Peter Apps is a journalist at the specialist magazine Inside Housing, and author of the Orwell Prize-winning book, Show Me the Bodies: How We Let Grenfell Happen.
In the first episode of our new Cable Live podcast strand – where we sit down with writers, academics and activists from across the UK, putting the Cable’s work in the national conversation – he is in conversation with Ruth Day, a Bristol-based housing activist and campaigner.
As part of the Cable’s ongoing speaker series, Peter is talking to Ruth about the failings that led up to the Grenfell Tower tragedy in June 2017 in which 72 people lost their lives, the wider housing crisis – and what the future might look like.
The discussion took place on Friday 3 November, just days before Bristol City Council suddenly and chaotically evacuated one of the city’s high-rises over fears it was structurally unsafe. About 400 people who were living in that block – Barton House, in Barton Hill – have been left temporarily homeless as a result, turning their lives upside down.
Within this talk, Pete explores how we got here: how social housing and building safety were neglected over decades in the UK – leading to a crisis in affordability, and pushing people into unacceptable and sometimes dangerous housing conditions.
Peter Apps’ book, Show Me the Bodies: How We Let Grenfell Happen, which explores the Grenfell Tower disaster, the failures that led up to it, and its aftermath, is available now.
‘I can do action’: cafe owner who organised tower block evacuation response aiming to be councillor
When she heard Barton House was being evacuated in November, Cafe Conscious owner Deniece Dixon got to work helping families who had become homeless. Two months on, she explains why she’s set her sights on City Hall
Listen: Bristol Unpacked with ACORN’s Wesley Bear on activism, the Barton House evacuation, and frosty relations with the council
Relations between Bristol City Council and community union ACORN have become increasingly fractious, with recent clashes over council tax and the evacuation of a Barton Hill tower block. Neil asks Wesley why, and whether there's a way back.
Barton House evacuation: Was the chaos and confusion completely unnecessary?
With a lack of clear information from the council, rumours and speculation ruled as residents decanted from their homes were left in the dark about what was going on. Campaigners say the authorities could have planned this better.
Analysis: The national high-rise saga behind Barton House’s emergency evacuation
Housing journalist Peter Apps, who has written for years about Grenfell, explains how even the sudden collapse of a similar high rise block in London 50 years failed to spark enough action to make other towers safe.
Exclusive: Council denies structural issues identified four years ago are root cause of tower block evacuation
Bristol City Council says 'new and intrusive' surveys raised questions over whether it could rely on its own records about Barton House, whose residents have been left temporarily homeless after the building was deemed unsafe.