End Workfare & more – 3rd March 2012

March 3rd, 2021

Workfare is a controversial policy first begun in the UK in the 1990s by the Conservative government of John Major, although it developed from earlier schemes which put active pressure on claimants to seek work. Under various different programmes and names workfare continued under New Labour, but it was under the Tory-led coalition in 2011-2 that it came into widespread use.

Workfare is used to describe schemes where in order to receive unemployment benefit people have to undertake unpaid work, either in the commercial or public sector or for charities. In 2011 the coalition government announced that those who had failed to find jobs after being unemployed for some time would have to work unpaid for 30 hours a week for six months, setting up a number of schemes to this end.

THe proponents of ‘workfare’ say that those forced to take part in these schemes benefit from the experience or working and that it will prepare them for paid work and that the experience will make it easier for them to find employment. They say it isn’t unfair to ask people to do something in exchange for the benefits they receive.

Academic studies by the DWP of international workfare schemes had shown that these claims were unsound. There was little evidence that workfare increased the chances of finding work, and that it might even reduce this, firstly because if people were on workfare they had less time to look for jobs, but also because workfare placements seldom provided the kind of skills and experience that potential employers were looking for.

Trade unions and others point out that every person on workfare actually cuts out a job that would otherwise be carried out by a paid employee – so there are fewer jobs for those seeking employment. Workfare is largely a subsidy to employers, supplying them with free labour – essentially a form of slave labour. Workfare schemes – whether in the private sector or public or charity work – fail to provide any of the employment status and protection that employees or workers receive.

Strong negative reactions to these schemes – such as those demonstrated by the Boycott Welfare protest in Oxford St, London I photographed on Saturday 3rd March 2012 – led to many companies withdrawing from the scheme, and others ending talks with the government about taking part in it. According to Wikipedia, the campaign group ‘Boycott Welfare’ ‘very successful in making companies and charities pull out of “workfare”.’ By August 2016, “more than 50 organisations have ended their involvement in workfare, because of negative publicity.”

But workfare still continues, and as Boycott Welfare write on their web site, “Workfare forms a key tool of ‘compliance’ with the regime of Universal Credit, and is enforced via sanctions.” As well as Universal Credit, workfare also continues under the government’s Sector-Based Work Academies, Work and Health Programme and Youth Obligation schemes.


Also on the same day I photographed other events. Firstly the Million Women Rise March, a women-only march through the centre of London against domestic abuse, rape and commercial sexual exploitation and for the prevention of abuse and support and protection for women. I was shocked to learn from a member of one of the more active women campaigning groups that has been the among the leaders in previous celebrations around International Women’s Day and had taken part in previous years that they had been told they were not welcome on the march, though I think they have taken part in more recent years.

I left that march as it went down Oxford St on its way to a rally at Trafalgar Square and took the tube to St Paul’s where Greeks were protesting in solidarity with students and workers in Greece against the austerity measures being imposed as a part of the Eurozone rescue package for the country. They had planned to protest at the Occupy London camp, but that had been cleared a few days previously, but some of the occupiers had returned to hold a general meeting on the St Paul’s Cathedral steps.

More on these events from Saturday 3rd March on My London Diary:
Greeks Protest At St Paul’s
Million Women Rise March
Boycott Workfare – Oxford St


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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.


2 March 2002: Stop the War, Hands off Iraq

March 2nd, 2021

Back in 2002, protests were still in black and white – or rather I was still using film for my photographs and the library I was putting pictures into was still only taking colour pictures as transparencies – something I had given up taking seventeen years earlier as I found colour negative far better to work with.

For the huge Stop The War protest on March 2nd, 2002 against the war in Afghanistan and the forthcoming invasion of Iraq I was actually working with three cameras, one with black and white film, a second with colour negative and the third a panoramic camera also loaded with colour negative film. Although I contact printed the developed films from all three, it was only selected images from the black and white work that was printed and went to the library.

Some day I hope to get around to printing some selected images from the seven or eight colour films I exposed on that day, but at the time I had no particular incentive to do so. It was difficult for me to use colour even on the web site, as my flatbed scanner at that time was a monochrome only scanner – and all the pictures on My London Diary from this event are black and white scans from the black and white prints I made to send to the library.

There are a few colour pictures from this era on my web sites, mainly those taken on a pocket-sized 2Mp digital camera I had begun to use as a notebook a year or two earlier, but the images were generally unsuitable for publication. Prints from them at much more than postcard size were poor quality.

Around this time I did get my first film scanner, but it was very slow to use and the quality wasn’t great. And at the end of 2002 I began using my first DSLR, the 6Mp Nikon D100, and soon began submitting digital images to agencies that would handle digital work.

Newspaper reports at the time rather followed the police in giving figures of 10-15,000 people at the protest, though I think the true number was at least twice this. As I reported, “people were still leaving hyde park at the start of the march when trafalgar square was full to overflowing two and a half hours later.” It takes more than 15,000 to fill Trafalgar Square and the tailback over the 2 mile route adds considerably to that number.

As I wrote back then:

police estimates of the number were risible as usual – and can only reflect an attempt to marginalise the significant body of opinion opposed to the war or a complete mathematical inability on behalf of the police.

In my comments I also quote Tony Benn telling us photographers at the start of the march that it wasn’t worth us taking his picture, “it won’t get in the papers unless i go and kick a policeman” and he was quite right. They didn’t report his speech either, in which he said that for the first time in his life he though the situation was so desperate that he was advocating non-violent resistance, calling for everyone to stop work for an hour at the moment the bombing begins. “Stop the buses. Stop the trains. Stop the schools. It’s all very well going to Downing Street, I’ve spent half my life at Downing Street, in, outside Downing Street. It has to be more than that, its got to be something we take up in every town and village.” This he said would get the debate going. His speech received a huge reception from the crowd.

It was hardly a very radical suggestion – and after the bombing started it would have been too late. But had ‘Stop The War’ called for similar action before the parliamentary debate – and not just another A to B march planned months in advance – it might have made a difference. The message that this was simply a war for control of oil resources and would be a disaster for the region was getting through – and there were regular protests in towns and villages across the nation, including in the true-blue town where I live, and more radical actions could have prevented the UK joining in the US action.

More at http://mylondondiary.co.uk/2002/03/mar.htm


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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.


1987 – Around Fleet St

March 1st, 2021

Dorset Rise, City, 1987 87-10m-66-positive_2400
Dorset Rise, City, 1987

Dorset Rise runs up from Tudor St towards Fleet Street, changing its name further up to Salisbury Court and lies at what was the heart of the newspaper industry in ‘Fleet St’. This building at 1-2 Dorset Rise dates from the 1930s and was reclad around 1985. In 2012-3 it was converted into a Premier Inn hotel.

Dorset Rise, City, 1987 87-10m-56-positive_2400
Dorset Rise, City, 1987

3 Dorset Rise is a high quality 10 storey office building, sometimes said to have been built in 1985 but probably dating from the 1930s and like the hotel at 1-2 given a new shiny pink brown granite facing in that year. I am unsure if the deco touches at the top of these blocks date from the 1930s or were added in 1985.

Kingscote St, City, 1987 87-10m-44-positive_2400
Kingscote St, City, 1987

I had forgotten where Kingscote St is and had to look for it on Google Maps. Its a short street, around 50 metres long, between Watergate and Tudor St, a short distance west of New Bridge St. One side is occupied by a hotel and the other by a large shared office building. I think this doorway, now slightly altered was at the rear of 100 Victoria Embankment, better known as Unilever House, where Watergate meets Kingscote but if so the sculpture I photographed has gone.

Blackfriars House, New Bridge St,  City, 1987 87-10m-33-positive_2400
Blackfriars House, New Bridge St, City, 1987

Blackfriars House on New Bridge St is a rather dull building with some fine detail and perhaps surprisingly is Grade II listed, the text beginning “1913-16 by F. W. Troup. Steel-framed commercial building with white majolica facing. 7 storeys, the rectilinear structural grid expressed in the facade which is, however, divided in a classically-derived manner.” My picture I think makes it look a far more interesting building than it really is. It is now a hotel.

The Blackfriar, New Bridge St, Queen Victoria St, City, 1987 87-10m-31-positive_2400
The Blackfriar, New Bridge St, Queen Victoria St, City, 1987

The Blackfriar is a fine pub built around 1875 on the corner of Queen Victoria St, part of the site of a former friary. But it only got the decoration which gave rise to its Grade II* listing in the early years of the twentieth century, beginning in 1905, with work by architect Herbert Fuller-Clark and sculptors Frederick T. Callcott & Henry Poole. Sir John Betjeman led a campaign to save it from demolition in the 1960s and CAMRA has published a couple of books about historic pub interiors which feature it.

I think the huge and extremely boring block of the Bank of New York Mellon at 160 Queen Victoria St now blocks this view of St Paul’s Cathedral. It might be possible, but difficult to design a building of less architectural merit.

City Golf Club, Bride Lane, City, 1987 87-10m-25-positive_2400
City Golf Club, Bride Lane, City, 1987

I don’t think any golf was ever played at the City Golf Club and there were never any balls on the fairway in its left-hand window. The two people standing talking in its doorway are I think clearly employees rather than golfers. The Golf Club in Bride Lane a few yards from Fleet St was a members only drinking club much frequented by journalists at a time when pubs closed in the afternoons.

Daily Telegraph, Fleet St, City, 1987 87-10m-13-positive_2400
Daily Telegraph, Fleet St, City, 1987

Perhaps surprisingly the Daily Telegraph building dates from only 4 years before its near neighbour at the Daily Express. The Telegraph building has some Art Deco touches with Egyptian decorations which accord with its date of 1928, designed by Elcock C Sutcliffe with Thomas Tait, but seems rather old-fashioned and staid, with a monumental colonnade perhaps in keeping with its assumed gravitas, but seems to me despite its decorations a decidedly Edwardian building. Pevsner gave it a one of his more scathing reviews, “neo-Greco-Egyptian imitation has turned modernist, with much fluting, fancy iron-work and little to recommend it”. It was Grade II listed in 1983.

Probably my reason for photographing this building was that the Daily Telegraph had just moved out to offices in Victoria – and you can see the boards up in front of its ground floor as it was being made ready for occupation by investment bankers Goldman Sachs on lease until 2021. They moved to Plumtree Court in nearby Shoe Lane and the property, now owned by Qatar, is being again revamped.

Daily Express, Fleet St, City, 1987 87-10m-11-positive_2400
Daily Express, Fleet St, City, 1987

The Daily Express had moved to their new building designed by Ellis and Clarke with Sir Owen Williams, very much in the modern movement of the age in 1931. It was the first London building where the outer wall was a non-structural ‘curtain wall’ and was Grade II* listed in 1972. Like its similar offices in Manchester it was known as the Black Lubyanka. When I made this picture in 1987 the newspaper was still produced here, moving out two years later in 1989 across the Thames to Blackfriars Rd. It came back to the City in Lower Thames St in 2004.

These pictures are from Page 7 of my album 1987 London Photos.

2015: Grow Heathrow at Five

February 28th, 2021

On 28th February 2015, Grow Heathrow, a non-hierarchical free community in an occupied derelict nursery at Sipson, just north of Heathrow Airport celebrated 5 years with open workshops and a party.

It had been set up as a symbol of community resistance to the economic, ecological and democratic crises and to oppose the increasing development of the aviation industry and Heathrow, at a time when local residents, myself included, were protesting against the building of a “third runway” to the north of the current airport.

Local protests had begun back in 2003, and by the time squatters occupied the long-abandoned market garden victory on the specific issue of the new runway seemed more or less assured. Transition Heathrow’s ‘Grow Heathrow’ had longer term and more far reaching goals, hoping to create more sustainable and resilient Heathrow villages after the dropping of the third runway and more widely to build long-term infrastructure and networks to deal with peak oil and the threat of climate change. On their site they set out to demonstrate how we could live differently, ‘off grid’ and with a different and cooperative lifestyle.

I wasn’t particularly closely involved with Grow Heathrow, though I visited the site a number of times for various events, as well as taking part in the local protests and events at the nearby Greenpeace ‘Airplot’, where I was one of the 91,000 of beneficial owners of a very small area of land. It’s an area I knew from my youth, when I often cycled through Sipson ,Harmondsworth, Longford, Horton and Colnbrook.

Grow Heathrow weathered a number of legal battles to stay in occupation, but were evicted from the front half of the site where most of these celebrations took place two years ago at the end of February 2019 after around 9 years of occupation and growth. I’ve not visited since the eviction but so far as I am aware there are still some residents on the back part of the site – which had a different owner, but visits have not been possible since the start of the pandemic.

The project was an important one and brought together many people from different backgrounds, including local residents and international visitors, some who stayed for months and years. Among those who came to the 5th birthday party to join the celebrations and speak were local MP John McDonnell, Tristram Stuart, a pioneer of the radical food movement with his 2009 book on food waste, anthropology professor David Graeber and activist Ewa Jasiewicz.

Grow Heathrow was an inspiration to many, though some of us were unable to envisage its rather spartan lifestyle for ourselves there were lessons that could be learnt in particular from its involvement with the wider community. Heathrow expansion is back on the agenda today, though it is hard to believe it will go ahead given the growing realisation of the vital importance of the climate crisis. Aviation as we know it is incompatible with the kind of Green future our government now plays lip-service too – and will need putting into action for civilisation to survive.

Many more pictures at Grow Heathrow’s 5th Birthday.


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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.


Stop Trident, Save Refugees…

February 27th, 2021

Last Tuesday I watched John Pilger’s 2010 film, The War You Don’t See, a film that takes an honest look at wars and the failure of most journalists to report honestly on them – and how those that do find their work fails to get broadcast or printed. It’s an at times harrowing view of war and lays open the whole huge PR web of lies that is used to persuade the public that they are necessary and to support them, based mainly around the propaganda over Iraq and Afghanistan.

It is now a matter of official record that all of the reasons put forward at the time for the invasion of Iraq, notably in the UK by Prime Minister Tony Blair were lies; but not only that, were known at the time to be false. It was simply a war for the control of Iraqi oil, and to keep the military industry growing. Of course many of us outside the
CIA and other agencies also knew that at the time, including the over a million who went to protest in London.

Pilger managed to get interviews with a wide range of people, including journalists and others who admit that they failed for various reasons to inform the public what was really going on. Those from other news sources, including the BBC, make a wholly unconvincing attempt to justify the approach they took, visibly squirming as Pilger asks his questions, trying to defend their toeing the government line rather than examining the evidence and reporting objectively.

We are in an age of perpetual war, not largely because of real disputes that could not be solved by other means, but manufactured and promoted by a huge web of deceptions to feed what is sometimes called the military-industrial complex, a term coined by Eisenhower for his final public speech in 1961 when he warned of the “economic, political, even spiritual” dangers of “the disastrous rise of misplaced power” it it could – and has – produced.

Pilger’s film deals briefly with the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, which it is now clear served no military purpose as the war with Japan was rapidly drawing to a close when they were dropped. The film includes an interview he made in the 1980s with Australian journalist Wilfred Graham Burchett who managed to evade the military security that kept almost all journalists simply taking down and passing on the military briefings which denied the existence of radiation sickness and went to Hiroshima and reported on the terrible effects of the bomb.

Despite censorship and other attempts to stop his report reaching the outside world, the first 200 words of his 3,000 word report reached the Daily Express who put it on the front page – and the world learnt of how 30 days after the bombing apparently uninjured people were still “dying, mysteriously and horribly” from what Burchett described as “the atomic plague.”

Journalists who step out from the official line can expect to suffer, and many. particularly those who refuse to be led and “embedded” have been killed reporting on wars. Others, such as Julian Assange find themselves the subject of deliberate campaigns to harass and discredit them – and in his case to imprison him in solitary confinement – possibly to be extradited to life in solitary in the USA – despite an extradition treaty that excludes those accused of political crimes.

Our so-called Independent Nuclear Deterrent is wholly a programme to feed that military-industrial complex, with its chilling threat hanging over us all, something that at least one US president has been prepared to consider using and which only the willingness of one Russian soldier to disobey orders saved us from its accidental unleashing.

On Saturday 27th February, around 60,000 came to Marble Arch to march from there to a rally in Trafalgar Square against government plans to replace the UK’s Trident nuclear weapons at a cost of £180 billion or more. They said Trident is immoral and using it would cause catastrophic global damage; these weapons of mass destruction don’t keep us safe and divert resources from essential spending on services like the NHS, schools and housing.

I was a little late to the official photocall because of the dense crowds as I made may way from the European March for Refugee Rights which had finished with a rally a short distance away in Hyde Park. This was taking place in various cities across Europe and demanding that governments take action now to open secure safe passage routes for all refugees and asylum seekers seeking protection in Europe. They called for an end to deaths at borders and for refugees to be allowed to keep their possessions and be reunited with their families.

At the end of this march, many of those taking part went to join the Stop Trident march, some forming up as a group ahead of the official front of the march despite attempts by the Stop the War stewards to move them. Eventually the stewards halted the main march for around ten minutes to create a gap between the two groups.

Stop Trident Rally
Stop Trident March
European March for Refugee Rights


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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.


Two years ago – 26 Feb 2019

February 26th, 2021

Class War protest Rees-Mogg freak show

Two years ago today Class War protested outside the London Palladium against Jacob Rees-Mogg, who they accused of spouting “homophobic, transphobic, racist, pro-hunting, misogynist, classist, privileged” nonsense. Rees-Mogg had booked London’s best known venue to preach more of this to his fans, who had paid £38 for a ticket to this freak show.

I met up with Class War at a pub a short walk from the Palladium and found a small group there with Jane Nicholl dressed as a nun, Mother Hysteria, and Adam Clifford as Jacob Rees Mogg and there was time for them to take a selfie and everyone to finish their drinks before the small group moved off to the entrance to the Palladium where a few more of there supporters were waiting and long queues were waiting to enter for the performance inside.

As well as the fans there were of course a large group of security men and police in attendance (all probably thanking Class War for the overtime.) And when Class War held up posters and banners the waiting crowd had their hopes for what they had paid to come and see confirmed. One or two did come across to insult the protesters, and a few others passing by came to share their similar views of Mogg with Class War.

Police did their best to render the protest less effective and moved the group to the opposite side of the pedestrianised street and issued various warnings to harass them. Eventually they stopped and searched Jane Nicholl, threatening her with arrest as they found stink bombs in her handbag which they claimed were offensive weapons. I stood for almost 20 minutes watching the officer writing out “her notice of stop and search, perhaps because he is at a loss trying to find some way that doesn’t make the police action sound stupid” before deciding I had to go home and file my pictures.


Rally for an end to Outsourcing

This protest had come at the end of a long and varied day for me, which had begun with a coordinated action by the UVW, IWGB, and the BEIS PCS branch demanding an end to outsourcing and the insecurity, discrimination and low pay it causes. A legal challenge was demanding better rights for the 3.3 million outsourced workers in the UK, and protesters had met at the University of London at 8am to march to a protest outside the High Court before moving on to a rally in Parliament Square where I joined them a couple of hours later.


Outsourced Workers protest at BEIS

From Parliament Square it was a short walk to the Dept for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy in Victoria St where outsourced workers including catering and security staff in the PCS were striking in support of their demand for the London Living Wage as well as end to outsourcing and the insecurity, discrimination and low pay it causes.


Outsourced Workers at Justice ministry

After a rally and speeches at the BEIS, the protest by outsourced workers moved on to the Ministry of Justice (though they call in the Ministry of Injustice) where low paid workers belonging the the United Voices of the World union who had been on strike for 24 hours were going back to work. They also want the London Living Wage and fair conditions of service rather than the poverty and insecurity of outsourcing.


North Woolwich

When the protest at the Justice Ministry came to an end I went to have a quick lunch and, as I had several hours to spare before the Class War action, went to take some photographs at North Woolwich. Unfortunately I arrived at Bank station for the DLR only to find there were no trains running – and no information as to when they might resume service.

It took me rather longer than anticipated to get there, taking the Northern Line to London Bridge and a train to Woolwich Arsenal. Fortunately by then services were running from there to North Woolwich, saving me a walk across the river but I still had rather less time than I needed and had to rush away before finishing my planned route, mainly beside the River Thames. It was a pleasant day for a walk, but a clear blue sky is not good for panoramic views.

As usual, more about all these on My London Diary:
Class War protest Rees-Mogg freak show
North Woolwich
Outsourced Workers at Justice ministry
Outsourced Workers protest at BEIS
Rally for an end to Outsourcing


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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.


Limehouse, Pimlico & the City

February 25th, 2021
DLR, Limehouse Dock, Limehouse, 1992 92-3d-36-7a_2400
Panorama, DLR & Limehouse Dock, Limehouse, 1992

My walk down the Lea Valley from the source to the Thames took a long time on my posts here, and there are still many pictures in the Flickr album that have not featured here, including those around the other outlet from the Lea Navigation to the River Thames via the Limehouse Cut and Limehouse Basin by which barges could avoid the winding and rather treacherous Bow Creek. There are over 500 pictures in the album, including a number of colour images and they come from various visits over around ten years when I probably made several thousands of exposures. And I continued to make occasional visits there after 1992, the latest I think in 2018 or 2019. So here are just a couple of final images before I return to my wider explorations of London, back in 1987.

Heavy Rain, LimehouseBasin, entrance, River Thames, Limehouse, Tower Hamlets, 1983 33f-45_2400
Heavy Rain, Limehouse Basin entrance, River Thames, Limehouse, Tower Hamlets, 1983

1987 continued

St George's Drive, Pimlico, Westminster, 1987 87-10a-15-positive_2400
St George’s Drive, Pimlico, Westminster, 1987 87-10a-15-positive_2400

My last post about my pictures around London several months ago ended with two pictures from Pimlico taken in early October, and that’s where I will take up the story. The long streets of the area lined with Cubitt’s impressive stucco were developed from 1825, St George’s Drive, along with Belgrave Road were the two principla streets, with these opulent five storey town houses, were built (as Wikipedia quotes) for “professional men… not rich enough to luxuriate in Belgravia proper, but rich enough to live in private houses”.

By the 1980s many houses in the area were beginning to show their age; some had been converted to hotels and others offices, while others were in multiple occupation, often rather crudely converted. Developers were busy buying up properties to convert them into flats, as this picture with its estate agent’s boards and scaffolding illustrates.

Churton Place, Pimlico, Westminster, 1987 87-10a-02-positive_2400
Churton Place, Pimlico, Westminster, 1987

The side streets were also a part of Cubitt’s development, but here the houses were less grand and typically of three storeys.

River Thames, foreshore, Blackfriars, downstream, City, 1987 87-10o-63-positive_2400
River Thames, view downstream from Blackfriars, City of London, 1987

My next visit to London, later in the month took me further east, walking from Waterloo Station to the City meant I had to cross the River Thames and this picture shows a rather misty view downstream, with Southwark Bridge, Cannon St Rail Bridge, London Bridge and Tower Bridge. At the left is a tall warehouse on the upstream side of Queenhithe, London’s earliest dock. Now there would be another bridge, the Millennium footbridge, in the foreground.

White Lion Hill, City, 1987 87-10o-52-positive_2400
White Lion Hill, City of London, 1987

White Lion Hill leads up from the river to Queen Victoria St, where a rather dull office building, the Faraday Building, seems to have the dome of St Paul’s Cathedral on its roof. This part of the building was built in 1890 as a post office sorting office, which in 1905 became the GPO’s first London telephone exchange. A taller extension to the west (to the left of this view) was added in 1933, with the whole complex becoming known as Faraday House. This held the international telephone exchange and in its first years virtually all the world’s international telephone conversations were routed through here.

As this picture shows, Faraday House partly blocked the view of St Paul’s Cathedral from the Thames riverside and this led to the introduction of regulations restricting the height of new buildings in various locations giving a number of protected views from around London – including a well known one from Richmond Park. But the regulations only came in after Faraday House was built and were not retrospective. The photograph also shows another of Wren’s churches, St. Benet Paul’s Wharf, rebuilt after the Great Fire and reopened in 1683. Queen Victoria granted the church to Welsh Anglicans in 1879 and services are still conducted there in Welsh.

Knightrider St, City, 1987 87-10o-43-positive_2400
Knightrider St, City of London, 1987

Redevelopment was in full swing in the Knightrider St area as you can see from these pictures. I think the building at right is is the back of the building on Queen Victoria St now home to the Church of Scientology, and to the left is probably Faraday House. So many of what see like older buildings in the city are now just facades to more recent developments.

Knightrider St, City, 198787-10o-42-positive_2400

The web has many references to Knightrider St, but none that give useful information about its post-war past. Most are about its name, suggesting that Stow’s suggestion it came from being a handy route for knights riding to St Paul’s and Smithfield is unlikely (though there are no positive suggestions), or list buildings along the street which were demolished in the nineteenth century or earlier, and exactly the same information is in those reference books I’ve consulted which mention the street.

Knightrider St, City, 1987 87-10o-41-positive_2400

Addle Hill which runs down to the western end of Knightrider St, which continues west as Wardrobe Terrace. In between taking these pictures I photographed The Bell pub, on the corner of Addle Hill and Wardrobe Terrace which closed in 1989 and was demolished in 1998, one of many pictures not on-line. Further east on Knightrider St is The Horn Tavern, which was renamed The Centre Page in 2002 and is newspaper-themed.

These pictures are from Page 7 of my album 1987 London Photos.


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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.


The Spice of Life

February 24th, 2021

Perhaps the hardest thing I’ve found about the last eleven months has been the lack of variety. I’ve been fortunate to probably avoid the virus – I was quite ill early in March 2020 but my symptoms didn’t match those then thought to typify Covid-19, though they did match some of those being reported by Covid sufferers – and none of my family or close friends have died from it.

But days mainly spent at home in front of a computer screen have followed days mainly spent at home in front of a computer screen relentlessly, though I have tried to get out for walks or bike rides most days. As someone of an age and medical condition that makes me vulnerable I decided not to travel up to London on public transport, although as a journalist I count as a key worker and could have done so. Apart from usually solitary exercise (occasionally a walk with my wife on Sundays) I’ve made a couple of trips out for pub meals with family or friends when these were allowed, and a few short journeys for medical and dental appointments – including most recently my first Covid vaccination.

There’s Zoom of course, and I hate it, though taking part in a few regular events. It’s a little better on my desktop computer which hasn’t got a camera, but on the notebook or tablet I find it disconcerting to see myself in close-up (and sometimes move out of frame and sit in a more comfortable chair watching the screen from a distance.) It’s perhaps more seeing the others, mainly in head and shoulders close-up that makes me uncomfortable with Zoom; in real life we would be sitting around at a sensible distance, seeing each other at full length and as a part of the overall scene, looking away when we want to at other things. Not those relentless talking or muted full-face heads.

Tuesday 24th February 2009 wasn’t a typical day, and that’s really the point. Few days then were typical. I caught the train to Waterloo and took a bus across to Aldwych, a short journey but faster than walking. A short walk then took me to the Royal Courts of Justice where protesters were supporting the application for judicial review by Palestinian human rights group Al-Haq challenging the government’s failure to fulfil its obligations with respect to Israel’s activities in Palestine.

It was Shrove Tuesday, and from the Royal Courts another bus took me on one of my favourite central London bus journey, up Fleet St and Ludgate Hill to Bank, from where I hurried to Guildhall Yard to the Worshipful Company of Poulters Pancake Races. It perhaps wasn’t one of my better attempts to photograph the event, perhaps because I tried too hard to show the actual running and tossing of pancakes.

I couldn’t stay for the finals of the pancake race but hurried down to Mansion House for the District and Circle Line to Westminster to meet postal workers as they came out of a rally at Methodist Central Hall to protest at government plans to part-privatise the postal service and then proceeded to a short protest in front of Parliament.

There was nothing in my diary for the next few hours, so I took the opportunity to jump onto the Jubilee Line to Stratford and then walk towards the Olympic site for one of my occasional reports on what was happening in the area – which I had been photographing since the 1980s.

I made my way through the Bow Back Rivers, photographing the new lock gates at City Mill Lock. The Olympic site was sealed off to the public by the ‘blue fence’ but I was able to walk along the elevated path on the Northern Outfall Sewer to take a panoramic view of the stadium under construction. It was rather a dull day and not ideal for such wide views with such a large expanse of grey sky.

I took the Central Line back to Oxford Circus for the March of the Corporate Undead, advertised as a “Zombie Shopping Spree” along Oxford Street from Oxford Circus to Marble Arch, complete with coffins, a dead ‘banker’, posters, various members of the undead and a rather good band.

I left the zombies at Marble Arch where they were hanging an effigy of a banker and hurried to my final appointment, a London Bloggers Meetup. The evening’s meeting was being sponsored by Bacardi who were supplying free drinks, including blue and green Breezers which I thought would have been rather suitable for the zombies, but fortunately there was also free beer. I probably took a few pictures, but haven’t published them.

All just a little more interesting than staring at a screen, though there was rather a lot of that to do when I finally got home.

March of the Corporate Undead
Olympic Site Report
London Olympic site pans
Keep the Post Public
Poulters Pancake Race
Al-Haq Sue UK Government


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.


Gentlemen o’ Fortune in London

February 23rd, 2021

Ahoy! Some years ago I let me younger son, then in his 30s, use me ‘puter while he was stayin’ wit’ us, ‘n afterwards found that he had changed t’ language on me Facebook t’ “Pirate”. It loot a wee while fer me t’ change it back ‘n certainly wasn’t made easier by havin’ all th’ menus ‘n explanations in ‘Pirate’.

Or to put that in English rather than blabberin’ on in Pirate;

Pirates in London

Some years ago I let my younger son, then in his 30s, use my computer while he was staying with us, and afterwards found that he had changed to language on my Facebook to “Pirate”. It took a little while for me to change it back and certainly wasn’t made easier by having all the menus and explanations in ‘Pirate’.

As you may know, though I didn’t afore now, there are several online English to Pirate translators should you ever for any reason (or unreason) wish to convey your thoughts in that medium. England’s fortune was of course largely plundered by pirates including such well-known names as Sir Walter Raleigh, though now instead of galleons our pirates sail in the plush offices of hedge funds often registered in those distant tax havens around which many of the older pirates sailed in search of vessels to board and rob – and in whose sands they may have buried a little of their stolen treasures. Arrhh Jim Lad!

But on Saturday 23 Feb 2008 I was with pirates in London, taking part in the ‘Hands off Iraqi Oil Piratical Action Tour of London’, part of an international campaign in solidarity with the Iraqi people against the corporate theft of Iraq’s oil. The real pirates were of course the largely US oil companies busy profiteering in Iraq following the illegal US and UK invasion of that country.

Saddam was a dictator and committed many crimes, though producing weapons of mass destruction as the invaders claimed largely in contravention of the evidence of their spies, to justify their invasion was not one of them. Far more important but not stated was the fact that as long as he remained dictator, oil would remain a public sector industry in Iraq. So obviously, to further the interests of Shell, BP and other majors in the oil business and capitalism generally he had to be removed.

The pirate-themed protest included a number of protesters in pirate dress along with a samba band to make a great deal of noise and draw attention to the banners, posters and placards calling for corporate killers to get out of Iraq along with a small group with blacked faces in a large black sheet representing Iraqi crude.

The protest marched to the premised of various companies involved in the invasion or seeking to exploit Iraqi oil, stopping at them to speak about their activities and protest noisily. Before I met them some had gone inside the National Portrait Gallery to protest inside against BP sponsorship of their major awards.

The tour visited Erinys International Limited, a private military security company with a reputation for using excessive force which provides security services in Iraq as well as training Iraq’s Oil Protection force, BP whose former CEOs worked as advisors to the Iraqi Oil Ministry telling them let companies like BP come in a make vast profits and helping to draft new Iraqi hydorcarbon laws, and the International Tax and Investment Centre, which is paid by the big oil companies to lobby for a free-market approach which would let them dominate Iraqi oil.

Running late, the tour missed the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, whose policies have largely been to run around in support of BP and Shell, employing former oil executives as advisers on economic policy in the Middle East. And Development Program Worldwide Ltd (previously Windrush Communications) has offices too far away in the City for the tour; it promotes the establishment of private capital enterprises in places such as conflict zones where there are few controls over their activities and no effective government to represent the public interest.

The pirates stormed up the Jubilee footbridge, crossing it to reach the Shell Centre for a longer rally to end the tour. Shell executives have played a leading role in the re-purposing of the Iraqi oil industry from a state asset to a multinational profit opportunity and plan for three major oil fields there.

More at Hands off Iraqi Oil Piratical Action Tour.


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.


Naomi Rosenblum (1925-2021)

February 22nd, 2021

Naomi Rosenblum, the celebrated author of two landmark histories of photography, her World History of Photography (1984) and A History of Women Photographers (1994), died on February 19th, 2021.

Her work widened our knowledge of the history of photography and gave it a more international perspective as the ‘World Photography’ in the title indicates, and it was an inspiration to me later to try and write about the history and development of photography in countries around the world when I wrote online for ‘About Photography’.

Similarly her book on women photographers opened up a wider area for study, and was of particular interest to me as many of my better students were women. Of course there were women who had become well-known as photographers and who I had featured in my courses – Julia Margaret Cameron, Dorothea Lange, Berenice Abbott and others spring obviously to mind, but many others had been sadly sidelined from previous histories, often mere footnotes to the work of their male colleagues.

Together with her husband, Walter Rosenblum she did much to promote the work of Lewis Hine, and of the photographers of the New York Photo League, where Walter had met both Hine and Paul Strand and had become its President in 1941 before his war service. Naomi had also been involved with the Photo League, although she was not a photographer. As a designer she designed the cover of ‘Photo Notes‘, the influential magazine of the League (Edward Weston praised it as the most worthwhile magazine dealing with photography.)

I’m sure there will be many detailed obituaries of Naomi Rosenblum appearing and I’ll not write one here. But I do have fond personal memories of meeting her back in 2007, in Bielsko-Biala, Poland. For me the most important exhibition at the FotoArtFestival there was the early work of her late husband, ‘Message from the Heart‘. Naomi was there to launch the Polish version of her ‘World Photography’ and also, like me, to give a lecture, and her daughter, film-maker Nina Rosenblum came to present her film about her father, Walter Rosenblum: In Search Of Pitt Street.

It was a great privilege for me to go with Naomi and Nina around the show of Walter’s work and to hear their stories about him and the pictures. We talked too at some of the meals and events, and in the lecture hall – where I listened to her lecture and they to mine. There was actually some overlap the two, hers on the New York Photo League but rather more wide-ranging and mine on street photography in London, and it was interesting for us to compare our slightly different thoughts and wildly different presentations.

There is just a little more about our meeting in the lengthy diary I put on line in 2007 about my experiences at the FotoArtFestival. It includes brief thoughts on many of the of the exhibitions and events as well as photographs of the festival and of my walks around Bielsko-Biala.