RECENT graffiti on stonework in Hyde Abbey Gate has prompted local resident Edward Fennell to invite public support for a protective ‘Charter’ for the monument.

“Over recent years we have become used, sadly, to all types of rubbish, drug users’ paraphernalia and smashed bottles littering the historic Gateway,” said Mr Fennell. “But graffiti on the walls - especially of a rather sinister kind – which damages the fabric of the building is a step too far. The time has come for local people to stand up and demand protection of this site of national heritage significance.”

The graffiti appeared last Friday and seems to be a message of some kind possibly directed at those who do drug deals in the Gateway. It says ‘London Dave – 28.6.2019 - Back for the future’ and is accompanied by a snake image.

Mr Fennell acknowledges the difficulties of policing the area which has acquired a reputation for drug abuse. However, he says that the proposed six point Charter could be the starting point for both cleaning up the locality and giving Hyde Gate the status it deserves as a key site in the story of King Alfred, who was buried nearby within Hyde Abbey Garden. “The more neglected the Gate is the more it will be abused. This is simply not good enough for such an important heritage hub.”

Mr Fennell is now inviting local people to support the charter which exhorts Winchester city and Hampshire county councils to undertake:

  • improved maintenance of the Gate so as to ensure it is litter-free and clean;
  • the installation of CCTV so as to deter criminal activity;
  • the laying of a new hard-wearing non-trip floor surface;
  • the installation of additional displays which interpret the history of Hyde Abbey;
  • the re-ordering of the adjacent ‘Chamber’ so that the current historic architectural features on display are properly exhibited;
  • the installation of equipment to facilitate light projections within the Gateway and Chamber.

To support the Charter email or text 07947 992067 with the message ‘I support the Hyde Gate Charter’ and their name. The Hyde Gate Charter is an initiative from Hyde Arts & Heritage.