That chap that barricaded his house…

You may remember that I was after more information about an incident that occurred in Brownhills in the 1970’s when a local eccentric barricaded himself into his house in an attempt to prevent it being demolished. I’ve come upon some information about the incident I’d like to share here, to see if I can jog any memories about the fellow. I still think he may be the chap that sat on the flower bed outside Boots Chemists in Walsall  during  the 1980’s, with a placard around his neck protesting about police harassment, but not many people seem to remember him either. The information I’ve learned is that the man’s name was Philip Cheetham, who was described as being a ’57 year old electronics genius’ – he had apparently ‘…booby trapped his condemned house to stop the Walsall Council officials from possessing his home in Brownhills’. The incident was reported on the ATV Today programme on the 18th April 1977. I’m attempting to get a copy of the report, but that’s a long shot.

Has that trigged any recollections? If so, please feel free to share them here.

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One Response to That chap that barricaded his house…

  1. Anonymous says:

    I first saw Philip Cheetham demonstrating in Park Street, with his placard denouncing Walsall MBC and linking it with the Police State. He was tall, very thin with a long straggly grey beard. After he died, I had a call from a Council employee ( as I was ) asking if I wanted to visit the house in Pleck to see if there were any books that could be useful to Libraries before the house was cleared. Next day, key in hand I entered his terrace house. OMG! The hallway was 4 to 5 feet deep in old newspapers. There was a home built alarm in the hall, the door had been reinforced and a rudimentary camera was hanging from the ceiling. The front room was filled almost ceiling high with papers. Parts of the house were inaccessible as the rubbish was ceiling high. The only way was up and I had to crawl up the stairs over piles of papers and rubbish. When I got to the top the situation was the same, this time everywhere was piled with more newspapers and books. His literary taste ranged from James Joyce, Samuel Beckett and semi porno bondage books. All the books were damp and mildewed and the literary stuff was thoroughly annotated in pencil. I felt distinctly unsafe as the piles were shifting around under me. Another room was filled with rubbish almost up to the ceiling. The smell was awful. Getting down was more difficult than getting up. It was claustrophobic in extremis. Where he slept I know not, I was relieved that I never discovered it. I wish digital cameras had been around
    as no description could do the place justice.
    I understand that he had been diagnosed as a paranoid schizophrenic.

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