Council commits to securing future of Hull’s Banksy as structural survey of Scott Street Bridge reveals it is a hazard to shipping

Plans to preserve an artwork by Banksy on Scott Street Bridge have been revealed after a structural survey has found the bridge to be a hazardous structure.

Whilst there is no immediate risk to shipping or the public, Hull City Council will press ahead with plans to appoint a contractor to carry out urgent works to remove both sides of the Grade 2 Listed drawbridge, as a failure to do so will result in the closure of the river.

As part of this complex operation, the Council proposes to preserve the Banksy artwork by specialist removal into secure storage until it can be relocated adjacent to the original site, in keeping with its intended artistic statement and context.

The artwork, ‘Draw the Raised Bridge’, which illustrates a little boy in a cape, wearing a helmet and wielding a sword, was confirmed by Banksy as his work on his official Instagram account on 26 January 2018.

The internationally renowned artist’s work has been adopted by the city of Hull, instilling a sense of community pride that has continued as part of the lasting effect of the UK City of Culture’s legacy.

Councillor Daren Hale, Hull City Council Portfolio Holder for economic investment and regeneration, said:

“It is absolutely heartbreaking that we must take this course of action. The Council has kept the bridge in place for as long as practically possible, but we have been advised that this is the only way to keep river traffic safe.

“Since it was revealed that the artwork on the bridge is a Banksy, visitors have flocked to the site to appreciate this unique piece of work and a lively street art culture has grown up around it.

“Alongside working with Historic England to ensure that the work to the bridge is carried out as sensitively as possible, we will also talk with local arts groups about how the Banksy should be redisplayed. Our aim is to ensure the Banksy remains part of the thriving street art culture in this area, and that the context of the artwork and the history of the bridge are fully respected and acknowledged in the final scheme.”

As Hull’s navigation authority, the Council has a responsibility to keep the River Hull operational at all times. There are approximately 40 vessel movements a month, and within the Hull boundary there are 10 operational bridges, most of which are movable to allow shipping to pass.

Scott Street Bridge was closed to vehicles in 1995, and ceased to be a public highway in 2007. It has been raised permanently since then. As a Grade 2 listed structure, the works will be carried out in consultation with Historic England.

The work is expected to take up to six months.