Musicians react angrily to removal of Sheffield’s ‘I Love You Will You Marry Me’ graffiti

The mural has inspired songs, t-shirts, musicals and more

A number of musicians have reacted angrily to the removal of a beloved graffiti marriage proposal in Sheffield.

The ‘I Love You Will U Marry Me’ message had been on Sheffield’s Park Hill flats since 2001. It was painted by Jason Lowe in a bid to win his then-girlfriend’s hand but has now been removed due to “essential repair work”.

The graffiti, which was painted on a bridge linking two blocks of flats, was later immortalised in neon lights as part of a marketing campaign for Manchester-based developer Urban Splash.

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Graffiti based artwork adorns a bridge on the Park Hill housing estate, Sheffield Yorkshire UK Contributor: Matthew Taylor / Alamy Stock Photo
Graffiti based artwork adorns a bridge on the Park Hill housing estate, Sheffield Yorkshire UK
Contributor: Matthew Taylor / Alamy Stock Photo

Richard Hawley, who wrote songs for a 2019 musical about the Park Hill estate, told BBC Radio 4 that he was “really angry” about the mural’s removal and called for it to be reinstated.

“Like all graffiti, it’s sometimes just some kind of nuisance, but it symbolises a state of mind in Sheffield,” he said. “When I first found out about this I was, probably like a lot of Sheffielders, really, really angry.”

He added: “I just hope and would urge Urban Splash to put at least the fluorescent signs back. The people of Sheffield love it and that’s the bottom line really.”

Doncaster rocker Yungblud, who named one of his songs after the words on the mural, tweeted that he was “heartbroken” over its removal.

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Pulp drummer Nick Banks said the graffiti had become “almost a message to Sheffield itself, overlooking the city”.

Like Hawley, Banks urged developers to “put the neon sign back” but added that “it kind of loses something without the graffiti underneath”.

A spokesperson for developer Urban Splash told The Star that the graffiti will be replaced in exactly the same place “in consultation with all concerned”.

Originally reading “Clare Middleton I love you will u marry me”, the first two words of Lowe’s graffiti faded over the years to leave the slogan in its later form.

Although he and his girlfriend never married, Lowe’s romantic gesture has formed part of the city’s skyline since, with many considering it an “iconic” piece of history. Middleton later died of cancer in 2007 at the age of just 30.

Meanwhile, the Leadmill in Sheffield will celebrate its 40th anniversary with a limited edition compilation album featuring Richard Hawley, Enter Shikari and more.

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