To put it lightly, 13 weeks of lockdown has been challenging for even the most sane among us. It’s taught us many things about ourselves, each other and the things around us we hold especially dear: wine, friendship, beer, carbs... did I say wine already? One of the positive outcomes of these bizarre times is Londoners’ reconnection to nature: a welcome relief from ‘Black Mirror’-esque news headlines and an escape from the same four walls we’ve all been staring at.
It’s unsurprising, then, that our priorities have switched from when the Acai & Almond Butter Bowl shelf in Pret will be re-stocked to saving our local greenery and wildlife. This could be the reason why a petition to save a 150-year-old London pine tree (a hybrid of American sycamore and Oriental plane) has garnered so many signatures over the past month.
The tree, also referred to as The Happy Man Tree, has been growing in its current location at the end of Lordship Lane in Hackney since 1870 – surviving two world wars and up until now, a century-and-a-half of housing development.
As soon as this weekend, the much-loved tree could be felled by Berkley Homes and Hackney Council to make way for new homes, despite the submission of viable plans for its preservation from locals.
The Happy Man Tree campaign has, so far, gathered 20,000 signatures and hopes to hit 25,000 by the end of the week to halt the felling. So, London, stick your name on the petition and let's make sure The Happy Man lives on long after lockdown lifts.
Looking for a glorious green space in your borough? Check out our list of London's hidden parks and gardens.
Check out this spotter’s guide to London’s trees compiled by an actual tree expert.