1 May 2012

William Lyttle, aka The Mole Man, and Hackney, London

William Lyttle (1931–2010), the man who became known as 'the Mole Man', lived in this house at 121 Mortimer Road in the borough of Hackney from the early 1960s until 2006 when the borough council evicted him from his own property: for over 40 years, he had dug out a system of underground tunnels and caves beneath his house, endangering not only himself but also his neighbours.

The tunnels were 26ft deep and up to 65ft long all around the house. In 2001 the pavement in front of Lyttle's house collapsed, and a large gash appeared in the road. The tunnels have now been filled with concrete. The street is in a preservation area and the council has refused to demolish the property.

There is a section on the Mole Man in Iain Sinclair's Hackney, That Rose-Red Empire, the dust jacket of which is a map of the borough and contains a small, labelled representation of the house (with the roof on).

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