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Ernie Mattocks - brief obituary

Eric Mattocks was one of the best loved activists in the squatting movement in London for 25 years until his sudden death on Monday, aged 70. The struggle for housing in the '70s, where there were thousands of squats, was conducted under the full gaze of the media.

Whilst others vied for "leadership", engaged the bureaucracy in arguments over the future of empty homes, or contested court cases, Eric just got on with the practical necessities. An expert "cracker", he opened innumerable squats, connecting services and taking endless time and trouble to help the most vulnerable homeless people who turned to the squatting movement when all else failed. Many others received brisk advice on how to do it and the loan of a crowbar.

He was a unique, deeply-loved, spikey character who lived his life for others, and one of the unassuming, genuine heroes of our time. The Guardian newspaper will print a full obituary on Monday 25th January 1999, the day of his funeral.

(from SchNEWS 198 - January 99)

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