Night watchman faces eviction from farm after 18 years
Regulars call for Terry Child to be allowed to stay
23 November, 2018 — By Tom Foot
Terry Child at the farm
TEARS were shed at Kentish Town City Farm on Tuesday night after an eviction order was served on a night watchman who has been living on-site for 18 years.
Trustees were told at an annual general meeting that the move “attacks the moral fibre” of the farm in Cressfield Close, and that “natural justice” for Terry Child, 66, was more important than profits.
Teenagers described how Mr Child was like a father to them. They pleaded with trustees to find a way he could stay. The trustees say the cottage where Mr Child lives is in need of “urgent repair”.
Mr Child said: “The terms when I moved in were that I live here and do the security at night. I’ve been told they might want to make the downstairs into a gallery or a restaurant.”
He added: “All this is going on and I’m trying to look after my mum. She’s diabetic and 97. I just want to be able to stay. I’ve given so much to this place over the years.”
Kentish Town City Farm, a community charity set up in 1972, aims to help city people connect with nature, giving thousands of children a chance to view farmyard animals up close.
Mr Child, who grew up around Lismore Circus, has lived in the area all his life. His brother lived in the farmhouse for 13 years before him, but had to leave after a brain haemorrhage.
Mr Child’s voluntary role involves keeping animals safe at night by preventing intruders and raising the alarm in the event of a fire. The meeting, however, heard that the farmhouse might need tens of thousands of pounds of renovation and that the existing informal set-up might not be sustainable under current regulations.
Retired farm stockman John Langan said: “To issue an eviction notice to a loyal volunteer seems like bashing at a watermelon with a hammer.”
Trustees told the meeting they could not discuss legal matters in public.
Richard Waller, the trustees’ new chairman, said afterwards: “We remain anxious to reach a resolution with Terry Child. The trustees would like to meet with Mr Child and his legal advisers at the earliest opportunity.”