Archive for the ‘LondonPhotos’ Category

Wapping & the Thames

Sunday, September 1st, 2019

I arrived early for a private celebration of May Day with friends in a Wapping pub and took a short walk along the High St and riverside path, where I sat and ate my lunch sandwiches.

I’d made photographs here in the 1980s, and there were one or two that I’d hoped I would be able to fix the locations more precisely. It wasn’t easy as vitually everything between Wapping High Street and the river has been rebuilt with expensive riverside flats. New Crane Wharf (above) was still recognisable as here the old buildings had been converted.

The Thames sweeps around to the south to go around the Isle of Dogs, and from Wapping you can see Canary Wharf to the North of the River and the gasholder in Rotherhithe to the south – and both appear in photographs to be across the river.

You also see rather too much very pedestrian riverside architecture like the flats above. So little new building on the river bank has any architectural merit, all about maximising profit within the planning restrictions. It’s such a shame that the LDDC didn’t have higher aspirations for its control of the redevelopment of docklands.

Relatively little of the old riverside survives here, and Tunnel Mills and the other buildings at Rotherhithe are one very welcome exception. There are parts of the north bank too where some of the better warehouses have been saved, converted into expensive flats.

It was good also to be able to walk out onto Tunnel Pier, where I met two old friends also taking advantage of the opportunity.

And though the Captain Kidd pub to the left of Phoenix Wharf is relatively modern, dating from the 1880s, like many Sam Smith’s pubs it is a sensitive conversion of an old building, Sun Wharf, which along with Swan Wharf (now renamed Phoenix Wharf) and St John’s F & G Wharf at left were owned or leased by W H J Alexander and Company, who as well as wharfingers dealing in a wide range of goods including coffee, dried fruit, gum and bales of Australian wool, also used these premises to repair their tugs. Swan Wharf I think is the oldest of these buildings, dating from the 1840s and possibly designed by Sidney Smirke.

More pictures at Wapping and the Thames .


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

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.

There are no adverts on this site and it receives no sponsorship, and I like to keep it that way. But it does take a considerable amount of my time and thought, and if you enjoy reading it, a small donation – perhaps the cost of a beer – would be appreciated.



Big School Strike for the Future

Thursday, June 27th, 2019

School students can see clearly the threat that faces the planet – especially with some predictions that human life will be extinct on Earth before they reach middle age. I’ve never expected to be still alive in 2050, though it’s just about possible, but these people clearly should be – but quite likely won’t if we continue “business as usual“.

But its also good to be with them and to feel the energy they have, and the enthusiasm they show. As well as in the actions on the day it comes out too in the many placards. There are some mass produced from the usual culprits, Socialist Worker and the Socialist Party, but even the SWP have produced a decent one for the cause, with a nice Wave and the message ‘System Change Not Climate Change’. But clearly there are many schools where the art department is full of people making their placards.

We clearly are at a point where we need drastic change, and are unfortunately stuck with dinosaurs in charge, fiddling about with Brexit and internal party politics (both Tory and Labour) while the planet almost literally burns.

We won’t of course go on like this. It’s a simple choice, change or die, and one that has become far more critical since I first got up in front of a microphone almost 50 years ago and said we can’t go on like this. We now know much more in detail about what is going on.

Police tried to stop the protesters at the end of the Mall, but while a crowd gathered in front of their line, others coming up behind simply swarmed around the sides and ran across the grass to get to the Victoria Monument in front of Buckingham Palace.

The police gave up and the others came through to gather around the monument, and their were speeches from several of the protesters to a tightly packed crowd – and I managed to squeeze my way through to take photographs. Mostly I was so close that the fisheye became almost essential, though the one at the head of this post was made with the 18-35mm at 18mm.

After the speeches there was something of a lunch break, with people making their way along various routes back towards Parliament Square – I chose the shortest way – where some protests continued. The largest block made its way over Westminster Bridge and then turned to the east; I left them on Stamford St, deciding I’d walked far enough, but they were still going strong.

London Schools Climate Strike


There are no adverts on this site and it receives no sponsorship, and I like to keep it that way. But it does take a considerable amount of my time and thought, and if you enjoy reading it, a small donation – perhaps the cost of a beer – would be appreciated.

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

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.

To order prints or reproduce images


Million Women March

Wednesday, June 26th, 2019

I photographed the first of these all-woman Million Women Rise marches in London in 2008, and have covered the event in most or all years since, always on a Saturday close to International Women’s Day. It’s an event that is supported over a hundred human rights and women’s groups around the country and is “led and organised by a majority of black women” and also includes many from other minority ethnic communities.

It’s an organisation that welcomes support from men in various ways, but on the day of the march asks them to “come and stand on the pavement and cheer us on.” And I do, though most of the time I’m too busy taking pictures to actually cheer.

Their web site has a list of ten demands, beginning with:

To acknowledge the continued discrimination faced by all women, the additional discrimination faced by Black women and women from other minority groups, and reflect this in all public policy in the UK and internationally

Million Women Rise web site- http://www.millionwomenrise.com/demands.html

I took pictures in the side road where the march gathered, where the marchers spill over onto the pavement and I could mix a little with the marchers before the march began, but for the march itself I stayed on the side as requested.

One slightly different aspect of this years march was the Pan Indian Dance Group who danced their way along Oxford St at the rear of the march – and I think went on to dance at the rally in Trafalgar Square, but by then I had left the event.

More pictures: Million Women March against male violence


There are no adverts on this site and it receives no sponsorship, and I like to keep it that way. But it does take a considerable amount of my time and thought, and if you enjoy reading it, a small donation – perhaps the cost of a beer – would be appreciated.

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

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.

To order prints or reproduce images


London 1979 (7)

Friday, May 3rd, 2019

Continuing the series of posts showing work taken in London in 1979 as posted to Facebook with comments an image at a time in the first half of 2018.

Previous post in London 1979 series
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London Photographs 1979 – Peter Marshall

This set of pictures is a little unusual in that they are all in portrait format and I think I must have set myself a small challenge. Almost all cameras  (except those that use a square format) have always been designed so that the natural way to use them is in landscape format.  Of course it isn’t hard to turn a camera through 90 degrees, but it can foten be rather tricky to find a good way to hold it steady and release the shutter smoothly.


Blackfriars Railway Bridges and pier Blackfriars Bridge, City, 1979
19j-24: river thames, pier, bridge, railway,

There were then still two rail bridges at Blackriars, with the nearer one at left being the Alexandra Railway Bridge built by engineer Joseph Cubitt (1811-1872) for the London, Chatham & Dover Railway around 1864. The river piers were groups of three cast-iron cylinders clad in stone and filled with concrete and some can still be seen, but the track and bridge girders on top of them were removed in 1985. The bridge led from the original Blackfriars Bridge station on the south bank to Ludgate Hill station which was closed in 1929. The track continued north on a bridge across Ludgate Hill which was removed in 1990 and replaced at a lower level by a tunnel leading into City Thameslink station.

Blackfriars Railway Bridge, also known as St Paul’s Bridge was completed in 1886 to lead to St Paul’s station, now known as Blackfriars. It is still in use and now has an impressive array of solar panels on top of it. There is now an entrance on the south bank too.

Although the Alexandra bridge pillars remain, not all are visible. They were in sets of three, one on each side and one in the centre of the bridge. Only the upstream two of each triplet remain visible with the third encased in a new concrete coating and used to support a widened Blackfriars rail bridge.

The pillar at right is of the Blackfriars Road Bridge, another built to a design by Joseph Cubitt. Opened in 1869 it replaced an earlier bridge of 1769, the third bridge across the Thames, after London Bridge and Westminster Bridge. To enable navigation the three Blackfirars bridges were required to be built with their piers aligned. The piers carry stone carvings by by sculptor John Birnie Philip showing birds, with those on the seaward side here showing marine life and seabirds.

Blackfriars Bridge was often said to be the point where the freshwater Thames met the saline tidal river, though of course the river is tidal for some miles further upstream – now to Teddington lock, though without this the tides would flow further.

But in earlier years the tide was restricted by the narrow arches of the old London Bridge, and before there was any real human intervention and the Thames spread more widely probably only travelled as far as Vauxhall.


St Paul’s Cathedral from Bankside, Southwark, 1979
19j-42: wall, church,

This wall was on Bankside, but and was a temporary flood defence, before the Thames Barrier was completed in 1982. These temporary barriers were later replaced by permanent ones which are I think rather less high.

One of the sillier pages on the BBC web site tries to answer the question ‘Why was the Thames Barrier built’ with the answer “In 1953 a very bad flood covered 160,000 acres on Canvey Island and killed 300 people in Essex. That forced the UK government to appoint a committee to look at flooding. The solution was the Thames Barrier, built at a place called Woolwich Reach.”

Which was not in any way going to help Canvey Island, miles further downstream, but has so far done a good job in preventing flooding upstream of Woolwich.


Temporary river wall, Bankside, Southwark, 1979
19j-43: river thames, foreshore, wall, Randall Webb, photographer

Another view of the wall makes clear that it was a flood barrier, as well as showing the late Randall Web, once a friend of mine, struggling with his camera. We were both members of something called Group 6, a small group of photographers from the Richmond and Twickenham Photographic Society who came to an evening meeting once a week to talk photography and arranged monthly outings on Sundays to take photographs – on one of which these pictures were taken. In 1982 we arranged our first group exhibition, later breaking away from the RTPS as Framework and producing a number of shows.

Randall myself and Terry King had been sitting together in a row in a meeting of the Richmond & Twickenham Photographic Society when an elderly former advertising photographer. a Mr Steinbock from Maidenhead delivered a lecture, showing us one of the small prints (“little gems”) that he had for many years exhibited in the annual Royal Photographic Society shows.

Though I didn’t much care for the picture, the idea of making non-silver prints like his gum bichromates intrigued us all as he described in some detail how he made them. I was teaching chemistry, and the store where I worked had an embarrassingly large stock of potassium dichromate, and I liberated a couple of surplus jars, one for my own experiments and the other as a gift to Terry.

Terry went on to became one of the best-known people in alternative processes, making prints, running workshops and organising conferences, while around 20 years later Randall Webb was co-author with Martin Reed of ‘Spirits of Salts: A Working Guide to Old Photographic Processes’.

I made one or two gum prints, and rather more with other alternative processes – cyanotype, kallitype, platinum, salted paper and more – before deciding that I was rather more interested in photography than alternative printmaking.


Wall, Bankside, Southwark,1979
19j-45: wall,

I can’t recall what the substantial wall at the right had been built around, but by this time it was a derelict site. The horizontal planks filling a doorway were I think highly coloured and probably around the site on which the modern reconstruction of the Globe, named “Shakespeare’s Globe”, opened in 1997, thanks largely to the efforts of Sam Wanamaker and the Shakespeare Globe Trust he founded.


Clown on Wall, Bankside, Southwark,1979
19j-46: wall, drawing, graffiti

Another wall close to the future site of the replica of Shakespeare’ Globe Theatre, with a picture of a clown. There was also another theatre in the area.


Lee Brothers, Borough Market, Southwark,1979
19j-62: railway arch, potato merchant, market

Although this sign has apparently been photographed and put on the web by every living photographer or tourist strolling through Borough Market with a phone or digital camera, not one of the links on Google gives any more information about Lee Brothers. Although the sign is still there they are not to be found in the list of traders, which moves from L’Ubriaco Drunk Cheese to Le Marché du Quartier without them.

I can add very little. Lee Brothers (Borough Market) Limited was only incorporated as a private limited company with share capital in 1987, some years after I made this picture and it is now dissolved. The stall below their sign in Bedale St has for some years been part of the fruit and veg wholesaler and retailer ‘Turnips’ run by Fred and Caroline Foster.

At the time I was probably more interested in the shaft of sunlight and the shadow on the road. I made two virtually identical frames with the same slight lean to the right, which suggests it was deliberate, though I can’t see why


Park St, Southwark,1979
19j-65: granary, store, warehouse, bridge,

15 Park St is next to the railway bridge.

There are faint residues of text about the right hand door, two lines which appear to end ..N.’ but I can make out nothing more. Later it read ‘Perot Export[ateur]’ which I suspect was probably added above the low door for a film made using this building. There are also faint traces of text at the right of this door, where later was the text, attributed to Banksy, ‘This is not a photo opportunity’, now also long gone, probably worn off my the number of times it was photographed. I think I resisted the opportunity.

Slightly more legible when I took this picture in 1979 was the ‘ghost image’ above the window at left which reads

‘KRA…..
GRANARIES

but I can’t tell you how the upper word, presumably a name, ends.

The building has appeared in a number of films but is probably best known from the hilarious film ‘Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels‘ (1998) which centred around it. By then it had been considerably renovated.

______________________________________________________
More to follow shortly

Continuing the series of posts showing work taken in London in 1979 as posted to Facebook with comments an image at a time in the first half of 2018.

Previous post in London 1979 series

______________________________________________________

The pictures in this series of posts are exactly those on London Photographs, where landscape format images display slightly larger. Clicking on any picture will go to the page with it on the web site.

I have included the file number and some keywords in the captions; you can order a print of any picture on this site using the file number.
Order details and prices

______________________________________________________

There are no adverts on this site and it receives no sponsorship, and I like to keep it that way. But it does take a considerable amount of my time and thought, and if you enjoy reading it, a small donation – perhaps the cost of a beer – would be appreciated.

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

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.

To order prints or reproduce images

________________________________________________________

London 1979 (6)

Monday, April 29th, 2019

Continuing the series of posts showing work taken in London in 1979 as posted to Facebook with comments an image at a time in the first half of 2018.

Previous post in London 1979 series
______________________________________________________

London Photographs 1979 – Peter Marshall


Jubilee Walk marker post, Southwark, 1979
19i-23: warehouse,St Paul’s Cathedral, bridge, wharf

The drunken marker post was a little to the north of Southwark Cathedral, just north of Montague Place, where there is still an open area on the riverside with a river view, though from where I took this picture now blocked by the modern office building which replaced West Kent Wharf and a part of Hibernia Wharves which had recently been demolished when I made this picture.

At top left you can see the riverside corner of St Mary Overy Wharf, with its decorative balustrade, and in giant letters the name of its occupiers from 1890 for the rest of its working life as a wharf, Cole & Carey.

Beyond the Cannon St rail bridge you can see some of the buildings of London, including of course St Paul’s Cathedral.

The Silver Jubilee Walkway, opened by the Queen in 1977 was renamed the Jubilee Walkway and refurbished in 2002. The 15 mile walk is now marked by plaques in the pavement and I think few if any of these original marker posts remain. It has been divided into five shorter lengths suitable for tourists.


Demolition West Kent & Hibernia Wharves, Southwark, 1979
19i-33: rubble, St Paul’s Cathedral, bridge, wharf, Hibernia, West Kent

Hibernia Wharf, built in 1838 was greatly extended 1858-61. It later became part of the property of The Proprietors of Hay’s Wharf who used it as a cold store until around 1968. A small part of the facade on London Bridge was retained and built into a company hall for the Worshipful Companies of Launderers, Glaziers and Scientific Instrument Makers, a late replacement for their Glaziers Hall burnt down in the Great Fire of 1666.

This was I think one of a number of pictures of the area (including some others already posted here) in a small one-person show on Southwark’s riverside I had in the Barge House, behind the OXO tower, no great distance from where the picture was taken. Although the show was small, the pictures were large, printed A0, and worked surprisingly well for 35mm at that size. Later I took some of those prints, along with other smaller prints I had made from elsewhere for a show of London’s Industrial History.


Demolition West Kent & Hibernia Wharves, Southwark, 1979
19i-41: rubble, Cannon St, bridge, wharf, Hibernia,

A huge pile of timbers from the wharves was burning on the demolition site. At left through a little smoke is St Mary Overy Wharf and across the river you can see Cannon St Station and Mondial House, then Europe’s largest international telecommunications complex. Planned in 1970 to open in 1972, it was years late in completion. Built with upper storeys stepped back to ensure it didn’t obstruct views of St Paul’s Cathedral and with a maximum height of 46m it had 4 floors below ground in addition to the 8 above.

In 2006 UBS was granted permission to demolish Mondial House to build its huge Watermark Place project with 545 000 sq ft of office and retail space. 1 Angel Lane is now occupied by Japanese investment bank Nomura International.


Demolition West Kent & Hibernia Wharves, Southwark, 1979
19i-46: rubble, Cannon St, bridge, wharf, Hibernia,

Another image from the demolition of West Kent & Hibernia Wharf. The building still standing behind the smoke at right is St Mary Overy Wharf.


Demolition of Hibernia Wharf, Southwark, 1979
19i-54: rubble,St Mary Overy, bridge, wharf, office, crane,

Further east on the demolition site, with London Bridge and Adelaide house visible through the smoke. Near the centre is the NatWest tower, constructed for the National Westminster Bank and occupied by them between 1980 and 1993, Richard Seifert managed to change the London building guidelines to erect the first extremely tall building in the City, 183m high and 47 floors, it was the tallest building in London until 1 Canada Square was built in 1990, and the tallest in the city until the Heron tower in 2009.

It was only actually completed almost ten years late after NatWest moved out; and its design from the air was supposed to resemble the NatWest logo. In 1993 it was severely damaged by IRA bomb and needed to be externally re-clad and internally refurbished, costing £75 million. NatWest decided not to move back in and sold it to UK property company Greycoat, who renamed it Tower 42 in 1995, the name a reference to the 42 upper stories which are cantilevered out from the base.


Demolition at Hibernia wharf, Southwark, 1979
19i-55: rubble,St Mary Overy, bridge, wharf, office, crane,

Another picture from a similar viewpoint


St Mary Overy wharf, Southwark, 1979
19i-65:wharf, office, crane,

Still standing in 1979, St Mary Overy Wharf was soon to be demolished and replaced by some rather dull buildings of roughly similar mass but with little detailing or individuality. It seems a shame that at least this facade was not retained.


St Mary Overy dock and River Thames, Southwark, 1979
19i-66:wharf, dock, river, offices, monument

There is still a dock here, now with a replica of Sir Francis Drake’s Golden Hinde, built in Appeldore and launched in 1973, since when she has been sailed around the world and on various other voyages before ending up- here as a tourist attraction.

I’m not sure the dock is in exactly the same place, and I think the mouth at least is rather narrower. The wharf on the left has now also gone, with its replacement set further back to provide a pedestrianised area and a beer garden at the riverside.

______________________________________________________
More to follow shortly

Previous post in London 1979 series

______________________________________________________

The pictures in this series of posts are exactly those on London Photographs, where landscape format images display slightly larger. Clicking on any picture will go to the page with it on the web site.

I have included the file number and some keywords in the captions; you can order a print of any picture on this site using the file number.
Order details and prices

______________________________________________________

There are no adverts on this site and it receives no sponsorship, and I like to keep it that way. But it does take a considerable amount of my time and thought, and if you enjoy reading it, a small donation – perhaps the cost of a beer – would be appreciated.

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

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.

To order prints or reproduce images

________________________________________________________

London 1979 (4)

Saturday, April 13th, 2019

Continuing the series of posts showing work taken in London in 1979 as posted to Facebook with comments an image at a time in the first half of 2018.

Previous post in London 1979 series
______________________________________________________

London Photographs 1979 – Peter Marshall


Wembley Stadium, Brent, 1979
19g-46: tree, sign, railing

Although I went to Wembley Stadium in 1979, I found little or nothing the the actual stadium area that interested me, making a few pictures of steps, shadows, sheds and signs, but really nothing of the actual stadium. I suspect I felt too many pictures had already been taken of it.


Palaces of Industry, British Empire Exhibition site, Wembley, Brent, 1979
19g-52: building, concrete, reinforced, derelict

I had come to Wembley to try photograph these derelict buildings which were built in 1922 and 1923 for the British Empire Exhibition of 1924 -25, probably because some of them were about to be demolished shortly I’m not quite sure exactly which buildings I photographed, and although some were demolished in 1980, the last only went in 2013.

Although they had been built for the temporary exhibition, their reinforced concrete made them difficult to demolish, and they had only remained there so long because it would have been expensive to get rid of them. I think this is one of the buildings that was still standing and being renovated when I returned three years later and took some more pictures on Engineers Way.

The Empire exhibition was important in accelerating the development of the surrounding areas of north-west London, much of which soon became covered with suburban housing in the years up to the second war.

The area is I think totally unrecognisable now, with about the only remaining building being the 1934 Empire Pool (now Wembley Arena), which I think I photographed a few years later.


Palaces of Industry, British Empire Exhibition site, Wembley, Brent, 1979
19g-64: building, concrete, reinforced, derelict,

A second picture of the derelict concrete buildings, apparently left standing after the exhibition as it was too expensive to demolish them.

I think I probably took rather more than the handful of pictures in the area during this visit than have survived, and suspect that one of the films that I took may have been ruined by a camera or cassette fault or in processing. Although it is possible to lose digital images though card or hard disk problems – and to delete them by human error, digital is in many ways more reliable than film, not least because you can see some or your mistakes on the back of the camera.

In the 70s and 80s I was always short of cash, and loaded almost all the film I used into cassettes from bulk 100 ft lengths. I used a ‘daylight loader’ which mean that a short length at the end of each film was exposed in attaching it to the cassette spool, though later I learnt to do this part of the procedure in total darkness to avoid this. Re-using cassettes led to occasional problems with light leaks. Sometimes I used plastic bodied cassettes made for reloading – and these had caps which were quite easy to twist off – sometimes too easy. The metal bodies used by Ilford and most other films had ends which popped off when you squeezed the cassettes and could be re-used but could get too easy to remove with repeated use. (Kodak’s were crimped on and needed a can opener to remove and were not re-usable.)

All normal cassettes used felt light-traps on the opening where film emerged and films might be ruined by scratches if grit was caught in these from loading the camera in a dusty place, and we had to try hard to keep them clean when reloading them. Those fabric light traps were not intended for repeated use and this sometimes led to leaks. Leica used to have their own metal re-usable cassette which worked without a light trap, the with a slot opening up inside the camera, but it was hardly practical.

Processing too had its traps. Developers not stored in air-tight containers could react with oxygen in the air and become less active or even entirely useless (though normally they went brown to show this.) Some were meant to be re-used, and careful counting of the number of films developed was necessary to avoid them becoming too weak. As mentioned in a previous post I had to abandon some developers as simply too unpredictable.

One of my late friends, a professional photographer who did a number of jobs for a leading oil company magazine, was flown out by helicopter by them to photograph their North Sea Oil rigs. It was an extremely long and tiring day, and on reaching home she loaded the films into a multiple tank to develop them. After she poured the first chemical into the tank she realised she had poured in the fixer rather than developer. (Fixer is the chemical used to dissolve the undeveloped silver halides from films after development as most photographers will know.) The films were ruined, and she had to go in the next day and confess to her client. Fortunately for her, she had worked for them on many previous assignments and they appreciated her work, and they arranged another helicopter to take her out and make the pictures again. That time she made sure she got the processing right.


22 St Agnes’s Place, Kennington, Lambeth, 1979
19h-22: house, decoration,

Friends of mine lived in a council flat a few minutes walk across Kennington Park from St Agnes Place. Lambeth Council had wanted to demolish the street to extend the already large park in 1969, but the properties were squatted and the demolition stopped. The council again tried to demolish them in 1977 but the residents resisted. There was considerable national publicity and a High Court injunction stopped the demolition, and the fight led to the defeat of the Conservative Lambeth Council and the resignation of its leader.

Some properties had been demolished, but the core of the street remained, with many of the houses having been renovated by the squatters. The area had become well known for its Rastafarian community and Bob Marley stayed there several times in the 1970s. Despite some local rumours, spread by some councillors, it always seemed a safe place when I was there, and a haven for many homeless and was a lively cultural centre, though I never attended any of the many free parties there or photographed other activities. It housed a Rastafarian temple and at least in later years it was the home of pirate radio stations Wireless FM and Rasta FM.

The residents formed a housing cooperative and paid their utility bills but Lambeth Council continued to try to evict them, obtaining a possession order in 2003 but failing to enforce it when the residents put up barricades. Two years later the council came back with a High Court order, which meant they could bring in the riot police; this time the residents who had decided only to put up a token show of resistance left peacefully. Most of the street was demolished, with just one property, the Rastafarian temple, remaining for a couple of years until police raided it for drugs and the occupiers were evicted. The council had said they would come to some kind of agreement with the temple occupiers, but reneged on that promise and the demolition was completed in July 2007. The drugs trial collapsed with all defendants being found not guilty.

Just two of the original 3-storey and basement terrace houses remain on the street, still joined to four smaller terraced properties of a similar age on one side,. Further down the street where the properties I photographed were are some newer properties, with more building still taking place. The site of the Rastafarian temple was at one time marked by some decorative paint on the railings, but I think these have now been painted over by the council, but the street no longer runs along quite the same route as it did.


The 12 Tribes of Israel, St Agnes’s Place, Kennington, Lambeth, 1979
19h-23: house, decoration,

The houses at 28-34 St Agnes Place were occupied by different groups from the Rastafari community for over 30 years. A thriving hub for the Rastafari community it became recognised as the Rasta International Headquarters.

First squatted in 1969, the remaining premises were closed after a police drugs raid in 2007, where the police made several arrests, but all were found not guilty as the case against them collapsed in court. Some people said that the drugs raid came after a dispute between residents that led to some giving false stories that crack cocaine dealing was taking place. Cannabis use plays an important role in Ratafarian religious ceremonies, used to enhance spirituality and promote unity. They interpret various Biblical references to the ‘herb of the field’, the ‘herb of the land’ and ‘The tree of life’ as meaning ganja (marijuana) and regard the prohibition of its use as an attempt by Babylon to impose an improper restriction on people’s religious freedom. Not all Rastas use ganja, and many condemn its irresponsible use simply to get high.

For those of you who don’t have your Bible at your side, Genesis 49 is where Jacob brings together his sons before his death and blesses them, giving instructions for his funeral, and in verse 28 in the King James version reads:

All these are the twelve tribes of Israel: and this is it that their father spake unto them, and blessed them; every one according to his blessing he blessed them.


Symbols, St Agnes’s Place, Kennington, Lambeth, 1979
19h-24: house, decoration,

It’s a shame that this photograph was not taken in colour, and much as I loved black and white photography and its ability to abstract, to render light and shade, express through form and line with a clarity that usually evades colour photographs, I often think that black and white was something of an aberration, an artifact resulting from the scientific basis of photography. If the efforts of Talbot and Daguerre had resulted in colour images, would anyone ever have bothered to invent black and white photography?

There were people in the 1840s who claimed to produce colour images – and did, but any relationship between the colours in their images and those of the subject was purely accidental, the colours being random freaks of chemistry and physics. Since all early photographic processes were only sensitive to the blue end of the spectrum, producing realistic colour was impossible. Though prints could be and were made in almost every colour though were seldom if ever black and white. Hand-colouring too dates back to the early years of photography, and particularly with the aid of computer technology can look very realistic, but is never authentic.

You can of course convert colour images to black and white, and there have been a few occasions when I have done so, realising at the time of taking or afterwards that a particular image would be stronger in b/w. Back in the darkroom days there was even special panchromatic printing paper made for the purpose, as normal black and white photographic paper is only sensitive to the blue end of the spectrum; printing from colour negatives on it needed lengthy exposures and gave rather odd tonal results.

Once we could scan negatives or transparencies it became much easier, and various software emerged, often as Photoshop plugins, which could make the conversion to black and white resemble more closely the tonalities of b/w film. With digital cameras it became simpler still, and with my Fuji cameras I can now – should I want to – actually view the world in black and white as I take pictures, with the Acros film simulation providing me with a truly filmic view and enabling me to digitally apply yellow, red or green filters.

Under extreme low light conditions or when my finger twiddling has led accidentally to seven stops of underexposure I’ve occasionally had to convert to b/w to get usable images, but otherwise it’s not a feature I’ve yet taken advantage of. And I find it intensely annoying when some younger photographers who have never learnt to use b/w convert their colour images in the hope that it somehow makes them more seriously documentary.

The Star of David would I think almost certainly have looked better in colour, and also those stripes and the door frame.


Writing by window, St Agnes’s Place, Kennington, Lambeth, 1979
19h-25: house, decoration, writing,

There was a great deal of writing on the walls here, and much of it – as in this picture – is misogynistic. It’s perhaps best that you can read only a little in this small reproduction, though enough is legible to get the general drift and of course it is clear on the larger original.

One of the more polite texts about women reads ‘Blessed is the man who can terrorise a woman with a look’, but there are also other subjects. One that rather appeals to me states ‘If there was anything in the world worth having – I would not want it’.


Doorway, St Agnes’s Place, Kennington, Lambeth, 1979
19h-34: house, decoration, writing, Rastafarian,

A wider view of the doorway to 28 St Agnes’s Place, the Rastafarian temple and Rasta International Headquarters (which included three houses, 24-28.)

As so often I ask myself why I did not take more pictures of the street, which I often walked through.

______________________________________________________
More to follow shortly

Previous post in London 1979 series

______________________________________________________

The pictures in this series of posts are exactly those on London Photographs, where landscape format images display slightly larger. Clicking on any picture will go to the page with it on the web site.

I have included the file number and some keywords in the captions; you can order a print of any picture on this site using the file number.
Order details and prices

______________________________________________________

There are no adverts on this site and it receives no sponsorship, and I like to keep it that way. But it does take a considerable amount of my time and thought, and if you enjoy reading it, a small donation – perhaps the cost of a beer – would be appreciated.

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

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.

To order prints or reproduce images

________________________________________________________

London 1979 (3)

Wednesday, April 10th, 2019

Continuing the series of posts showing work taken in London in 1979 as posted to Facebook with comments an image at a time in the first half of 2018.

Previous post in London 1979 series
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London Photographs 1979 – Peter Marshall


Vauxhall City Farm, Vauxhall, Lambeth 1979
18u-64: house, city farm, fence,

This was the original entrance in St Oswald’s Place and was replaced by a new building in 2015. I think the street was fairly narrow and for once the tilt of the camera was deliberate.


Hymn and goat, Vauxhall City Farm, Vauxhall, Lambeth 1979
18u-65: house, city farm, fence,

The farm had been tidied up since my visit ten months earlier – even the goat looks better groomed. The ‘HYMN’ was still there on the wall.

The contact sheet tells me that I took this and the previous image on 27th January, working with my Olympus OM1 and even details the development (D76 diluted 1:1 9 mins) which seems fairly short. The film was Kodak Safety film 5063 better known as Kodak TRI-X Pan Film.

Many photographers, particularly amateur photographers, using film spent long years experimenting with different developers, times and dilutions and exposure ratings, particularly those who got caught up in worshipping Ansel Adams and his Zone System. I dabbled a little, though you could only be a true aficionado if you used sheet film and exposed and developed each exposure separately depending on the lighting conditions. But using 35mm there were some compromises, particularly if a film was exposed under different lighting conditions and perhaps over several days or weeks. But many of us learnt to base exposures on shadow detail (using spot metering when time allowed) and tried to develop for the highlights. When the Olympus OM4 came out in 1983 it’s metering system made placing the shadows rather easier.

Different developers had different effects on film too, and different dilutions altered these. Some gave finer grain by dissolving some of the image, while others gave increased sharpness by edge effects (acutance.) Some enabled you to increase developing times while increasing the density of the darker areas of the negative less than others, enabling you to ‘push’ films, exposing them at higher film speed settings on camera or meter.

Developers varied from the bog-standard neat D76 favoured in the deep tanks in many professional darkrooms and regularly replenished as film after film went through to esoteric magic formulae sold in ampoules opened and diluted immediately before single use. Over the years I used quite a range of them, making some up myself from the ‘raw chemicals’, and publications such as the British Journal of Photography Annual used to have a selection of photographic formulae in their end pages.

My various experiments taught me several things, particularly that some developers were more reliable than others. One I used for some time enabled me to rate Tri-X at ASA2000, under-exposing over two stops, and produce prints from 35mm that led one club judge to comment that “it’s good to see that some ‘workers’ are still using medium format”. But I gave it up as sometimes films would come out with densities too low to be printable for no apparent reason. D76 was dependable, diluting it with equal amounts of water for single use solved any problems of deterioration with infrequent use, and also gave a slight increase in sharpness by reducing its solvent effect, and bought in bulk it was cheap.

Later I more or less standardised development, and much of my later black and white photography was in any case using chromogenic films developed in the standard C41 developer.


Regent Lion Filling Station, Coptic St, Camden, 1979
19c-16: house, petrol, filling station, Islington

Rising at the top of the picture is the unmistakable tower of St George’s Bloomsbury, but I had long forgotten the exact location of the Regent Lion Filling Station. I took it as the first of four frames before getting to St Chad’s St in the area to the south of King’s Cross, and I had long thought this picture must have been near there.

But I had walked some distance with the Leica M2 around my neck, and that this picture was taken on Coptic St, just to the south of the British Museum. Though the petrol pumps and the building above them have long gone, the building at the right edge of the picture is still recognisable on the corner of Museum St and Bloomsbury Way.

The company was incorporated in 1955 and appears to have been dissolved some time in the 1990s. The Regent trademark had a long history in petrol outlets, beginning with Burt Boulton & Haywood, a small independent distributor who had a wharf and chemical works at Prince Regent’s Wharf which is now the Thames Barrier Park. They were bought up by Trinidad Leaseholds in 1930, and post war they merged with Texaco and later Caltex, reverting to Texaco in 1967, who discontinued the use of the brand name for most of the outlets, though it was revived for special uses in 2004. The Regent Oil Company were also on Canvey Island and the site changed its name to Texaco at some point but is now closed.

Regent were one of several companies who sold road maps under their name from the 1930s to the mid 1960s, though later these were sold as Texaco or Chevron (another Texaco brand).


Hotel, St Chad’s St, Kings Cross, Camden, 1979
19d-15: house, hotel, cars

Little visibly has changed from when I took the picture, though parking is now more restricted and there are cycle lanes along St Chad’s St. The hotels have gone up a little in the world (and rather more in price) and look rather better cared for. The hotel sign is still there, but repainted with different text.

At the time this was London’s most celebrated red-light district, and a short walk away is Holy Cross, Cromer St, occupied by the English Collective of Prostitutes for 12 days in 1982 in a protest against intimidation and false arrests of prostitutes on the streets of the area by police under the 1959 Street Offences Act. Police were reported to be demanding free sex, demanding money, assaulting or beating up women and colluding with pimps to extract more money from the women.

The area – the Battle Bridge estate – went down in the world quickly after it was developed in the 1820s and 30s, with drunkenness and vagrancy common by the 1840s. When Kings Cross, Euston and St Pancras Station were built they brought in more people and more vice, both customers and prostitutes, some of whom were alleged in later years to commute to the area on ‘Have It Away Day’ tickets.

It was the arrival of drugs that really brought the area down, adding syringes to the local street detritus and fuelling both prostitution and petty crime by those desperate to feed their habits. Fast food too began to litter the streets, and in the 70s the area was probably at its lowest.

There were also huge development plans for the areas around Kings Cross, and later I became involved for several years with the King’s Cross Railway Lands Group, an independent community organisation that campaigned for 25 years until 2013 to “make sure that the people who live, work or study in the King’s Cross area are involved and benefit from its re-development.”


The White Shop, Whidborne St, Kings Cross, Camden, 1979
19d-21: shop, school, mural,


The White Shop, Whidborne St, Kings Cross, Camden, 1979
19d-24: workshop,

Whidborne St is a small street which links Argyle St which was part of the Battle Bridge estate of the 1830s to Cromer St in the area just south of St Pancras and Kings Cross stations, and this end of it north of Argyle Walk is something of a relic from the mid-nineteenth century, left when the slums of the Cromer St area were redeveloped by the East End Dwellings Company in the 1890s, some of whose tenements are at the left of the frame. The street it thought to have got its name from one of the directors of this company.

The White Shop at 6 Whidborne St is said to have been at one time the house of the headmistress of the Argyle Primary School which is at the right of the picture, though its small size and plain design makes it look more like a caretaker’s house. Two school entrances (not now in use) at the left of the shop are still present. The school was built as Manchester Street School (this part of Argyle St was known as Manchester St until some time in the early 20th century) in 1880 and later had links with Mary Ward and the 1897 Passmore Edwards Settlement in Tavistock Place which provided after-school activities for poor children until their parents left work.

The White Shop became a butcher’s shop “belonging to a Mr William Johnson” and when I photographed it in 1979 was still selling frozen foods and ‘Quality Meat’. It was converted into 2 flats in the 1990s, but later reverted to a single dwelling and plans for a rear extension and a mansard roof extension were passed in 2014. The conversion looks neat but the roof is rather out of character with the plain stock brick Victorian original.

Opposite, behind me as I took this picture was the Duke of Wellington public house, its address originally 33 Manchester St which became 5 Whidborne Street WC1. It has now become the Irish themed McGlynn’s.


Whidborne St, Kings Cross, Camden, 1979
19d-22: workshop,

A man in a white shirt stands leaning his back against the first floor window of a small block-shaped building on Whidborne St, one of two similar blocks (the other is wider) with a narrow yard behind the brick wall between them. Both have wide doors to the street, either to admit a hand cart or on the other block a horse-drawn vehicle.

I think these were all premises of C E Norris & Sons, and across the top of the building at the south end of the yard (which I think I may have photographed in colour, but can’t currently find the slide) was the slightly misleading text:

C.E. NORRIS & SONS LTD
OFFICES – 73/5 KENTON ST. W.C.1
PHONE – TER. 4577

Kenton St is a short walk away, off Tavistock Place on the other side of Judd St, and the offices were separate from this complex which I assume was the builder’s yard for the private registered company, incorporated in 1932. Members of the Norris family appear to have resigned from the business in 1991 and it applied for and was granted voluntary striking off in 2001, but was restored in 2013 though it does not seem to have submitted returns or accounts to Companies House.

The properties are probably late Victorian and today seem little changed except in use. The street sign is Whidborne St, WC, and thus comes from before the introduction of sub-districts as a wartime measure to increase efficiency in 1917.


River Thames and Westminster Bridge, Westminster from temporary Hungerford Bridge, Westminster, 1979
19f-13: river, bridge, houses of parliament, offices,

This view is now one that we can see any day, but back in 1979 it was unusual, usually only glimpsed between the girders of Hungerford Bridge as your train rolled in or out of Charing Cross station. The Hungerford footbridge was only on the downstream side of the railway bridge, but in 1979 repairs were needed and it was closed and a temporary bridge built hanging to its upstream edge.

London’s skyline has changed considerably since 1979, particularly with new tall blocks along the riverside, but most of the buildings here are still present, though the cold store at Nine Elms has been replaced by other, even taller buildings.


River Thames and Westminster Bridge, Westminster from temporary Hungerford Bridge, Westminster, 1979
19f-14: river, bridge, houses of parliament, offices,

A second picture, taken closer to the South Bank, shows the Embankment well before the London Eye. County Hall, then still occupied by the GLC, faced the Houses of Parliament across the river, a few years before Margaret Thatcher’s fit of pique put London’s government into disarray which the city has still not quite recovered from.

The boats moored in the river include the Chay Blyth, named after the first person to sail single-handed, non-stop westwards around the world in 1971, and now described as “one of the more traditional passenger boats operating on the Thames” but then relatively new, having been built in 1972 by Thomas W Hughan & Co Ltd at Point Wharf Greenwich, part of Delta Wharf just to the north of Victoria Deep Water Wharf. They built quite a few small vessels over the years, including many barges and apparently also the replica 1890’s Mississippi stern-wheeled Paddle Steamer Elizabethan. The company was dissolved in 1985.

______________________________________________________
More to follow shortly

Previous post in London 1979 series

______________________________________________________

The pictures in this series of posts are exactly those on London Photographs, where landscape format images display slightly larger. Clicking on any picture will go to the page with it on the web site.

I have included the file number and some keywords in the captions; you can order a print of any picture on this site using the file number.
Order details and prices

______________________________________________________

There are no adverts on this site and it receives no sponsorship, and I like to keep it that way. But it does take a considerable amount of my time and thought, and if you enjoy reading it, a small donation – perhaps the cost of a beer – would be appreciated.

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

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.

To order prints or reproduce images

________________________________________________________

By Tower Bridge

Thursday, March 28th, 2019

I first photographed Shad Thames in 1980, though I’d looked down from Tower Bridge a few years earlier. It was a time when I was discovering so many new areas of London to photograph, and also when a very stressful teaching job was taking up far too much of my time – and having two young sons also took up a fair amount of my time. But in April 1980 I moved from an 2000+ comprehensive to a sixth-form and community college, considerably cutting my stress and also reducing my journey times by over an hour a day. It meant a small drop in salary as I was no longer in charge of a department, but gave me more time to spend with my family and on photography.

The area was then largely empty. The last working warehouse had closed in 1972, and some of the buildings had become artists studios, with many also moving in an sleeping there strictly against the law. Some were evicted in 1978, and others after a disastrous fire the following year, leaving the area deserted. The redevelopment only really got into gear in 1984.

It looks better now at night than during the day, when the loss of atmosphere is much more marked. I hadn’t gone to photograph the area, but had arrived early for a protest at Southwark Council offices in Tooley St, so took a walk a little further on. I’d wanted to take a look at St Saviour’s Dock just to the east, but the riverside path was fenced off for the footbridge added there in 1995 to be refurbished so that it can be opened again to allow large boats up the dock.

The footbridge which took the Thames Path across the mouth of the dock was one of the few wholly positive aspects of the redevelopment of the area, saving a diversion to Dockhead and back to the river and should be reopened in the Spring. Here’s what the dock looked like back in 1980.

The colour pictures in 2019 were made with a Nikon D750 with the Nikon 18-35mm  f/3.5-4.5G ED zoom wide open with shutter speeds from 1/15 to 1/40th s at ISO 6400. All were handheld.  Back when I was taking the black and white images I used various films, the fastest of which was Tri-X, nominally rated at ISO 400, and the slowest was Kodak Technical Pan, sometimes rated as low as IS0 5. Then I often carried a tripod, but it’s now years since I did, as most things I photograph have people moving in the frame.

More pictures from 1980 on London Photographs.

More from 2019 at Tower Bridge & Shad Thames.
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There are no adverts on this site and it receives no sponsorship, and I like to keep it that way. But it does take a considerable amount of my time and thought, and if you enjoy reading it, a small donation – perhaps the cost of a beer – would be appreciated.

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

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.

To order prints or reproduce images

________________________________________________________

London 1979 (1)

Sunday, February 10th, 2019

In the first six months or so of 2018, I posted around 180 pictures which I had taken in London in to my London Photographs web site, and along with them made a daily post on my Facebook page with some details and comments on a newly added picture. But those comments are now hard to find, and I’ve begun to add them to the web pages. I’ll now also publish the pictures and the comments here on >Re:PHOTO, where they will remain easy to find in a series of posts with around 7 images at a time. On Facebook now, I’m publishing pictures I took in 1981 in the same way.

The pictures in this series of posts are exactly those on London Photographs, where they display slightly larger. Clicking on any picture will go to the page it is on on that web site. I have included the file number and some keywords in the caption; you can order a print of any picture on this site using the file number. Order details and prices


London Photographs 1979 – Peter Marshall

 


St Paul’s from Waterloo Bridge,Lambeth, 1979
18k-62: Lambeth, theatre, church, offices, National Theatre

London’s skyline is rather less clear now, and a picture from the same viewpoint would be dominated by The Shard, I think between the two tall blocks at right.

 


National Theatre from Waterloo Bridge, Lambeth, 1979
18p-26: Lambeth, theatre, night, National Theatre,

I’m not sure why I was wandering around the South Bank at night, but probably after an opening, perhaps at the Hayward or National Theatre, and of course I had a camera with me.

I suspect it was the Leica M2, which is a purely mechanical camera and has no exposure metering. I had an accessory meter for it which slotted in and coupled with the shutter dial, the Leicameter MR, a curious battery-free CDS meter which was generally about as accurate as holding up a wet finger, but failed to give an reading at all in low light, and this, or perhaps a few glasses of white wine, accounts for the considerable underexposure.

Although my caption states ‘National Theatre from Waterloo Bridge’, I think this is taken from the walkway at a lower level.

A second image taken around the same time shows part of the South Bank complex


Southbank, Lambeth, 1979
18p-53: lambeth, concert hall, hall, theatre

 


River Thames flooding at Twickenham, Richmond, 1979
18r-14: richmond, river thames, flood, pub, pub sign, White Swan

The Beer Garden of the White Swan is a pleasant place to sit with a beer or two in Summer, but in January we had both snow and a little flooding. It isn’t unusual for the Thames to overflow its banks at high Spring tides onto Twickenham Riverside. The boats at right are moored by the downstream end of Eel Pie Island, with a rowing eight just making its way along the main stream beyond.

Across the river at left is the road leading to Ham Street Car Park by the river, which helpfully has a notice warning motorists that it is liable to flooding, though not everyone bothers to read it – or to consult their tide tables.


River Thames flooding at Twickenham, Richmond, 1979
18r-15: richmond, river thames, flood, pub, pub sign, White Swan, dog

Another picture of the flooded beer garden with a woman walking her dog.

Cyclists in snow, Marble Hill House, Twickenham, Richmond, 1979
18s-35: richmond, snow, mansion, house, snow, boys, bicycles

We  had a lot of snow in December 1978 and January 1979, enough on at least one day, together with icy roads to stop me getting to work, and some days when I and my colleague did struggle in it was to find few pupils had struggled into school with the day starting later than usual and finishing earlier to enable them to journey home while it was still light.

I had extra time on my hands an spent quite a lot of it photographing snow, mainly in walking distance from where I lived, but also up in Derbyshire around Paul Hill’s Bradbourne Photographers’ Place and on a trip from there to Alton Towers. Unfortunately when I got home and developed those films I found my Leica M2 had developed a shutter fault, sticking slightly three quarters of the way across the frame, probably brought on by the cold weather, ruining most of my pictures and making a large hole in my pocket for the expensive repair needed. Though to be fair, it hasn’t needed another repair since I got it back later in January 1979.

Fortunately I was also taking some pictures on my Olympus OM-1, which were fine. It wasn’t a weather-sealed camera, but didn’t seem to mind getting cold or wet, and on at least one occasion I’d removed the lens after being out in driving rain and literally (and I do mean literally) poured the water out.

But I’ve never found snow appealing as a photographic subject. It covers everything with its overall gloop, removing subtlety. This is one of the few snow pictures I’ve ever shown or sold, taken on a walk from Twickenham to Richmond along the riverside. The snow forms as useful rather blank background for the three boys on bikes, who I’d stopped to photograph. In the first frame they were together in a group and there was another riding away near the right edge of the frame; it wasn’t a bad picture, but my second frame caught them just as the three were moving apart, those on each side of the group in opposite directions, their six wheel just still linked.

This was made with the revived Leica, which is perhaps why I’ve never cropped the image though I think it would improve it to do so a little, though there is something attractive about the huge expanse of white nothing with that small group in near-silhouette at its centre.

 


Figure on gate, Orleans House, Twickenham, Richmond, 1979
18s-51: richmond, mansion, house, graffiti, drawing

Taken on the same walk, this is a figure I photographed on several occasions, of which I think this is the best. Crudely drawn, something between a ghost and a human, it appeared to me as someone’s scary phobia emerging from this locked gate.

Behind is the elegance of Orleans House, where I helped organise and took part in several exhibitions of our small photographic group.

1979 continues in a later post

______________________________________________________

There are no adverts on this site and it receives no sponsorship, and I like to keep it that way. But it does take a considerable amount of my time and thought, and if you enjoy reading it, a small donation – perhaps the cost of a beer – would be appreciated.

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

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.

To order prints or reproduce images

________________________________________________________

A Day out in London 1974

Saturday, January 26th, 2019

In 1974 I moved back from Bracknell, where I had been working since 1971 to the outskirts of London, buying a small Victorian house, built as agricultural worker’s house, in Staines, one of a row of 6 properties split by narrow passages into three semi-detached houses. Staines is inside the M25, probably the best definition of Greater London, but our area is the only part of Middlesex not to be included in a London borough in 1965.

Thanks to the objections of local Conservatives, particularly from the posher parts of the area we were delivered out of the London Borough of Hounslow, where Staines had been placed and obviously belonged and handed over to Surrey, across the River Thames, with whom Staines had very little in common and which still hasn’t quite accepted us, becoming the borough of Spelthorne. It was a decision based more on a snobbish disdain than political nous, as had the area been included, Hounslow would almost certainly have become a Conservative majority borough.

We moved to be closer to London, not for the benefit of my photography, but because my wife was then working at the British Library, then inside the British Museum. We needed still to be on the Reading line for me to travel to work in Bracknell, and had found nothing in Twickenham or Richmond we could afford, and the next station on the service at that time was Staines.

We moved in some time in August. After the move I was kept busy, painting walls and making small repairs and improvements inside the house, as well as digging up the extensive remains of the concrete floor of the former piggery a few inches below the large nettle patch in the garden. But I suspect I may have taken a day off during the October for the walk.

The pictures are something of a tourist view of London – and rather more so including some of the pictures I’ve not thought worth putting on-line, but obviously from a long walk carefully planned – at least in outline – before the event.

I wrote a short text to go with the pictures when I first put these online a few years ago, and here is most of it (with a few minor corrections.) You can see the other pictures not included here on my London Photographs site.

The Golden Hinde II seen moored in some images was launched in Appledore in April 1973, and came to London from Devon before her ‘maiden voyage’ in late 1974 – with a crowd here queuing to visit her.  I think the ship arrived at Tower Pier in London in September and left the following month to sail to San Francisco, making a number of trips to various countries before becoming a tourist attraction on the opposite bank of the river in St Mary Overie Dock. They were probably made using a Zenith B, for which I had the standard 58mm f2 lens along with a Russian telephoto, though I also owned an Olympus 35SP, possibly the best fixed lens rangefinder camera ever made, with a superb 42mm f1.7 lens.

I can recall little of that day even with the aid of the contact sheets, but I appear to have started taking pictures from London Bridge (probably having taken a train to the station there from Waterloo East) before making my way along the south bank to Tower Bridge, then crossing that to St Katharine’s Dock beofre wandering back through the city along the north bank to St Pauls Cathedral and on along Fleet St to Trafalgar Square, then going back to the Thames and the Albert Embankment, probably on my way back to Waterloo Station.

I took remarkably few pictures – 49 in all, on two Tri-X 36 exposure rolls. About half are shown here; a few of the images – of St Paul’s and in Trafalgar Square hold little or no interest, but most of the rest have at least some details.

It’s surprising to look at some and remember how much has changed. There were then no walkways beside the river on either bank in the City or opposite in Southwark, with only short lengths accessible. Many of the former industrial buildings have now been replaced by large office blocks, and in one image, smoke emerges from the towering chimney of the Bankside Power Station. Of least interest are the more touristic pictures – such as those of the Tower of London.

London Photographs site.

______________________________________________________

There are no adverts on this site and it receives no sponsorship, and I like to keep it that way. But it does take a considerable amount of my time and thought, and if you enjoy reading it, a small donation – perhaps the cost of a beer – would be appreciated.

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

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.

To order prints or reproduce images

________________________________________________________