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Church granted permission to remove mural with 'unfortunate' Grenfell connotations

by Kelly Valencia
St Peter in St Helier church.PNG - Banner image
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Worshippers at a church in London are celebrating as they will soon be able to remove a mural that became unpopular following the Grenfell Tower fire in 2017. The tragedy killed 72 people. 

The entrance of St Peter in St Helier church in Morden, London, has been greeting congregants with a vast mural above it's front doors depicting buildings being engulfed by flames since 1977. 

At the time, Rev Donald Reeves commissioned Peter Pelz, a local artist, to paint a mural of the Last Judgement as well as the Stations of the Cross. 

But since some of the images of the mural have faded, including that of Christ, and the images of the tower blocks have "acquired unfortunate connotations," a church judge has approved the removal of the mural. 

In his ruling, the judge also said that it "might seem somewhat odd to emphasise judgment above the main entrance to the church", as it "shows the destruction of a city in flames" but clarified the artist's intentions to express the hope of eternal life in Heaven for those who have known grief.

The ruling follows a petition filed by the current lead vicar, Rev Tracy Marlow and two churchwardens asking for its removal. 

It's understood the mural could be removed as soon as next month.

But this is not the first time congregants at St Peter's have tried to remove the mural. In 1991, the then vicar filed an application to remove it but was rejected. 

The diocesan chancellor at the time, Robert Gray QC, ruled: "Once gone, it is gone for ever. It is already a landmark, and in this part of London landmarks of such interest and artistic distinction are too rare for the court to sanction the removal of one as striking and as significant as this one."

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