In Residence: Sue Webster

Step into the DIY punk artist's 'mole man house'—the former home of notorious east London tunneller William Lyttle.

by NOWNESS Dec 26, 2019

When an entire residential road lost power and an eight-foot sinkhole opened up in the street, the north London council of Hackney could no longer turn a blind eye to the rumours surrounding the ‘mole man house’ — a property owned by notorious amateur tunneller William Lyttle.

05 mins watch In Residence: Sue Webster | Sue Webster | In Residence | NOWNESS | STIRworld
In Residence: Sue Webster Video Credit: Courtesy of Nowness

When British artist Sue Webster purchased the property at auction in 2014, she was well aware of the former owner’s illustrious history. In the 1960s, William ‘mole man’ Lyttle began excavating the foundations of his house to build a wine cellar, but failed to stop there. Instead, he spent the next forty years digging a complex labyrinth of tunnels up to twenty meters long, leading from his house to the surrounding neighborhood.

Decades of local complaints, more sinkholes and 100 cubic meters of soil later the local government eventually evicted the ‘mole man’ after structural engineers deemed his home was no longer safe. Lyttle died in 2010 but not before witnessing the local council clearing 33 tons of debris from his house, of which included three cars and a boat.

Next up, In Residence: Pamela Shamshiri

To see more episodes from the series In Residence, click here.

For more details, visit Nowness

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