The Republic of Newtonia Day #01 – Occupying the site

Every day from Friday 11th to Thursday 24th February, a post (sometimes two) will appear on this site, to celebrate the Republic of Newtonia – a brief occupation of a site in Hulme in defence of Abbey Pond (near the Old Abbey Taphouse). In 1994, local people and environmental activists tried to stop the Council and the Science Park from filling in the much-loved pond. If you were there, and want to share your memories (and any photos or other material) please do get in touch via mcmonthly@manchesterclimatemonthly or on Twitter – @mcr_climate

Also, on Thurs 24th, the 28th anniversary of the Pond’s destruction, there is an online meeting, from 7.30pm, bringing together people who were at the Republic of Newtonia with campaigners defending green spaces now. You can book here (it’s free).

So, two sources for this at the moment – an interview with Unity, conducted on Sunday 6th February and an Earth First! press release…

“I think we came in after dark. Xxxx had a car and he volunteered to bring in as much timber supplies he could because we knew we were going to need to build structures.  The Earth First!ers then took over. They were very creative. And I left that to them I was just in charge of the nuts and bolts so to speak.  I think we went in after dark because we were within sight of the police station so we brought our tents and set up a fire pits and put up the food tent and started digging a lat [latrine] but we basically were on site by by breakfast time and took it from there really.  Then the construction, so some of the lads built most beautiful archway over the the gate in the fence : “Welcome to Newtonia.” Yes, we sorted out cooking shifts and places to keep bikes and what else we needed. And On the Eighth Day, which was a very lovely vegan cafe, said we could go around there and get all the leftover food.  The pub donated some china plates that they didn’t want. We got the system going.”

When did the police turn up? And when did the council turn up?

“I don’t remember if the police turned up at all, they presumably observed us but we weren’t actually breaking the law at that point. Apart from being there, we weren’t doing anything amiss. We weren’t behaving badly, weren’t abusing members of the public. We had a little notice saying “Give two hoots for the newts”….”

And here’s some added detail from an Earth First! press release…

“The protesters spent yesterday evening setting up camp in anticipation of a long campaign. The site is being decorated with garlands and banners by local school children; there is even a shiny red post box for receiving letters: a tactic employed at the M11 campaign in London.
Today everyone was up before seven am waiting tor the contractors to arrive: the council had planned to drain the pond this morning. People are preparing D-lock themselves to the machinery with bicycle locks or lie in front of the bulldozers. The fact that no contractors arrived this morning is believed by the protestors to be a very positive sign.”


About manchesterclimatemonthly

Was print format from 2012 to 13. Now web only. All things climate and resilience in (Greater) Manchester.
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