Hackney Characters #2 – The Mole Man

Retired Engineer William Lyttle became known as ‘The Mole Man of Hackney’ in 2006 when Hackney Council discovered he had been digging tunnels from the basement of his detached house on the corner of Stamford Road and Mortimer Road.The council evicted Lyttle from the unstable property and it was made safe by removing the roof and shoring up the walls. In 2008 the eccentric pensioner was ordered by the courts to pay the repair bill and was banned from returning to the house. Since then the house has remained empty and fallen further into disrepair.The Mole Man passed away in 2010 with Hackney Council claiming they had over £400,000 to recover from his burrowing endeavours. Following his death a spoof blue plaque was erected on the front of his former home with the inscription… William “Mole Man” Lyttle 1931-2010 Burrower lived and dug here 1962 – 2009 Photo by and copyright Michael Rank ( MTrank)


  1. Quite a few good pages dedicated to the ‘Mole Man’ in Iain Sinclair’s ‘Hackney’…

  2. I really dig the Mole Man of Hackney.And £400k is a ridiculous, though I don’t doubt you could build up a huge debt if you tried; especially if you were trying to make an example…How much concrete could you get for £20k? And just pump it in to the ready made foundations. Not a well thought out solution methinks.

  3. A song from Ruairidh Anderson about the mole man over on the Londonist http://londonist.com/2012/03/folk-olympics-the-mole-man-of-hackney.php

  4. Tim Nobel and Sue Webster http://www.timnobleandsuewebster.com/ are the artists who bought the house and are planning to restore it with the help of David Adjaye

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