One of the most exciting outcomes of this year’s roof refurbishment has been the discovery of graffiti left by the Victorian roof painters. You may remember our first finding, back in April when the names of G. Thicke and J. Randall were found scrawled high up in the rafters. These voices from the past inspired Museum staff, the roof team and many of our blog followers to reflect on the construction of our fabulous building and the workers who built it.
As the roof works come to an end and the scaffolding is dismantled, the Museum is filled with the sound of clanking metal and banging wooden beams. The building is being revealed one level at a time. This seems like a good opportunity to mark the end of the project and leave a little message of our own for future generations.
Last Thursday, staff from Beard Construction, Oxford University Estates Services and other members of the roof team climbed high up into the roof for one last time. Just feet below the original graffiti discovery, they attached a brass plaque listing the names of the team involved in the roof refurbishment, and also included a special nod to the Victorian artists George Thicke and J Randall.
This special occasion was a good opportunity to get some of the group together for a few final photos with a spectacular backdrop. The smiles say it all, really!
For me, the most satisfying element of the plaque installation is that once the scaffolding is all down, the Museum has re-opened and the visitors have flooded back in, the plaque will be completely invisible from the ground. Continuing the tradition of the graffiti, which was hidden for 150 years, the only people who will see the new addition will be the next team to embark on an ambitious roof project. The names will then provide them with a glimpse of the men and women who have made the roof what it is now.
Rachel Parle, Education Officer