£6m house, 30 rooms, one careful anarchist collective: inside Britain’s poshest squat
It is one of London’s most exclusive addresses. Michelin-starred restaurants are just a block away, the US embassy is around the corner and Hyde Park is at the end of the road. To share the same postcode ought to cost millions.
But the new residents of 18 Upper Grosvenor Street, a raggle-taggle of teenagers and artists called the Da! collective, haven’t paid a penny for their £6.25m, six-storey townhouse in Mayfair.
The black anarchist flag flapping from the first-floor balcony gives a clue what they are up to: since finding a window open on the first floor on October 10, the group has been squatting in the house, and only plan to leave when evicted. This might take some time: after almost a month, the deed owner — a company called Deltaland Resources Ltd, according to the Land Registry — doesn’t appear to have noticed that the once-opulent building has been taken over.
The 30-plus rooms of the grade II-listed residence are now scattered with sleeping bags, mattresses, rucksacks spilling over with clothes and endless half-finished art installations. One room is full of tree branches while another hosts a pink baby bath above which dangle test tubes filled with capers.