Willmore’s 1938, a family-run cafe in Penarth, was the subject of graffiti vandalism over the weekend, something which the establishment’s owners are all too familiar with, having experienced similar in the recent past.
The popular small cafe, opposite the library on Stanwell Road and known simply as “Willmore’s” by many of its patrons, was tagged by vandals over the weekend, with two, large pieces daubed in colourful text on a wall, up high on the roof.
Matt Holland, Co-Owner of Willmore’s, told Bro Radio that this wasn’t the first time the cafe had been targeted by tagging, a specific form of graffiti where the vandal uses a symbol or moniker in an attempt to claim territory:
“We’ve had our fair share of tagging. I wouldn’t call this graffiti. Graffiti to me is art. This is just a mess. The last time we were tagged we tried to make a positive out of a negative and commissioned a local artist to draw over the tag. Now, this has been done and we won’t be able to remove it due to the cost of putting up scaffolding. The health and safety issue is a nightmare.”
Upon finding the tags on their premises, Willmore’s took to their Facebook page, releasing a statement saying:
“To say we are upset is an understatement. But that’s probably what they want.
“Any of your young people covered in pink and yellow paint. Also probably out late last night.
When asked about what his message would be to those responsible, Matt expressed his understanding at the frustration of lockdown restrictions for young people but also indicated that this was not only a dangerous act but one that has caused emotional hurt, saying:
“You could have killed yourself. The roof is nearly 100 years old and has been damaged. You’ve upset us. Caused us emotional hurt. We totally understand young people’s frustration at the lockdown. We’d have hated if it was us in locked at a young age. But this is someone business. That has struggled during lockdown, supported the community and tried to do our best through the pandemic.”
The identity of the taggers has yet to be fully established, though an anonymous person has reached out to Willmore’s, claiming to be a family member of one of those involved and offering to attempt to paint over it.
Now, the focus of Matt and his partner, Charlotte, is how they will be able to remove the unwanted “art” due to the health and safety issues caused by its location, telling Bro Radio:
“We feel upset, angry and annoyed. How are we going to get it off? It will probably be there for a very long time.”
Members of the community who follow the small business on social media reached out with messages of support and offers of help in removing the pieces, with one saying:
“There has been so much of this in Penarth recently, so sorry its happened to you guys!”
You can find Willmore’s 1938 on Facebook, here.