The dilapidated home of William Lyttle, the infamous “Mole Man” of Hackney is to be auctioned next month after failing to sell last year.
It now expected fetch up to £750,000 but is expected to be demolished once sold.
Lyttle spent over 40 years digging extensive tunnels, caves and caverns up to 8m deep underneath his home and neighbouring homes in Mortimer Road in the De Beauvoir Town area.
Following safety fears by Hackney Council in 2006, the then 76-year-old pensioner was instructed to cease his tunneling and quickly became a local legend. He was then evicted and eventually relocated to a council flat in 2010, where he died a few months later at the age of 79. More than 30 tonnes of debris were removed from the property.
The property is now fenced off, but still carries a blue plaque commemorating Lyttle as an “English Character” (1931-2010): “Burrower, lived and dug here” from 1962-2009. He was also celebrated in song, see ELL’s report here
Hackney Council originally refused planning permission to demolish the property, claiming it was a ‘heritage asset’ but permission was eventually granted last year. The house stands in the middle of a prime residential area.
Once auctioned off, the new owners will be able to knock down the property and have permission to construct two three-storey town houses on the site.
Sean King, CEO of Estate agents Move With Us, who are in charge for auctioning the property said: “Putting the property up for auction is the best option to achieve the maximum property price, coupled with the fact that the site has restricted viewing access and is unsafe.’’
The company said they expect lots of interest in the sale as the house is prime real estate in Hackney, with the added cache of being the ‘Mole Man’s’ former house.’ It is expected to sell for roughly £750,000.
The auction will be held on July 19, at 12 noon at the Everyman Cinema in Haverstock Hill, Hampstead.