The Twentieth Century Society

Campaigning for outstanding buildings

Lipstick Damage

Sat on the tube with METRO this morning I learnt the following:
1. Oscar Wilde’s tomb in Pere Lachaise cemetery in Paris, has been damaged by lipstick.   Too many women (yes it says women) have been kissing Jacob Epstein’s massive 1911 Hopton Stone flying demon/angel carving that it’s had to be restored and is now behind a glass screen.   This is the tomb that was initially covered with a tarpaulin, because its exposed genitalia were concidered unacceptable.  No mention of where the greatest damage was.    I gather that the genitalia got hacked off, that the family campaiged for the towm to be listed when it started getting covered in graffitti in the 1980s .  They hoped that the threat of fines would stop people damaging it, but they switched to kissing which was as bad if not worse.    You can see the screen on the photo below– seems a real pity.

2. German artist Evo has built a “replica” of the esate where he lives in East Berlin, and it’s on show at Pictures on the Walls gallery. (further investigation reveals that the gallery is on Commercial St EC1 and that he uses stencils to transform bits of street furniture like those boxes full of telephone wires into models of the same thing— not sure there really is an identifiable original though, or what if so building it might be.  Gallery web site is

3.  Britain’s first Harry Ramsden fish and chip shop in Guiseley, Leeds is closing, despite being labled “iconic” by local MP Stuart Andrew.  It doesn’t look listable on architefctural merit, but there a lot of social history there.   It opened in 1928, at the tram-stop site where Ramsden had first gone into business in a wooden hut three years earlier.  I think we’ve been on a C20 trip, and it was dire (or am I imagining that?).     In 1952 it created a world record by serving 10,000 portions of hand -cut chips to celebrate its 25th anniversary.

(there’s also photos of a man who sawed his thumb off and has had a big toe stitched on instead (head shot/hands shot/mutilated foot shot)– clever but wince inducing….  I’m not adding that….


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