Saturday, June 06, 2015

'Stompie': The T-34 Tank

London The Unfinished City
Stompie's Stomping Ground.
Saturday June 6, 2015.

For this walk around the Unfinished City I began my journey at Borough Market, where I had a late breakfast, before heading down the Old Kent Road, towards Mandela Way. 

I had heard so much about 'Stompie' that I wanted to see her for myself, so that I could mark it off my 'to see in London list'. I was not disappointed. 

The land that 'Stompie' resides upon is only partially fenced, so you can get up close and personal with this piece of military history.

Brief History

Apparently, Mr Gray had been refused planning permission, by Southwark Council, to build on his plot of land and felt aggrieved by the decision. However, he applied to Southwark Council to see if they would grant him permission to place a tank on the land. Mr Gray never specified, to Southwark Council, what sort of tank he wanted to place on the land, but they still gave him the permission he required, believing that we was placing a septic tank on the site.

Russell Gray, who lives just a few yards from where Stompie now resides, had bought the T-34 Tank for £7,000.

I would have loved to have seen their faces when Stompie arrived, with the turret pointing its gun directly at the council offices.

Mr Gray has allowed Stompie to be painted, and graffitied, by various artists, over the years.

  • Stompie, The T-34 tank, was used in the Prague Spring Revolution, of 1968, where it was used to crush dissent, before it was decommissioned and brought to the UK, in the early 1990s, along with other tanks and military vehicles no longer required by the Russian Military.
  • Stompie was originally Military Green before being painted pink, by Aleksandra Mir of Cubitt Artists, in 2002. In 2008, it was again repainted with a black and cream swirl design and, in 2009, a pink and white colour scheme. Graffiti4hire gave the tank a makeover, in 2009, by transforming its livery into that of a yellow New York taxi. Stompie's current livery, of orange and black stripes, was painted in 2014, with the remembrance poppy commemorating the start of World War I.
  • In 1995, Stompie, was used in the filming of Richard III, starring Ian McKellen, before being sold by a military salvage dealer.

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