Workers moved in at breakfast time on Monday to cover the wall, with only a small portion remaining by 10am.
Contractors told me that Greenwich Council had ordered the wall to be painted over, atlthough the freehold to the building, Thames House, is owned by Powis Street Estates, an investment vehicle which bought much of the property in Woolwich town centre from the Prudential in 2001.
A Greenwich Council spokesperson said: “We can confirm that the site of the Great Harry pub is owned by Powis Street Estates and they are responsible for painting over the graffiti this morning.”
A spokesperson for Powis Street Estates told the News Shopper’s Nina Massey that Greenwich Council had been consulted about the decision to paint over the wall. (5pm update)
A similar wall in Peckham, containing Post-It notes, is being preserved by Southwark Council. Greenwich’s deputy opposition leader, Nigel Fletcher, had asked for the Woolwich wall to be similarly preserved. He said the decision was “crass and insensitive in the extreme”
Greenwich West Labour councillor Matt Pennycook said he was “astonished” to hear the wall had been painted over.
The wall had become a focal point for the community in the aftermath of the riot, and had drawn media attention from Sky News and BBC London after the initial destruction caused in the riot was overlooked by much of the press.
Danny Mercer, one of the people who created the wall, told this website: “The decision to erase the Woolwich wall after so much effort and emotion was put into it by the community is disgusting at the very least and show a typical lack of respect to all that had their say on the wall.
“Putting political issues and the the events of last week aside, I take this as a kick in the teeth, as I’m sure hundreds of others do.”
Two community gatherings were also held there. One, organised by the creators of the wall, was boycotted by Greenwich Council after it emerged one of the instigators was a former member of a far-right group.
The other, held on Sunday, was a peace rally held by the Greenwich Multi-Faith Forum. Again, the council was not represented at the event.
In other Woolwich news…
The wall may have gone, but a big screen at the end of Powis Street is now showing images of those wanted in connection with the looting. Those who go shopping for a bit of retail therapy and escapism probably won’t be impressed…
A Facebook campaign is under way to commemorate Woolwich’s recovery from the riot in a new mural to replace the one on Woolwich High Street painted over some months ago.
Greenwich Council is setting up a “Greenwich Backing Local Business” fund which people can donate to if they want to help local firms recover. Leader Chris Roberts said: “We’ve seen an outpouring of goodwill from the community in reaction to the attacks on our town centres and we have put the mechanisms in place to make sure that those who want to help really can make a direct difference to people whose lives have been badly affected by the actions of the rioters and looters”.