Search

Royal Mint squatters by Tower of London claim they’re being ‘starved out’

14:40 30 December 2015

Defiant... squatters at the Royal Mint give a hand-fist wave from balcony [photo: Ken Mears]

Defiant... squatters at the Royal Mint give a hand-fist wave from balcony [photo: Ken Mears]

Archant

Squatters who have taken over part of the former Royal Mint complex are “under siege” and claim they are being starved out, after slipping into the complex opposite the Tower of London on Monday night.

A note pinned to the entrance of the Royal Mint occupied by squatters [Ken Mears]A note pinned to the entrance of the Royal Mint occupied by squatters [Ken Mears]

The protesters have taken over one of the five Grade II-listed buildings in the complex at Tower Hill and are refusing to leave, although admitting they may not have brought enough to eat with them.

They are campaigning against homelessness would only be turfed out when the owners arrive with a High Court order, they declared.

“We’re in a ‘siege’ position where the security people won’t allow us food,” one squatter identifying himself as Tom Tamilin told the East London Advertiser.

“We have ‘access to leave this building, but not to come back.

Royal Mint... occupied by squatters protesting at luxury properties left empty [photo: Vickie Flores]Royal Mint... occupied by squatters protesting at luxury properties left empty [photo: Vickie Flores]

“No-one is bringing us food—so we’re all going on a strict diet. They want to starve us out.”

Tom, describing himself as a 44-year-old humanist ‘nomad’ from Camden Town who travels the world for a profession, was one of 20 protesters who slipped into Royal Mint Court on Monday.

They are down to half the number, but have not yet been served legal papers to quit.

Their protest is over the five buildings left empty which they say could house 1,000 homeless people.

“There are 104,000 homeless children in this country—with one-and-a-half million empty buildings,” Tom added. “We want the old Royal Mint to be used to house people.

“But it’s also about the financial bubble, the world of finance, keeping luxury properties empty to keep values high.”

The protesters have already had one brush with security contractors who they claim turfed out squatters from one building without court papers—until police arrived and advised that a court order would be needed.

“We need out day in court,” Tom demanded.

Meanwhile, they have mains water supplies, although the owners slipped them a note yesterday advising that it hadn’t been tested in a while and “might not be safe”.

That didn’t wash with the protesters, who are boiling the water before drinking—just in case. Only food was not getting through.

“We didn’t think they would starve us out,” Tom admits. “We thought we’d have right of passage, but they control the yard. If we leave, we can’t get back.”

The five-acre Royal Mint Court has five listed buildings including the one being occupied. It is no longer used by the Royal Mint following re-location to Lombard Street in the City in 2000, but has been earmarked for redevelopment as a business complex.

The last coins minted at Tower Hill were in the 1970s, when production was shifted to South Wales.

Latest East London News Stories

19:00

Our nightly series looking at the news covered by the East London Advertiser from 1866, celebrating our 150th anniversary this year, is now looking at local events during the Great War. Many men are at the Western Front, while there is poverty on the ‘home front’ and campaigns for reform. Sylvia Pankhurst has set up HQ in London’s East End in her battle for women’s suffrage...

12:56

Power is being given back to the controversial Tower Hamlets council two years after Government commissioners were sent in to tackle corruption and malpractice in public office during the Lutfur Rahman administration.

Yesterday, 19:40

Our nightly look at the past in the East London Advertiser’s 150th anniversary has arrived at the Great War and an incident that shocked the nation and the world, the execution of a nurse who had qualified at the London Hospital working in Belgium when the Germans invade. Nurse Edith Cavell had helped Allies soldiers trapped behind enemy to escape, but was caught. It costs her life...

Fri, 19:00

Our continuing nightly look the East London Advertiser’s 150th anniversary reaches 1913 and the start of the ‘Farthing Bundle’ for the children of the East End’s poor that is to last the next half century. Historian Gary Haines uncovers the story of the ‘Farthing Bundle Woman of Bow’, Clara Grant, who sets up the Fern Street Settlement feeding hungry children, helping to clothe them and creating her famous ‘farthing bundle’ of toys made from recycled bits and bobs…

Fri, 11:52

Two teenagers aged 16 have been bailed until January following their arrests in connection with the attempted murder of a police officer in Bow.

Fri, 02:43

Labour took a bruising at last night’s Whitechapel by-election result in east London when a “novice” independent candidate won the seat on Tower Hamlets Council with a runaway majority.

Thu, 20:00

Polls close tonight at 10pm for the controversial Whitechapel by-election in London’s East End to replace a councillor jailed for housing fraud.

Thu, 19:20

Our nightly look at some of the stories the East London Advertiser has run since 1866, celebrating our 150th anniversary, continues in 1912 with the mass walk-out in the East End’s impoverished garment trade which begins the changes to its notorious ‘sweatshop’ working conditions...

Newsletter Sign Up

Most read news

HOT JOBS

Show Job Lists

Competitions

Cosmetics, toiletries, vitamins and more. Boots is the number one choice when it comes to purchasing daily essentials.

If you’re obsessed with Apple or just love a good gadget, this is a prize that will blow you away! An incredible £3,333 to spend on Apple goodies! How would you like to be the proud new owner of the Apple Watch?

Digital Edition

cover

Enjoy the
Docklands and East London Advertiser
e-edition today

Subscribe

Education and Training

cover

Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now