London in row with New York over 9/11 memorial artwork

US gift made from Ground Zero wreckage is put into storage after failure to find permanent home

A 28ft piece of mangled metal from Ground Zero, presented to Britain as a lasting symbol of peace, has sparked a row between the UK and US and threatened to put the "special relationship" under strain.

In a move described as "insulting" to the thousands of Americans who died on 9/11, a sculpture made from steel recovered from the twin towers was unceremoniously removed from Battersea Park on Friday, barely a month after it was unveiled to great fanfare by the London Mayor, Boris Johnson, to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the 11 September attacks.

Industrial cranes descended on the park's "American Ground" on Friday and hauled up the sculpture, before it was removed to a warehouse in Duxford, Cambridgeshire. The move came after protracted negotiations over where to keep the sculpture broke down.

Entitled After 9/11, the 28ft exhibit was designed by the Asian-American artist Miya Ando and presented to Britain by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey on condition that it permanently featured in a prominent London location.

The decision to accept the sculpture is understood to have been taken by Mr Johnson during a visit to New York. It was originally earmarked for outside the Greater London Authority building near Tower Bridge, but it subsequently transpired that the necessary permissions had not been secured. One source told The IoS: "It was all very well for Mr Johnson to agree to the deal – but no planning permissions were ever sought ahead of time."

The London Borough of Wandsworth says it only ever granted it a 28-day temporary licence to allow it to be displayed at Battersea Park. A council spokesman added: "We stepped in at the last minute to allow it to be on display for the 9/11 anniversary, as there was nowhere else for it to go when it arrived in Britain. Had we not made an offer, it would have remained locked in a warehouse in Liverpool."

Peter Rosengard, founder of the 9/11 London Project, said: "The artwork has received a tremendous reaction from both the media and the public, but it now has to be temporarily moved into storage while a central London location is assured."

Yesterday a former New York firefighter, Lee Ielpi, who lost his son – also a fireman – on the day of the attacks, told The IoS: "The world needs to understand who did this to us, why and what we can do to prevent it ever happening again. That only comes through education of the next generation. We would be disappointed if the piece of steel graciously given to London as a mark of respect is not given a prominent position."

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
News
Johnny Depp is perhaps best known for his role as Jack Sparrow in Pirates of the Caribbean
peopleBut how did he break it?
Arts and Entertainment
Paul Walker and Vin Diesel in Fast and Furious 5
film
Sport
Lewis Hamilton secured his second straight pole of the season
f1Vettel beats Rosberg into third after thunderstorm delays qualifying
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Massage Therapist / Sports Therapist

£12000 - £24000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A opportunity has arisen for a ...

Ashdown Group: Practice Accountant - Bournemouth - £38,000

£32000 - £38000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A successful accountancy practice in...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Uncapped commission: SThree: Does earning a 6 figu...

Recruitment Genius: SEO Executive

£18000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Day In a Page

The saffron censorship that governs India: Why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression

The saffron censorship that governs India

Zareer Masani reveals why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression
Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

Supreme Court rules Dominic Grieve's ministerial veto was invalid
Distressed Zayn Malik fans are cutting themselves - how did fandom get so dark?

How did fandom get so dark?

Grief over Zayn Malik's exit from One Direction seemed amusing until stories of mass 'cutting' emerged. Experts tell Gillian Orr the distress is real, and the girls need support
The galaxy collisions that shed light on unseen parallel Universe

The cosmic collisions that have shed light on unseen parallel Universe

Dark matter study gives scientists insight into mystery of space
The Swedes are adding a gender-neutral pronoun to their dictionary

Swedes introduce gender-neutral pronoun

Why, asks Simon Usborne, must English still struggle awkwardly with the likes of 's/he' and 'they'?
Disney's mega money-making formula: 'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan

Disney's mega money-making formula

'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan
Lobster has gone mainstream with supermarket bargains for £10 or less - but is it any good?

Lobster has gone mainstream

Anthea Gerrie, raised on meaty specimens from the waters around Maine, reveals how to cook up an affordable feast
Easter 2015: 14 best decorations

14 best Easter decorations

Get into the Easter spirit with our pick of accessories, ornaments and tableware
Paul Scholes column: Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season

Paul Scholes column

Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season
Inside the Kansas greenhouses where Monsanto is 'playing God' with the future of the planet

The future of GM

The greenhouses where Monsanto 'plays God' with the future of the planet
Britain's mild winters could be numbered: why global warming is leaving UK chillier

Britain's mild winters could be numbered

Gulf Stream is slowing down faster than ever, scientists say
Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Donation brings total raised by Homeless Veterans campaign to at least £1.25m
Oh dear, the most borrowed book at Bank of England library doesn't inspire confidence

The most borrowed book at Bank of England library? Oh dear

The book's fifth edition is used for Edexcel exams
Cowslips vs honeysuckle: The hunt for the UK’s favourite wildflower

Cowslips vs honeysuckle

It's the hunt for UK’s favourite wildflower
Child abuse scandal: Did a botched blackmail attempt by South African intelligence help Cyril Smith escape justice?

Did a botched blackmail attempt help Cyril Smith escape justice?

A fresh twist reveals the Liberal MP was targeted by the notorious South African intelligence agency Boss