How Facebook 'night of mayhem' lived up to its Park Lane billing

view gallery VIEW GALLERY

It was billed as a night of mayhem and it certainly delivered. Riot police yesterday evening fought running battles with party-goers after an illegal rave in a multi-million mansion attracted thousands of teenage gatecrashers like hedonistic moths to a flame.

The party was advertised widely on Facebook as a “night of mayhem” to celebrate squatters taking over a six-storey Georgian mansion on Park Lane. The squatters are thought to be part of an anti-capitalist collective who believed that the unoccupied mansion was owned by HSBC.

But events rapidly spiralled out of control when thousands of teenagers heard about the planned revelry through social networking sites, passed the invite to their friends and then descended en masse.

Police officers arrived shortly after 11pm to try and stop revellers from climbing onto the building’s roof which they feared would collapse under the weight of so many people. They called for riot police to back them up after a small number of partygoers started hurling bottles and bricks in protest.

Jamwam Anstruther, one of the teenage revellers, updated his Twitter account throughout the night. At 1.30am he wrote: “There’s like 300 riot police outside. Closed down whole of Marble Arch. F***ing riot police raided. Batons and all. Intense.”

Another attendee, Fiona Hicks, wrote: “New York fashion week can stick it, I’m on top of a £30,000,000 Park Lane mansion squat party doing lines off the roof.”

Both the western edge of Oxford Street and all of Park Lane was closed off for more than three hours as officers tried to persuade the revellers to leave.

American singer Courtney Love, who lives off Park Lane, had to abandon her much anticipated first comeback gig because she could not get through the police lines. Love had been due to play a short midnight set with her newly reformed band Hole at Proud Bar in Camden. But as she wrote on her Twitter account: “There was...a massive riot tonight outside my house, the cops wouldn’t let me leave.”

Zosia Swidlicka, a spokeswoman from Proud Bar, said: “She was due to go on stage at midnight to play some of the songs off her new album but she couldn’t even get here. It was kind of annoying really because Courtney is sort of known for being a little bit unreliable but this time it wasn’t even her fault.”

The party is thought to be the biggest example yet of a Facebook event going viral, resulting in hordes of gatecrashers.

Yesterday morning the invite, which was cryptically titled “Nicolas Cage Mansion Party”, already had more than 4,000 people saying they were hoping to attend and a further 5,000 people still undecided. Police put the total number of revellers on the night was “in excess of 2,000”.

Although party goers complained at the heavy police presence there were genuine concerns for the integrity of the building. At one point fears of a collapse became so great that at least one hospital across put staff on a “no break” order in case they were suddenly inundated with injuries.

London Ambulance treated two people for injuries at the scene and even felt compelled to send in their Hazardous Area Response Team (HART) - a specially trained crew who are qualified to take on potentially toxic situations such as a chemical spills or, in this case, a large gathering of unwashed over-excited teenagers.

Organisers of the party sheepishly admitted yesterday that it had got a little “out of control”. Oliver Appleyard, an 18-year-old sixth-form student, told the Evening Standard: “What’s really sad is that this is not what we wanted. We wanted people to have a good time and to be safe. We did have lots of friends controlling the situation, but a small majority were badly behaved. We did have the feeling this morning of, ‘Oh God, I hope nothing serious happened’. The average age was 16-18, so that age group was always going to be hard to control.”

There were no arrests yesterday but police say they are looking to speak to the organisers of the party.

News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Life and Style
fashionHealth concerns and 'pornified' perceptions have made women more conscious at the beach
Arts and Entertainment
tv
Sport
Ojo Onaolapo celebrates winning the bronze medal
commonwealth games
Arts and Entertainment
Rock band Led Zeppelin in the early 1970s
musicLed Zeppelin to release alternative Stairway To Heaven after 43 years
Arts and Entertainment
High-flyer: Chris Pratt in 'Guardians of the Galaxy'
filmHe was homeless in Hawaii when he got his big break. Now the comic actor Chris Pratt is Hollywood's new favourite action star
Sport
Van Gaal said that his challenge in taking over Bobby Robson's Barcelona team in 1993 has been easier than the task of resurrecting the current United side
footballA colourful discussion on tactics, the merits of the English footballer and rebuilding Manchester United
Life and Style
Sainsbury's could roll the lorries out across its whole fleet if they are successful
tech
Travel
The shipping news: a typical Snoozebox construction
travelSpending the night in a shipping container doesn't sound appealing, but mobile crash pads are popping up at the summer's biggest events
Arts and Entertainment
'Old Fashioned' will be a different kind of love story to '50 Shades'
film
Arts and Entertainment
Tracey Emin's 'My Bed' is returning to the Tate more than 15 years after it first caused shockwaves at the gallery
artTracey Emin's bed returns to the Tate after record sale
Arts and Entertainment
Smart mover: Peter Bazalgette
filmHow live cinema screenings can boost arts audiences
Environment
Neil Young performing at Hyde Park, London, earlier this month
environment
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

Save the tiger: The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The big cats kept in captivity to perform for paying audiences and then, when dead, their bodies used to fortify wine
A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery all included in top 50 hidden spots in the UK

A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery

Introducing the top 50 hidden spots in Britain
Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

How a disease that has claimed fewer than 2,000 victims in its history has earned a place in the darkest corner of the public's imagination
Chris Pratt: From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

He was homeless in Hawaii when he got his big break. Now the comic actor Chris Pratt is Hollywood's new favourite action star
How live cinema screenings can boost arts audiences

How live cinema screenings can boost arts audiences

Broadcasting plays and exhibitions to cinemas is a sure-fire box office smash
Shipping container hotels: Pop-up hotels filling a niche

Pop-up hotels filling a niche

Spending the night in a shipping container doesn't sound appealing, but these mobile crash pads are popping up at the summer's biggest events
Native American headdresses are not fashion accessories

Feather dust-up

A Canadian festival has banned Native American headwear. Haven't we been here before?
Boris Johnson's war on diesel

Boris Johnson's war on diesel

11m cars here run on diesel. It's seen as a greener alternative to unleaded petrol. So why is London's mayor on a crusade against the black pump?
5 best waterproof cameras

Splash and flash: 5 best waterproof cameras

Don't let water stop you taking snaps with one of these machines that will take you from the sand to meters deep
Louis van Gaal interview: Manchester United manager discusses tactics and rebuilding after the David Moyes era

Louis van Gaal interview

Manchester United manager discusses tactics and rebuilding after the David Moyes era
Will Gore: The goodwill shown by fans towards Alastair Cook will evaporate rapidly if India win the series

Will Gore: Outside Edge

The goodwill shown by fans towards Alastair Cook will evaporate rapidly if India win the series
The children were playing in the street with toy guns. The air strikes were tragically real

The air strikes were tragically real

The children were playing in the street with toy guns
Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite – The British, as others see us

Britain as others see us

Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite
How did our legends really begin?

How did our legends really begin?

Applying the theory of evolution to the world's many mythologies
Watch out: Lambrusco is back on the menu

Lambrusco is back on the menu

Naff Seventies corner-shop staple is this year's Aperol Spritz