St Agnes squat, Kennington 1969-2007
We celebrate London's longest running squat
(photos by the Brixton Hatter)
The Victorian terrace was first squatted way back in 1969 after the council bought up the properties as part of a scheme to extend Kennington Park (then known as Kennington District Park).
The plans involved the demolition of the buildings, but as the park expansion plans stuttered, the houses fell derelict before being completely rebuilt by squatters.
In 1977, an attempt to evict the squatters was successfully resisted on the rooftops, although several buildings were demolished or badly damaged during the battle. Damaged properties were promptly rebuilt by the squatters.
St Agnes Place, 18th May 2007.
Lambeth Council tried again in 2003, obtaining a possession order after the squatters failed to persuade the authorities of their case for adverse possession.
Threatened with 30 years of council tax bills, many residents moved out to be replaced by anti-capitalist, environmentalist and travellers who set up barricades. The first appearance by the bailiffs that year saw no attempt being made to to evict anyone.
St Agnes Place, 5th June 2007.
All was quiet until the Council returned in Autumn 2005 with a demolition order for the street and renewed warrants to execute the possession orders obtained in 2003.
The new warrants came via the High Court rather than the County Court, which meant that they could use riot police instead of bailiffs.
St Agnes Place, 10th July 2007.
On Tuesday, 30 November 2005 a massive eviction operation saw two hundred bailiffs and riot police successfully clear the remaining squatters, although one property remained in place.
Separated by some distance from the other houses in the street, the Rastafari temple remained for another year and a half, with the council expressing an interest in coming to an agreement to let the occupiers legally stay and pay rent/housing benefits.
Railing detail, St Agnes Place, 5th June 2007.
The temple was a place of genuine religious significance for Rastafari, and Bob Marley was said to have visited in the late 70s.
On the 12 April 2007, the temple was raided by the police, acting on intelligence - some of it apparently from the temple elders - that the building had been overrun by cannabis and crack cocaine dealers.
Demolition of the entire site was completed by mid 2007.
St Agnes Place discussion on the urban75 bulletin boards:
70's squatting doc
More 70's squatting doc (longer)
St Agnes discussion
Bakelite letter to ES
The eviction :(
Lambeth Town Hall Demo
More demo (longer)
Wake for st agnes
The beginning of the end
Call for solidarity
Start of evictions
30 years of DIY culture and resistance
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