth disease – but in the pyres ordered by the government to contain the 2001 outbreak. I might have expected it in the countryside – but in Greenwich? I passed it today because I was reminded about it by someone reading this blog (thank you!) – it looked a little battered – maybe it’s been forgotten… I hope not.


One Comment to “The Foot and Mouth Memorial”

  1. Anonymous says:

    A friend took a photo of this recently – those of us who were involved in the FMD disaster remember the whole fiasco vividly.

    This memorial was commissioned by Hilary Peters on behalf of an anonymous donor in Oct 2001 – from the sculptor Kevin Herlihy, who made it from unwanted materials found in the river.

    The carved oval plaque will read:

    In memory of the uncounted millions of animals who died – not of foot and mouth – but of the cure for foot and mouth.

    I found this the warmwell.com site which is a wonderful resource on animal health, food security, energy and rural matters.

    Val_Elle, Monmouthshire