Hackney Tower Block Demolition 2003

Michael Croft | Jonathan Hatt 2003

In 2003 I had a studio in the now demolished 1960's built former Brownswood Library in North Hackney.

Next door was the King's Crescent housing estate which had many social problems, including drugs and prostitution. Solution: DEMOLITION.

We got so close to shoot this, an old guy refused to evacuate his house and he let us set up the cameras in his garden. When the tower block exploded we had to run away because of the rolling, choking dust cloud and left the cameras behind.

A film made by Revision Incorporated Space Management Limited aka ANNEXED, my company which converted empty buildings into artists' studios from 1995-2018

I taught myself the then newish technologies of digital film and sound editing doing this! All the sounds were stolen from an early version of Sim City and manipulated.

Filmed using 1960's Soviet b&w Super 8, bought from Brick Lane
Model of a Hackney Tower block | Michael Croft | art |

Actual model of the actual block

Coincidentally, a few years prior to the demolition Annexed Ltd briefly occupied a building in Shoreditch, London, owned by Hackney Council. The large drive in basement was used as a dumping ground. Amongst all the crap was the original very large architect's model of the King's Crescent estate, measuring 2 metres square. Utopia! I kept the tower.

I'm reminded of a story from my time in the Brownswood Library studios.

I was working late one night, about 2 am, when I heard a helicopter overhead, very low. Well this is Hackney - common occurrence. A few minutes later, loud banging at the door. POLICE!! OPEN UP!! So I opened the door, 8 policemen and 2 dogs stormed into the lobby. We just saw you run in here. No, not me! What are you doing here then? I'm just making art, it's my studio. Right we're letting the dogs loose, we are searching the building. Ok then. Of course they found nothing. The police officer in charge apologised, but then he proceeded to tell me off quite strongly. Never, ever say again you are JUST making art!

Revision I.S.M. Ltd
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