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Encyclopedia > Edward Pilgrim

Edward Alexander Pilgrim (December 12, 1904 - September 24, 1954) was a British homeowner and suicide whose death was hastened by bureaucracy. He was a working class individual with a slight education who worked as a milkman before marrying his wife, Margaret, in 1931. In 1949, he moved to Marlborough Road in Romford and worked as a tool maker for ten pound sterling a week. He took out a ten year mortgage on his house to purchase a 2,200 square meter lot next to his house to use as a buffer zone between himself and neighboring children. He paid £400 for the lot. December 12 is the 346th day (347th in leap years) of the year in the Gregorian calendar, with 19 days remaining. ... 1904 (MCMIV) is a leap year starting on a Friday (link will take you to calendar). ... September 24 is the 267th day of the year (268th in leap years). ... 1954 (MCMLIV) was a common year starting on Friday of the Gregorian calendar. ... It has been suggested that Suicide and culture be merged into this article or section. ... Bureaucracy , or red tape is a concept in sociology and political science. ... The term working class is used to denote a social class. ... 1931 (MCMXXXI) is a common year starting on Thursday. ... 1949 (MCMXLIX) is a common year starting on Saturday. ... Romford is a place in East London. ... The pound sterling is the official currency of the United Kingdom (UK). ... A mortgage is a method of using property as security for the payment of a debt. ...

What Mr. Pilgrim did not know was that the Town and Country Planning Act of 1947 had allowed local councils to purchase lands for development for current usage values. Thus, fallow land (and specifically empty lots such as his buffer) would be purchased for its potential value in agriculture rather than its value as housing or commercial space. Owners of empty land could lodge a claim to request compensation for lost development rights, but only if they did so before July of 1949. The previous owner of Mr. Pilgrim's lot had not lodged such a claim and had sold to avoid having to take what the council would offer. Indeed, when, in July of 1952 the Romford council began its Mawney Road housing development, they offered Mr. Pilgrim only £65 for the lot -- a value that was confirmed by the assayer. Pilgrim, however, did not even know of the offer (and purchase) by the government until the project began, and he did not appeal until February of 1954, when construction on the site actually began. The Romford council had a housing waiting list of 1,600 people, and so it would not remove Mr. Pilgrim's lot from its scheme. They determined that he was merely an imprudent land speculator who had not bothered to inform himself of the legal issues surrounding his purchase. 1947 (MCMXLVII) was a common year starting on Wednesday (link will take you to calendar). ... 1952 (MCMLII) was a Leap year starting on Tuesday (link will take you to calendar). ...

Pilgrim tried to reach the Housing Minister Harold Macmillan, the prime minister Winston Churchill, and the Queen. Macmillain's civil servants agreed with the local council that Pilgrim was simply a man who had not done due preparation. A Unity housing high rise went up on Pilgrim's lot, until, according to Pilgrim, it blotted out the sun and he needed electric lights even on sunny days. The lot that he had purchased to ensure a natural buffer was now, in fact, destroying both his view and his quiet. On September 24, 1954, after a weekend of depression, he hanged himself in a tool shed on the disputed land. The Right Honourable Maurice Harold Macmillan, 1st Earl of Stockton, OM, PC (10 February 1894–29 December 1986), nicknamed Supermac and Mac the Knife, was a British Conservative politician and Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1957 to 1963. ... Sir Robert Walpole, the first Prime Minister A prime minister is a politician who serves as the head of the executive branch of government in a parliamentary system. ... Sir Winston Leonard Spencer-Churchill, KG, OM, CH, TD, FRS (30 November 1874 – 24 January 1965) was a British politician, best known as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom during the Second World War. ... Elizabeth II in an official portrait as Queen of Canada (on the occasion of her Golden Jubilee in 2002, wearing the Sovereigns badges of the Order of Canada and the Order of Military Merit) Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II (Elizabeth Alexandra Mary) (born 21 April 1926), styled HM The... Look up depression in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ...

The Daily Express newspaper made Pilgrim's suicide a cause celeb and campaigned to have it remembered. The Crichel Down scandal was also in the news at the time, and Winston Churchill accused Harold Macmillan of killing Pilgrim. A revision of the Town and Country Planning Act of 1954 carried the Pilgrim clause which allowed future land owners in Pilgrim's place to be compensated. The local council in Romford offered Mrs. Pilgrim £335 (to be added to the 65 already paid to equal the original purchase price), but this left her still paying interest on the loan. The Daily Express is a British newspaper, currently tabloid, and it is owned by Richard Desmond. ... The Crichel Down affair was a British political scandal of 1954, with a disproportionate subsequent effect and notoriety. ...

The story of Edward Pilgrim has become an archetype for the well-intentioned abuses of bureaucracy, especially in the United Kingdom. The figure of Arthur Dent in Douglas Adams's The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, for example, repeats numerous details of the Pilgrim story. The character of Harry Buttle/Harry Tuttle in Brazil also suggests some of the same disquiet with self-satisfied bureaucracy that Pilgrim experienced. An archetype is an idealized model of a person, object, or concept from which similar instances are derived, copied, patterned, or emulated. ... Simon Jones as an upset Arthur Dent, watching his home being demolished in the first episode of the BBC TV series. ... Douglas Noël Adams in an undated publicity photograph by Jill Furmanovsky. ... The cover of the first novel in the Hitchhikers series, from a late 1990s printing. ...




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