Archive for the ‘LondonPhotos’ Category

From the Royals

Monday, July 13th, 2020

I find to my surprise that it is very nearly seven years since I self-published my book ‘The Deserted Royals‘ and wrote a little about it here. Some of you who follow me on Facebook may have seen the rather wider range of pictures from that project made back in 1984 that I’m currently posting daily as my ‘story’ there, though I find Facebook particularly adept in hiding those posts I’d like to see and instead feeding me cats and celebs.

The ‘Royals’ in question are of course the Royal Docks, and most of my work was on the Royal Albert and King George V Docks in North Woolwich, by then part of the London Borough of Newham. I’d tried to photograph them from publicly accessible locations (with the usual mild bit of trespassing) but had found this very limiting, and wrote to the Port of London Authority who still owned these two docks, requesting permission to photograph them from the inside. Rather to my surprise they replied and granted me the access I’d requested. A similar letter to the owners of the Royal Victoria Dock went unanswered.

As well as the daily release on Facebook I will shortly be adding these pictures, along with others I took of London in 1984 to my Flickr album London 1984. At the moment it has pictures I took earlier in the year, including some from the West India Docks. I decided at the start of this year to put pictures on Flickr at a relatively high resolution and high quality and to trust any commercial users to respect my copyright and contact me to pay for usage. Although it’s almost certainly over-idealistic, I don’t think I’m likely to lose any significant income. I’ve used these larger images in this post and if you right click and open them in a new tab you can see them larger than in the post.

Here are a few of the pictures I’ve recently posted on Facebook, along with the usually short texts which accompany them, beginning below with an introductory picture and ending with today’s picture, about which I wrote a little more than usual.


South Quay, King George V Dock, Newham 1984
84-7c-21.
I had obtained permission from the PLA to photograph inside the dock area they owned – the King George V and Royal Albert Docks two docks on two days, and made my first visit in July. The security men in the gate house were clearly surprised that anyone should want to come and take pictures, but not very interested in what I did. Once inside there was no security presence and I could wander freely on the south quay of the King George V dock and on the central peninsula between the two docks, though their was no access to the north side of Albert Dock.
I was not supposed to enter any of the buildings, which could be unsafe, but I did take a number of pictures through windows and doorways, and later did cautiously enter some of the smaller buildings that seemed safe. On my first visit I exposed around ten rolls of black and white film – 360 exposures as well as some colour transparencies over around six or seven hours of work.
Iason and Ion are the two ships which could be seen in the distance in some pictures posted earlier, at the west end of the north quay of the King George V dock. To the left is the dry or graving dock at the west end of the dock, full of water.

King George V Dock, Newham 1984
84-7e-63.
A bollard and a more substantial shed on the land between the two docks, now the runway for London City Airport, looking roughly east. The row of cranes is along the north side of the King George V Dock.

Office curtain, King George V Dock, Royal Albert Dock, Newham 1984
84-7l-53.
This was one of the few pictures, possibly the only picture, where I used flash to capture the curtain blowing in the wind and to balance the light inside the office with that outside. It was quite a pretty curtain, a landscape with trees and something of a Japanese feel, but it was the wall-paper that attracted me more with its groups of small fishing boats in front of a shore with what was probably meant to be a fortress but looked to me more like a cement works like those further down the Thames.
Obviously the scene outside the window with its cranes was vital to the picture, and balancing the light levels inside and outside was no simple matter. Nowadays modern cameras do this kind of thing automatically but back then it involved calculations using distance and the flash guide number, careful exposure measurements through the window and a great deal of luck. It was made more difficult by the slow flash sync speed of all SLR cameras of the time, limited by their focal plane shutters, in this case to 1/60th of a second. I think it was the first time I’d tried to do anything like this, though I had read about it in photographic magazines and I only took a single frame, so it was definitely a case of beginner’s luck

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.


January 1987 continued

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

Beginning 1987

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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


Further North in TQ32

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

High in the City

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

More City colour

Thursday, July 2nd, 2020

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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


City colour

Tuesday, June 30th, 2020

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

TQ32 – London Cross-section.


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

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


More from Southwark

Monday, June 29th, 2020

I recently added these pictures (and many others) to my Flickr album TQ32 – London Cross-section.

Church, Councillor St, Camberwell,1989 TQ3277-014
Church, Councillor St, Camberwell,1989

Enter In To His Gates With Thanksgiving‘, the sentiment over a church door in Camberwell had two missing letters. It perhaps wasn’t surprising that the door was firmly closed and the gate locked, as I took this picture on a Friday, May 5th 1989. Nothing much special happened that day, but the previous day had been the 10th anniversary of Margaret Thatcher becoming prime minister, whose policies had a great effect on my photography, causing much of the dereliction and empty factories I was recording.

I was still a full-time teacher, but at a sixth-form and community college which then offered a wide range of evening as well as daytime courses. As a union rep I’d won a local agreement on timetabling which limited the number of sessions within which staff could be required to work, as well as national agreements to the number of contact hours. For me that meant my teaching finished at noon, and if I rushed to the station I could be in London taking pictures around an hour later.

Cafe, Southwark Bridge Rd,The Borough, 1991 TQ3279-012
Cafe, Southwark Bridge Rd,The Borough, 1991

I photographed this cafe on several occasions from 1986 to 1992, and though it never looked very open, I think it must still have been in business in the earlier years. In 1991, the street number 108 is painted large, and this was 108 Great Guildford Street, in a little tangle of streets on the edge of Southwark Bridge Road. It was once the Fox and Hounds public house, re-built in 1884 – and according to ‘Pubwiki’, its address over the years has over the years before its current one variously been ‘Little Bandy Leg Walk’, 118 Southwark Bridge Rd and 19 Little Guildford Street.

The building is still there, but the ground floor frontage is much changed. As well as these colour details I find photographed the entire building from across the street in 1992 (and possibly in earlier years.) I think few of the buildings which can be seen reflected in its windows have gone.

Bankside, 1986, Southwark TQ3280-017
The Jones-Wilcox Patent Wire-Bound Hose Co Ltd 47-48 Bankside, 1986

Walter Henry Wilcox established his company in 1876-8 selling engineering supplies and lubricating oils and moved from Uppper Thames St across the river to 36 Southwark St in 1880, and first advertised his wire-bound hose, the first of its type in 1888. The wholly-owned subsidiary, the Jones-Willcox Patent Wire Bound Hose Co, was set up in 1897 and was in business on Bankside until 1976 when it moved to Peacock Street. Their Bankside works was demolished around 1986 for the building of the replica Globe Theatre.

Grace’s Guide has condiserable information about the company, including reproductions of many advertisements and a long quotation about the widespread use “thoughout the Empire” of these hoses for petrol and other oils “constructed in an extensive Factory … from specially prepared canvas”. Their hoses contained no rubber which petrol and oils rapidly destroy. https://www.gracesguide.co.uk/1930_Industrial_Britain:_W._H._Willcox_and_Co

Mural, Porlock St, The Borough, 1992 TQ3279-021
Mural, Porlock St, The Borough, 1992

“… and he ascended into heaven” says the text at the bottom of this mural, the words I think coming from the head to their left. It may well have been a representation of the priest of St Hugh’s Church, part of a settlement founded in 1885 by former pupils of Charterhouse School to bring education and enlightenment to the deprived communities of Bermondsey and built in 1896. Probably the other figures represented local residents. The mural was I think on the tall wall of the building, part of the settlement premises that then stood on the corner of Porlock St and Crosby Row.

This later became known as the ‘Rainbow Building’ from a later mural on it, a rather primitive representation of a mis-coloured rainbow on a bed of grass with two trees and in the blue sky above a large yellow sun and a larger crude representation of the earth, presumably based on a child’s painting.

Church and ‘Rainbow Building’ were demolished in 2011 and replaced by flats with a new St Hugh’s Church in the basement which opened in 2013.

Park St, Southwark, 1992 TQ3280-042
Granary, Park St, 1992

This corner of Park St next to the railway bridge is still entirely recognisable. This image shows some of the problems of reproducing from a poor quality enprint and at some point I will try to find the negative to make a clearer image. But its defects give it a particular patina.

Painted signs, faded, label 15 Park St as a Granary, and it was apparently in use around 1900 for agricultural produce from Kent farms. There is more largely illegible signage around the right hand door. Some time after I made this picture the carefully faded text ‘PEROT EXPORTATEUR’ was painted over the doorway – presumably for some film – and Banksy and other graffitists later added contributions, including the text ‘BANKSY WOULD BE NOBODY WITHOUT BLEU LE RAT’ to the right-hand side.

Among the films which this building has appeared is as the gang hideout in Guy Ritchie’s 1998 crime comedy film ‘Lock Stock And Two Smoking Barrels’. The street also puts in an appearance in quite a few other films, including Howards End, 102 Dalmations, Keep the Aspidistra Flying, Entrapment


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.


South of the River

Sunday, June 28th, 2020
Cafe, Norwood Rd, Herne Hill, 1991 TQ3274-001
Café, Norwood Rd, Herne Hill, 1991

I think I only took my first pictures on colour negative film in 1985. When I began in photography at the start of the 1970s it was quite clear that colour neg was just for amateur snaps and social photography, but real photographers – if they stooped to colour – did it on transparency film.

Cafe, Loughborough Junction, 1989, TQ3275-001
Café, Loughborough Junction, 1989

Most publications – books, magazines, newspapers etc – . still used only – or mainly – black and white, and when colour was used it was almost invariably from colour transparency. Images taken on colour neg were only used at a last resort, and usually then duped onto transparency for repro, or occasionally printed onto black and white paper to be used. You could get special panchromatic black and white paper which gave some chance of normal tonality, but it was a pain to use as normal darkroom safelights fogged it, and often normal black and white paper was used despite the often very poor tonality it gave.

Shops, Flaxman Rd, Loughborough Junction, 1987 TQ3276-002
Shops, Flaxman Rd, Loughborough Junction, 1987

Though colour transparency was great for repro, making prints from it had its limitations – as did using transparency film. I found myself too often having images with empty black shadow areas or unusably blown highlights as it the film had a limited exposure range. You could get great punchy saturated colour prints, fine for advertising (which was never my scene) but it was difficult to achieve subtlety. Fed up with telling printers what I wanted and being told it wasn’t possible I began making my own prints, working at times with complicated unsharp masking for Cibachromes. My German project I deliberately printed on outdated Agfa direct reversal paper.

Shops, Denmark Hill, Camberwell, 1989 TQ3276-004
Shops, Denmark Hill, Camberwell, 1989

In the 1980s, Fuji shook up colour negative (and, to a lesser extent transparency film), producing new film and print materials that gave greater fidelity, longer print life and greater flexibility in the darkroom. Seeing the prints that other photographers were making (and the fact I wasn’t actually selling my slides professionally) was a conversion experience. Since then I don’t think I’ve ever taken pictures on slide film.

Hairdresser, Coldharbour Lane, Camberwell, 1989, TQ3276-007
Gee P. Johnson, The People’s Salon, Coldharbour Lane, Camberwell, 1989,

At the same time I was beginning a major black and white project to photograph the fabric of London, and saw my colour work as separate to that, but dependent on it. I don’t think I ever went out to visit a place or area to take colour pictures, but simply did so when opportunities arose as I visited various areas.

I didn’t have a particular interest in cafes or hairdressers, but saw these and other shops and offices as example of small businesses with relatively low start-up costs which reflected both the aesthetic of their owners and of the people of the area which they served. Gee P Johnson’s unisex ‘The People’s Salon’ for me expressed that sense well.

TQ3276-013
Daneville Rd, Camberwell, 1989, Southwark,

Filing selected trade prints in albums according to their grid references was a way to explore the differences between different areas across London – and I chose to do so in these 1km wide south-north strips. It was also a kind of cataloguing system for my work, though not always as well documented on the prints it should have been.

Garage, Camberwell Station Rd, Camberwell, 1989 TQ3276-017
Garage, Camberwell Station Rd, Camberwell,

These examples come from the first thirty or so images in my Flickr album TQ32 London Cross-section, which contains a little over 300 pictures. I’ll perhaps look again at some more shortly.


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.


Mainly Camden – 1986

Saturday, June 27th, 2020

The pictures on the final page, Page 14 of my 1986 London Photographs, were taken in November and December of the year, mainly in Camden, though they have a wider aspect than that might suggest, including Cosmos Radio Cars and the Night bell for the Universe. Few people really realise how far the London Borough of Camden actually stretches, almost down to Fleet St and up to Hampstead Heath, though the pictures here are from the sourthern part of the borough, along with a few over the boundary into the City of London

Pratt St, Camden 86-11l-13
PsaroTaverna Ta “Varelia”, Pratt St, Camden

There are still many shops in the area which show the presence of the Greek and Greek Cypriot community in Camden. I particularly liked the barrels outside the PsaroTaverna (Fish tavern) Ta “Varelia” in Pratt St, their shapes echoed by the balconies to the right of the picture.

In the window you can see the reflection of what appears to be one of the blocks of the Curnock St Estate, but both this taverna and those balconies seem to have disappeared without trace. There is still a taverna on Pratt Street, but now it competes with food from Italy, Japan and possibly elsewhere.

Herbrand St, Bloomsbury, Camden 86-12a-41_2400
Car Park, Herbrand St, Bloomsbury, Camden

Relatively few car parks enjoy listed status, but the Frames Coach Station and London Borough of Camden Car Park in Herbrand Street, close to Russell Square certainly deserves its Grade II listing, made in 1982. It was built in 1931 to the designs of architects Wallis, Gilbert and Partners for Daimler Car Hire Ltd. After they were taken over this building became used by the London Taxi Centre and Frames Coaches. The sign in my picture above the entrance to the spiral ramp which took cars to the upper stories calls it a ‘London Borough of Camden Official Car Park.’

Some may be familiar with the building from their childhood as it was the basis for the Fisher Price toy garage. The building deteriorated badly over the years and has been sensitively and extensively renovated to provide 60,000 sq foot of office accommodation, currently occupied by what claims to be the most powerful advertising agency in the world, McCann Erickson. 

Urinal, Star Yard, Holborn, Camden 86-12d-12_2400
Urinal, Star Yard, Holborn

As a then un-diagnosed diabetic, facilities such as this were of great interest to me and I made use of this on numerous occasions when I was in the area.

It is still in place but was closed when I last walked past, necessitating a visit to the basement of a nearby Wetherspoons pub.

Lyme Terrace, Camden 86-12a-52_2400
Lyme Terrace, Camden

The Regents Canal runs through the centre of Camden and I’ve often enjoyed a walk beside it. Lyme Terrace is a narrow pedestrian street that runs above the towpath. This view towards Royal College St is rather different now, although the white-painted small terrace is still there (now pale blue) but Lawford and Sons builders materials is long gone with an oval modern block tacked on to the wall at the end of the terrace on Royal College St.

Traveller camp, Kentish Town Rd, Camden 86-12g-42_2400
Traveller Camp, Kentish Town

The large building in the background is the HQ of the Transport Police beside the canal on the corner of Camden Rd and Camden St.

I think this encampment was on land that had been cleared for the building of Camden Gardens. At left you can see a heap of scrap, but overall the site which went up to the railway arches seems relatively tidy. Another picture (not on line) shows rubbish by the railway arches, but this could be fly-tipping not connected with the travellers.

Kent House, Ferdinand St, Camden 86-12j-22_2400
Kent House, Ferdinand St, Chalk Farm

Another of Camden’s many Grade II listed buildings, Kent House on Ferdinand St in Chalk Farm. These two blocks of model low-cost flats and shop were built in 1935 for the St Pancras House Improvement Society. Designed by Colin Lucas with Amyas Connell and Basil Ward they provided features better than many private developments of the era for cheap social housing – as the listing text comments: “staircase access, room layouts, generous useable balconies and total use of electricity for servicing put Kent House at the forefront of contemporary flat design with the quality of detailing expected from a private commission. ”

This was however the only development of its type by  Connell, Ward and Lucas.

This ends my series on work in the album 1986 London Photographs, although I may at some point add more pictures and more descriptive text. But you can also add comments to the pictures on Flickr. I hope shortly to begin to put some of my work from 1987 on line.


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.