Rough-sleepers pitch up seven tents on Imperial War Museum lawn

The Homeless Front: Rough sleepers pitch up seven tents on lawn of world-famous Imperial War Museum

  • Tents put up on shaded part of lawn alongside bikes and clothes hung up to dry
  • Were an estimated 8,855 people bedding down on London’s streets last year 
  • Comes as shocking new figures reveal deaths of homeless people increased 22%

By Rory Tingle For Mailonline

Published: 13:46 BST, 1 October 2019 | Updated: 17:11 BST, 1 October 2019

Rough sleepers have pitched tents in the park next to London‘s Imperial War Museum. 

The tents, pictured today, were put up on a shaded part of the lawn alongside bikes and clothes hung up to dry. 

There were an estimated 8,855 people bedding down on London’s streets last year, a record high for the capital.  

The tents were put up on a shaded part of the lawn outside the Imperial War Museum alongside bikes and clothes hung up to dry. The area is owned by the local council, not the museum 

One of the tents underneath a silver birch tree in the park next to the famous London museum  

The Imperial War Museum, which occupies one of the buildings used by the Royal Bethlehem Hospital, or Bedlam, explores conflict from WWI to the present day 

It comes as shocking new figures revealed deaths of homeless people increased by 22% to 726 in 2018 – the largest rise since 2013. 

Two in five of the deaths were related to drug poisoning – an increase of 55% on 2017 and compared to just 16% for the population as a whole, according to Office for National Statistics (ONS) figures.

Ben Humberstone, head of health analysis and life events at the ONS, said: ‘The deaths of 726 homeless people in England and Wales recorded in 2018 represent an increase of over a fifth on the previous year. That’s the largest rise since these figures began in 2013.

London had the highest number of deaths, with 20% of the total, followed by the North West, with 14%.

The most frequently mentioned substances on the death certificates of those identified as homeless in 2018 were opiates, with heroin or morphine being the most common forms.

There were an estimated 8,855 people bedding down on London’s streets last year, a record high for the capital

The seven tents in the green space next to the museum were seen today. It is unclear exactly when they were put up  

One of the tents has a warning sign attached onto it saying that emergency electricity works are about to be carried out 

Jon Sparkes, Crisis chief executive, said: ‘It is heart-breaking that hundreds of people were forced to spend the last days of their lives without the dignity of a secure home.

‘This is now the second year running where we have known the true scale of the human cost of homelessness, yet still the lessons from these tragic deaths go unlearnt.’

Mr Sparkes continued: ‘It’s crucial that governments urgently expand the safeguarding system used to investigate the deaths of vulnerable adults to include everyone who has died while street homeless so we can help prevent more people from dying needlessly.

‘Because in this day and age, there is no excuse for anyone dying without a safe place to call home.’

MailOnline has contacted the Imperial War Museum for comment. 

A man opens one of the tents outside the Imperial War Museum on Lambeth Road today 

The Imperial War Museum has several other branches, including the Cabinet War Rooms and IWN Duxford 

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