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Harry Hallowes

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Harry Hallowes
Harry "the Hermit" Hallowes.jpg
Hallowes in 2007
Bornc. 1936
Died2016 (aged 79–80)

Harry Hallowes (born c. 1936, died 2016), also known as Harry the Hermit, was an Irishman who became famous for living in a camp on Hampstead Heath in north London. When property developers tried to evict him, he successfully claimed adverse possession. After his death, a romantic comedy called Hampstead was made about his life.


Hallowes was born in County Sligo, Ireland, around 1936 and moved to London in the 1950s.[1] He was evicted from his council flat in Highgate in 1987 and then set up a makeshift camp in a corner of Hampstead Heath near Athlone House, supporting himself by doing odd jobs for locals such as the director Terry Gilliam.[2][3] When property developers tried to evict him, he successfully claimed title to the land by adverse possession having lived there for over 12 years.[4] He was awarded title to the half-acre plot of land in 2007.[5]


Hallowes died in February 2016.[6] Hallowes left the half-acre plot to two homelessness charities (Shelter and Centrepoint) and following his death the land was auctioned.[7][5] The plot sold for £154,000 which was significantly less than estimates that had been speculatively reported in the press. This was due to an agreement that is over 100 years old which prevents construction on the site.[5]


In 2017, a romantic comedy called Hampstead was based on Hallowes' experience. In the film, actor Brendan Gleeson played the part of a hermit on Hampstead Heath, who is befriended by an American widow played by Diane Keaton.[1][8][9]


  1. ^ a b "I just want to be alone, says Harry, the Heath hermit portrayed on big screen", Camden New Journal, p. 3, 22 October 2015
  2. ^ Karen McVeigh (24 May 2007), "Ragged millionaire who only wanted a place to live", The Guardian, archived from the original on 11 June 2017, retrieved 14 December 2016
  3. ^ Christopher Hibbert, Ben Weinreb, The London Encyclopaedia, p. 31, ISBN 0230738788
  4. ^ I won’t build on tramp’s famous Hampstead glade, says developer who paid £154k, Evening Standard, 24 May 2007, archived from the original on 2 September 2017, retrieved 31 October 2015
  5. ^ a b c Hampstead Heath hermit's land sells for £154k at auction, BBC, 18 June 2018, archived from the original on 25 May 2019, retrieved 25 May 2019
  6. ^ Dan Carrier (8 December 2016), "'Harry the Hermit' death: Who will get squatters rights land next to Hampstead Heath?", Camden New Journal, archived from the original on 27 December 2017, retrieved 24 June 2017
  7. ^ Tramp wins rights to prime land, Evening Standard, 21 June 2018, archived from the original on 25 May 2019, retrieved 25 May 2019
  8. ^ Guy Lodge (14 June 2017), "Film Review: 'Hampstead'", Variety, archived from the original on 5 December 2017, retrieved 15 December 2017
  9. ^ Charlotte O'Sullivan (23 June 2017), "Hampstead film review: North London gets its Hollywood close-up", Evening Standard, archived from the original on 28 November 2017, retrieved 5 April 2018
This page was last edited on 7 November 2020, at 03:56
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