Delicate work is under way to preserve a glass mural erected after a riot in which a policeman was murdered by a mob.

Around 250 people were injured on Tottenham’s once-notorious Broadwater Farm council estate after violence erupted amid racial tensions in 1985.

The 60ft-tall 'Equality-Harmony' artwork, created in 1986 by artist Gülsün Erbil in the wake of the riot, is regarded as “a contemporary landmark of social history”. 

Specialist heritage contractors have been carefully dismantling the listed Grade II mural during the estate’s redevelopment so it can be reassembled later.

Safety checks following the 2017 Grenfell tower disaster in west London found Tangmere House, the five-storey building on which it was built, structurally unsound and it was scheduled for demolition.

But the mural, which covers the Tangmere House rubbish chute, is listed by Historic England and must be preserved.

Haringey Council brought in conservation company DBR, which has been carefully cutting the mural into 21 sections, to be dismantled one by one and lowered by crane.

“It is only right that the Broadwater mural is conserved,” the company’s director Adrian Attwood said. “This represents the community that helped create it as testament to the social justice campaign that followed the riot and a symbol of community spirit.”

The mosaic, which weighs 50 tonnes, has motifs from global to local, with two hemispheres at the top leading down to a map of Britain, then the Thames and London skyline, finally the estate itself and its people.

Protective blankets are used to wrap each section, filled with cotton gauze, wheat-starch paste, liquid rubber and a layer of plaster to absorb any vibration during the process.

Large diamond cutting-wheels are used to ‘wet cut’ each section through the mass of concrete. A crane then lifts each one, weighing more than two tonnes, to a workshop onsite set up for the painstaking cleaning and conservation process.

The mural will be reassembled in a new location on the estate, marking the conciliation that followed the riot.

PC Keith Blakelock, a home beat officer in Muswell Hill and a father of three, was surrounded by a mob and stabbed to death on the night of October 6, 1985. The rioting erupted when a woman had a heart attack after a police raid on her home.

Some 250 officers were injured. Two policemen and three journalists were hit by gunshots, the first time shots had been fired by rioters in Britain.

Three men were later charged with PC Blakelock’s murder, known as “the Tottenham Three”, and were convicted at the Old Bailey in 1987.