The Nautilus, a strange building shaped like the chambered shell of the same name, was built in South London in the early 1930s. Designed on Modernist and Utopian principles, it was a haven for a floating community of cosmopolitan refugees, intellectuals and artists.
Now, at the end of the century, one or two of the original inhabitants still occupy their chambers but the building, neglected and encrusted with the detritus of time, has attracted a variety of younger residents. To the Nautilus, like a hermit crab seeking a home, comes Rowena Snow, a woman of Indian/Scottish parentage, in search of her own Utopia or the Heligoland other childhood imagination.
'Heligoland' is a complex work ranging in time from the 1930s, through the great winter of 1947, to the present day.