The Battle of Broadway Market, Part II , winter 2008

Massimo suburbanstudio at
Fri Nov 7 01:01:36 GMT 2008

Another story of power and corruption in Hackney, London.

Spirit has been living and working at the premises at 71 Broadway Market 
since 1993.
When he first rented the building from Hackney council it was derelict 
and Spirit has invested £52,500 of his own money and six year of his own 
labour to turn it into a thriving business, selling fresh food and fish 
at affordable prices.

When Hackney Council auctioned off many of its commercial properties in 
2000-2003 it should have given Spirit, the long-term lease holder first 
option to buy his property. At the time Spirit made it clear to all 
parties involved with the sales that he was determined to buy 71 
Broadway Market.

Spirit went to the Council’s auctioneers on the morning of the auction 
and signed a document that he believed was a contract of sale. He handed 
over a cheque for £10,000 as a deposit to buy the property for £100,000.

Just hours later the Council’s auctioneers sold the building to an 
offshore investment company based in the Bahamas for £85,000 - £15,000 
LESS than what Spirit had offered to pay for it!

Six days later the auctioneers, Nelson Bakewell, returned Spirit’s 
cheque to him without explanation. Hackney Council has never been able 
to explain why this happened.

Bailiffs abandoned plans to take possession of Spirits shop on Monday 
(03/11/08) after a rally of local supporters collected on Broadway 
Market to show their support for one of the street's best loved characters.
The eviction was due to take place at 9:20 but, after discussions with 
police, bailiffs left and Spirit's supporters are now expecting them to 
rearrange the appointment to collect the keys for another time.
Spirit (Lowell Grant) was not at his home of the past 14 years and 
issued the following statement.



Although there is still an enduring determination in me to continue my 
fight for justice, it has become aware to me that my physical and 
financial strength will no longer allow me to actively participate in 
this final act of defiance to keep my beloved property.

 From the time I acquired this property back in 1993, it has been a 
long, hard struggle.
The first six years were extremely difficult, mostly physically, 
building this home of mine. The succeeding seven years, I was subjected 
to what amounts to all of the experiences that life could ever confront 
a human being with. At times I have felt completely discriminated 
against, robbed of my self-worth and dignity and feel as though I am 
being whipped!

I would like to let you all know that if it was not for the support and 
strength of the people like yourselves, who have actually given me the 
determination to physically last until now, particularly the people of 
Hackney, especially the people of the Broadway Market community who I 
know are the true defenders of humanity. To you all I give much thanks.

We have tried to keep my home and my shop, however corrupted forces have 
prevailed by way of taking it from us for now. My situation at this 
moment in time is that I have no home and my possessions are scattered 
all over the city but I still have life and where there is life there is 
hope. I am very sorry that I am not able to be with you today in person 
to join in this last act of defiance against this eviction. I feel that 
this is just too much emotionally for me to witness. I am continually 
thankful for the support during this distressing time but I ask that 
your support should only be of peace, love and unity and not to be of 
any form of violence or intimidation toward the authority….

"the same tongue that says no, is the same tongue that says yes!"

I have asked that the keys are to be handed to the bailiffs on my 
behalf, to prevent any unnecessary damage to the property because I 
believe that one day to come, the same keys may be handed back to me, 
for I am confident in my convictions. It is not over until it is over, 
don't think that I am running, if you believe I am running, hear this…..

"A man that fights and runs away at most times he will live to fight 
another day"

I am still fighting the Battle of Broadway along with your continual and 
much needed support and together we can show the whole of London that we 
care about our communities and each other and it is what makes us unique 
and real.


Spirit of Broadway.

More information about the Diggers350 mailing list