Network Rail has put a protective screen over the latest art work by world-famous street artist Banksy.
Two reindeer were daubed on a wall beside a bench on Vyse Street beside Birmingham’s Jewellery Quarter station.
Banksy posted on Instagram earlier this week showing a touching video of the artwork highlighting the plight of Britain’s homeless at Christmas time.
Crowds have since flocked to the spot to see the artwork, to which one local person has added a red nose.
Moved by Banksy’s message, Network Rail today took the unusual step of protecting a piece of graffiti on its property.
Local maintenance engineer Chris Edwards drilled Perspex sheeting into the wall to protect the image.
The iconic artwork comes a few weeks before Network Rail and the Midland Langar Seva Society host their annual Christmas Eve meal, at Birmingham New Street station, for local homeless people.
David Golding, interim route managing director for Network Rail’s Central route, said: “As a railway family our hearts go out to the homeless, especially at this time of year. Banksy’s wall art has captured their plight so well. It’s right we protect it so everyone can see it.
“We discourage any graffiti and we spend a lot of time removing it from around the network … but it’s not every day we get a bona fide Banksy.”
Network Rail’s discourages any defacing of its property policy on graffiti is to remove anything obscene.
Luke Crane, executive director, Jewellery Quarter Business Improvement District, said: “We are delighted that Banksy has chosen the Jewellery Quarter as his location for his latest piece of art. It really is an early Christmas present – not just for the Jewellery Quarter community, but for the city of Birmingham. But this gift brings with it a very strong message – a timely reminder that we must not forget those in need, especially over the Christmas period.”
“We have an opportunity here to put Birmingham’s Jewellery Quarter firmly on the map, as the leading light in ending the homelessness crisis that is blighting our inner cities”.
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