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First Person

I’ve lived in a skip for a year – this is what it has taught me about life

When Harrison Marshall moved into a converted skip in London, it was a bold statement about the impact of the cost of living crisis on young people like him who need somewhere affordable to live. A year on, he is amazed at how he has adapted to his new home, and explains why he’s not giving it up – despite the effect on his love life

Friday 12 January 2024 17:15 GMT
Harrison Marshall has lived for almost 12 months in his skip house in southeast London
Harrison Marshall has lived for almost 12 months in his skip house in southeast London (Katie Edwards)

When I was a kid, I used to build dens. My friends and I would find little nooks, hidden corners, in Brighton where I grew up, and make them into secret hideouts just for us. Ever since I was young, I’ve always been obsessed with tiny spaces and structures. Did I think that would naturally lead to me living in a skip at 28? No.

I also didn’t expect that my converted skip, close to London Bridge station, would turn out to be the best place I’ve ever lived in this city. The construction is 3.5 metres high, and 4.35 metres wide at its broadest point, with a pine frame clad in cedar shingles and a roof consisting of recycled plastic combined with aluminium on top.

This month will mark one year since I moved in, and I don’t regret a thing. Perhaps that sounds surprising, but in the midst of our current housing crisis, it’s actually not that far-fetched. Just this week, the chair of NatWest, Howard Davies, made headlines for declaring that it’s not “that difficult” to get on the property ladder, ignoring the fact that, across England, a house now costs more than 10 times the average salary.

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