[EN] Lambeth resident facing eviction by Council

 1970s, 1980s, 1990s, 2000s, 2010s, English, London, Uk  Comments Off on [EN] Lambeth resident facing eviction by Council
Apr 072014

Maritza Tschepp

[EN] The muesli-maker who began in a squat

 1970s, 1980s, 1990s, 2000s, 2010s, English, London, Uk  Comments Off on [EN] The muesli-maker who began in a squat
Apr 072014

Behind the scenes: the cereal maker Alex Smith, who began in a squat

  • The muesli-maker who began in a squat mp4 3mins 30mb
  • Behind the scenes: Alara Cereals started in a squat with two pound notes. But an inauspiscious start has blossomed in to an unlikely success story …
  • I got involved in the squatting movement in the early 1970s. I’d moved to London to study architecture and was living in a building on Tolmers Square, just off Tottenham Court Road. I opposed the philosophy of destroying existing Victorian properties and replacing them with modern blocks solely in the name of making money, so I decided I had to live without it. I didn’t spend money for a year until, in 1975, I found two £1 notes in the street and decided to start a business with it.

    We began what’s now Alara by selling fruit and veg that would otherwise have been thrown out. We bought a sack of flour from a wholefoods wholesaler near the squat and started baking bread. Eventually we squatted in a retail premises and turned it into a wholefoods shop.

    We got evicted from that shop and another, second premises within two years, so, in 1978, we leased a small shop just off the Euston Road. The shop continued to do very well, but the area was being redeveloped and Camden Council allocated our shop as the site office, so we struck a good deal with them to move to a bigger place on Marchmont Street in Bloomsbury.

    We wanted to produce really healthy food, and there were no cereals on the market that had no added sugar, salts or fats at that time, so we started making muesli. With more space in Bloomsbury, we were able to get a muesli mixing machine. It all expanded from that point on, until we had our own factory in Camley Street, King’s Cross. We’ve been embedded in the community for years now – we’ve planted lots of trees near the factory, we have an orchard, and the people who work here live close by, too. Our next mission is to sequester more carbon than the carbon we create in making our products.

    Our focus is on creating a healthy product with high nutritional value. As well as keeping our muesli free from sugar, salt and fat, we use superfoods such as goji berries and linseeds, and we’ve developed a complex database that we use to develop blends with specific requirements – such as high selenium, or vitamin C – that will still taste great.

    Alara was the first cereal company in the world to be certified organic, and now our factory produces about half of all the organic muesli sold in the UK. We are also the first company to be licensed by the Coeliac Society. We’ve come a long way since squatting, but being accessible to everyone remains central to what we do.


[EN] Bonnington Square 20mins

 1970s, 1980s, 1990s, 2000s, 2010s, English, London  Comments Off on [EN] Bonnington Square 20mins
Sep 202013


Bonnington Square

Date: 2013, Country: UK, City:London, Language: Eng, Length: 20mins

Bonnington Square is right in the heart of London, just two minutes walk from the river and just ten minutes from the Houses of Parliament. In the early eighties the one hundred houses of the Square were all squatted, forming a bohemian community from all around the world.The squat had two community gardens, a cafe, a wholefood shop, a nightclub, a newsletter and even a milkbar. Although it is no longer squatted, there are still many low rent housing cooperatives, and the cafe and the gardens are still collectively run, and the Square is now a model of a modern sustainable urban community.

[EN] Villa Road – Property is Theft

 1970s, 1980s, 1990s, 2000s, 2010s, English, London  Comments Off on [EN] Villa Road – Property is Theft
Jan 082007

Villa Road

The story of Villa Road, a squatted street, during the heyday of squatting in the late 1970s, when all over the country people lived together in politicised communities. These squatters were on the left, and were part of a generation whose views were underwritten by Marxist ideology. They believed that the revolution was coming and the state would be overthrown.

Villa Road in south London brought together an extraordinary community of over 200 people.

“The idea was that there would be a revolution. One was always a little bit vague about exactly what form that might take in Britain, maybe a general strike or whatever. It sounds and it was wildly utopian.”
Mike Reid, Villa Roader

Anarchists mixed with hippies and feminists, and homeless single mothers rubbed shoulders with marxist revolutionaries. The core group in Villa Road were white middle-class graduates. These politicised intellectuals with allegiances to various left-wing groups led the Villa Roaders in all their anti-capitalist campaigns.
Villa Roaders were against the nuclear family, which they felt denied the full potential of the individual. They were antagonistic to the police, who they viewed as an embodiment of the state. They identified politically with the working class, and supported striking workers. These were also the early days of feminism, and women on Villa Road struggled to free themselves from male domination by attending consciousness-raising groups and Marxist reading groups. As well as engaging in political activism, some on Villa Road were interested in transforming their unconscious minds through psychotherapy. This took an extreme form at number 12, which was a primal scream commune, run by the charismatic and wholly untrained Jenny James, who now runs a commune in Colombia and gives a rare interview in this film.

In the hot summer of 1976, the Villa Roaders barricaded the street to fend off eviction and demolition. They won a partial victory: half of the street was saved and still stands today. The communist revolution, however, failed to materialise.

The film also documents London’s most long-standing squatted community, St Agnes Place, a street close to Villa Road. They fought eviction and demolition for over 30 years, and were finally evicted by the council only recently, in December 2005.

[EN] Tolmers: Beginning or End? (excerpts) FLV

 1970s, English, London  Comments Off on [EN] Tolmers: Beginning or End? (excerpts) FLV
Dec 241977


Tolmers: Beginning or End? (excerpt1) plus

Date: 1975, Country: UK, City:London Language: ENG Length: 3 & 5mins, Size: 18mb & 30mb Type: FLV

In the early 1970s, one of the most beautiful Georgian Squares in London, Tolmers Square, was destined for the wrecker’s ball. A small group of squatters of an intellectual bent moved into the empty building in order to save it. Nick Wates, now of Nick Wates Associates, was the catalyst and major force behind its preservation. At the time, I was working for David Judd Associates, which was just down the street from Tolmers. Our tea lady – the most important job in England – told me about the planned demise. “Shouldn’t you be doing something more useful than marketing cigarettes, beer and Chunky Dog Meat?” I took her challenge to heart and introduced myself to Nick.

Together, we created a 30 minute documentary “Tolmers Square: Beginning or End?” which ultimately became a BBC production. 72 hours after the showing of the documentary on the BEEB, the destruction was cancelled!

[DE] Rauchhaus – Allein machen sie dich ein

 1970s, Berlin, Deutsch  Comments Off on [DE] Rauchhaus – Allein machen sie dich ein
Apr 091973


Allein machen sie dich ein Dok.Film vom Rauch-Haus-Kollektiv

BRD 1973/74, 16 mm, s/w, 73 Min.

Westberlin, Dezember 1971: Mehrere hundert Lehrlinge, Schüler, junge Arbeiter und Jugendliche, die aus Heimen abgehauen waren, besetzten einen Teil des leerstehenden Bethanien-Krankenhauses in Kreuzberg. Sie wollen ihre beschissene Wohn- und Freizeitsituation selbst ändern. Was seitdem im “Georg von Rauch-Haus” geschehen ist, das zeigt der Film, der von einem Filmkollektiv zusammen mit den
Jugendlichen gemacht worden ist. Der Film beginnt mit der Geschichte der Besetzung und dem Kampf um den Erhalt des Hauses – Demonstrationen, Verhandlungen, Teach-Ins, Zeitungsherstellung. Er zeigt die Schwierigkeiten mit der Selbstorganisation und die Notwendigkeit, die gewonnenen Erfahrungen und Erkenntnisse auch außerhalb des Hauses anzuwenden.