Squatters Occupy Bloomsbury Hotel…

…in 1946!


This clip from the Pathe News archives show that seemingly little has changed in over fifty years. In 1946 as today, squatting is still a practical means which many use to solve their housing difficulties, and in the process highlight the chronic lack of affordable housing.

There was no mention by politicians or mainstream media of the sort of historic¬† squatting actions shown in this clip. That thousands of people resorted to squatting after the second world war due to housing shortages isn’t something that politicians like MP Mike Weatherley want you to know. Instead he’d rather you believe that squatters are typically ‘middle-class, web-savvy, legally minded, university-educated and, most importantly, society-hating’. Colin Ward’s fantastic book ‘The Hidden History of Housing’ provides an excellent overview of the facts that were left out of the debate surrounding squatting’s criminalisation.

The fact is that there is no such thing as Weatherley’s ‘typical squatter’ straw man. The reality is far more complex, as people squat for a huge variety of reasons. The current housing crisis in the UK coupled with austerity measures such as the so-called ‘bedroom tax’ and cuts to housing benefit mean that an even greater range of people are likely to experience difficulty housing themselves in the near future.