George Singleton: Meet the homeless academic who cleans scrap out of the Regent’s Canal while ‘extreme camping’ in King’s Cross
PUBLISHED: 07:54 01 October 2019 | UPDATED: 08:29 01 October 2019
The 70-year-old academic who scoops rubbish out of the Regent’s Canal every day has spoken about his “extreme camping” lifestyle in King’s Cross.
George Singleton, 70, who lives at a camp in York Way, says he's been homeless for 40 years through choice.
He lives off-grid using 12V batteries at a base called Nature Guard Camp AKA Great Britain Member of Parliament Jo Cox Memorial Art Garden and studies in libraries when he isn't selling scrap metal or protecting the natural environment.
He's a US citizen with Native American Cherokee tribe blood who writes books and papers on ancient Egypt and how herbology and veganism can alleviate sickness, and he featured in an episode of Channel 5's Rich Kids Go Homeless in April.
"Taking stuff out of the canal is political," he told this paper. "There's a 300-mile wide garbage patch called the Atlantic Rubbish Patch and I'm attacking that.
"I'm doing the job you should be doing - taking plastics and especially PVC white plastics out of the canal."
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As well as plastic, George has also fished three bikes out of the Regent's Canal.
He crushes cans he collects in a purpose built machine, collects scrap metal and cycles one of the salvaged bikes all the way to the Argall Metal Recycling plant in Staffa Road, Leyton, to trade his goods.
George has also befriended "the Mills family", who installed the can crusher for him, help with his laundry and drive him to the recycling plant in a truck when he's collected heavy scrap.
George is also growing his own potatoes and collecting leaves to make into mulch for top soil he hopes to then sell.
He had been living in a tent under Bridge 32 on the towpath of Regent's Canal for two years before he was "evicted" on the pretext of obstructing the walkway. But he said: "They don't want homeless people on the walkway between King's Cross and Camden because it's a big money maker for [both areas] and homeless people don't really exist."
He set up camp in York Way two years ago, on a grassy roadside bank where people used to hide behind a billboard and take heroin.
A vegan who eats meals cooked free by the Hare Krishna most days, George says he believes the "meat based mafia" is behind the second highest number of deaths in the country after cancer.
He calls himself "a law champion, a doctor in divinity and a doctor in herbology". He claims to have helped save Jimmy Carter from brain cancer and Bill Clinton from cardiovascular disease by sending them homeopathic medical advice via fax, which neither responded to.