The Thekla Boat was originally a cargo ship. It was built in Germany in 1958 and worked in the coastal trades. In 1982 the ship was bought by Ki Longfellow and his wife Vivian Stanshall. The couple moored the boat in the Mud Dock area of Bristol's Floating Harbour, England and refurbished the boat as a venue and theatre space. In the 1990's the boat was purchased and rebranded as The Thekla. It is now a nightclub and a venue. Bands such as The Magic Numbers, Jamie T, T Model Ford and The Bluetones have all played The Thekla.

In 2003 Banksy painted "The Grim Reaper" on the sea facing side of the ship. The owner at the time posted an image of the piece onto their website asking the nightclub goers if they should keep the artwork or remove it. The public voted overwhelmingly in favour of keeping the "Reaper" Bristol City Council felt otherwise and ordered it's removal. Banksy later returned and repainted his work.

Over the years "The Grim Reaper" had deteriorated due to the weather and in 2014 the owners of The Thelka decided to have it removed to preserve the piece while the boat was dry docked. In 2015 the artwork made it's way into the M Shed where it is now on long term loan and can be viewed by the public. The current owners, DHP have no intentions of selling the original Banksy piece.

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