The strangest tower block in East London

By James Cook on December 30th, 2013

They’ve tried smartening up Landmark Heights in recent years. There are palm trees outside now as well as a new blue canopy. But the Hackney tower block still looms above the nearby park, a stark monument to London’s growing population.

Sudbury Court, as it appeared in 1997 and the renamed Landmark Heights in 2002.

Sudbury Court, as it appeared in 1997 and the renamed Landmark Heights in 2002.

Landmark Heights still hasn’t shaken its dark reputation. In 2010 it hit the headlines when a wealthy London heiress died there after taking drugs with musician Pete Doherty. Robyn Whitehead, the great niece of Sir James Goldsmith and daughter of influential filmmaker Peter Whitehead, died ten days into a project named Road To Albion. The film showed Whitehead taking drugs with Doherty in a Landmark Heights apartment, hours before she died from a heroin overdose.

In a scene from Whitehead's film dubbed 'The Crucifiction', Pete Doherty is covered in plaster inside the Landmark Heights apartment.

In a scene from Whitehead’s film dubbed ‘The Crucifiction’, Pete Doherty is covered in plaster inside the Landmark Heights apartment.

The death of Robyn Whitehead was not the first time that Landmark Heights and Pete Doherty became front page news. In 2006 The Sun published a photograph alleged to have been taken in the same apartment block. In the image, Doherty sits over an unconscious girl in his kitchen, injecting drugs into her arm with a syringe.

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The East London tower block has, bizarrely, become somewhat of a cultural touchstone. The relatively cheap cost of the apartments means that they’re often occupied by young creatives. Artist “Erkembode” even recorded an audio manifesto at Landmark Heights.

But there are stranger things happening in Landmark Heights. At the top of the tower block lives a man striving to build his own country away from the outside world.

The Kingdom of God

Search for Landmark Heights on Google Maps and you’ll notice a strange place name appear: The Official Site of the First Prime Minister of the Kingdom of God Serge Grishenkoff.

According to his Facebook account, Grishenkoff graduated from the Moscow Military Academy in 1990, having studied “Intelligence”. Born in 1960, Grishenkoff lists much of his early life as “Classified” on his various sites and blogs.

While he’s keen to hide his early life, Grishenkoff uses the internet to publicly explain what goes on at the top of Landmark Heights.

 

As well as Twitter, Serge Grishenkoff attempts to use Quora to spread his anti-Semitic message. His repeated attempts to join the site have resulted in accounts with his name being banned on sight, yet he continues to join regularly.

One of the messages that Grishenkoff is keen to spread is that his country is looking to recruit new citizens. The requirements for joining his community are relatively low.

“All who are not Jewish, perverse or rebellious can be the Citizens of the Kingdom of God and enjoy all immunities and privileges in accordance with the Constitution of the Kingdom of God.”

Landmark Heights, seen here in 1983. The middle building, farthest away from the camera is the only block remaining.

Landmark Heights, seen here in 1983. The middle building, farthest away from the camera is the only block remaining.

But it seems that the immunities offered by becoming a member of the Kingdom of God aren’t as exhaustive as Grishenkoff suggests. According to now-deleted website posts, the group has had some trouble with the police.

“20.02.2010 The jews rebelliously arrested and detained Prime Minister and took his Blackberry.

“22.02.2010 The jews rebelliously forced Prime Minister to appear before the Westminster Magistrates Court.

“03.03.2010 The jews rebelliously ‘convicted’ Deputy Prime Minister Serge Grishenkoff Jr. violating his immunity”

The Facebook group for the Kingdom of God only has one member.

The Facebook group for the Kingdom of God only has one member.

Despite all of his websites and publicly-listed telephone numbers having been deactivated, The Kernel managed to speak to Serge Grishenkoff via email. We asked him how many people are part of the Kingdom of God.

“The Holy Majority of Humanity: 60%- (Christians- 35% and Muslims- 25%) believe in God as the King, the Judge and the Lawgiver and so in the world as the Kingdom of God, and the rule of the majority is democracy. The Government of the Kingdom of God consists of Prime and Subject (National, Regional and Local) Ministers and their Deputies directly elected for 7 years by its registered relevant adult (20+) subjects.”

We went on to ask Grishenkoff about the arrests and police actions that had been referenced on one of his now-deleted websites.

“I was arrested, detained and tortured dozens of times, and my IDs, 5 laptops, 7 mobile phones, £1m cash, £1bn deposit and all other valuables were seized and never returned, and, since 2005, I was not allowed to leave and my wife to enter the UK or to get any legal or social aid ‘in the name of the jewish people (!!!) and jewish occupational government (!!!)’ without any court order.”

Grishenkoff declined to elaborate on exactly how he came to be in possession of a vast sum of money. When we asked him to confirm whether he was claiming to have been tortured by the British government, he replied with “Yes”.

Every tower block in London has its slightly zanier residents. But Landmark Heights seems to have attracted a particular blend of chaos that shows no sign of abating. While drug-addled musicians cause scandal in the lower floors, Serge Grishenkoff presides over his imaginary kingdom from the upper levels, looking out over the Hackney marshes and surely wondering whatever happened to his billions.