28. Jul, 2017

TED BRAMLEY 1905-1989

The recent Grenfell Tower disaster highlighted the plight of those left homeless in an area in which many luxury properties stand empty. This situation is not new for Londoners, take for example 1946 and Ted Bramley.

Ted played a leading role in organising the squatters movement whereby hundreds of families took over empty blocks of luxury flats, demanding local councils use their powers to requisition all such empty properties.
Tried with four others at the Old Bailey on a catch-all charge of “conspiracy to commit trespass,” he conducted his own political defence, challenging the crowded court with a characteristic personal appeal to heart and conscience.

“Those among you who have the good fortune to enjoy shelter, warmth and the comfort of a good home, I would ask you to consider just one thing: what would you do if you saw your wife and children condemned to live for years in a single room? I know what you would do. You would move heaven and earth to get something done, and if you knew there were large numbers of empty places which could be used you would protest it by every means within your power, and so would I. That is what we have done…I. with thousands of other Londoners, want to see something better for our people, and what we claim for ourselves we feel it our duty to find for anyone else.”

The defendants were found guilty, but surprisingly were only bound over instead of the prison sentences they had expected, and the requisition of buildings for the homeless noticeably increased.
(From his obituary by Margot Heinemann, February 1991).