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Published on Aug 16, 2008
The Land Is Ours - 'Pure Genius' Wandsworth Eco Village (1996) - 6 min - Aug 5, 2008 I was one of the Oxford based organisers and press spokespeople for the Easter 1996 Wandsworth Ecovillage so here is what I consider the best film made about our bit of practical eco living political theatre. Wandsworth (Guinness site) John Pendragon and other residents comment on how and why they got involved in the TLIO occupation of the Guinness site just East of Wandsworth Bridge at Easter 1996. In May 1996, 500 The Land Is Ours (TLIO) activists occupied 14 acres of derelict land along the banks of the River Thames in Wandsworth. The land, owned by Guinness, had been vacant for six years, but was scheduled to be the site of a superstore (the ninth within a 1.5 mile radius) and luxury apartments. A pre-fabricated roundhouse was constructed, raised-bed veggie gardens were planted and a small village was built out of recycled materials. Local campaigners, particularly a guy called Kirk, were involved in building and running the eco-community, and thousands of folks came to visit. After holding the "Pure Genius" occupation for almost six months, 150 people on site were ousted by bailiffs acting for Guinness and the eco-village was flattened. The site was due to be designated as a nature conservation site by the London Wildlife Trust the next day. Incredibly, Guinness won an Ecology Sponsorship Award in Geneva the same week that they ordered the eviction.
Starting in coaches from Hammersmith Unemployed Workers' Centre on Sunday 5 May 1996 the group set up Pure Genius!!, an eco-village on squatted derelict former distillery site owned by Guinness in Wandsworth, London. The site was evicted on 15 October 1996. This was the day before the London Wildlife Trust were meeting to officially designate the site as a conservation site containing many species of flowers and birds classed as 'extremely rare' in London.