Take a look in at Squatters Town…

Even the briefest reading of history is enough to dismiss the idea that squatting is either a modern phenomenon or a hangover from the 60s and 70s; squatting has always existed as a solution wherever there are people without any other option for decent housing. This newsreel from 1946 is a beautiful example of both how squatting can work and how far the debate has declined:

Squatters Town – Chalfont St. Giles

In the 40s, squatting was seen as a thoroughly British thing to do. Proof that we are a hardy, adaptable people – the very embodiment of the will that makes possible the way:

“This is only one of many ex-army camps taken over by the thousands of ordinary, hardworking folk who haven’t a place they can call their own. Yesterday they were cold, inhospitable huts, today they’re homes. A transformation which is in itself proof that the old Blitz spirit lives on, and can still win through.”

Perhaps the most remarkable thing about this newsreel is the phrase: “we know it’s a controversial problem, and to tell you what the squatters themselves think of it all, we sent Pathe’s reporter, John Parsons.” Ask the squatters…themselves? Crikey.

The narrator finishes on: “that’s one view of squatters town: what’s your opinion? ” Jeepers, present the public with pertinent facts and let them make their own mind up? Frightfully good idea, what?