Image by SallyB
Last year, the group of unspecified number took residence in the Old Vicarage in De Beauvoir Square next to St Peter’s Church. They moved in when the former tenants of the Circle 33 housing association building were moved out, and the building stood empty and dilapidated, attracting drug-takers and prostitutes and general down-at-heelness. When the squatters moved in, they carried out repairs, cleaned up the outside areas and generally kept the place in good shape, even helping out with viewings when auctioneers Saville arrived to make a sale. Reverend Julia Porter of St Peter’s Church applauds the group for the contribution they’ve made to the area, giving a refreshing opposite view to the usual hand-wringing over squatters in one’s street.
The Old Vicarage was sold at auction for £1 million but the buyer remains undisclosed. Since the squatters were so houseproud, we’re imagining an unlikely but still pleasant to dream of situation wherein it was one of their own, a secret millionaire who has forked out for the house so that their civic pride can continue in this corner of Hackney. As it's most likely a developer who's made the purchase, with considerably less to give back to the locals, we can but dream.