Saturday 29th April: A Discontinuous History of Squatting in Somers Town, Esther Leslie

14. Medburn Street B+W-1.JPG

Somers Town is an absurdly layered, compacted historical location – its modern history stretching back to the Romantics, to Mary Wollstonecraft and Mary Shelley – it is a small spot on which so many events have happened. And yet it stands now as a shadow of itself. It is a place dense with housing, built in waves, some now disappeared, like the Polygon that housed William Godwin and Mary Wollstonecraft and others or the neo-Georgian terrace where ‘Drop Out’ author Robin Farquharson died in a fire; some decaying like the model flats of the Ossulston estate of the 1920s, modelled on Karl Marx Hof in Red Vienna, and some yet to come like the massive ‘luxury’ tower blocks planned to obliterate the park. Housing has always been an issue here and the walk concentrated on two waves of radical experiments in living – mass squatting in North Somers town in the abandoned Brewer’s estate houses the early 1970 and the large squats in decayed flats, ‘unfit for human habitation’, in the South in the mid 1980s.

-Esther Leslie

-Corinne Noble (image)

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