Just off the upper nut of the Old Kent Road and close to Page’s Walk and Mandela Way there is a tank. A genuine T34 it’s been striped, spotted and pretty much tie-died since it was left there in the 90s occupying land that since has been solely occupied by a lumpy great Soviet T34.
Assumed by some to be a relic of the 60s, it is in fact a relic of the 90s – the 60s not really starting in England until the early 70s (and far more people were tie-dyed, confused and shaggy-haired in the early 90s anyway) when this is all that remains of the hastily aborted St. Ian Brown’s Day Puscht. Its colour assumed to be graffiti it is, or was, actually camouflage. The sight of a Russian-green tank rumbling into Bermondsey would have drawn notice whereas one gaily-coloured of a Sunday morning did not. Being the sole possession and total armed forces of rebellious Manchester it was a wonder it reached London at all, discovered later to have jumped the train where it had spent the whole time crammed with three others in the toilet. Here it ran out of diesel, and here the baggy rebels argued about whose turn it was to go to the garage at 3am until day break – whereupon exposed to sunlight they were forced to waddle off under the shade of funny sunhats such as might have been worn by the Monkees.
Some say it was a prop for the 90s version of Richard III filmed in nearby Battersea, bought and dumped on the ground in protest of refused planning permission. Some people will say anything, we just all agree that it’s really there.