Rainbow mural of Churchill in stockings and suspenders allowed to stay in place

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Winston Churchill mural, © PA Wire/PA Images
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By Megan Baynes, PA

A rainbow mural of Winston Churchill wearing stockings and suspenders, which prompted a complaint from the local council because of the former UK prime minister’s trademark “V” sign, is to be allowed to remain in place.

The artwork, which appeared on the wall of Sandpiper Guest House on one of Brighton’s busiest streets, was the subject of a council complaint over Churchill’s hand gesture — his famous “victory” sign, which he used throughout the war.

Mr Phillips, who runs Sandpiper, was originally told by Brighton and Hove City Council that someone would have to paint over the hand signs, before the authority backed down after realising the historical significance.

Mural of wartime leader Sir Winston Churchill wearing stockings and suspenders and giving the ‘V’ sign (Gareth Fuller/PA)

The mural was created by street artist Tom Norris, known as Horace, as part of a series featuring well-known Brightonians and those with links to the city.

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Mr Norris said he was “surprised” the cause of concern had been the wartime prime minister’s hands, and not the fact he is wearing lingerie.

He said: “We were told the council would paint over it, so I was prepared to go and pixelate the hands, but I was worried that would not be good enough.

“I was happy to see that they changed their mind.”

The artist who painted the mural said he was ‘surprised’ the hand gesture had been deemed offensive (Gareth Fuller/PA)

Mr Norris said he had first painted a similar mural in Churchill Square but was arrested for criminal damage, had his original stencil confiscated and the artwork painted over.

He decided to repaint the piece with a new stencil, this time obtaining permission from the local guest house for the use of their wall.

Churchill was painted without trousers because, Horace said, he could not find a suitable full-length picture to work with, and felt the stockings and suspenders matched the atmosphere of the city.

A man poses for a picture next to the mural (Gareth Fuller/PA)

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Mr Phillips said: “It is a nice picture but some people said it was rude because of the v-sign, but that is the victory sign. Once the council were told that, they responded and apologised and said it did not need to be changed.

“I am pleased we have been told not to change it. Many people have been taking pictures with it because Winston Churchill has that connection to Hove.”

Brighton and Hove City Council has been contacted for comment.

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