A PLEA has been made for South Tynesiders to catch a last glimpse of a seafaring artwork before it is “lost forever”.
Wouldhave House in South Shields Market Place will be flattened within two months as part of major regeneration work.
The gable end of the complex, since the mid-1980s, has featured an artistic mural of a number of sailors in a boat.
But as the wall is integral to the structure, it will disappear forever when demolition is completed.
And although amateur photographer Tony Purvis, of Harbour View, admits the outdoor artwork is “no Banksy”, he believes its passing should be marked in some way.
Mr Purvis said: “It is no great work of art, but it has been there for more than 20 years and soon it will vanish.
“Anyone who wants to see it for one last time should get down there as soon as they can.”
It is known that the mural was repainted in 2000 by street sign writer Gavin Buckingham, after the original faces on the mural, featuring a group battling in stormy weather, had faded badly.
And Mr Buckingham revealed a few years later that he used Newcastle United striker Alan Shearer as inspiration for the figure on the far left of the artwork – even though he was a Sunderland supporter.
Meanwhile, Mr Purvis has also stepped in to save for posterity a tiled South Shields emblem that was positioned behind a smoking shelter at Wouldhave House.
The 300 four-inch tiles have now been removed by council workers and put in storage.
Mr Purvis added: “They will be cleaned and re-set and I’ve suggested that the emblem, which features the words ‘Always Ready’ and a sailor and a lady standing, could perhaps be placed in the new leisure centre at Pier Head.”