p h o t o s : last days of krankenhouse (ii 2010)

[ 23:32 tuesday 5 october – haggerston road ]

after ten years as a squat the krankenhouse was finally evicted in february 2010. there had been several stays of execution. the occupiers had even reached an agreement with the landlord  to stay several months longer in return for going quietly when the time came. however shortly after making this agreement a boy from a local estate injured himself on one of the fences outside the property and brought a claim against the community, forcing them to leave immediately. whether rightly or wrong, the community rapidly concluded the owner had arranged the whole incident, offering a suitable reward for the boy if he were to hurt himself in this way.

it was fascinating to observe the developments in the community once the writing was on the wall. whilst the squat was a going concern a myriad rivalries and resentments had been suppressed. without the motive to keep them in check all those forces surfaced with vigour. before my eyes the group began to splinter into factions. there were some who remained committed to keeping the community together and finding a new building large enough to house them. this is no mean feat in london, where there are fewer than half a dozen squats exceeding twenty permanent residents. but many people viewed it as inevitable that the group would have to break up into several smaller units.

the critical test for any squat as it approaches eviction is whether the community can maintain the discipline required to organise reconnaissance parties to scout for new potential homes, “opening” the most promising ones then “sitting” the most viable one. this final part involves a small group of five or six people staying in the opened building twenty-four hours a day with someone permanently on watch ready to raise the alarm should anyone try to invade the building so the group can mobilise to defend it.

at first it looked unlikely the group would get its act together to do this. but in the final weeks something changed and those who wanted to keep the community together gained enough support to start the process in earnest. with barely a week to go a new space, an abandoned courier warehouse in bermondsey, was found and occupied.

the photos show bertrand’s and tails’ rooms plus some of the main shared spaces in the krankenhouse as everything was dismantled and carried out to a convoy of ramshackle vans, themselves a staple of squat life.

: c :

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