Bureau of Lost Culture: Birth, Death and Frestonia (03/07/2022)
The People’s Republic of Frestonia, a countercultural micronation, was formed in three streets in North Kensington in the heady years of late seventies London.
Long before the Occupy movement, a group of squatters, radicals, artists and activists decided to fight back against a local authority bent on evicting them from their homes and declared the area independent of the UK. Drawing huge media interest, some derision and lot of goodwill, they had their own passports, stamps and theatre and even applied to join the United Nations.
One of them, the psychotherapist Josefine Speyer, Frestonia’s minister of Culture, came to occupy the Bureau for an hour or so to tell what it was all about – and about the countercultural journey to live there she took from her youth in cold war Berlin. We hear of communes, travelling England in a gypsy caravan, home births with hash cookies and of some of the many alternative projects initiated by her radical activist husband Nicholas Albery.