Mole Man of Hackney's tunnel-filled home is for sale

Civil engineer William Lyttle was known as the "Mole Man of Hackney" after spending 40 years digging a network tunnels beneath his home. Now Lyttle's property is up for sale, although with considerably fewer tunnels.

Lyttle began his subterranean project in the early 1960s, carving out his own little world beneath his east London home. In 2006, the Guardian reported that Lyttle had scooped out some 100 cubic meters of dirt using only a shovel and a pulley, and a recent piece from the Daily Mail claims the property boasted 60ft-long passageways. Although Lyttle claimed that he was just building himself a particularly enormous basement, and that he was digging only beneath his own property, neighbors complained that they lost power after Lyttle struck a cable and the pavement in front of Lyttle's home collapsed, leaving a gash in the road. In 2006, Lyttle was ordered to stop his home excavation and was evicted from his home. Two years later, he passed away.

Now Lyttle's property is for sale, although it isn't quite the marvel of underground engineering the so-called Mole Man had envisioned. After hauling four cars, a boat, several refrigerators and TV sets, and a great deal more refuse from the tunnels, the local council filled most of Lyttle's underground spaces with concrete. The building, which has been approved for demolition, went up for sale last year for £500,000, but has yet to sell. It's going up for auction and is expected to fetch around £750,000.

Sadly, it doesn't sound like the Mole Man's former abode is in any shape to be anyone's underground lair these days. But perhaps a few of his tunnels still remain for smaller scale plots and schemes.

Photo from Wikimedia Commons via BLDGBLOG.

[Daily Mail via BLDGBLOG]