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
Sunday 16 October 2011
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."
Actress sees off speculation about her appearance in an amazing way
Powerful images of strays taken moments before being put down
The Washington Post editor helped Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein bring down President Nixon
Children's bookseller wins The Independent's new author search
- 1 Salisbury ranked seventh-best city in the world to visit in Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel 2015
- 2 Disney announces new female-led film Moana
- 3 Banksy has not been arrested: Internet duped by fake report claiming artist's identity revealed
- 4 Kentucky gang rape: 15-year-old boy left in critical condition after sexual attack by group at party
- 5 Russell Brand threatened with arrest after filming outside Fox News headquarters
Chicago voter tells Obama 'don't touch my girlfriend' – Obama stays super smooth
Oscar Pistorius: The brutal prison life that awaits disgraced athlete
Banksy has not been arrested: Internet duped by fake report claiming artist's identity revealed
Raphael Ravenscroft dead: 'Baker Street' musician who played the most famous saxophone solo for just £27, dies aged 60
Darren Vann: Indiana man arrested for murdering teenage prostitute confesses to six other murders - and police fear more
Cameron is warned 'no possibility' of UK reducing immigration and that bid to bring in quota on migrant workers would be illegal
Residents should throw a street party and mix with immigrant neighbours, councils told
Russell Brand threatened with arrest after filming outside Fox News headquarters
London bus driver 'kicks gay couple off for kissing'
Jose Manuel Barroso warns David Cameron against making 'historic mistake' over immigration reforms
Of course, teenage girls need role models – but not like beauty vlogger Zoella
£300 - £350 Per Day: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: The role could involve w...
£21000 - £35000 per annum: Randstad Education Cambridge: Qualified secondary s...
£22000 - £36000 per annum + MPR / UPR: Randstad Education Southampton: Our cli...
£28000 - £35000 per annum + negotiable: Sauce Recruitment: We have an exciting...