Section of the National Covid Memorial Wall, April 2021
Section of the National Covid Memorial Wall, April 2021

The National Covid Memorial Wall in London is a public mural painted by volunteers to commemorate victims of the COVID-19 pandemic in the United Kingdom.[1] Started in March 2021 and stretching more than one-third mile (five hundred metres) along the South Bank of the River Thames, opposite the Palace of Westminster,[2] and just outside St Thomas' Hospital, the mural consists of thousands of red and pink hearts, intending to have one heart for each of the approximately 150,000 casualties of COVID-19 in the United Kingdom at the time of the mural's commencement.[3] The intent was for each heart to be "individually hand-painted; utterly unique, just like the loved ones we’ve lost".[4] The mural was organized by campaign group Covid-19 Bereaved Families for Justice, with the help of the campaign group Led By Donkeys, and painting first commenced in the week encompassing the end of March 2021.[4][5]


On 29 March 2021, Labour Party leader Keir Starmer visited the mural, which he described as a "remarkable memorial", before calling on Boris Johnson to visit the mural personally and engage with the families of the deceased.[3] Johnson later visited the wall for "quiet reflection" and was criticised by the co-founder of the group, who said that the visit, which did not include a meeting with bereaved families, was "a late evening visit under cover of darkness ... a cynical and insincere move that is deeply hurtful".[6][7]

Future of the mural

As of April 2021, the mural was not considered finished, as volunteers intended to continue to add hearts to match the UK's COVID-19 death toll.[8] In April, plans were reported of using digital scanning technology to count the number of hearts on the wall.[9]

While the original plan for the unauthorised mural included provision to clean the area after a period of time,[3] some campaigners have argued that the mural should remain indefinitely as a permanent memorial.[8][2] The Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, had previously promised a "fitting and permanent" memorial to those who died from COVID-19 after the conclusion of the pandemic.[4]


See also


  1. ^ "Walk the National Covid Memorial Wall". National Covid Memorial Wall. Retrieved 5 September 2021.
  2. ^ a b Emma Birchley (8 April 2021). "COVID-19: Huge London memorial wall marks scale of UK's coronavirus deaths – as families ensure loved ones don't 'disappear'". Sky News. Sky News. Retrieved 12 April 2021.
  3. ^ a b c Manpreet Kaur Sachdeva (30 March 2021). "COVID-19: Bereaved families paint mural of almost 150,000 red hearts to represent victims". Sky News. Sky News. Retrieved 14 January 2022.
  4. ^ a b c "Covid bereaved begin work on memorial wall opposite Westminster". the Guardian. 29 March 2021. Retrieved 12 April 2021.
  5. ^ Lynskey, Dorian (18 July 2021). "Wall of love: the incredible story behind the national Covid memorial". The Guardian. Retrieved 28 July 2021.
  6. ^ "Johnson visited Covid Memorial Wall 'under the cover of darkness'". Express and Star. 29 April 2021. Retrieved 1 May 2021.
  7. ^ Grylls, George (30 April 2021). "Boris Johnson visited pandemic memorial wall without meeting bereaved". The Times. Retrieved 1 May 2021.
  8. ^ a b "Covid memorial wall has 'got to stay', say bereaved families". ITV News. 8 April 2021. Retrieved 12 April 2021.
  9. ^ Whelan, Sean (31 March 2021). "London memorial wall remembers Covid-19 victims". Retrieved 12 April 2021.

Coordinates: 51°30′00″N 0°07′12″W / 51.500°N 0.120°W / 51.500; -0.120