So Where From Here?
I have been haunted all day by Rob at greenwich.co.uk’s story about the sanctioned vandalism of headstones at St Alfege’s church .
Of course the first thing that has to happen is that whoever thought this was a good idea needs to be discovered and fired. I find it hard to imagine that a group calling themselves the ‘friends’ of St Alfege’s park would have done something like this, but since no one’s actually denying anything just now, it’s looking a bit dodgy. Certainly I can see some young offenders on the Payback scheme enjoying themselves hugely at getting to smash stuff up but didn’t their supervisors think to themselves ‘hmm – this seems a bit odd?’ at any point?
I’m not sure what the legal implications of desecrating these monuments are. I mean if a bunch of teenage herberts were found to have done far less than this off their own bat, there would have been all hell to pay. There would be pictures of grieving families in the local paper, and someone would be telling us Society’s gone to the dogs. But this was, seemingly, ‘official.’
Actually, when I say ‘I’m not sure’ about the legal implications, I mean ‘I know nothing about them,’ of course. Perhaps that’s why no one’s actually saying anything yet, they’re busy hurriedly consulting lawyers. I am sure that the national newspaper that’s been in touch with Rob will be able to shed some light on it (well done, Rob, for getting them on board…)
But what I’m thinking now is this. What’s to be done with this high-quality rubble? I am sure the perpetrators will be keen to get this out of people’s sight as soon as possible – but surely that will compound their crime even more appallingly.
To me it would be a huge shame merely to load it up onto a lorry and cart it off for hardcore – surely some of it could be saved, and used for something cool, and while a sort of jigsaw-crazy-paving scheme could be rather good, I think we should think bigger.
We have umpteen artists here in Greenwich. I bet someone could come up with a really great installation using the pieces that will, perhaps, go some way to offsetting this cultural crime while at the same time honouring both the dead - and the historic value of a thousand-year-old church (Yes, yes, I know the graveyard’s only several hundred years old, but that does not in any way make this any less appalling.)
Ideas, folks. What should be done with these little shards of history?