Banksy pub sold at auction

Michael Hunt

The new owners of the Whitehouse pub on the corner of Berry Street and Duke Street in Liverpool city centre said they hope to keep the landmark Banksy artwork on the building.

Sina Moradian & Billy PalmerThe pub was sold at Sutton Kersh's first property auction of the year to bidders Sina Moradian, a nightclub owner, and his business partner and builder Billy Palmer. The pair bought the property from vendor Frenson for £114,000, paying £34,000 more than its guide price.

Palmer said: "I have known about the building for quite a while but I've just been waiting for it to come onto the market at the right price. I think we've got it for a fair price.

"We'll probably keep the artwork but we'll do all the rest of the work that needs doing first.

The secretive Bristol-based graffiti artist, Banksy, was commissioned to create a piece in the Ropewalks area of the city for the 2004 Liverpool Biennial art festival. The giant rat holding a marker pen next to his red zig-zag doodles have been a prominent landmark on the building ever since.

Palmer added: "I don't know much about Banksy's work to be honest. We're hoping to get started on repairing the building in a couple of weeks. Hopefully we can start soon as possible because I don't like waiting around. We bought it because we think it's a good location.

"We would like to turn the building into an off licence downstairs and convert the upstairs into flats.

"This is our first residential project because I'm used to renovating and building bars and nightclubs. I've built clubs such as the Funky Box in Liverpool and Warrington."

The new owners are both from Kirkby, and said because it is a listed building they must go through Liverpool City Council for planning consent if they choose not to keep the artwork and paint over it.

The Grade II-listed pub is 200 years' old.

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Keep the rat fellas! Wish you the best of luck whatever you decide.

By auction attendee

Can’t wait to see if and how the preservation work could be done to retain the artwork given that the surface that it is painted on is in a very poor state of repair and as far as I know was in a bad state when it was done. Good Luck to the new owners I hope they can pull it off.

By Carol Cavanagh

I am Banksy

By Banksy