The Octopus

In his 1928 book, England and the Octopus, Clough Williams-Ellis frames The Octopus as the encroaching arms of market forced building.

The book inspired Ferguson’s Gang, a group of young women who created a theatrical gang and vowed to ‘destroy the Octopus’. Giving themselves alter ego’s- Red Biddy, Bill Stickers and The Artichoke, they bought properties and significantly raised the profile fo the National Trust. Dubbed “benevolent Gangsters’ they ambushed the National Trust HQ wearing masks and cloaks with silver pineapples full of money.

We, in turn were inspired by Ferguson’s Gang- their passion, their eccentricity and the playfulness of their campaigning. Looking for modern day Gangs, we met Focus East 15, a group of young women from Stratford who were evicted from their mother and baby unit and displaced across the county. Their playfulness is of the same leaf, but more direct and their fight is an urgent one, fighting forced homelessness, evictions and displacement.

We have created a set of games that serve as on-street ‘interruptions’, inviting the public to engage in problems with our modern day housing issues in a playful way.

We thought it might be useful to list links to campaign and support groups that work within housing today below.

We’ll continue to develop this project. If you’d like to stay in touch please follow us on social media @muftigames or fill out the contact form

You can read more about this project here.

is an R&D supported by Blueprint: Without Walls R&D Investment Fund and

The R&D for Ferguson’s Gang vs The Octopus is supported by Pervasive Media Studio and Blueprint: Without Walls R&D Investment Fund. Without Walls is the UK’s largest commissioner of outdoor arts shows, taking inspiring new work to audiences all over the country and beyond. For more information on the work of Without Walls, please visit


This is the beginning of a long list of groups working to support housing and conservation rights. Please add in the comments box below.