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Author Topic: Transport for London razes homeless woman's shelter  (Read 2747 times)

RubyCat

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Transport for London razes homeless woman's shelter
« on: August 31, 2012, 09:26:55 AM »

HELP!

This is an article today's "Guardian". To spread the call for help I copied the article. Please go to the articlepage at the "Guardian" and support it. Support the old lady. We are facing real bad times, and we must stop bureaucrats from eliminating olf people that way.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2012/aug/30/transport-london-homeless-shelter?CMP=twt_gu

[*quote*]
    News
    Society
    Homelessness

Transport for London razes homeless woman's shelter

Anne Naysmith, who made her home at foot of London underground embankment, sees garden cut back

Steven Morris
guardian.co.uk, Thursday 30 August 2012 19.59 BST

Anne Naysmith
Anne Naysmith was living in the corner of a car park at the foot of a London underground embankment. Photograph: Martin Argles for the Guardian

Perhaps to some it was a bit of an eyesore: a makeshift shelter carved out of bushes and small trees in the corner of a car park at the foot of a London underground embankment.

But for Anne Naysmith, a former concert pianist who has lived on these streets for more than 30 years (most of them in a battered old car), it was a kind of home. She grew flowers and nurtured fruit trees here, chatted to commuters as they bustled past and every afternoon lit a fire to cook a simple meal.

Now the camp lies in tatters after workmen hacked back the vegetation that offered Miss Naysmith – as everyone knows her – a little protection against the elements and cut down her beloved cherry and plum trees.

Transport for London (TfL) insists the shelter was razed so a security fence could be built to keep thieves, vandals and children away from the tube line. But some of Naysmith's neighbours and friends suspect the powers that be simply did not like her unconventional lifestyle.

Naysmith, still sprightly at 75, did not mince her words. "It's wanton, wicked vandalism. This was a lovely patch of garden. I was doing nobody any harm. It seems that if they don't like the look of something they can just knock it all down. It's a disgrace."

The story of Miss Naysmith has curious echoes of Miss Shepherd who lived in a van on the drive of the writer Alan Bennett's home across the capital in Camden, north London, and was immortalised in his essay and play The Lady in the Van.

Both were talented musicians who fell on hard times, had run-ins with the authorities but throughout it all remained fiercely independent, proud and dignified.

Naysmith was a promising pianist who once played at Wigmore Hall in central London. But in the late 1970s she ran into financial problems and suffered the heartbreak of a failed romance. She was evicted from her home in Prebend Gardens in Chiswick, west London, and took to living in her Ford Consul on the street outside the flat.

She would spend mornings roaming the neighbourhood, and in the afternoons retire to the car park at the foot of the embankment where she began to create her shelter and garden. She used ash from her fire and soil scavenged from skips to build her flower beds. Some neighbours donated flowers and plants and she picked up abandoned seedlings.

But 10 years ago her beloved car was towed away after a neighbour complained it was blighting the well-heeled neighbourhood. Naysmith was deeply upset but carried on living in the area. Quite where she sleeps remains unclear – she will not say – but her car park corner continued to function as a living room, kitchen and garden.

She said she could not believe it when she came upon the workmen cutting back the vegetation. "I started screaming: 'Police, police!' I couldn't understand what had happened. I thought it was beautiful. Why would anyone do something like that?"

A neighbour, nurse Betty Furner, found her trembling with shock and wailing. "I'm shocked at what's happened," said Furner. "This was a little corner of London where somebody was getting on with an innocent, blameless life. I don't believe it's got anything to do with safety concerns."

Another neighbour, John Power, who always stops to chat to Naysmith about the arts, said many local people were very angry. "This is her house. She is a valued member of the community who deserves much better than this uncaring treatment."

Power said the workers could easily have put up the fence from the other side of Miss Naysmith's camp and left it untouched.

"She is special. She rebelled and is accepted in this community. And then some big organisation comes and does this to her."

TfL insisted the work had been carried out simply to replace a section of damaged fencing that was a security risk. A spokesperson said: "The contractors were not aware of the special significance this piece of land had for Miss Naysmith and their primary concern was dealing with a safety critical issue. Obviously we very much regret the distress caused to Miss Naysmith."

Despite her troubles, Naysmith did not change her routine on Thursday. She spent the morning walking up and down Chiswick high road foraging for scraps to feed the pigeons and herself. By the afternoon she was in her devastated garden, huddled under an umbrella that a thoughtful neighbour had provided and vowing to rebuild.

"I'll just have to start again. I won't give in and I'm not going to move away."
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Please, go here and support the old lady:
http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2012/aug/30/transport-london-homeless-shelter?CMP=twt_gu

HELP!
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RubyCat

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Re: Transport for London razes homeless woman's shelter
« Reply #1 on: November 26, 2012, 07:07:52 PM »

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RubyCat

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Re: Transport for London razes homeless woman's shelter
« Reply #2 on: November 26, 2012, 07:13:47 PM »

A heart-breaking video on an old lady:

"Homeless concert pianist's anger over shelter's removal"
5 September 2012 Last updated at 19:34 GMT
"A 75-year-old former concert pianist has said she is angry a patch of vegetation she looked after has been removed.

Anne Naysmith, who has been homeless for 30 years, said she was angry the shelter at Stamford Brook Station in west London was torn down."

View it:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-london-19495579
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RubyCat

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Re: Transport for London razes homeless woman's shelter
« Reply #3 on: November 26, 2012, 07:58:52 PM »

Let's see if that pic works.



http://i147.photobucket.com/albums/r286/gtlondon/MrsNcar.jpg
"a reminder of her old car."
http://www.chiswickw4.com/default.asp?section=community&link=http://appasp.chiswickw4.com/server/app/forum/ShowMessage.asp?ID=246170

This was the car, which was towed away in 2002? In here area people chat in a forum:

http://www.chiswickw4.com/default.asp?section=info&page=eannesmith.htm
http://www.chiswickw4.com/default.asp?section=community&link=http://appasp.chiswickw4.com/server/app/forum/ShowMessage.asp?ID=246170

Taking away THAT car was a must.

[*quote*]
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
ANNE NAYSMITH'S CAR REMOVED FROM PREBEND GARDENS

Anne Naysmith, Chiswick's "Lady in the Van", has had her battered Ford car removed from Prebend Gardens. The vehicle was towed away despite the desperate attempts of some local people to stop it including one woman reportedly sitting on the car.

The action has sparked fierce debate not just in Chiswick but globally with the press in the USA, China and Japan featuring the issue.

Councillor Paul Lynch Chair of the Chiswick Area Committee stated, "We have clearly faced a dilemma over the years in trying to protect Miss Naysmith's welfare while respecting her wishes for independence and achieving a balance between her rights and those of other residents.
 However the situation has clearly now reached the point where leaving her in a car that has deteriorated so seriously is not an option. Friends have told the Council that, despite her protests, she cannot continue to live in the car."

Supportive local residents have subsequently supplied her with another car a much roomier red Mercedes. But after spending a night there she returned the keys. One of her neighbours commented "One of the qualities which makes Miss Nasmyth exceptional is that she never accepts charity of any sort from anyone so, after spending a night in the loaned car, she promptly returned the keys for it first thing the following morning."

The Council have offered Miss Naysmith a flat and promised that if someone put forward private land for the car and Miss Naysmith agreed, the Council would consider arranging for the car to be returned, once it had been ascertained that there were no public health, neighbourhood or planning issues regarding the site.

The classically trained musician had taken up residence in the car for the last fourteen years. It is believed that she had previously lived with her parents in the street then suffered a breakdown after their death and moved into the car along with her dog Bouncer when the house was sold.

Another story that is told about her is that her present condition is the result of a failed romance with a singer of which she was a member which when the relationship failed led to her falling into a deep depression.

Hounslow Council say that they took the action as a result of complaints from local residents. The issue has divided the street with many supportive of their eccentric neighbour's continued residence but some concerned about her welfare and tendency to shout abuse at passers by. Ms. Naysmith remains in the area tending her garden in Stamford Brook car park.

"In Praise of Sally Mates"

8th March 2002
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Refusing help is not the wisest deed of all.
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RubyCat

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Re: Transport for London razes homeless woman's shelter
« Reply #4 on: November 26, 2012, 08:04:43 PM »

http://www.london.gov.uk/mqt/public/question.do?id=42352
[*quote*]
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Mayor answers to London
Anne Naysmith & destruction of railway vegetation (1)
Question number   2413/2012
Meeting date   19/09/2012

 Question by
Darren Johnson

Were Transport for London staff aware of the presence of Anne Naysmith, prior to their decision to cut down vegetation and destroy her 'encampment' on the edge of the Chiswick car park? If so, was any attempt made to discuss the situation with her and assess her mental health?
 Answer by Boris Johnson

Regrettably, Miss NaysmithÂ’s circumstances and the special significance of this piece of land for her were not known to maintenance staff or the contractors who, working on behalf of TfL, were tasked to remove overgrown vegetation prior to replacing a section of damaged fencing. The damaged fence needed to be secured - trespass on the railway and in particular theft of cables, which have a high scrap metal value, are as you know a continuing problem for TfL and other railway operators, which directly affects the reliability and safety of the train service, so maintaining the integrity of security fences such as this is very important.


Obviously TfL much regret the distress caused to Miss Naysmith and will take steps to ensure extra care is taken when working at this location
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
[*/quote*]



http://www.london.gov.uk/mqt/public/question.do?id=42353
[*quote*]
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Mayor answers to London
Anne Naysmith & destruction of railway vegetation (2)
Question number   2414/2012
Meeting date   19/09/2012

 Question by
Darren Johnson

A constituent has asked whether TfL were in breach of their legal duty under the Equality Act 2010 to consider the impact of their actions on people with disabilities (such as Anne Naysmith) and take steps to prevent unfair and illegal discrimination against them?
 Answer by Boris Johnson

There has been no breach of any legislation. However, TfL certainly regrets the distress caused to Miss Naysmith.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
[*/quote*]

That is the official statement.
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