brick church building with graffiti, surrounded by grassland
Holy Rood Church, Old Town, Swindon © Historic England
Holy Rood Church, Old Town, Swindon © Historic England

Removing and Preventing Graffiti

Graffiti disfigures historic buildings and monuments and their settings and encourages further occurrences. Its removal can be complex, depending on the nature and condition of the surface affected and the type of graffiti. Inappropriate cleaning by inexpert contractors can cause significant damage to building surfaces and may result in visual disfigurement, including stains and marks.

Understanding the nature of historic building materials and graffiti media (materials), and how these interact and respond to cleaning, is essential for effective and safe treatment. Always employ contractors who have plenty of experience in removing graffiti from historic buildings. After its removal, put in place physical and social measures to prevent or reduce recurrent incidents.

Historic England guidance

Historic England has published guidance for building owners, conservation professionals, local authorities and estate managers responsible for dealing with graffiti on historic buildings and sites. It describes the types of graffiti and historic materials affected, the legal context to report and prosecute graffiti crime, general advice on removing graffiti, best technical practice expected of specialist graffiti-removal contractors and prevention measures.

Learn more

View the 2020 webinar on dealing with graffiti on historic buildings

In this webinar, we talk about methods of removing graffiti from historic buildings, primarily masonry – stone, brick and concrete – as well as approaches to preventing it. This webinar will be of interest to anyone caring for historic buildings; including local authorities, building owners, and practitioners.

For the best webinar experience, please use Google Chrome browser or download Adobe Connect.