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Spy Booth, 2014


Spy Booth


Spy Booth

Location: Cheltenham, England
Spy Booth portrays three stenciled government spies, straight out of a film noir set, around an existing telephone booth on the side of the Cheltenham property. Permanently perched around the phone box wielding 1950s surveillance equipment, the trench coated trio were set to forever listen in on conversations within. Or at least they were, before the removal of the valuable mural…
The artwork, which shows three stencil figures listening into a conversation in an existing telephone box, is just a few miles away from Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ), which is responsible for providing intelligence and information assurance to the British Government and Armed Forces.
(Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images)
Spy Booth was a typical Banksy provocative political work, appearing just a few meters away from the British Government Communications Headquarters a year after former NSA contractor and notorious whistle-blower Edward Snowden exposed the British intelligence and security organization for mining online and telephone data.


Soon after, it was announced that the mural would be removed, which stirred commotion within Cheltenham community. The artwork was supposed to be removed and sold by a London art gallery in July, and after an unsuccessful campaign to raise £1 million to buy the word and keep it in the city, the day was saved by the law: because Banksy had painted it on a Grade II* listed house, it was protected under UK heritage legislation, which prevents it from being removed without a permission from the city council.



To make it all even more interesting, the artwork had been vandalized in August, when silver spray paint covered most of it. The experts have been called in to repair the damage by putting anti-graffiti products, and the Booth was successfully restored.