1995-2004 – The Land Is Ours ‘Glorious Decade’ Of UK Land Rights Actions

Tony Gosling tony at cultureshop.org.uk
Tue Oct 16 12:32:41 BST 2018

1995-2004 – The Land Is Ours ‘Glorious Decade’ Of UK Land Rights Actions


TLIO actions

Apr 1995 – Wisley Airfield, Surrey – ‘Land 
Reform’ activists, led by George Monbiot and 
joined by the Dongas tribe, decided at the last 
minute not to occupy St George’s Hill but Wisley 
disused airfield near the M3/M25 junction in Surrey.

Aug 1995 – Earl of Macclesfield, Shirburn Hill, 
Oxfordshire – Weekend occupation of Chiltern 
estate where landowner takes extreme measures to stop all footpaths and walkers

May 1996 – Wandsworth – Pure Genius – mystery 
coach tour from Hammersmith Unemployed Workers’ 
Centre – 500 The Land is Ours activists occupied 
13 acres of derelict land on the banks of the 
River Thames next to Wandsworth Bridge, 
highlighting the appalling misuse of urban land, 
lack of provision of affordable housing and the 
deterioration of the urban environment. A 
communal roundhouse was constructed and the site 
was occupied for six months until being evicted 
by alleged owners Guinness because the site was 
due to be ‘scheduled’ by London wildlife trust.

Mar 1997 – Easter Garden, Bristol – reclamation 
of unowned land, at the SW end of York Street, 
off Blackboy Hill, during Easter weekend as 
community space from solicitor claiming adverse possession

Jun 1997 – Holtsfield, Gower peninsula – 
solidarity weekend occupation in support of 
chalet dwellers whose new landowner wanted to 
evict them to make way for luxury housing – the 
60 or so ‘hutters’ in 27 holiday homes eventually 
won their case in the House of Lords to remain

Sep 1997 – Wychwood Forest, Oxfordshire – mystery 
tour by train from Oxford to Charlbury thence by 
foot to occupy Newhill Plain on Lord Rotherwick’s 
Wychwood Forest estate. The Lord was suing 
Oxfordshire county council for £1.6m for a 
footpath created in 1989 which went just inside 
the East edge of his vast 1400 acre estate. 
Newhill Plain is the location of a traditional 
Forest Fair which began as a Methodist picnic in 
the 1790s and took place annually on Wednesday 
and Thursday of the third week of September just 
after Oxford’s St Giles fair. It was forcibly 
extinguished by the Churchill family in 1857.

Mar 1998 – Luton Hoo, Bedfordshire – weekend 
mystery one coach tour and occupation of 
beautiful grounds of vacant country estate South of Luton

Apr 1999 – Diggers 350, St George’s Hill, Surrey 
– On Saturday 3rd April 1999, after a programme 
of lectures and discussions in Weybridge town, 
350 (exactly) activists marched to St George’s 
Hill, now the ‘Beverly Hills of Britain’, to stay 
for ten days in a ‘mobile village’. A Diggers 
memorial stone was erected 350 years after the 
initial occupation by Gerrard Winstanley and 
friends at the end of the English Civil War. The 
Diggers rightly saw the civil war as largely about privatisation of land.

Jul 1999 – Kett 450, David Rice Hospital Norwich 
– On 10 July 1999 ten land rights activists 
occupied the 20-acre site of the former David 
Rice Hospital, Drayton, Norwich. The Land Is Ours 
set up camp in the grounds of the old NHS mental 
hospital claiming it as common land, marking the 
450th anniversary of Robert Kett’s rebellion, 
which controlled Norfolk for six weeks against enclosure of common land.

Apr 2004 – Brithdir Mawr, Pembrokeshire – 
occupation of roundhouses in the nearby Castell 
Henllys iron age museum to prevent the demolition 
of Tony Wrench’s Roundhouse in Pembrokeshire 
National Park, during the Easter weekend
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