Police had called the occupiers the day before stating their intent to arrest people opening the building, for burglary. After being being told that such arrests would be illegal, they rang back to say they would shut the building down on grounds of health and safety, and also take details of anyone going into the building . If details were refused, the individual would be arrested. Again illegal police work.
The fire service arrived at 11, and gave the thumbs up for the building to be used.
And then suddenly the family rush began!
Two years ago Southwark council shut the Livesey down as part of a budget cut. The cost of running the building was less than money spent on council lunches. The council then tried to sell the building only to find that in the deeds George Livesey left the Livesey for the people of Peckham and Camberwell. As a trustee they had no right to sell it.
After a community campaign to save the children's museum by the Friends of Livesey, the council accepted a proposal from Theatre Peckham to use the space for rehearsals. Two years later nothing had happened in the building.
And so it was occupied six weeks ago by a group who want to see the building used by the community.
A public meeting was held with 40 people and there was consensus to hold a re-opening for local families.
After two weeks of organizing families flocked from all around to attend the day of activities: vegetable growing workshops, a treasure hunt, storytelling, arts and crafts, a theatre workshop and bicycle maintenance.
Around 80 people attended, and the kids had a ball especially on the treasure island. The museum came back to life, and was placed back into use for its original community purpose.
Around 2.30pm the fire service returned to see what we would do if there was a fire. They walked around to see everything was fine and then let everyone play on the fire engine. Hoses and sirens went off, and there was a new activity for the event.
One police, and a community policeman turned up and hang around at the gate for a while, after being refused entry after asking to see inside for potential crime. So the phone calls the day before seemed to be an attempt at intimidation.
So the Livsey Museum was shut to the community two years ago, and yesterday the community re-opened it, to have a brilliant day with the fire service being co-opted into the fun.
With a court date imminent, we will see what happens next at the Livesey but for now it is re-open and in the hands of the community.