Banksy's Valentine's Day mural removed by council within hours for 'health and safety reasons'

14 February 2023, 12:12 | Updated: 14 February 2023, 17:02

Thanet Council removed the fridge over 'health and safety' concerns hours after street artist Banksy created the artwork in Margate, Kent.
Thanet Council removed the fridge over 'health and safety' concerns hours after street artist Banksy created the artwork in Margate, Kent. Picture: Getty

By Danielle DeWolfe

The latest piece of artwork unveiled by anonymous street artist Banksy has been taken apart by the council hours after first appearing on the streets.

The artist's first UK artwork to appear in more than a year, Banksy's 'Valentine's Day Mascara' mural highlighting domestic violence was spotted in Margate, Kent, on Tuesday morning.

However, within hours, council contractors had already arrived at the scene, removing the heavy fridge-freezer which formed part of the mural.

The stylised artwork initially depicted a woman in 1950s clothing - including a pinafore and rubber gloves, wearing a grin.


Painted beside a discarded freezer, she appears to be pushing someone, presumably her husband, in the direction of the appliance with all but his legs visible behind it.

However, it's only upon closer inspection that the winking woman appears to have a noticeable black eye.

An upturned garden chair could also be seen in front of the mural, adding another 3D touch to the scene.

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It wasn't long, however, before workers from Thanet Council arrived at the building near Grosvenor Place in Margate, to remove the fridge.

Following extensive criticism, the council have now announced the fridge will be returned to its original position once it has been “made safe”.

Dan Bambridge-Higgins, who witnessed the deconstruction, took to Twitter following the incident: "You can't get them to sort out any fly tipping but hilariously sad that the instant reaction to a new Banksy in Margate by @ThanetCouncil is to remove it!"

Banksy confirms Kent street artwork with apparent domestic abuse theme was by him

The artwork before council contractors appeared to remove the fridge
The artwork before council contractors appeared to remove the fridge. Picture: Alamy

Another resident said: "I'm absolutely upset because it's not really nice. It was part of the art, they should be very happy because Margate could get bigger attention, positive attention.

'Why did they move those parts? It's just silly.'

Removed over 'health and safety concerns', Thanet council

Valentine's Day artwork has become something of a tradition to the secretive street artist, who famously created artwork of a child slingshotting a heart at a wall in Bristol in February 2020.

Named ‘Valentine’s Day Mascara’, the artwork was announced on the artists Instagram account to more than 12 million of his followers.


It follows an extended stint painting his murals across Ukraine in October and November last year following the onset of war.

Banksy is known for incorporating social commentary into his artwork, often highlighting campaigns and causes through tongue-in-cheek additions his murals.

Returning to Kent for the first time since 2017, Banksy's last piece in the area reflected the then-recent Brexit result, showing a man on a ladder chipping away a star from the EU flag.

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