EDUCATION officer Rachel Parle was thrilled when Victorian graffiti was discovered during museum restoration work.

The writing in silver paint on a beam high in the rafters at the Oxford University Museum of Natural History in Parks Road reads ‘This roof was painted by G. Thicke and J Randall, April 1864.’ It was uncovered by contractors who are working on a year-long project to fix the museum’s 150-year-old leaky roof. Ms Parle said: “The graffiti was discovered by accident, which is a lovely thing.

“It is really exciting. It is a little message from the past. It is a lovely feeling to find something we didn’t know was there – and lovely to see their names.”

The renovation work, which involves stripping and cleaning thousands of glass roof panels, does not involve any painting, so the original paintwork will stay.

The painters’ message, which is high up on the rafters and cannot be seen without the scaffolding, will also remain in place.

The museum in Parks Road is closed to the public throughout 2013 and is due to re-open in February 2014.

For updates follow the museum’s blog at