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Occupied Spaces – Ben Roberts



On the 15th October 2011, protestors representing the global Occupy movement set up a semi-permanent camp outside St. Paul’s Cathedral in central London. The aim of the protests is to encourage discourse and raise awareness of social and economic inequalities.

On the 25th of October, several UK newspapers and media outlets ran stories claiming that ‘thermal imaging’ proved that only 10% of the 250 tents in St. Paul’s Square were being inhabited overnight; I was immediately sceptical of these claims.

This series of photographs catalogues some of the communal and private spaces that have been installed in the St. Pauls and Finsbury Square camps. The traces of activity and inhabitance serve as a document of the intense utilisation of a limited space by a large number of both permanent and temporary residents.


45 Responses to “Occupied Spaces – Ben Roberts”

  1. Viewing those photos is like playing a game of “spot the bong”, this proves nothing apart from the fact you are all a bunch of weird hippies.

  2. Mike, I agree – very entertaining photos! Did you see the one with the cannabis plant wall? Hilarious really. They really make me chuckle, it is such a shame that we have a shanty town in the centre of London though.

  3. @Mike. I very much applaud your tent and its “up to 7 [nightly] occupants”. Also, well done Cyril for leaving the badge you wear to Mike’s on display

  4. @ Dill Doe

    You seemed concerned elsewhere about the size of people’s contribution to the needs of society. I got the impression that you measure your’s in terms of the taxes that are deducted from your earnings ~ unhappily it would seem.

    Let me ask you ~

    In order to contribute to finding a better solution to society’s problems ~

    Would you be prepared to give up the comfort of your bed to sleep on paving stones?
    Would you be prepared to live and sleep outside at this time of year, in these conditions?
    Would you do this gladly and passionately for the good of all?
    Would you be prepered to suffer persecution, provocation and abuse from those who don’t understand?

    These people are being honest about how they feel about a system that isn’t serving society as its supposed to do. They are being passionate about finding a better way. How do you measure THAT in terms of their contribution to society?

    • “These people are being honest about how they feel about a system that isn’t serving society as its supposed to do.”

      Yes, and good.

      “hey are being passionate about finding a better way. How do you measure THAT in terms of their contribution to society?”

      The ideas on here are generally naive at best, having childlike idealised views doesn’t contribute anything to society. It actively damages the effectiveness of the movement because it makes it entirely dismissible to the majority of people.

      I strongly believe in the right to protest and in the need for reform of the current system but in order to achieve any change people need to stay in reality or there is no hope or achieving anything.

      • @Chazza “The ideas on here are generally naive at best, having childlike idealised views doesn’t contribute anything to society. It actively damages the effectiveness of the movement because it makes it entirely dismissible to the majority of people.”

        In your opinion. But if this is about the 99% then everyone’s opinion is valid surely. I am after all one of the 99% who you claim to be representing.

        • If this is really for the 99% than the movement needs to be as broad as possible, to be inclusive of as many people as possible.

          Why extend it to anything other than “things need changing?”

          • @Chazza ~ you said: Why extend it to anything other than “things need changing?”

            I think this is good. What I like about this movement is that people are being honest about not having the answers.

      • h.o.p.e. is here !

  5. Dear Occupy LSX

    Did you know that there is a UK band called ” BLAME THE BANKERS” who play a mixture of pop, blues, jazz and Latin? They were formed about six months ago and if in London would love to play for you – pass it around.


    Good luck and keep it going!

    Best wishes


  6. @ Chazza ~ Regarding being child-like ~ the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.

    You said that having childlike idealised views doesn’t contribute anything to society ~ you may discover you are wrong in time 🙂

    • This is what I’m talking about.

      • I know ~ but as I said, you may discover you are wrong in time.

        • Thousands of years of human history has already proved my point.

          • Perhaps 1000 years of the western method of capitalism might prove your viewpoint but there are many formerly primitive native populations who would provide a useful counterpoint.

            The Native Americans and Indigenous Australians were not noted for their genocidal wars of conquest and eco-destruction…

            Just saying. Think outside the box 🙂

          • @Chazza
            Many are being dismissive of your movement because they don’t yet understand. Likewise you seem to be being dismissive of something you don’t yet understand.

            I can understand your dismissiveness, I’ve been there myself. Much has been propogated in the name of God that has proven to be false. I really do understand ~ I’ve had much personal suffering because of it.

            Since then I have learnt a lot about distiguishing between what’s true and what’s false. I have learnt that that which loves us “whatever” can be trusted as a reflection of God’s love, but that which condemns us or rejects us or hurts us or takes advantage of us is not of him.

            As you rightly point out, many thousands of years have proven religion to be useless. Those claiming to know God have been deceived and have not shown the world what he’s truly like. I really am sorry about this and I’m sorry that society has been misled. I really do understand your mistrust ~ I can only ask that you forgive.

            That IS changing though. God does care passionately about ridding the world of injustice and unlove. He has a plan for the world and is working it out as we speak. Many who have been deceived by religion are in the process of being cleaned-up, so to speak, and are learning what God is REALLY like. God’s REAL love is what the world is longing for.

            Its ok, I don’t expect you to trust that ~ but it would be wise to not be dismissive of it just because you don’t yet see it yourself.

            I have learnt not to dismiss anything just because I don’t understand it. Understanding has then later come.

            I have learnt that it is wise to sow what I want to reap. So, for example, if I want people to accept me, then I seek to accept others. It really has proved to work over and over again.

            Likewise, it would be wise, if you seek to not be dismissed by the public beacuse they don’t yet understand, to not be dismissive of those things you don’t yet understand.

            With love.

          • @Chazza
            I realise I may not have made a lot of sense in my longer post here without this bit ~ so just to say that my “childlike idealistic views” are coming from my knowledge of what God is REALLY like. Its getting to know him as he really is that has done this to me. I hope you can accept that without judging it.

  7. Did my comment about some of your lot defecating in the cathedral hit such a raw nerve that you had to remove it?

    • Jim, unfortunately it looks like censorship is rife amount the tented ones…

    • They / we, are not a ‘lot’ as you describe, individuals with similar views yes, A party of (lot) politicians, no! Individuals yes, with individual actions.
      Are you of the thought then that the behaviour, conduct and actions are acceptable ?
      Some people just do not know how to control themselves, do they.

      • re above

        * the behaiour, conduct and actions of the 1% *

      • @Human of planet earth
        You’re certainly right, it does seem that you lot have trouble controlling yourselves! Use a toilet – not one of our landmark sites!

        • When you say ‘our’ do you mean our as in all of us, or our with a y at the start ?

          • Ehh, strange that I need to clarify this…. I mean “our”, as in the British people.

          • So that will be ALL of us then, no-one excluded then. Just for further clarification does it belong to all the NON C of E British people as well, or just the C of E church ?
            Obviously with your superior level of education and intellect you will be able to clarify this without condescendingly referencing yet another website.

        • Again you refer to ‘you lot’ , you are yourself one of the ‘lot’ just accept that FACT at least, as there is no way on this earth you are one of the 1%, a wannabe maybe. Keep learning.

  8. @Occupy the World

    In answer to your questions:

    Would you be prepared to give up the comfort of your bed to sleep on paving stones? NO

    Would you be prepared to live and sleep outside at this time of year, in these conditions? NO

    Would you do this gladly and passionately for the good of all? NO

    Would you be prepered to suffer persecution, provocation and abuse from those who don’t understand? NO

    Also, I did as you requested and had a good think about whether or not I have joy in my life and my conclusion is that I do indeed have joy in my life.

    If the tent people (the 1%) are not happy with life in the UK or the world then they should go to a book shop and buy one or two of the many available self help books which deal with depression. Or perhaps a motivational book about turning their lives around.

    I don’t sit around complaining, I live my life and enjoy it.

    • Hey well done you Dill Doe,
      You listened to the one who is and has h.o.p.e., took his advice on board and learnt how to spell. Keep it up, you will learn if you keep learning. Be lucky.

      • ha ha ha, you’re awesome! Thanks Human of planet earth! I think you should be leader of the tent people – you could be Captain Canvas!

        • CANVAS, I thought you would be younger than that !
          But maybe you are receding back into your childhood as has been the case with most of your previous childish posts !

          • Aye aye Captain!

          • I very much doubt he will struggle to find Seaman Stains

        • Seaman stains and Dill Doe
          A perfect match !

          • Oh, calm it, don’t get too excited there Captain Canvas!

          • btw

            You seem to have not been back on the ‘welfare’ thread ?

    • @ Dill Doe
      Sorry to intervene in the banter going on here but I feel led to share a little with you about my own experience.
      I was what some might call a high-flyer in previous years. I gained an education up to MBA level, whilst working full-time in a good job. I was a career girl ~ making good progress. I had my own home, car, several holidays a year blah, blah, blah.
      I loved my work and ended up working upto 100 hours a week ~ enjoying it all. The thing was I was emotionally bankrupt. I wont go into detail but just to say that eventually I had a nervous breakdown.
      To cut a long story short I lost everything. I ended up living in a tent on my own on a mountainside ~ because I had nowhere else to go.
      I refrained from seeking benefits and found that I was able to live on the £10 a week I was able to earn through helping a friend with some cleaning round her home. In spite of having such a wonderful education and so much work experience and skills, it was completely useless to me at that time. I was simply emotionally incapable at that time of doing anything else.
      I was a “tenter” or “tented-one” as you refer to them. I lived like that for 5 months and then someone offered me a bed when the weather started getting colder and wetter. She did this out of the goodenss of her heart knowing that I had no way of paying for accomodation.
      That was a few years ago and its different to that now, but the experience had a very profound effect on me.
      To experience a nervous breakdown was a very humbling experience as was going bankrupt, as I’d been a fiercly independant and self-sufficient person up until then. Suddenly, my education and all my skills and abilities meant diddly squat. Suddenly, I couldn’t look after myself, and needed the help of others. If you’d seen me you may well have put me in the same category as those you’re now focussing on.
      I don’t know why I’m sharing this with you other than I just feel led to do so. I’ll leave it there for now.

      Regarding the joy you say you feel ~ I’ve got to admit that I don’t understand how you can be feeling joy, while at the same time attacking others. In my own experience, when I’m feeling joy it makes me want to embrace people, not attack them.

      • @Dill Doe
        I have no idea whether you’ll be back to read this but I’ll post it anyway just in case.

        The experience I shared above opened my eyes up to some things which I had previously been blind to.

        Firstly, having assessed my value to society based upon my ability to make it in the world, my demise was completely shattering to me. In my eyes I was less of a person for having had a nervous breakdown and for becoming bankrupt. What’s more, I couldn’t even do anything to put it right again ~ I was totally beyond helping myself. I had been a resourceful person who always found a way to make it ~ but suddenly all that resourcefulness was gone.

        So, was I worth any less?

        My career had spanned various types of work. I had been a manager in the police, a tv program and promotional video editor, as well as a variety of other tasks. I remember several times throughout my career, sitting behind my desk and feeling the sense that I wanted to do something more worthwhile with my life. In all of this I was paying a good amount of tax £s, but to me there was still a sense of dissatisfaction that my life wasn’t reaching the parts that I could sense needed reaching.

        I can now see that it was because I was trapped in a system that’s purpose is to serve the beast called the economy. I was pouring my life into serving something that wasn’t actually reaching the spot. I may have to come back again later to explain what I mean by that in a better way.

        The whole system is set up so that we all feed this beast called the economy. Why? To create jobs, I hear some say. Hmm, I see that there is plenty of work that needs doing in society. The care homes are full of lonely people who need some time and attention. I’m not talking about paid employment here, but just loving care. Homes throughout the nation are filled with lonely individuals, again who need time and attention. Many are unable to contribute in the way we are used to assessing what contributing means ~ but you may be surprised.

        At one stage I went to find out about claiming Jobseekers allowance. In order to get some financial help I would have to sign a declaration that I would be doing a certain amount of things to prove that I was actively seeking full-time paid employment. Fair enough, you may say. But the onus was on “paid” employment. So, the work that I do in helping people for free would have had to be overridden by the offer of paid employment in order to be entitled to any financial help in the meantime. This paid employment would then have demanded my full-time attention and I would no longer have had the time to do what is already helping people in a way that far exceeds what I have ever done through paid employment ~ it just didn’t feel right to me. And this is the system that taxes are funding!

        I have been self-employed for several years now and I must say that through it I have a freedom to help people as and when its needed the most, not restained by the rules of the system. I can help people where they need it the most without having to bow down to rediculous rules about what I can and can’t do to meet the requirements of the law eg health and safety regs.

        Instead of pouring my life into a job who’s purpose is to serve the beast, I now have unlimited time available to spend with people who are desperate to be heard and understood. You cannot put a monetary value on this. It is not something that throwing £s at will serve.

        I was with someone who has known me their whole life yesterday who has been through the system ~ seen counsellors, done the courses blah, blah, blah. But they still feel as neglected and misunderstood as ever. We shared together and cried together and let it all pour out together. I was told that the time I spent with them yesterday was of far greater value to them than anything they had ever experienced in their life before. At last they feel that they belong! (They are well off in economic terms btw.)

        So, I come back to my question about how much I’m worth.

        In terms of myself ~ I am now able to see that I was worth no more when I was working to serve the beast than I was after my demise. In terms of how others are perceiving it though ~ it seems that I am contributing something of far greater value to individuals now than I ever was before.

        • The economy is a slave master. It doesn’t exist to serve us, but to be served. It says that in order to receive from it you have to become its slave ~ perpetuating its agenda to make you more of a slave to it. But who is benefitting where it really matters? Who is receiving anything of REAL value in life from it?

          What people desire more than anything is love (it may take them a long time to ccome to this conclusion) ~ is there any love in this beast? NO!!! It is self-serving and only gives the impresssion of caring in order to trap you into serving it.

          We have all been deceived into serving this beast, but many are now waking up ~ hurray!

          • As far as the system is concerned I am probably worthless because I’m not generating any £s for it. I earn too little to pay tax and I don’t have £s to spend on consumerism to boost the economy. The few £s I do earn on a self-employed basis are just enough to cover my basic needs (I am happy with this btw ~ no complaints here).

            So, as far as the system is concerned I may be worthless ~ but what about to the individuals I now pour my life out in helping? ~ not so to them it seems. It is what they have been longing for apparently and is of far greater value than anything that the system can provide. They went to the system and the system failed them ~ now they are finding exactly what they’ve been longing for outside of the system.

          • @ Loving the 100%

            I have ‘listened’ to what you have written, sincerely.

            and h.o.p.e. I have not been out of order relaying awareness of your reply to Dill Doe, to him/her in another area of discussion. in case he has not seen this reply of yours.

          • @h.o.p.e.
            I haven’t been reading elsewhere today so I’m not uptodate on what’s going on elsewhere on here at the moment ~ so thank you 🙂

          • @Dill Doe

            The system your hard earned money is going to support is failing those who need it most.

            I sense that you want your tax deductions to help those in need ~ I hope I have said enough to show you that the contribution to society you’ve been led to believe you are making is not serving this purpose.

            You have been deceived in this as much as everyone else.

            This movement is about waking us all up to this reality.

          • @Dill Doe

            Sorry, meant to say “failing where it matters most”.

  9. I don’t know why I can’t reply above,

    “The Native Americans and Indigenous Australians were not noted for their genocidal wars of conquest and eco-destruction…”

    You’re clearly reading ‘nobel savage’ histories. Try reading some unbiased sources. Native American and Australians have good points to their histories but they also have bad. It doesn’t serve anyone any good to idealise them.


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