Events News Walthamstow

Iconic street art outside Walthamstow pub painted over

Wood Street Walls said the new owner had actually “done [them] and the artist a favour”
By Victoria Munro

The piece by Shok-1 (credit: Wood Street Walls)
The piece by Shok-1 (credit: Wood Street Walls)

A popular piece of street art on a Walthamstow pub was painted over by its new management during a controversial makeover.

On 15th September, beloved boozer The Bell closed down for refurbishment and will be reopening on 21st October.

The pub is owned by the UK’s largest pub company – Stonegate Group – who forced out long-standing manager Andy Potter so they could take the pub in-house.

During the revamp, which leaked plans show will entail installing 14 TV screens, a Wood Street Walls mural by artist Shok-1 was unfortunately painted over.

While locals have mourned its loss, Wood Street Walls co-founder Mark Clack told the Echo that Stonegate had “done [them] and the artist a favour”.

He said: “Although Shok-1’s piece is one of the most popular pieces of street art in Walthamstow, the mural was agreed between Shok and the old landlords of the pub: Andy and Louisa.

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“We discussed with Shok and – given the change of ownership – we agreed that it would be painted out. So the new ownership has done us and the artist a favour to painting out themselves. 

“We are aware of the huge Space Invader piece we were involved in putting up in partnership with Space Invader and his team and are in discussions on the best way to protect this piece in the immediate future.”

The takeover of The Bell has raised concerns about Stonegate Group’s “monopoly” on local pubs and left some of its other leaseholders worried for their long-term future.

Stonegate owns at least 12 other pubs in the borough, although the company refused to provide a full list when contacted by the Echo.

In Walthamstow, these include The Goose and The Lord Palmerston – which it runs directly – and Ye Olde Rose & Crown, The Nags Head, The Flower Pot and The Dog & Duck, which it leases out. 

Elsewhere in the borough, it owns The Kings Head, The Wishing Well and The Dovecote in Chingford and Nightingale on the Green and Plough & Harrow in Leytonstone

The manager of Ye Olde Rose & Crown, Bun Constantinou, told the Echo their lease is up for renewal in March 2024 and that he is “unsure” what will happen.

An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated that Stonegate own a pub in Walthamstow called The George.

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