Hull colour

July 9th, 2020
Humber Dock Basin, Hull 70shull052
Silted up dock. 1970s

I’m aware that its a while – over a year since I’ve written anything here about Hull, so here is the first of a short series of posts about a city where I’ve spent quite a lot of time photographing.

King Billy, Hull 70shull048
King Billy, 1970s

I’ve never actually lived in Hull, but for around 35 years I visited the city regularly visiting my wife’s family home, where we stayed for at least a week every year, more in the earlier years. After that house was sold we had a good friend who was always pleased for us to stay with him in his large mansion, but since his death around ten years ago my visits have been less frequent.

Window, Hull 70shull069
Old Town reflection, 1970s

During those visits to Hull I spent a lot of time on the streets taking photographs, sometimes out with other family members, but often on my own.

Docks notice, Hull 70shull070
Docks Notice, 1970s

Mostly I was photographing in black and white, working on a project that in the early 1980s became an exhibition (and much later a book) ‘Still Occupied – A View of Hull’. As well over a hundred black and white images, the show at the Ferens Gallery also included around 40 colour pictures, giving a more abstract view and concentrating on the docks and the River Hull and the riverside industries.

Poulterers, Hull 70s-hull073
D Marks & Sons. Possibly on Humber St, 1970s

At that time I worked in colour using 35mm transparency film and quite a few of the slides have either been discarded or deteriorated beyond recovery, while others have been lost. But a couple of months ago I found around 250 of the more interesting pictures and re-photographed them using a Nikon D810 fitted with a Nikon PB-6 bellows, Nikon 60mm f2.8 macro lens and PS-6 slide duplicating attachment.

Window, Hull 70shull075
Dockside Shed, 1970s

The pictures here come from the first fifteen in the album, and the top one, which I think is probably of Railway Dock, shows the silted up state of the disused docks at that time. Those familiar with Hull will recognise ‘King Billy’ below this, reflected in the window of the pub where he is reputed to drink when the clock strikes thirteen. It’s a little harder to recognise the buildings reflected in the window below, particularly because the double image makes it seem more slender – or to read the rather minimal remains of the dockside notice that follows.

I can’t remember exactly where D Marks and Sons had their poulterers business, perhaps has the caption suggests on Humber St, but it could have been somewhere off the Hessle Rd. The distinctive blue shed was one of several around Humber Dock Basin.

Dockside shed, Hull 70shull046

My London Diary : London Photos : Hull : River Lea/Lee Valley : London’s Industrial Heritage : Flickr

All photographs on this and my other sites, unless otherwise stated, are taken by and copyright of Peter Marshall, and are available for reproduction or can be bought as prints.


Bill of Rights

July 8th, 2020

If you’ve not yet seen it, you might like to look at the ‘Photo Bill of Rights‘ which has been written by people from a number of US based groups involved in visual journalism and editorial media, “the Authority Collective, Color Positive, Diversify Photo, The Everyday Projects, Juntos, the National Press Photographers Association, Natives Photograph, & Women Photograph.

There is little in it that I have any problem with, and much that has long been policy among groups such as the NPPA who contributed to it and have long had a code of ethics, or my own union, the NUJ.

It’s perhaps useful to restate the principles, but only if action follows, and although there are some well-known and well-regarded photographic organisations who have added their support to the over two thousand individual signatories I cannot find a single organisation that I or other photographers I know have actually worked for. And it is largely these organisations and the editors and buyers they employ who are responsible for unfair and discriminatory practices that still exist in the industry despite many years of work by photographers and photographers’ organisations.

It’s interesting to read the response to the NPPA by self-confessed “aging white male” photojournalist and long-term NPPA member David Burnett, who vehemently takes issue with the suggestion ‘that I, and the photojournalists of my generation, both women and men, set out to “colonize, disenfranchise, and dehumanize” either our photographic subjects, or other photographers, especially newcomers‘ and points out the the NPPA has through “virtually its entire existence” had in its Code of Ethics substantially similar underlying principles.

Burnett, a highly respected photographer and one of the co-founders of Contact Press Images, also points to the remarkable Trailblazers of Light web site which set out to put the record straight about the many hundreds of “professional women working in photojournalism for decades, both as editors and photographers“, created as a response to a not dissimilar ahistorical claim to this latest initiative.

He is “dismayed by the attitude of those who created this BoR, since it does little to honestly address many of the hiring inequities, and seems filled with triggering language which focuses instead on people in the field who have been working for decades. We do not, unfortunately, hire ourselves. As freelancers, we rely on editors and researchers, most of whom work for large companies (or the shell of those companies) and over which our power of persuasion is, more often than we’d like to admit, rather limited.”


My London Diary : London Photos : Hull : River Lea/Lee Valley : London’s Industrial Heritage : Flickr


January 1987 continued

July 7th, 2020
Regents Canal, Gloucester Ave, Primrose Hill, Camden, 1987 87-1c-22_2400
Regents Canal, Gloucester Ave, Primrose Hill, Camden, 1987

think I had a good month taking pictures in January 1987. I always liked the winter months for photographing places, although the weather wasn’t always kind. But London is a city of many trees, and though they enhance it greatly they also obscure many views. And I do like the way you can see the structure of the trees after they have shed their leaves for the winter, though perhaps they are at their best in spring as they begin to sprout again.

Most of the month I was in Camden, and walked a little beside the Regent’s Canal as it goes through Primrose Hill. There were just a few boats moving – the canals were less busy back then. I’ve always had an interest in the canals in London – and this year was to have exhibited a set of panoramas to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the Regent’s Canal, officially opened in August 1820. You can read more about that show which had to be abandoned in an earlier post here, and the set of pictures I took in preparation for it are – including the one from Camden below – are on Flickr.

Regents Canal 2020: Camden High St13-20190308-d0708
Regent’s Canal, Camden, 2019 – from ‘Regents Canal 200’
Primrose Hill, Camden, 1987 87-1c-51_2400
Primrose Hill, Camden, 1987

One of my favourite portraits is Bill Brandt’s 1963 photograph of a rather morose Francis Bacon looking out of the left of the frame at twilight in front of a lamp post on Primrose Hill. Of course my picture is nothing like his, an empty path and rather more naturalistic, but I think it captures something of the atmosphere of the place which attracted Brandt and made him choose it as a suitable stage for his picture.

Sir John Soane, memorial, Old St Pancras Burial Ground, Pancras Rd, Camden, 1987 87-1d-15_2400
Sir John Soane memorial, Old St Pancras Burial Ground, Pancras Rd, Camden

Sir John Soane (1753-1837) was a leading British architect working in a neo-Classical style. Although prolific, many of his buildings have been demolished or, like the Bank of England, greatly remodelled, though his three London churches, St Peter’s Walworth, Holy Trinity Church, Marylebone and St John, Bethnal Green remain, as does the Dulwich picture gallery and work at various stately homes.

His family tomb in the Old St Pancras churchyard, designed the year after his wife’s death in 1815 is perhaps the most clear example of his work, and is said to be the inspiration behind Giles Gilbert Scott’s red telephone box, made in 1924 shortly after Scott had been made a trustee of the Soane Museum in Lincoln’s Inn Fields – possibly London’s best and certainly one of its quirkiest museums.

Fence, Grafton Rd, Gospel Oak, Camden, 1987 87-1h-14_2400
Fence, Grafton Rd, Gospel Oak, Camden, 1987

I made several exposures of this short alley in Gospel Oak, beside a tall fence partly covered by dead creeping plants. and with a rectangular block behind. Fortunately fairly early on a Sunday morning in January there were few passers-by to doubt my sanity and I didn’t have to wait long for the passageway to be empty.

The barriers, the fence and the building each define planes with rectangular blocks at different angles – with both creeper and clear space roughly defining rectangles at an angle, and through that space the rectangle of the building seemed to me to match that of the barrier on the footpath.

Gilden Crescent, Kentish Town, Camden, 1987 87-1g-46_2400
Gilden Crescent, Kentish Town, Camden, 1987

You could furnish a home from the street in front of this shop selling (and buying) “All types of Old & Modern Furniture” and of course many did. We still use the chairs we carried home from a shop like this, and a few other pieces of furniture, though we had our own photographs of ancestors for the wall rather than buy those on display.

But other things too attracted me about this display as well as the neat rows of chairs, the mattresses and the gas cookers. There was the antique lamp post in the middle of the display at right, and, above the door, presumably from an earlier use, the advertisement in lieu of a shop name ‘WEIGHTS Cigarettes… For More Pleasure.”

Hockey, St Leonard's Square, Kentish Town, Camden, 1987 87-1i-46_2400
Hockey, St Leonard’s Square, Kentish Town, Camden, 1987

Two house bricks stand as a goal for these boys playing roller hockey on quad skates in a cul-de-sac in Kentish Town. I think it was a sport I had not met before – and those hockey sticks were made in the USSR.

Hockey Players, Holmes Rd, Kentish Town, Camden, 1987 87-1j-41_2400
Hockey Players, Holmes Rd, Kentish Town, Camden, 1987

A short walk away I came across another group of hockey players, standing with large sports bags and hockey sticks next to a mural showing roller hockey players on the wall of a skate shop. Their bags and sticks say ‘CANADIEN’ . I can’t remember now what they told me, and whether or not they were Canadian.


My London Diary : London Photos : Hull : River Lea/Lee Valley : London’s Industrial Heritage : Flickr

All photographs on this and my other sites, unless otherwise stated, are taken by and copyright of Peter Marshall, and are available for reproduction or can be bought as prints.

Beginning 1987

July 6th, 2020
Forge Place, Malden Crescent, Kentish Town, Camden, 1987 87-1a-46_2400
Forge Place, Malden Crescent, Kentish Town, Camden, 1987

I’ve just begun to add black and white pictures from 1987 to a new album in Flickr, and am rediscovering quite a few pictures I had forgotten, including most of those in this post, all from the January pages of my filing sheets.

Eros, Piccadilly Circus, Westminster, 1987 87-1a-55_2400
Eros, Piccadilly Circus, Westminster, 1986-7

Probably that means they were taken in January 1987, though a film I loaded into the camera in December might not be finished until the following month, and I suspect that the picture of Piccadilly Circus with boarding around Eros was probably made before Christmas. Some statues get regularly boarded up.

Window with cross, Mansfield Rd, Gospel Oak, Camden, 1987 87-1b-35_2400
Mansfield Rd, Gospel Oak, Camden, 1987

I’d been waiting to start this album for a few months, as I’d got fed up with using my film scanner (too slow and now with an unreliable Firewire interface), my flat bed scanner (not quite sharp enough) and a bellows and macro lens on a Nikon D810 where I couldn’t quite get even lighting across the frame. The Nikon film holder that comes with the bellows works with mounted slides which crop the frame, but try as I might I couldn’t get even lighting across the full 35mm frame.

Dove, Southampton Rd, Gospel Oak, Camden, 1987 87-1b-46_2400
Dove, Southampton Rd, Gospel Oak, Camden, 1987

While it was fast and easy to photograph negatives, every one needed to be worked on in Lightroom and Photoshop to try and correct the lighting fall off, and I couldn’t find a way to do so automatically. I experimented with different light sources and made some slight improvements, but couldn’t solve the issue.

Stairs, Malden Rd, Gospel Oak, Camden, 1987 87-1b-52_2400
Stairs, Malden Rd, Gospel Oak, Camden, 1987

I decided to buy Nikon’s more recent kit for digitising images, the ES-2, and ordered one in early March, but dealers were out of stock and I only received it a couple of weeks ago. Fortunately, although not perfect, it is a great improvement in several ways. The ES-2 connects to the front of the 60mm macro lens with a short tube, and one advantage is that unlike the bellows it retains auto-focus. With the bellows I had to focus in live-view at the start of each session and then firmly lock it it place, remembering to exit live-view as this crops the image.

Generations, Geoffrey Harris, sculpture, Maitland Park Villas, Kentish Town, Camden 87-1b-62_2400
Generations, Geoffrey Harris, sculpture, Maitland Park Villas, Kentish Town, Camden 1987

But the main advantage is that the ES-2 is almost capable of giving even coverage across the whole 35mm frame and has a proper negative holder which takes a strip of up to 6 negatives, with click-stops to move from one to the next. It isn’t perfect and seems ridiculously overpriced but it is a great improvement, making the digitising of negatives easier and faster. For the moment I’m concentrating on black and white, but I think it should also make working with colour negatives much easier, and the workflow I’m using to batch process the files (more about that in a later post) should also work with them. Most images just need minor tweaks and fortunately most of my negatives from 1987 are quite clean.

Most of these pictures speak for themselves, though perhaps I should admit that the ‘cross’ is the shadow of a parking sign. You can see these and more in my album 1987 London Photos.


My London Diary : London Photos : Hull : River Lea/Lee Valley : London’s Industrial Heritage : Flickr

All photographs on this and my other sites, unless otherwise stated, are taken by and copyright of Peter Marshall, and are available for reproduction or can be bought as prints.


Gatherings

July 5th, 2020

I wish Alan Lodge (aka ‘Tash’) every success with his new book ‘Gatherings‘, a large-format hardback he has published through Blurb, which looks to be a splendid compilation of his pictures of ‘Free Festivals, New Age Travellers, Police Actions and Surveillance. Multi-Cultural and Counter-Cultural. Non-mediated events the state would rather didn’t happen!’

As he says on Blurb, ‘This is a coffee table hardback type book with 124 pages of quality photographic reproduction, printed on premium paper‘ and being from Blurb and print on demand it comes at a premium price, which, together with postage will add to around a hundred notes.

I’m not sure quite what proportion of those who took part in the events he catches the spirit of so well will now own coffee tables and be well-heeled enough to cough up for a copy of their past, though there is also a reasonably priced PDF available.

You can get a little idea of the book by looking at the few preview pages on Blurb and find out more about the photographer and his incredibly extensive work on One Eye on the Road and in particular the large black and white galleries there (and if you have Flash installed possibly from his more recent web site.) You can also watch a page-through of his Stonehenge – Solstice Ritual Zine, from a book he self-published in 1987.


As readers will know, I’ve published a number of books through Blurb, and though all rather smaller and cheaper than this, sales have always been held back by costs, which in particular prevent bookshop distribution. Booksellers need a high mark-up to keep in business and print-on-demand makes the resale price prohibitive.

Further North in TQ32

July 4th, 2020
Swimming Pool, Golden Lane Estate, City, 1992 TQ3282-017
Swimming Pool, Golden Lane Estate, City, 1992

I don’t know why TQ32 didn’t take me very much into north London during the years 1986-92 as certainly in later years I spent more time in Canonbury, Stoke Newington and Enfield etc, but this particular 1km wide strip perhaps just avoids the areas of them that interested me most.

Dummies,  Old St, 1988, Islington TQ3282-005
Dummies, Old St, 1988, Islington

It’s just an accident of geography that while Green Lanes begins just on its west edge, as it goes north it moves just a little to the west, taking it out of the area. Another accident that much of what I photographed in Tottenham lies just a short way to its east. Of course the pictures I took of these areas still exist and are either already on line in other albums or will I hope soon be there as I get around to uploading other strips of the project.

Tin, Zinc, Iron & Copper Workers, Dufferin Ave, Old St, 1986  TQ3282-003
Tin, Zinc, Iron & Copper Workers, Dufferin Ave, Old St, 1986

TQ3282 begins on the edge of the city where both Islington and Hackney and meet it around Old St in Finsbury, Shoreditch and Hoxton. I don’t think there are now any Tin, Zinc, Iron & Copper Workers in Dufferin Ave, which seems largely now to be home to various financial organisations and I think this building close to Bunhill Fields may have been replaced by something more modern, or at least refronted.

SEFCO Ltd, Honduras St, Old St  1986 TQ3282-004
SEFCO Ltd, Honduras St, Old St 1986, Islington

Honduras Street is one of several short streets between Old St and Baltic St, just west of Golden Lane, and at one time was where Olympus Cameras had their service centre, which is probably why I walked down it and took this picture of SEFCO Ltd which will probably have been taken on an Olympus OM camera.

There was a company called SEFCO Ltd offering to supply specially shaped rubber pieces from an address in Rosebery Avenue in a small ad in the magazine Electrical Engineering in September 1955 who may possibly be the same company moved to a different but nearby address, but otherwise I can find no other information on the internet.

In later years I visited Honduras Street to go to exhibitions and events when it became the home of Foto8 magazine and the Host gallery from 2002 to 2012.

Mural, Caribbean House, Bridport Place, Hoxton, 1986 TQ3283-001
Mural, Caribbean House, Bridport Place, Hoxton, 1986, Hackney

Among the other pictures that I made in TQ32 were a few from Hoxton and Stoke Newington and the start of Green Lanes, including a fine travel agent’s window and several of a photographer’s shop.

Photographer, shop window, Newington Green, Green Lanes, 1988 TQ3285-008
Photographer’s window, Newington Green, Green Lanes, 1988

And further north there are some of interest you can find for yourself, including one with some particular resonance at the moment which I probably photographed at the time in part for its street name, Black Boy Lane.

You will find the pictures on Pages 3 and 4 of TQ32 London Cross-section.

High in the City

July 3rd, 2020
The Podium, Alphage Highwalk, City, 1992TQ3281-064
The Podium pub, St Alphage Highwalk, City, 1992

When architects and planners looked at how the city should be rebuilt after the considerable bomb damage in the war, they dreamt of a city where people and traffic would be separated, with pedestrians circulating at an upper level on what were called ‘highwalks’, and these were incorporated into the parts of the city which were being rebuilt.

Britannic Tower, Moor St, Moorgate, City, 1992 TQ3281-099
Highwalk entrance, Britannic Tower, Moor St, Moorgate, City, 1992

The largest of these areas was of course the Barbican, which was linked to the more central areas of the city by highwalks along and across London Wall, but there were also smaller sections of highwalks around Upper Thames St and around the Nat West Tower, Bishopsgate and Wormwood St.

Barbican, City, 1992TQ3281-094
Escalator, Highwalk, London Wall, Wood St

The planners were young, fit and idealistic and perhaps failed to appreciate the ways people actually moved around the city using buses, tube and taxis and their reluctance to climb stairs unnecessarily to get to buildings most of which still had their entrances at street level. There were escalators, but too few and these were expensive and needed maintenance. The planners perhaps also failed to see how much many older buildings from the Victorian and Edwardian eras would as the years progressed be seen as making a positive contribution to our cityscape – and often but not always be protected from demolition (or at least their facades protected) by listing.

Bassishaw Highwalk, City, 1987 TQ3281-043
Bassishaw Highwalk, City, 1987

Most of the city continues to exist at street level, and much of the highwalks outside of the Barbican that was built has now been altered or demolished – with the IRA beginning the process in some areas. They also were responsible for the first real controls on road traffic through the city, with the police ‘ring of steel’ introduced in the early 1990s as a response to bombings at the Baltic Exchange and Bishopsgate.

St Alphage Highwalk,, London Wall, City, 1992 TQ3281-103
St Alphage Highwalk,, London Wall, City, 1992 TQ3281-103

More recently there have been some minor road and junction closures and the ‘Bank on Safety’ scheme has limited traffic at Bank junction to buses and cyclists between 7am and 7pm Monday to Friday; further controls seem inevitable with some city streets being pedestrianised and others being made ‘no through roads’.

St Alphage Highwalk,, London Wall, City, 1992TQ3281-105
St Alphage Highwalk,, London Wall, City, 1992

Long overdue is an overhaul of the private hire systems and in particular of ‘black cabs’ which are responsible for much of the congestion in the city. They will be changing to electric vehicles, but we need to see a move to a smartphone app based system with an end to the current discrimination against mini-cabs over the congestion charge and an end to wasteful ‘cruising for hire’.

You can see more pictures from the City of London taken in 1986-92, including some more from the highwalks, in page 3 of my album TQ32 London Cross-Section. These are scans made from cheap trade processed en-prints at the time I took the pictures which were sometimes rather poor quality.

More City colour

July 2nd, 2020

Some more pictures from my Flickr album made from en-prints of pictures taken in 1986-92 in the 1km wide strip of London in defined by the National G id reference TQ32, TQ32 London Cross-section.

IBM, Basinghall St, City, 1986 TQ3281-026
IBM, Basinghall St, City, 1986

Standing on Basinghall St and looking into the doorway to the large office tower housing IBM I was intrigued by a neon display., which seemed to be rather similar to a scaffolding tower on the opposite side of the street, visible in the reflection. You can see part of me taking the picture at its centre, my shoulder, arm and camera bag, leg and top of my shoe visible.

I was puzzled slightly at first as I appeared to be carrying my bag to the right of me, something I’ve never done since back in the mid 1970s, after I suffered badly with back pain. Although the specialist I saw never really managed to find a reason or cure, we did eventually discover that I could avoid the crippling pain by carrying my bag on the left shoulder rather than my right. But of course this is a reflection, so what appears to be right is actually left.

Britannic House, Moor Lane, Ropemaker St, City, 1992 TQ3281-100
Brittanic Tower, Moor Lane, City

Britannic House, Moor Lane (now 1 Ropemaker St), City was built as a prestige City HQ for British Petroleum (later BP) in 1967. The name Britannic House had been used for its nearby HQ in Finsbury Circus, designed for the company by the UK’s leading architect Lutyens when it was still the Anglo-Persian Oil Company. That rather lower but much more impressive building from 1921-5 required special permission from the LCC because of its height of at 38 metres and also presented building problems because it was partly above the underground Moorgate station.

The name Britannic House passed back to the Lutyens building when BP returned to it in 1991, and the Moor Lane building, a 35 storey 122m tall slab, was renamed Britannic Tower. When built it was the first City building taller than St Paul’s Cathedral, which was 111m (365 ft.)

Brittanic Tower was refurbished in 2000 with a fancy top adding another 5 metres and renamed Citypoint and is now the tenth tallest building in the City according to Wikipedia and the 54th tallest in Greater London. I think this particularly pointless piece of decorative sculpture at its base was lost in the refurbishment.

Carters, Umbrella Repairs, Royal Exchange, City, 1986 TQ3281-052
Carters, Umbrella Repairs, Royal Exchange, City, 1986

The case is still there outside 30 Threadneedle St on the north side of the Royal Exchange but is now empty and the shop is no longer Carters, but Pretty Ballerinas, a “fun and fashionable outlet store” offering a “wide range of colourful ballet flat shoes” as well as other styles, all with commendably low heels if rather high prices.

The rolled umbrella was once a part of the uniform of the City gent, but there are rather few of them around now. And umbrellas have become cheap and disposable, probably impossible to repair.

Simpsons, Ball Court, City, 1992 TQ3281-077
Simpsons, Ball Court, City, 1992

Simpsons is still there in Ball Court, one of a maze of alleys south of Cornhill, and still offering – at least after the current closure “traditional food served in ample portions with the 250 year old custom of set Daily Specials“. Although not cheap, it isn’t an expensive place by London standards. I’ve never eaten there but perhaps I might treat myself one day if I go to London again.

Bank of England, Bank, CIty, 1987 TQ3281-047
Bank of England, Bank, City, 1987

The London Troops War Memorial and beyond it, the Bank of England, which Google tells me is temporarily closed, and is certainly no longer a safe place to put your gold if you are a left wing South American country. Over the past years I’ve photographed several protests calling on the bank to let Venezuela have it gold kept here, which the Bank is refusing to release due to US sanctions.

Venezuela’s central bank, controlled by President Nicolas Maduro, is currently seeking an order in the English High Court to force the Bank of England to hand over the over $1 billion of Venezuelan gold reserve in its vaults which the country need to fight the coronavirus pandemic.

More from the City in a later post. You can see more pictures now in TQ32 London Cross-section.


My London Diary : London Photos : Hull : River Lea/Lee Valley : London’s Industrial Heritage : Flickr

All photographs on this and my other sites, unless otherwise stated, are taken by and copyright of Peter Marshall, and are available for reproduction or can be bought as prints.


Another ride

July 1st, 2020
Former pub – The Swan, Moor Lane, Staines

Rain began just as I walked out of the door to go on a cycle ride on Tuesday. I’d looked at the weather forecast a few minutes earlier and it had looked as if I might manage my ten miles of exercise before it started, but it had come earlier. I could ride in the rain, but as it was forecast to set in for several hours and get heavier I turned around and came back inside. Perhaps, I thought, it would be better to ride in the afternoon.

Signs used for target practice

It’s a while since I wrote about my cycle rides, perhaps because they are not very exciting. I’ve settled into a pattern, riding – weather and other commitments permitting – five days a week, Monday to Friday, along nine different routes in turn, all around ten miles. Saturdays I rest and Sundays usually walk with my wife for an hour or two. There is some overlap between the routes, with only a choice of two ways I leave home and relatively few ways to escape the immediate area, but the routes provide some variety.

Wraysbury River – a distributary of the Colne

Working out and riding these routes has taken me to a few parts of the local area I’ve never visited before, or at least not for many years. I’ve lived most of my life around here, and in my young days when not at school lived most of the time on a bike, either with friends or on my own. Things have of course changed a little since the 1950s, particularly around Heathrow and with the building of the M25, M3 and M4 in the area.

Wraysbury River, M25 and Wraysbury Reservoir

When I started riding for exercise back in March it was rather more like the old days so far as traffic was concerned, with few cars and lorries on most streets. Now traffic has returned to pre-virus levels and although most of my routes are mainly along minor roads, cycling has become rather less pleasant, though fortunately most of the routes involve some traffic-free sections. But if we want more people to take to bikes we need more and better cycle routes and a considerable driver education programme about safe passing distances.

Another ‘The Swan’ in Stanwell

I’m finding cycling ten miles has become less exhausting over the months, mainly I think because my breathing has improved. I still have a bit of a problem with hills, but last time I got up the only long hill on all these routes with only one stop to wait until I stopped gasping – and that quite close to the top. I’m no longer finding railway and motorway bridges – the main hills on most of my routes – so much of a challenge.

Duke of Northumberland’s River and Heathrow Perimeter road

The pictures with this post are all from a ride I made on 5th June, going north from Staines and a little along the south side of Heathrow before returning. Part of it is along one of the country lanes I often rode around 60 years ago, but is now a series of dead ends and short sections with some heavy traffic. It used to be a quiet route from Bedfont to Datchet and Windsor. In earlier years my father would ride along it before turning north through the orchards to the pleasant hamlet of Heathrow, now the site of Terminals 1,2 and 3.

Swans on nest, Longford River, Stanwell

Both rivers have been diverted for the airport, but here the Longford River (aka Queen’s or Cardinal’s River) still follows its original course, while the Duke of Northumberland’s River used to run around 600 metres to the north. Both are artificial streams cut to take water from the Colne, the Longford in 1638/39 to supply water to Bushy Park and Hampton Court and the Duke of Northumberland’s river around 1530 to provide a consistent power supply for the flour mill at Isleworth.


My London Diary : London Photos : Hull : River Lea/Lee Valley : London’s Industrial Heritage : Flickr

All photographs on this and my other sites, unless otherwise stated, are taken by and copyright of Peter Marshall, and are available for reproduction or can be bought as prints.


City colour

June 30th, 2020

The 1km wide strip of TQ32 in our National Grid includes a section of the City of London, from a little to the west of St Paul’s Cathedral to a few yards east of the Monument, with the Thames at its south and the Barbican and Moorgate at its north, a little over a square kilometre of “the square mile”, perhaps two fifths of the city. So its not surprising that I took quite a few pictures in the City during the period I was putting colour prints into the albums that make up my ‘London Cross-section’, from roughly 1986-92. Though as you will see if you look at the album TQ32 – London Cross-section, they are mainly from just a few small areas that I found of most interest. Here is just a small initial selection of them with some comments.

Pig, Office, Lower Thames St, City, 1991 TQ3280-031
Pig, Office, Lower Thames St, City, 1991

Walking around the City now you often find yourself going past the windows of large offices filled with people staring into screens, but back in the late 1980s and early 90s this was more of a novelty. Also something of a novelty was this pink inflatable pig on a windowsill. The real watershed for the City came in 1986, with the ‘Big Bang’, on a Monday in October that year when the City of London was deregulated, with face-to-face share dealing replaced by electronic trading. I don’t know what business this office was dealing with but the idea of pigs seemed appropriate to the getting of snouts in the trough as so many in the City found themselves in clover.

Doorway, Little Britain, City, 1986 TQ3281-001
Doorway, Little Britain, City, 1986

Lawrence & Co. (Estd. 1897) Ltd. were once blouse manufacturers at 7 Little Britain, a street (and area) at the edge of Smithfield, but the peeling paint and corrugated iron on this doorway seemed to me to symbolise something about the state of the nation, the larger Britain, and their was the City of London Recorder and myself also a recorder.

You can still walk along Little Britain and indentify a few of the doorways I photographed, though what is left are simply facades, and the atmosphere is largely but not entirely lost.

Heroes Memorial, Postmans Park, City, 1986 TQ3281-116
Heroes Memorial, Postmans Park, City, 1986

In 1887 prominent painter and sculptor George Frederic Watts (1817-1904) proposed the erection of a memorial to commemorate the heroic self-sacrifice of ordinary people who had died saving the lives of others as a part of the commemorations of the Golden Jubilee of Queen Victoria, but it was not taken up.

Some years later in 1898, the vicar of St Botolph’s Aldersgate suggested to Watts that the memorial could be built in Postman’s Park, the former churchyard adjoining the church and a wooden loggia was built to shelter a wall with space for 120 ceramic memorial tiles to be made by William De Morgan, though only 4 were in place when this was opened in 1900.

De Morgan gave up ceramics in 1906 after making only 24 tiles, and Watt’s widow, Mary Watts was unhappy with new tiles made by Royal Doulton, and rather lost interest. Only 53 tiles had been added by 1931 when work ceased. When I photographed it the display was in fairly poor condition, but has since been repaired and in 2009 the first new tablet was added.

Roman Wall, Barbican, City, 1992TQ3281-068
Roman Wall, Barbican, City, 1992

I walked through the Barbican quite often and occasionally took photographs as I was involved in a group called ‘London Documentary Photographers’ which had been founded by Mike Seaborne, then curator of photographs at the Museum of London and which regularly met there, as well as organising several photography shows at the Barbican Library.

I like this picture because it encompasses so much of the history of the city of London, with a section of its Roman Wall, the tower of St Giles-without-Cripplegate, one of the few medieval churches to survive the 1666 Great Fire (though the tower dates from 1682 and the church was reconstructed after being gutted by bombing in the Blitz of 1940) as well as the taller tower from the Barbican Estate, built between 1965 and 1976 on an area devastated in the war.

Shakespeare, Garden, Aldermanbury, Love Lane, City, 1986TQ3281-019
Shakespeare, Garden, Aldermanbury, Love Lane, City,

Shakespeare, on this plinth in St Mary Aldermanbury Garden, Love Lane is another reminder of the city’s history – as is the garden. The church here was destroyed in the Great Fire and rebuilt shortly after to the plans of Sir Christopher Wren. It was gutted again during the Blitz in 1940, leaving only the walls standing. In 1966 these were shipped to Fulton, Missour and restored as a memorial to Winston Churchill’s ‘Iron Curtain’ speech in that town in 1946.

The area was laid out as a public garden after it was acquired by the City of London in 1970 and is often quite full at lunchtime with city workers eating their sandwiches.

Shakespeare’s bust, by Charles Allen (1862 – 1956), is part of a memorial from 1896 to John Heminge and Henry Condell, fellow actors of Shakespeare who after his death in 1616 collected his works and published them at their own expense in 1623, thus making them available to later generations. Without them his work would have lost.

TQ32 – London Cross-section.


My London Diary : London Photos : Hull : River Lea/Lee Valley : London’s Industrial Heritage : Flickr

All photographs on this and my other sites, unless otherwise stated, are taken by and copyright of Peter Marshall, and are available for reproduction or can be bought as prints.