Banksy’s No Ball Games Rat was originally placed on a low wall in Gloucester Gardens, Paddington, West London in around 2004 / 2005. It depicts a rat bouncing a ball and taking no notice of the sign above its head which clearly states No Ball Games. The rat features sporty trainers and is looking directly at the viewer. This piece was one of the first to be cut out from a wall with the specific intention of being resold. It appeared on Ebay with a starting auction price tag of £20,000 in 2007 but was removed before sale completion, its current whereabouts are not known.
Gloucester Gardens is a very expensive row of houses set back off Bishops Bridge Road, Paddington. Thieves reportedly used an angle grinder to cut it from the wall. In the Standard newspaper at the time local resident Marion Lau-Mackaay said: “I have complained to Westminster council but they said they could take no action. My six-year-old son loved it so much he did a painting of it after he heard it had gone and sent it to Banksy with a letter saying ‘I hope this makes you feel better”.
After it was cut out from the wall in October 2006 the ‘No Ball Games’ rat appeared on Ebay in 2007, one of the first pieces to be taken from the street to do so.
There was also another No Ball Games rat located in a nearby service area, presumably also by Banksy, but in this case, it appears attempts had already been made to clean it off the wall.
Year: circa 2004/5
Location: Gloucester Gardens, Paddington, London
Banksy recognition: This stencil appears in Banksy’s Wall and Piece and Cut It Out