6th Jul, 2022

LOOK: Lady Godiva and other historic Coventry monuments repeatedly targeted with graffiti

Felix Nobes 11th Sep, 2018 Updated: 11th Sep, 2018

THE ICONIC statue of Lady Godiva in Broadgate has been defaced for a second time after a council clean-up – and graffiti has been daubed on other historic sites.

They include the memorial to James Starley in Greyfriars Green and a piece of artwork by the Herbert Art Gallery which honours another historic Coventry figure.

It emerged on Sunday that the plinth for the Lady Godiva monument had been covered in graffiti.

The council cleaned the scrawl on the base of the statue with some difficulty.

But more green graffiti appeared this morning – prompting further public outrage.

Photographs which we publish here show the graffiti before and after the clean-up – and similar unlawful scrawl on the two memorials in the city centre.

Leader of Coventry City Council George Duggins said yesterday: “Lady Godiva is a respected symbol of our city and like many others who have seen the graffiti, I’m angry and disappointed that this has happened.

“Our crews have attempted to clean her over the weekend but the graffiti is proving very difficult to remove.

“The team are out again today and we are contacting specialist cleaners for advice.

“We are looking at CCTV footage and will be passing this to the police.”

The council’s latest statement this afternoon reads: “More graffiti was found on the Godiva statue this morning and our crews have been back out to do what they can to remove it.”

Paul Curtis, also known as the Deep Fact Fryer who offers medieval tours of the city, claims the authorities are aware of allegations about who caused the graffiti.

The graffiti, which was daubed on Godiva, has been green or brown and characterised by its use of names and cryptic symbols.

The stream of incoherent scrawl has prompted some to suggest it could be lyrics.

Similar graffiti can be seen in University Square near the cathedral on a piece of artwork dedicated to celebrated Coventry archaeologist, John Bailey Shelton MBE.

It appears an attempt to clean the piece of art has been made but symbols and writing can still be seen.

It has been pasted on the memorial in Greyfriars Green dedicated to the celebrated inventor of the bicycle, James Starley.

The same green writing has been scrawled onto a doorway on Warwick Road, at the old Co-Op bank next to the Litten Tree pub, and on bins outside Friargate near the station.

The statue of Lady Godiva, Countess of Mercia, was sculpted by William Reid-Dick and was unveiled in 1949.

She is a central part of Coventry’s medieval history and the statue symbolises her importance.

It is one of the few statues of horses outside London to be listed (Grade II), according to the council.


Police released this statement in the late afternoon: “Police investigating two incidents of criminal damage to the Lady Godiva statue in Broadgate, Coventry city centre have arrested a 43-year-old man.

“It was reported that the statue had graffiti emblazoned on it on both Sunday (September 9) and early this morning (Tuesday, September 11).

“Following CCTV enquiries, a Coventry man was arrested on suspicion of criminal damage and remains in police custody this afternoon.”

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