Some of the thousands of heartfelt messages left on the Marcus Rashford mural have been damaged during last night’s heavy rain.
But Manchester City Council has insisted they “will be fine”, and that it has “a plan”.
After the Akse-created mural in Withington dedicated to the Manchester United and England star was abhorrently defaced following England’s loss to Italy in the final of Euro 2020 on Sunday 11 July, encouraging messages of support soon began to appear in at attempt to cover up the graffiti and take a stand against racist abuse.
The mural was subsequently restored by the original artist the following day – but the messages kept on coming.
While the glorious sunshine over the last week meant that the messages have remained mostly unharmed, Manchester City Council confirmed on Wednesday that it would be carefully removing them this morning (23 July) ahead of a forecasted change in the weather at the weekend.
There were fears that the messages would disintegrate and be lost forever if they aren’t removed in advance of the prolonged rain expected in the area from Saturday.
An unexpected downpour arrived on Thursday evening, but the council took to social media to confirm a plan was in place to preserve the messages.
Providing an update on Twitter yesterday evening, Manchester City Council said: “Hey Manchester – things got a bit damp tonight here at the Marcus Rashford mural in Withington, but don’t worry we have a plan!
“Everything will be safely moved in the morning and carefully preserved. It will take a bit longer than we thought, but it’s okay – we’ve got this.”
Council representatives have also urged the public not to touch the messages, stating: “…if you’re passing by the mural tonight, please have a look – but please leave everything in its place for us to sort.”
A message written on a chalk board at the mural itself also read: “Please don’t touch. The tributes on this mural will be fine [and] they will still be removed as planned.”
Manchester City Council announced its plan to preserve the messages earlier this week – with every note collected by Manchester Art Gallery and Central Library Archives+.
MA students from the Institute of Cultural Practices at the University of Manchester are also standing by, ready to help with collecting the messages and documenting the process.
Wherever possible, messages will be removed individually, but due to the amount of adhesive tape that has been used to fix tributes to the mural, it is more likely that whole sections will have to be lifted and packed on site, and then carefully separated later.
After their removal, all the messages will be transported to Central Library’s archives department for safekeeping.
All partners involved will then decide how best to make them more widely available.
It is hoped that by preserving the messages, they can be made available for education and public display in the future as an important and permanent reminder of just what a significant moment in the city and country’s cultural history this has been.
Rashford himself will also have a say in what happens to the messages and how he would like them to be used.
Featured Image – Twitter (@ManCityCouncil)