Make Tea, Not War: Bambi artwork is restored in Belsize Park
Image is of late shopkeeper June Beechey
25 March, 2021 — By Tom Foot
Richard Lagani and the restored painting
A MURAL which honours a shopkeeper who served customers for 50 years has been restored.
The “Make Tea, Not War” image in Belsize Terrace was painted by street artist Bambi, whose real identity has never been revealed. It has been suggested that she may be a well-known musician who wanted a secret sideline in spray paint.
The woman in the stencil is the late June Beechey, who ran the RJ Welsh hardware shop in Regent’s Park Road for five decades before retiring in 2010.
The artwork later appeared near her shop followed by the one in Belsize Park.
June Beechey at the mural after it first appeared in 2010
Richard Lagani, who lives nearby, has now removed mould and replaced a perspex screen, while also touching up paint around the border.
He said it was “too beautiful not to restore”.
Bambi, whose work focuses on female identity, posted the restoration on social media over the weekend, leading to a comment from Ms Beechey’s daughter, Lynn, praising the job. Ms Beechey, who died in 2019, had been caught by surprise by the attention.
The artwork had fallen into disrepair
“What amuses me most is my little shoes – I wear special shoes and the artist has got them just right,” she told the New Journal when it appeared overnight. “Make tea not war is something I’d agree with – although I prefer a nice cup of coffee.”
The restoration was part-organised by the Belsize Village Business Association.
Its coordinator, Bob Stephenson-Padron, said: “It was so heart-warming to see so many happy faces and hear comments over the weekend of folks praising the restoration of Belsize Terrace’s Bambi.”