Vandals deface John F Kennedy memorial in Digbeth
Vandals have daubed graffiti on the relocated John F Kennedy memorial in Digbeth.
The mosaic mural was originally created by artist Kenneth Budd in 1968 and was located at St Chad’s Circus next to St Chad’s Cathedral. The £5,000 it cost was raised by Birmingham’s Irish community.
When the city’s road system was redeveloped in 2007 the mosaic was demolished. Key features, including the heads of some of the main figures, were retrieved and retained by Kenneth Budd’s son Oliver.
In 2012 the memorial was recreated by Oliver Budd using new materials and it was erected in January 2013 in Floodgate Street in Digbeth. A formal unveiling took place on 23 February 2013.
The new memorial caused some controversy as it saw the addition of a new face, that of former Lord Mayor of Birmingham Mike Nangle, the city’s first Irish Lord Mayor.
John Fitzgerald, who runs Minstrel Music located a Birmingham’s Irish Centre, was among the group who chipped in to pay for the original.
Mr Fitzgerald said he felt the new site for the memorial was not an appropriate one.
He said: “This would never have happened had the council listened to us.
“What I was always advocating was for it to be put up as it was in St Chad’s.
“It was never placed in the right location.
“The new version was set above a metallic plinth that has long been plastered with flyers.
“Rather than being erected onto a wall, as it was in St Chad’s, it was posted onto a hoarding.
“There’s no wonder it’s been damaged.”
Defending its Digbeth relocation a Birmingham City Council spokesman said: “Plans to recreate the JFK mural were subject to two public consultations.
“The first in July 2010 actively sought feedback from the city’s Irish community to identify which of four suggested sites in Digbeth would be a suitable location.
“Also, erecting this mural required planning permission, so there was a further public consultation as part of that process during 2011.
“It is disappointing one of the city’s iconic artworks has been vandalised, this graffiti will be removed at the earliest opportunity.”