Abandoned old people's home in Malmesbury becomes graffiti art zoo

Wilts and Gloucestershire Standard: The graffiti zoo at Burnham House Pic: Peter Robins/Atlas Features The graffiti zoo at Burnham House Pic: Peter Robins/Atlas Features

AN ABANDONED old people’s home in a sleepy rural town has become a tourist attraction after a graffiti artist turned it into a zoo by painting giant animals on the walls.

A giraffe peers out of an upstairs window, a massive pigeon looks beadily down at curious visitors from what appears to be huge hole in the brickwork and a Jurassic Park twist is added by the Tyrannosaurus Rex that stalks prey in the gardens.

Only finished on Friday it is already attracting curious visitors. One couple even travelled from Newbury after seeing a picture in a Sunday newspaper.

Burnham House in Malmesbury closed down six years ago when the residents were moved to Athelstan House at Burton Hill on the other side of town and it is due to be demolished later this year.

But it proved too tempting for street artist Luke Hollingworth. Now it is home to an elephant, a giraffe and a rhino as well as other creatures.

The rural Banksy, who works under the name of Syd, once turned the tables on fellow artist Damien Hirst by painting him inside a tank of formaldehyde and setting it up in a field for cattle to appreciate.

When he turned his attention to the home it took a week of working early mornings and late nights between his day job as a gardener to create its new residents The giraffe, his favourite, took an afternoon, painting 20ft up a ladder.

But his colourful zoo may have to shut even earlier than expected. Over the weekend security staff went in to deal with a break-in on the ground floor.

The home is set to be replaced with extra- care flats for the elderly.

For a full report and more pictures see this week's Standard.

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