If you think you would never see abandoned military gear just openly sitting around a major capital city, well then think again. Walking around Mandela Way in London, United Kingdom then you may come face with a massive T-34 tank. And the story of how it got there is quite funny, it is a symbolic message from an angry businessman.
Abandoned since 1995 the Mandela Way T-34 tank, or as the locals have nicknamed it Stompie, is a very strange war relic that turned up in London. And it was not the creation of a national conflict or aftermath of one of the World Wars. No, this tank is not even a memorial for British troops, this T-34 tank symbolizes the fight between a businessman and the local city planners.
It is thought to have originally been used during the Czech military campaign when we saw fighting during the Prague Spring of 1968. It was brought to London as a movie prop and used during the filming of the movie Richard III. The tank has of course been decommissioned and is now an empty iron shell, which was placed on the lot in 1995 by a local businessman called Russell Gray.
The property was bought as the developer wanted to build on the space, however, the local city planning council shut down his proposal. So Gray decided to fight back symbolically by buying a tank, placing it on the empty lot and pointing the gun at the local city council office.
Southwark Council’s planning offices attempted to get the T-34 tank removed from the area, but Gray had obtained the proper petitions to keep the tank legally on the land. The council had even approved the request, believing he meant a septic tank!
Over the years Stompie has stood on the site, it is now surrounded by weeds and other plant life, often now covered in graffiti with some sort of political message. But the fact that the tank is essentially a giant middle finger to the local planning council is probably the funniest message of them all.