Thursday, 16 September 2010
Britain is no longer a country for an old hippy called Sid Rawle
Sid Rawle 'King of the Hippies', who fought for love, peace and land is dead and his death took me back to the 'Love and Peace' of the late 1960's.
I remembered his name, but didn't know that he was :
* a big, burly, charismatic man with a mane of ginger hair and big voice who often dressed in long robes and played a prominent role in the squatting and commune movement of the 1960s.
* involved in the 'free festivals' at Windsor and Stonehenge in the 70's and the birth of the 'Peace Convoy' and 'New Age Travellers Movement'.
* born in Somerset to a farmer and his Romany wife and, as a boy, roamed the hills, checked the sheep, observed the deer herds and absorbed the countryside.
* at school, a slow dyslexic learner who, at the age of 15, was able to read but not to write.
* someone who, moved to London in the mid 60's and set up the 'ultra-hippy cult' called 'The Hyde Park Diggers', led their 200 members and played a prominent role in the 'Squatting Movement' and a 6 day occupation of a 100-room mansion in Piccadilly.
* offered the 'custodianship' of an island off the coast of County Mayo, owned by John Lennon and in 1971 led 30 people to start a new life there and survived there for almost two years.
In his own words :
* someone who :
- with the 'Diggers' gave away free food at the 1971 'Glastonbury Fayre' and became a key figure in the summer solstice celebrations at Stonehenge.
- created the 'Peace Convoy' which, in 1981, travelled from Stonehenge to Greenham Common in Berkshire to support the 'Women's Peace Camp'.
- set up the first 'Green Gathering' at Glastonbury, which attracted more than 5,000 people.
- set up the 'Rainbow Village' at a disused US airbase in Cambridgeshire which was a proposed cruise missile site.
- led a convoy which prompted the 'Battle of the Beanfield' in 1985, when around 1,300 policemen ambushed it in Wiltshire and more than 500 people were arrested.
* retired to the Forest of Dean and continued to work through smaller camps and festivals.
* wrote in his manifesto 'The Vision of Albion' in which he said :
'In the end it all gets back to land. Looking back, I see a link that runs through my life concerns the right to land and property on it.'
* believed that the land in Britain should be shared equitably, so that all could own a couple of acres in order to be able to sustain themselves.
* lived communally for more than 30 years and is known to have fathered seven children by various mothers.
The Beatles and 'All You Need is Love' in 1967 :