Artist moves into rubbish skip in protest at 'crazy' London costs
By Natalie Thomas
LONDON (Reuters) - An artist has built a home in a rubbish skip in London and plans to live in it for a year, seeking to draw attention to the "crazy" price of renting a room in Britain's capital during a cost of living crisis.
Harrison Marshall, 28, moved into the specially-adapted skip on a patch of grass in Bermondsey, south London a month ago, explaining that it was the only way he could afford to live in the central area near where he works.
Returning to the city after a period abroad, he said he struggled to find somewhere to live given the shortage of housing.
"As was the case with thousands of people across the city and across the country, the prices had gone crazy. Rent was mad," Marshall said.
"And even if I found somewhere that was in my price zone, then there'd be 100 other people or so looking for that room."
British consumer price inflation hit a 41-year high of 11.1% in October and remains in double digits, fuelling a cost of living crisis, as wages have failed to keep pace with rising food and household bills.
Marshall's creative solution to the problem was to spend 4,000 pounds ($4,800) building a wooden hood with a curved roof and fixing it onto a skip. Inside, he has a small kitchen and a mezzanine bed space. "Skip House" is emblazoned in black across the classic yellow container normally used for builder's waste.
"The skip provided me the kind of opportunity to make my own tiny little house," he said.
An arts charity lent him the land. He has a garden path leading up to an entrance ladder and a portable lavatory in the corner of the site. He showers at work, a 10-minute bike ride away, or the gym, and has access to water from a hose pipe from a neighbour's property.
"All the neighbours are amazing, actually. Everyone's very supportive. I've got neighbours coming and bringing homemade meals," he said. "That's a massive bonus to the whole project is just that this area seems to have a really good community."
($1 = 0.8318 pounds)
(Reporting by Natalie Thomas, Writing by Sarah Young, editing by Ed Osmond)