My Week

Gladys Stone Evicted OAP
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The Independent Culture
This week, Gladys Stone, 77, was evicted from her Mayfair home of 32 years, by her landlord, Greek billionaire, John Latsis, who is redeveloping the block.


During my trial last summer against my landlord, Latsis, the judge ruled that I would have to leave my flat by 4 December. Today, 12 December, I am still here, at Curzon Place. I have told Latsis that I will wait for the bailiffs to force me out. They'll have to break my door down if they want me to leave. I am not going to give up. I'm a gladiator and I fight to the death.

I blame Prince Charles for my situation. Latsis is friends with Prince Charles and has gained permission to demolish this part of Mayfair - the whole area, from the Hilton Hotel to Curzon Street.

Prince Charles is supposed to be for conservation, but not where Latsis is concerned. He's stayed as quiet as a Trappist monk on this issue.


Today's the day that Hilda, my daily, comes in. She's been with me for 30 years and turns up every week. We tidy up after the weekend.

I am the only person left in my building as the tenants in the other two flats have already moved. I feel very supported though. People have written to me from all over England, expressing their sympathy. I have a note on my door saying, "I will not open the door. I am on guard here."


Lots of reporters arrive at my flat in the morning, along with the removal men. I have given them all the password, "frogs", so that I know it is safe to let them in. At about 9am we pile all my old books up against the door, to barricade ourselves in.

At 10.30am the bailiffs arrive. Mr O'Brien, one of the bailiffs, asks me to be sensible and open the door. Then they go to work on the locks with an electric drill and a hammer. The noise is very traumatic.

Then Mr O'Brien burst in with two of Latsis's henchmen: a fat ugly looking pigster, and a slimeball. They claim to be only following court orders. Like the Nazis, I tell them.

After this there is nothing more I can do. The removal men pack up and I stay there to make sure everything goes into the right boxes.

It is dark when I leave the building. I walk out of the building with Hilda. I am crying. I don't look back, as I can't bear it, walking out of a place I have loved so much, that holds so many memories, for the last time.


I wake up in my new flat, 32 Upper Brook Street. All my clocks are packed away, so I don't know what time it is. I try to make a cup of tea, but I can't find the cord for the kettle. I try to boil some water in a pan, but it is a gas hob and I don't know how to use it. I am wandering around like a lost sheep, which is not like me.

I loathe the central heating here - it is a blowing one. There is no television socket and only three plug sockets in the whole flat. There are no wall lights at all, only bare bulbs hanging from the ceiling in each room.

It bears no comparison to my other flat. That flat was unique. There isn't another one with a view like that in the whole of London. There is a view of the park here, but I have to go over to the window to see it.


I think about doing a little shopping. I used to walk to Harvey Nichols, where they have a very good fish counter, but now it is a little far to walk.

My flat still looks as if it has been stirred up with a stick. My old sitting room had pine graining on the walls - it looked like wood panelling. I had very expensive Japanese grass paper on all walls. These walls are painted a sort of yellowy colour, the type that you would put in a kitchen. It's like living in a funfair. But I will get organised as I am resilient. I'm not a whiner. I will roll my sleeves up even if I need to get down on the floor and scrub it.


I am absolutely horrified at what has happened to me this week. To think that I have been evicted by someone who isn't even a Greek gentleman. How sad England has become. What has this green and pleasant land come to?

My friends want me to go to Monte Carlo with them for Christmas. I don't want to go as I can't pack my cases. They're already full.

I have to get my flat right before Christmas. I need to make a new home. I used to love my home. My late husband, Philip, always used to say that I packed up more quickly to come home than when I was leaving on holiday.