'Workmen smiled as they painted over it,' local resident says
A Banksy mural that was featured on the cover of Blur‘s 2003 single ‘Crazy Beat’ has been painted over in error by Hackney Council.
The image, which was on the side of a privately-owned building in London‘s Stoke Newington, featured a parody of The Royal Family waving from a balcony.
Property owner Sofie Attrill gave Banksy permission to paint the mural on her building in 2003, in order for it to be used on the sleeve of ‘Crazy Beat’.
She told BBC News that Hackney Council had mistakenly sent letters to an address she lived at 25 years ago inquiring about removing the artwork. When they received no reply, they ordered the Banksy to be painted over.
“The workmen were smiling as they did it – they thought it was funny,” Attrill said. “I just burst into tears. But a crowd gathered and we managed to get them to stop before destroying it completely.”
She added that she was happy to let fans take pictures of the mural, and didn’t want it removed.
“I don’t care about art or politics – I am just an ordinary girl who liked being cheered up by seeing this on my street,” she added. “We never wanted to make money out of it like many do – but it was a part of our lives. Now it’s gone.”
Cllr Alan Laing of Hackney Council initially stated: “The council’s position is not to make a judgement call on whether graffiti is art.”
He later added that the council was sorry over the mistake, saying: “Due to a problem at the land registry, unfortunately our letters stating our intention to clean this building didn’t reach the owner. As soon as we realised this, work stopped. We are now speaking with her about how to resolve the issue.”