Archive for the ‘LondonPhotos’ Category

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
______________________________________________________

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.
______________________________________________________

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

________________________________________________________

London 1978 (11)

Wednesday, September 12th, 2018

The final of my series of posts of my pictures from 1978 which include most or all of the selected photographs I took in London in 1978 and posted recently on Facebook with comments, and a few related images. All of these pictures are in my London Pictures web site, and eventually I intend to add the comments there too.

Click on any image to go to the web page – with a slightly larger picture for landscape format images.
__________________________________________

London 1978 (11)


ICA, The Mall, 1978
17y33: Westminster, gallery, Arts centre

A row of small ‘keep left’ islands in front of the Institute of Contemporary Arts on the Mall amused me, wondering if they were perhaps an avant-garde sculptural piece – and were the bicycles part of this?

But perhaps those islands were just dumped there ready to be brought out and put onto the centre of The Mall for some special ceremonial occasion.


Sea Food stall, The Oval, Kennington, Lambeth, 1978
18d-62: Lambeth, sports ground, cricket

People at the entrance to the Sunday Market in the car park at the Oval Cricket ground, Kennington, with a ‘Jellied Eel Stall for Prowns, Cockles Whelks and Winkles’ in front a a cigarette advert that it seems to recede into – and it could be called ‘Three Fives Seafood’.

Three Fives, King Size cigarettes from ‘State Express of London’ do appear to have reached a new low in advertising originality and impact from what we can see of this billboard, and few could believe that anything with a name like ‘State Express’ was really from London.

Although it did, though as Wikipedia explains the name suggested itself to London tobacco merchant Sir Albert Levy when he was a passenger on the Empire State Express which reached a world record 112.5 mph on a run from New York to Buffalo in 1893. He came home and trademarked State Express followed by any triple numbers, probably because the engine pulling the express was No. 999. The company brought out several different products using the trademark, including ‘State Express 444’ but only ‘State Express 555’ was truly successful.

Albert Levy & Thomas based at La Casa de Habana (The House of Havana) in Leadenhall St became The Ardath Tobacco Company Limited in 1895. Ardath probably came from the title of a book by Marie Corelli, who got it from the Books of Esdras in the Apocrypha. Ardath had a large factory in Shoreditch. The company was sold in 1925 to British American Tobacco (later BAT) and Imperial Tobacco, the UK rights to ‘555’ also going to BAT in 1961. By that time it had become widely sold around the world and is still a major brand in Asia, including China.

I visited a student on work experience with BAT in the 1990s and was amused to find that their large office building was a no-smoking area.


To complete this selection of the London pictures I made in 1978, here are some of those I’ve included on the web site but don’t appear to have written anything about, for one reason or another.


Bird Bath and flowers, Crouch End Hill, Hornsey, Haringey, 1978
16r55: Haringey


34 Crouch Hill, Hornsey, Islington , 1978
16r62: Islington


Temporary Globe Theatre, Bankside, Southwark, 1978
14u32: Southwark, theatre, power station, works


Temporary Globe Theatre, Bankside, Southwark, 1978
14u33: Southwark, theatre, power station, works


Skin Market Place, Bankside, Southwark, 1978
14u53: Southwark, works, derelict


Skin Market Place, Bankside, Southwark, 1978
14u65: Southwark, works, derelict

This is the last in the series of posts London 1978.
______________________________________________________

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 1978 (10)

Tuesday, September 11th, 2018

Continuing my series of posts of my pictures from 1978 which will eventually include all of the selected photographs I took in London in 1978 and posted recently on Facebook with comments, and a few related images. All of these pictures (and more) are in my London Pictures web site, and eventually I intend to add the comments there too.

Click on any image to go to the web page – with a slightly larger picture for landscape format images.
__________________________________________

London 1978 (10)


Brody House, Bell Lane, Spitalfields, 1978
17g61: offices, shop, Tower Hamlets

Brody House, built in 1938 is a fairly rare example of surviving 1930s architecture in the area. This view is of the back of the large development, which has its front in Strype St.

Estate Agents now describe this as “one of Spitalfields most sought-after residential blocks” and a 2 bedroom flat will set you back around £700,000. Built as a button and sequin factory for the Brody company, it was considerably smartened and extended as luxury flats, complete with concierge in 1998.

The building at left has been replaced by an extension which looks authentically from the 1930s up to 2nd floor level. The large ground floor windows have gone and to the left of the main doorway on the ground floor is now Cycle Surgery.

Brody Trims began their family business here in 1938 and is still very much in existence, making high quality British sequins and sequin trimming, embellished trimmings, elasticated trimmings and other haberdashery and craft goods, mainly for the fashion trade, the only company in the whole of Europe that still provides this service. They only got into the sequin business in the 1960s.

Clearly, sequins were still being made when I took this picture, with steam coming out of the building. And perhaps the long ladder suggests that some much-needed work on the surface of the building was about to be attended to. But the ladder attracted me to think of two famous images in photography, very different from this, W H F Talbot’s ‘The Ladder‘ at Lacock Abbey, though sadly for this picture there were no manservants I could pose around it, and his ‘The Haystack‘.

Not far from here also in Bell Lane Tracey Emin wanted to knock down a listed 1927 social housing block built by Stepney Borough Council to extend her studio, but planning permission was refused in 2016 and she decided to move to Kent. She had bought the block for over £3m, with planning permission to develop it but which required keeping the two street facades.


Whitechapel, 1978
17g66: shop, Tower Hamlets

Whitechapel was then full of small, mainly wholesale, clothing shops such as this one – and quite a few remain. I was attracted both by the odd tableaux in the window and the figures in the doorway, one headless. It was a hot August day and there were two women seated inside, watching me, though I think I had failed to notice the one of them largely hidden by a hanging dress.

This was the second frame I made, the first an immediate response with camera slightly tilted, this more carefully framed, but with a woman at right walking into the picture as I took it.

Taken not long after the picture of Brody House on Bell Lane, this could have been in any of several streets in the area to the north of Whitechapel High St, perhaps Goulston St, Wentworth St or on the High St itself.


Quaker St, Shoreditch, 1978
17h25: shop, Tower Hamlets

This view is on Quaker St, with the woman about to step onto Sheba street, beyond which you can see the openings of Wilkes St and Grey Eagle St. Beyond that is a long building with 7 bays, which, unlike the rest of this is still standing.

The bakers on the corner with its HOVIS sign was clearly closed and derelict and this whole area due for demolition.

Quaker St (originally called Westbury St) is crossed by Wheeler Street, and one of the earliest Quaker Meeting Houses was here in the 17th century. The building which replaced it, Bedford House, is now Grade II listed.

The only building in the picture still partly standing is that distant long building, Silwex House at 1-9 Quaker Street. It was built in 1888 as stables for the Great Eastern Railway and has a similar long brick appearance with 7 gables at the rear facing the railway line out of Liverpool St, where the Braithwaite viaduct, build 1839-42 is a listed building. Silwex house later became a part of the nearby Truman Brewery. Planning permission was granted to convert it into a 250 room hotel, which included a 3 storey roof extension, with the original front and back walls being retained.


Shoreditch, 1978
17h32: housing, Tower Hamlets

Taken somewhere near Brick Lane, this is a short stretch of road ending at the railway line into Liverpool St. It no longer exists but I am fairly sure that this was the section of Grey Eagle St to the north of Quaker St, where there is now a gate leading to Eagle Works. The buildings on both sides of the street have now gone.

It was a pity that my black and white pictures did not include the two buildings on the corners of Quaker St and Grey Eagle St, the Grey Eagle Pub and Leons, though I think I photographed one or both in colour. But in 1978 I was still working on colour transparency and never managed to develop a reliable filing system.

As well as Grey Eagle St there is also a Black Eagle St (now Dray Walk) not far away. At the end of the 16th century the area belonged to a goldsmith, Richard Hanbury, who leased part to brickmaker Edward Hemmynge, perhaps the source of Brick Lane, though there were other later brickworks in the area. Quaker St was laid out around 1656 by William Browne who had leased three acres of pasture. Hanbury’s daughter married Sir Richard Wheler (hence Wheler St) whose family retained much of the area, leasing parts out. Both Grey Eagle St and Black Eagle St were developed by one of the lessees, John Stott, a mariner from Stepney around 1661-70, and in 1666 the Black Eagle Brewery was built, possibly by London entrepreneur William Bucknall on land leased from Stott. Some sources say the Brewery name came from the strret name, but its origin is unclear.

Around 1679 the brewery with its eagle trademark was acquired by Joseph Truman who had learnt the trade there (though the family records say a family member, William Truman, a brewer, attacked the Lord Mayor of London during Wat Tylers 1381 revolt) and slowly began to grow into a huge concern. Under one of his younger sons, Benjamin Truman, it became the third biggest brewery in London. In 1789 the young Quaker businessman Sampson Hanbury purchased a share in the brewery and gradually bought more, taking over the running of what with the company becoming Truman and Hanbury. Some years after Hanbury’s nephew Thomas Fowell Buxton became a partner the company became Truman, Hanbury, Buxton and Company. Buxton was a partner with William Wilberforce in the Anti-Slavery Society founded in 1823.

Another brewer, Thomas Pryor joined the company in 1816, and the business was run by the three brewing families, Hanbury, Buxton and Pryor until the 1950s, becoming the largest brewery in London, outproducing Barclay Perkins, around 1850. The company was the subject of a bitter takeover battle between Watney’s and Grand Met in 1971. Grand Met won and the following year rubbed salt into the wound by taking over Watney’s. In 1989 Grand Met, who had failed to keep up with the changes in beer consumption towards real ales, realised that the London property boom made the site more valuable than a not too profitable brewery and closed it. But the property bubble burst, and in 1995 the 10 acre site was sold to the Zeloof partnership, who reopened Black Eagle St as Dray Walk and The Old Truman Brewery as a venue for events of various kinds.

[Thanks To Martyn Cornell’s Zythophile beer blog for much of the brewery information in a highly detailed article about the Truman Black Eagle Brewery.]


Sclater St, Spitalfields, 1978
17h36: shop, Tower Hamlets

The street name clearly shows where this was taken, on the corner where Sclater St meets Brick Lane. The plaque on the wall above and to the left of the modern street sign states “This is Sclater St 1798”.

Sclater Street had long been famous for having a bird market every Sunday, but during the rest of the week there were just a few shops, such as this, still operating. Trowers with its ‘Singing Canaries & Pet Budgies’ had a different name on the shop front, part obscured by a basket. It is now a shop selling women’s fashion.

It wasn’t just birds that were sold here, at least in earlier days, but a wide range of wild animals. The whole area – which crossed over the Bethnal Green Road into a street called Club Row – was known as Club Row Market and back in the 1950s you could buy puppies, cats, snakes, gerbils, monkeys and more – even the occasional lion cub. Pressure by animals rights groups and bodies such as the RSPCA eventually led to the end of live animal sales, finally banned on the streets by Tower Hamlets Council in 1983.

The house has been done up a bit since, the signage removed and a new door added with the window shuttered, while the first floor now has windows and curtains and appears occupied, and, like most surfaces around Brick Lane is now covered with graffiti. Back then there was relatively little graffiti, and the word ‘REVOLT’ really stood out, though the second word, which appears to be AGAIL4 is incomprehensible to me. Further to the right is a reminder that this area was close to Bethnal Green Road where the National Front used to come to sell their racist news sheets – and were sometimes involved in scuffles with anti-racists.


Sclater St, Spitalfields, 1978
17h42: shop, Tower Hamlets

A closer view of a part of the wall, apparently inciting Canaries and Pet Budgies to revolt.


Albert Embankment, River Thames and St Paul’s Cathedral, 1978
17y32: Southwark, City, river, trees

A surprisingly grainy view of a man, the only man on the Albert Embankment, contemplating the view on a slightly foggy day in London town.

Through the November haze is the London skyline with St Paul’s Cathedral. The trees are now noticeably larger, but this section of the skyline is still remarkably similar, with the Barbican towers at left and just one new tall building until close to the right hand edge where a number of new tall blocks have been built.

More to follow….
______________________________________________________

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 1978 (10)

Continuing my series of posts of some of my pictures of London from 1977 re-posted with the comments I made on Facehook. All pictures (and more) are on my London Photos web site.

London 1978 (9)

Monday, September 10th, 2018

Continuing my series of posts of my pictures from 1978 which will eventually include all of the selected photographs I took in London in 1978 and posted recently on Facebook with comments, and a few related images. All of these pictures (and more) are in my London Pictures web site, and eventually I intend to add the comments there too.

Click on any image to go to the web page – with a slightly larger picture for landscape format images.
__________________________________________
London 1978 (9)


Crouch End, Hornsey, Haringey, 1978
16s41: shop, reflection, Haringey

Like many images using reflections this one is a little difficult to sort out and recognise, especially as most of the businesses shown have gone out of business since 1978 and some buildings have been altered significantly. It was taken looking into the window of a junk shop opposite the junction of Park Rd and Middle Lane, roughly at the start of The Broadway.

Two buildings have the names of companies; Thames Tyre Co Ltd and Westerns. Thames Tyre have I think sunk without trace, but Westerns was a laundry company with several shops around North London and their laundry was a few years ago converted into an expensive restaurant in Drayton Park near Arsenal’s ground. Westerns Laundries Ltd was founded during the first few years of the 20th century and by the 1960s was a part of the Sunlight group. The shops remained open until the 1980s. A faded sign can still be seen on the wall at the side of this branch, now Black Katz Lettings & Property Management, in Middle Lane. The Thames Tyre Co Ltd is now ‘Monkey Nuts’, a wine bar and steak house.

I was particularly interested in the mirror at the left with its birdcage – I think there are two other mirrors in the image, as well as a further reflection in the Tyre company window. There are five peope in this picture: I’m visible at the left of the picture (and blocking the reflection in the shop window make the mirror and birdcage and a long-haired man stand out. The mirror close to the centre of the picture brings in a woman standing on the pavement to my right; in front of the Tyre company is a woman adjusting the blankets in a pram and at the extreme right above the third mirror another face comes into the frame.

Film was expensive then, and I took only two frames, both with myself, the birdcage in the mirror and the woman and pram and the buildings in almost identical position.


North Middlesex Cricket, Lawn Tennis & Bowls Club, Crouch End, 1978
16s66: playing field, Haringey

These fields to the west of Park Road are still the home of the North Middlesex Cricket Club, and still have their view of Queens Wood behind them, though the sign in this picture is long gone (and there is now no mention of Lawn Tennis & Bowls on its replacement.) The house at right has been extended beyond recognition and the area is much tidier than when I took my picture. The North Middlesex Cricket Club was founded in 1875 and is still going strong.

Back in 1959 in the early days of the anti-Apartheid movement, the North Middlesex Cricket Club was the meeting-place for the ‘Neo-Labour’ group which included a number of anti-Apartheid South Africans, among them Dimitri Tsafendas who spent around a year in London.

Seven years later in 1966, when working as a temporary uniformed parliamentary messenger in the Cape Town parliament, Tsafendas assassinated Prime Minister Dr Hendrik Frensch Verwoerd during a session of the parliament in Cape Town, stabbing him in the neck and chest four times before being dragged off and arrested. He was judged not guilty of murder by reason of insanity and imprisoned indefinitely until his death from pneumonia aged 81 in 1999.


Regents Canal from York Way, 1978
16t64: canal, reflection, works, Islington

The Bartlett works with their tall square chimney with Bartlett in large letters above each other dominated a stretch of the canal to the east of York Way and can be seen upside down and blurred in the reflection at the top left of this image.

This view was I think taken from the bridge over the canal at York Way; the curve at bottom left is the canal widening after the narrow passage under the canal bridge and the slight gap in the bank at right is Battlebridge Basin. The building at near right has since been replaced by Kings Place, and the Bartlett works which was at the end of New Wharf Road is now Ice Wharf Company Ltd, three blocks with 94 appartments in a highly regulated private development with 24 hour concierge service and a private, gated underground parking space where a 2 bed flat overlooking the canal could be yours for only £1,195,000. Battlebridge Basin now appears to be known as Battlebridge Marina.


John Jackson, pub mirrors, location unknown, 1978
17b24: shop, caravan

The address on the caravan is Carshalton, and the telephone number matches this on the old Wallington exchange, but I don’t recall ever going there in 1978, and assume that this was simply parked outside another shop selling pub mirrors, whose name appears to end in T, and probably given the large rodent at first floor level, almost certainly …RAT. The letters before that, of which only the extreme tips are visible seem likely to be ICK.

The name John Jackson is too common to be of much help in locating the building, and it isn’t clear what his business might have been.

Later frames on the same film are somewhere near the British Museum and I think it most likely that this picture was taken somewhere in Camden. There aren’t all that many streets in central London where the numbers go up to 338.


Richmond, 1978
17e52: house, Richmond

This has the look of a former shop converted into a home, with a slightly curious collection of curtains and other fabrics in different styles. The space at the front, apparently open to the street has been colonised by plants, some in pots, with one of these on the doorstep preventing entry, perhaps suggesting that this property has been combined with a neighbour.

Something with a patterned cloth over it occupies the area immediately in front of the window, where perhaps goods for sale would have been displayed, and there are two teapots on the shelf going across higher at the back of the display area. Further back inside are a hanging lamp shade and a mirror inside a large rectangular frame, but we see only darkly, perhaps because of reflections from trees behind the camera.

For me the dimly lit shapes partly glimpse, and another peeping partly out through the curtains gave the building a certain mystery.

My contact sheet simply states Richmond, but the previous frames were taken along Vineyard Passage, which runs from Paradise Road to The Vineyard and this may have been somewhere in that area.


Samuel Stores, Artillery Lane, Spitalfields, 1978
17g46: house, shop, Tower Hamlets

Samuel Stores was one of the remainders of the Jewish East End that I returned to and photographed several times over the years, both in black and white and in colour.

Although in this 1978 picture its shutters are up, the ice cream and cigarette adverts suggested that it was still in business, and only closed because I took this picture on a Saturday.

Many shops in the area still closed on Saturdays, but were open on Sundays. Until 1994, shops were generally not allowed to open on Sundays, but Jewish businesses were allowed to do so if they remained closed for the Sabbath, from sunset on Friday until Saturday evening. Businesses can still apply to the local authorities to declare as Jewish and trade outside the restricted hours allowed by the 1994 Sunday Trading Act so long as they close on the Sabbath. Smaller stores such as this were then and are now allowed longer opening hours.

The shop is still there at 41 Artillery Lane, on the corner of Gun St, now very much smartened up. For a while it was an estate agency and is now a Hair Salon & Barbers.
More to follow….
______________________________________________________

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 1978 (8)

Sunday, September 9th, 2018

Continuing my series of posts of my pictures from 1978 which will eventually include all of the selected photographs I took in London in 1978 and posted recently on Facebook with comments, and a few related images. All of these pictures (and more) are in my London Pictures web site, and eventually I intend to add the comments there too.

Click on any image to go to the web page – with a slightly larger picture for landscape format images.
__________________________________________

London 1978 (8)


The Grapes, Borough High St, Southwark, 1978
15k36: Southwark, pub, Victorian

The Grapes, a Courage pub at 121 Borough High St since at least 1842, is still in business but has changed its name to St Christopher’s Inn, reflecting the name of an earlier inn on the site. The alley at right from which a car is emerging is Kentish Buildings (see below*.) The entrance at left is for Three Tuns House and Kings College Medical School. I think the main thing that prompted me to take this picture is the line of washing.

Courage’s Anchor Brewhouse was on the Thames at Horselydown Old Stairs, just to the east of where Tower Bridge was later built. John Courage bought ‘the Old Brewhouse’ and took over brewing there in 1787. Courage was a Scot whose family were Huguenots and had probably fled from Catholic persecution in France in the late 17th century. Even in its early years the brewery made use of its riverside position and shipped barrels of porter across the world. In 1955 it merged with the other great Southwark Brewery, the the Barclay Perkins brewery in Bankside (also confusingly referred to as the Anchor Brewery) and since then there have been a complex series of mergers and sales of the Courage Brand which (I think) is now owned by Marstons. Courage’s Anchor Brewhouse closed in 1981, with production moving to Simonds brewery near Reading, but I think Courage beers are now brewed by Charles Wells in Bedford. The Anchor Brewhouse has been converted into riverside apartments and a 1-bed flat there was sold recently for around £1.45 million, while the rather nice large penthouse on 5 floors with a fine view of Tower Bridge is on offer for £12.5 million.

To celebrate its 230 years of brewing, in 2017 Courage collaborated with the Southwark Brewing Company, a rather younger company set up in a railway arch in Druid St in 2014, to brew special limited editions of its cask ales back in Southwark for a year, with the final batch being released this month.

* ‘Borough High Street’, in Survey of London: Volume 22, Bankside (The Parishes of St. Saviour and Christchurch Southwark), ed. Howard Roberts and Walter H Godfrey (London, 1950), pp. 9-30.
British History Online http://www.british-history.ac.uk/survey-london/vol22/pp9-30 [accessed 21 February 2018] is a great source of information about the older buildings in Borough High St. It was originally published by London County Council in 1950 and has this to say about No. 121:

No. 121, The Grapes and Kentish Buildings
Kentish Buildings is a narrow court opening into Borough High Street between Nos. 121 and 123. On its northern side it still retains the red brick fronts of several 18th century houses. They are of three storeys, with steep tiled roofs, eaves, plain brick strings, and flush framed sash windows to the two upper floors. The ground floor has been reconstructed to form part of the Grapes public-house in Borough High Street.

The narrow entry to the yard is spanned by a four-storey 18th century building with wide sash windows at the back. The front has been cemented and altered out of character.

Until the beginning of the 19th century Kentish Buildings was known as Christopher Alley. It occupies the site of the inn yard of the Christopher, an inn marked on the plan of 1542, and probably so named after the patron saint of travellers, Saint Christopher. The first mention of the Grapes occurs in 1842.

Bankside Power Station across the River Thames, City of London, 1978
15l11: City of London, wharf, crane, power station

Bankside B Power Station generated electricity until 1981, but in its latter years oil-fired generation was uneconomic compared to coal-fired stations and by 1978 three of its four generators had been decommissioned and the fourth (and largest) down-rated and only used at times of peak demand.

This picture was taken from somewhere close to the north bank of the Thames, most probably just to the east of where the Millennium Bridge now stands and there are still steps down to the river from Paul’s Walk which I think are Trig Lane stairs.

Trig Lane is now a short private street off Broken Wharf, a street leading from High Timber St to the south from Queen Victoria St. Broken Wharf leads to the riverside Paul’s Walk and I presume the crane at the left of my picture is on Broken Wharf. The area to the right of the picture would then be where extensive archaeological excavations were carried from 1974-6 on this part of London’s medieval waterfront, with a report published by the London and Middlesex Archaeological Society in 1982.

According to a book on dissenting churches and meeting houses by Walter Wilson published in 1808, “Broken Wharf is so called from its being broken and fallen down into the Thames. Here stood the city brew- house, to which the void space of ground was given by Queen Elizabeth.” and he goes on to state that it also contained an old building which pumped the water supply for the middle and western parts of the city from the River Thames. Part of that same building was let to “the famous Mr. Hanserd Knollys, and his colleague, Mr Robert Steed” as a Baptist meeting house, but they moved elsewhere in 1691. Presumably the Thames came in handy for baptisms.


Peabody Wild St estate, Wild St, Covent Garden, 1978
15m41: Westminster, social housing, flat, children, Victorian

Taken on Wild St, just a few yards west of its end on Kingsway, this Peabody block with two people sitting in the doorway is still clearly recognisable, though there are a few minor differences. The door surround is now panted white, the graffiti has gone and there is now a fence across in front of that wall, with a post in the centre of the block in front of it. And hanging baskets on each side of the door.

Most of the wall then was covered with the names and initials of football clubs, but there are some more sinister markings, with a large NF, a spindly swastika and small somewhere at the top right, ‘HITLER RULES’. The Jam get a mention too, with ‘THIS IS THE MODERN WORLD GET IT NOW’, and smaller ‘THE MODERN WORLD GREAT NEW FANZINE’. Their second LP ‘This is the Modern World’ was recorded in late 1977 and released in November.

George Peabody (1795-1869) was an American banker who worked in London and came to love the city and one of a number of great Victorian reformers. He set up the Peabody Donation Fund in 1862 to “ameliorate the condition of the poor and needy of this great metropolis, and to promote their comfort and happiness” by providing model dwellings for the city’s poor, initially those living within 8 miles of the centre of the City at Royal Exchange, where there is a statue of him, unusually erected shortly before his death, by which time he had donated £500,000 to the fund.

The first Peabody estate opened in 1864 in Spitalfields and was soon followed by another in Islington. Legislation in 1875 enabled the Metropolitan Board of Works to carry out clearances of some of London’s worst slums and then to sell these sites to developers who had to build new estates in their place, and Wild St, built in 1882 was one of these, with 13 six-storey blocks.

Probably few of those displaced in the slum clearance found new homes in the Peabody blocks, but would instead have been displaced and moved into other slums, increasing their overcrowding. Peabody had strict rules for their tenants which included paying the rent every week on time and a nightly curfew. They were let to those who had regular jobs in the area, in the Covent Garden market, theatres, Fleet St newspapers, restaurants and offices.

When built there were toilets on the landings shared between flats and laundries on the upper floor. The Wild Street flats – now down to 11 blocks thanks to war damage – were modernised in the 1960s to make them self-contained.

The flats are now rather beyond the reach of the working poor, at least for new lets. Those eligible under the Westminster Council intermediate rent scheme, which gives at least a 20% reduction on private market rents to those eligible were recently offered a studio flat for £1100 per month – and would require a minimum household income of £33,000 to ‘achieve affordability’.


Club window, Bride Lane, City, 1978
15m62: window, drinking club, club, Victorian

I imagine from the window display that this club offered snooker as well as the Louis Kremer Champagne from Epernay. As champagne goes, Kremer is a relatively cheap house, though it dates from the mid nineteenth century, and now sells well in the supermarkets.

Bride Lane is at the centre of the old Fleet St, next to the newspapermen’s church of St Brides, the “Cathedral of Fleet Street“, and a short walk from other drinking holes such as the Cheshire Cheese, still an interesting pub to visit and where I’ve attended a few dinners with old friends. They used to serve some of the finest roast beef I’ve tasted, but my last visit was a disappointment, and I’ve not returned.

Further down the alley is another link to the past, The St Bride Institute which includes the St Bride Library, which began life in 1895 as the library for the printing school and newpaper industry and contains a great collection related to typography and printing. Unfortunately since 2015 this is only open on a very limited basis.

I think that the window I photographed has no disappeared, and that the club is now the premises of the “City of London Distillery opened on 20th December 2012 inside Jonathan Clark’s cocktail bar.”

I’ve never been a gin drinker, and it was a drink that caused much ruin in London, as Hogarth’s 1751 ‘Gin Lane’ illustrates, contrasting it with the much healthier and jolly ‘Beer Street’.

And Wikipedia tells me Dickens said in his ‘Sketches by Boz’:

“Gin-drinking is a great vice in England, but wretchedness and dirt are a greater; and until you improve the homes of the poor, or persuade a half-famished wretch not to seek relief in the temporary oblivion of his own misery, with the pittance that, divided among his family, would furnish a morsel of bread for each, gin-shops will increase in number and splendour.


Street Furniture Display, Waterloo, Lambeth, 1978
16g44: Lambeth, street furniture

As a photographer who spent a lot of time on the streets I found the street furniture exhibition on what later became a car park to the west of the railway arches going across Belvedere Rd interesting and spent quite a while taking pictures. This neatly horizontal tree was certainly the best of them.

At that time an exit from the north end of Waterloo Station led to an elevated walkway across York Road and through the Shell Centre across Belvedere Road taking pedestrians to the South Bank. I suspect had the GLC not been vindictively abolished by Mrs Thatcher it would still be in place and its loss seems a significant if minor loss of the vision of a new post-war London to one where pure commercial interests are supreme. Heavily used then, it would now have been even more so, taking people rather more directly to the more recent footbridge across the river on the upstream side of the Hungerford Rail Bridge.


Crescent Cafe, Crouch End Hill, Hornsey, Haringey, 1978
16r26: cafe, Haringey

I didn’t go in the Crescent Cafe but had it been open I might well have been tempted to hand over 7p for a cup of tea, or even 17p on a Bacon Roll, though its unlikely I would have been hungry enough to deal with Egg + Bacon + Sausage + Toms, nor have been able to spare the 56p to pay for it. It seems nothing now, but money was very tight for me then though that 7p would only be around 38p allowing for inflation, so still a bargain.

It was however probably the highly detailed menu on the blackboard that attracted my attention, along with the shiny aluminium of the urn and teapot. I’m not sure why it was closed. Perhaps it was a Saturday or Sunday, or, as it was taken in August, perhaps the owners were taking their annual holiday, but the place was clearly still normally in business.

I can’t remember either what had taken me to north London, but I suspect I may have been carrying a large orange box of Agfa Record Rapid, following a visit to “the Brovira Boys of Muswell Hill”, Peter Goldfield and Martin Reed, who imported this holy grail of photographic paper into the UK, and published in 1978 ‘The Goldfinger Craftbook For Creative Photography’, now rather dated but available on-line. Later I got to know Peter, and wrote a short piece on my >Re:PHOTO blog when he died in 2009. Martin Reed went on to continue the work they started at Silverprint, for many years from 1984 in Southwark and still in business, though without Martin, in Poole and by mail order.

Record Rapid died so far as photographers were concerned around 1988, when Agfa were forced to re-formulate it without cadmium for health and safety reasons. Cadmium compounds are highly poisonous, and are still used in artists’ pigments, but while they are fixed on the surface of paintings, and thus safe unless artists licked their brushes, a considerable proportion ran off into the drains when photographic paper was processed, and their use was banned in most countries. Papers containing cadmium salts continued to be made in other countries for a few years but none achieved the properties of the old Record Rapid, and probably the closest approach to it now involves using some inkjet papers.


Crescent Cafe, 85 Crouch End Hill, Hornsey, Haringey, 1978
16s21: cafe, Haringey

The second picture of the Crescent Cafe was taken on a separate film, but made within a few second of the first, and I think with a Leica rather than the Olympus OM1 used for the other image.

I had been persuaded by Ray Moore and Paul Hill that a Leica might suit my way of working better than an SLR, and had bought an old and very worn Leica M2 body from Hove Camera, a specialist dealer in secondhand Leicas, at a cost of £170 (equivalent after inflation to £1024 now in 2018.) It was cheaper than the average M2 Leica at the time because of its condition, suggesting it had been through several wars. Its serial number tells me it was made in 1959.

Many preferred the M3, but the great advantage of the M2 was that it had the 35mm frame line in the viewfinder (and the whole visible area was a pretty good fit for a 28mm) and that you only see a single frame line at at time. For a while I only had one lens for it, a collapsible 50mm f2.8 Elmar, which was an excellent lens, except when I didn’t quite extend it properly, and made the camera just about fit in a very large jacket pocket. But the camera really came into its own later after I saved a month’s pay to buy a secondhand 35mm f1.4 Summilux which was a perfect match.

Hove Camera also published a series of camera guides, and although I think they stopped trading around 1999, the books which included republished Leica guides were acquired by Steyning Photo Books in 2007. The M2 is still in working order (I did once try to sell it, but because of its cosmetic condition the offer from a dealer was derisory) though it did need a rather expensive shutter service from Hove just over a year after I bought it. It still has that smoothly engineered feel that even more recent Leicas have been unable to match, and a better viewfinder. Fitting a cleverly engineered non-Leica rewind handle onto the knurled knob fixed the only real disadvantage compared to the later M4.

The empty crate waiting for the next milk delivery by the door is definite evidence that, though closed, the cafe will be open for business for breakfast on Monday.

The Crescent Cafe is still there, though it’s shopfront has changed, obscured by a large name board and a metal shutter. It changed its name for a few years to SERCEM, but was back to Crescent when I passed it last year. The menu as Sercem hadn’t changed a great deal, though a cup of tea was up to 90p and it also served a Turkish breakfast. The building to the left is now ‘Cornucopia Express’, and off-licence, grocery and greengrocers.

The Crescent Cafe gets its name from Crescent Rd opposite, and these buildings were almost certainly connected with Crouch End railway station, possibly the station master’s house. The station entrance to which was immediately to the right of the cafe.


Former station, Crouch End Hill, Hornsey, Haringey, 1978
16s25: cafe, Haringey, station, walk

Immediately to the right of the Crescent Cafe had been the entrance to Crouch End station and the platforms were left when the station buildings were demolished.

The railway was opened by Great Northern in 1867 and the station was closed in 1951-2 with all passenger services on the line ending in 1954. There had been plans in 1935 to incorporate the line as a link between Finsbury Park and Highgate as a part of a more extensive development of the Northern Line, the Northern Heights Plan, but the war prevented the work starting and it was never taken up after the war, though it would have been a useful addition to the system. The line was used to move tube stock around after other traffic ceased, but around 1970 this was stopped as some of the bridges were unsafe, and the track was lifted at the start of 1972.

The station buildings on the bridge from which I took this picture were only demolished in 1977 when work was taking place on the bridge, though they had been largely destroyed in a fire a few years earlier, but the platforms were still in place. At road level the station was replaced by an odd and pointless architectural fixture, still in place, looking rather like an upside-down bridge, which puzzled me greatly at the time, and I took a number of photographs, none of them currently on this site.

I had intended to go down to the railway level, which is now a part of the Parkland Walk along the former rail line, plans for which had begun in 1976 but this section was not officially opened until 1984, and access from Crouch End Hill was fenced off when I took this picture. But as you can see from the picture it was accessible from elsewhere.

More to follow….
______________________________________________________

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 1978 (7)

Friday, September 7th, 2018

Continuing my series of posts of my pictures from 1978 which will eventually include all of the selected photographs I took in London in 1978 and posted recently on Facebook with comments, and a few related images. All of these pictures (and more) are in my London Pictures web site, and eventually I intend to add the comments there too.

Click on any image to go to the web page with a slightly larger picture.
__________________________________________

London 1978 (7)


Whittington House, Chenies St/Alfred Place, Bloomsbury, Camden, 1978
14r23: camden, bloomsbury, reflection

A rather more interesting reflection image, making use of a reflection in both a vertical glass window and a horizontal polished marble floor, with careful lining up which makes the unusual near-horizontal strip fence around the office appear to continue seen through the window when it and the cars, buildings and the couple are in fact reflections. The corner where this picture was taken has since been altered.

The building was designed by Richard Seifert, also guilty for Centre Point, the Nat West Tower in the City, and many other 1960s and 70s eyesore buildings in London and elsewhere. What I called marble is probably the same highly polished black gabbro, a much harder basalt-like igneous rock, which also covers much of the face of this conspicuously ugly building. Gabbro gets its name from a town in Tuscany, but is found at many sites around the world, and the rock used on this building is from the Transvaal.


Michael’s Shoe Repairs, South Lambeth Rd, Vauxhall, Lambeth, 1978
14r53: vauxhall, lambeth, shoe repairs, shop

This is a part of a long parade of shops with accomodation above from the corner of Fentiman Rd, Barrett’s Corner, dated as 1884, and thought to have been built to house the workers from Barrett’s Brewery in Bondway, and also as wine and spirits vaults for the company.

The Vauxhall Brewery was designed by Henry Stopes (1852-1902) (father of Marie Stopes) in 1885, and unusually featured a 119 ft high tower which carried a large illluminated bottle advertising Barrett’s Half-Crown stout, 20ft long and 6ft in diameter, which was on roller bearings to rotate with the wind, and the taller chimney carried a giant screw bottle stopper at its 147ft high top. The brewery also had two giant beer bottles on the street flanking its Wandsworth Rd entrance, and it only produced bottled beer and closed in 1951.

The giant bottles had disappeared long before – perhaps when the factory was hit by a bomb from a Zeppelin in 1918 but some of the brewery complex remained, mainly as the Bondway Self-Storage but an attempt to get it listed failed and the Aykon 50 storey tower is being constructed on the site.

Not only is No 45 still standing (along with the rest of the row) but it is still Michael’s Shoe Repairs, though with an updated shop front.


Parked car, Vauxhall, Lambeth, 1978
14r55: vauxhall, lambeth,car, reflection

Another image of reflections, somewhere in Vauxhall. The building behind the tall corrugated iron fence looks to be derelict and there is what appears to be a street lamp next to it, and I suspect this was in an area being redeveloped.

We used to go to a meeting with friends in Vauxhall most months and I would often go up an hour or so earlier than necessary to spend the time wandering the streets and taking a few pictures. I think this will have been taken between South Lambeth Road and Clapham Rd where the previous and next images were taken, but the location is hardly significant.


Terminal House, Clapham Rd, Kennington, Lambeth, 1978
14r62: kennington, lambeth, car dealer

Terminal House, then the premises of Vauxhall dealer Keith & Boyle, was at 80 Clapham Rd, or rather just set back from the road in Palfrey Place. It had been built in 1929 for use by Blue Belle Motors Ltd who ran services to the coast but opened as the London Terminal Coach Station, run by a specially created company, Coach Travels Ltd and used by Blue Belle and other coach companies. They sold it to Red & White Services Ltd in 1933 and it continued in use as a coach station until the start of the war in 1939 when the coach services were suspended, though it was never very successful, with most travellers preferring Victoria Coach Station for its more central location. But back in the 1930s the empty yard in the picture would be full of coaches ready to take people to Brighton and elsewhere.

Terminal House was an extremely long building, stretching the full 200m from Palfrey Place to Carroun Rd; it was rebuilt after war damage and used as car showrooms. Keith & Boyle ceased trading a few years after I took this picture and the main building has been demolished. The front of the site where I was standing to take pictures and some of the building to the side is now Europcar and main building has been replace by a new housing, Usborne Mews.


River Thames, Mortlake, Richmond, 1978
15a33: River Thames, Brewery, river

A little mist – or perhaps rain – over the Thames at Mortlake, close to where the annual University Boat Race between teams representing Oxford and Cambridge finishes, an event which doubtless gave plenty of extra sales for the products of Mortlake Brewery, founded in the 15th century and acquired by James Watney & Co in 1889. The brewery, which latterly produced Budweiser pale lager (a pale imitation of beer) for Anheuser-Busch InBev, finally closed in 2015 and the Singapore-based company that owns the site has plans for 850 apartments.

The picture was taken on a family outing to Chiswick Park, when we walked back over Chiswick Bridge and along the towpath on a roundabout walk to Mortlake Station. The Thames looks fairly calm, though it can get pretty choppy, and years later I watched as the Head of the River race (which rows the boat race same course but in the opposite direction and involves large numbers of boats dispatched at intervals) had to be abandoned as some boats sank a short distance behind where I took this picture going under Barnes Bridge.

The Boat Race is a curiously English event, showcasing some of the least healthy aspects of our class system, and one of the few moments of interest came in 2012 when Trenton Oldfield made his “protest against inequalities in British society, government cuts, reductions in civil liberties and a culture of elitism” swimming into the path of the race a mile or so downstream near Chiswick Eyot.

For which he got six months, a sentence many felt disproportionate, but which resulted in him publishing ‘The Queen Vs Trenton Oldfield: A Prison Diary’, sold to cover his court costs of £750 and described as “an insightful critique of the prison industrial complex at the the outset of the privatisation of prisons in Britain. Importantly, it also considers the criminalisation of dissent and reductions in civil liberties.” And it is still worth reading, although our prison system has sadly deteriorated since his stay in it.


River Thames, Twickenham, Richmond, 1978
15e34: River Thames, Eel Pie Island, boatyard, children, people

Children play on the mud in front of some of the boathouses on Eel Pie Island in what is perhaps a slightly distant view, though one that does include the surroundings more than if I had moved closer. The view today hasn’t changed greatly, though a closer look shows that the Thames Launch Works whose frontage states they are Ship and Boat Builders and Marine Engineers (though too small to read on this online version) has been replaced by a rather less impressive structure. The island, originally three separate islands, was consolidated into one as Twickenham Ait, but is now universally known as Eel Pie Island.

In my youth Eel Pie Island was noted for the Eel Pie Island Hotel, a musical venue where some of the most famous bands of the era including the Rolling Stones performed, but this had to close in 1967 when the owner couldn’t afford repairs. It had a brief re-opening in 1969 as Colonel Barefoot’s Rock Garden but was closed down as unsafe. It became home to the UK’s largest hippy commune and was then destroyed by a “mysterious” fire in 1971. It wasn’t the first fire on the island and there was another in 1996 that caused extensive damage. The hotel was on the opposite side of the island to my picture, and at around the time I took this was being replaced by a riverside development, Aquarius.

The Thames here is tidal, although a minimum water level is maintained by the half-lock at Richmond. Until 1957 when a footbridge was opened the only access to the private island was by boat; the footbridge was damaged by British Gas in 1997 and had to be replaced with a new bridge opening in 1998. At high spring tides the river comes up almost to the bottom of the balustrade at the left of my picture, and Twickenham riverside is flooded, rendering the footbridge inaccessible, so island residents need to keep a copy of the tide tables to hand to know when they can leave or access their homes.

I came to know it a little better when my younger son married a woman who had grown up on the island, in one of the modern houses that were built on the hotel site. They celebrated their wedding (which I photographed) at the Twickenham Rowing Club on the island, the third oldest rowing club on the Thames, founded in 1860. Until 1876 they had a floating boathouse which sank on several occasions.

The balustrade at left is on the edge of York House Gardens. King Louis Philippe I who came to England on his exile from France in 1848 with six sons and four daughters, and fourteen years after his death in 1850 they moved into York House in Twickenham, living there until around the end of the century. His fifth son, Henri, Duc D’Aumale (1822 – 1897) was Twickenham Rowing Club’s first President from 1860 to 1897, and presented them with the site on Twickenham Ait in 1876.

When my son visits Eel Pie Island he sometimes swims around the island, although until fairly recently there was a large red sign on a lamp post just behind where I took my picture with the message
‘WARNING
You are advised not to Swim or paddle in the Thames
Due to :
Submerged Debris
Strong Currents
Pollutants
Sudden Changes in Depth
DO NOT TAKE THE RISK’

This sign disappeared, along with a warning sign to drivers showing a car going over the edge when the lamp posts were replaced a few years ago by fake antique versions. Possibly now the river is a little less polluted than it was in my youth, though we used to swim in it back then.


Child on street, Southwark, 1978
15j42: Southwark, children, people

This is one of eleven frames on the end of a roll of film which begins at home and suggests that I had set out walking from Waterloo Station. Several previous frames show Dolben St and Bear Lane, south of Southwark St, and I think this is taken on Unions St, outside the 1907 Shaftestbury Society ‘The Mint & Gospel Lighthouse Mission’, perhaps an appropriate place for this young boy who saw my camera and pleaded ‘Take my pictures, Mister’. I wonder if someone will see this picture and recognise themselves 40 years on.

The building is just before the corner of Redcross Way, and the tower at the left is Guy’s Hospital and the street at the end Borough High St, where the building on the corner of Newcomen St is still recognisable. The factory at left has been demolished and part of the site is now the Crossbones Graveyard, a medieval paupers’ burial ground and now a memorial site, but the rather distinctive works further down the street has been replaced by a rather mundane block which takes some motifs from the building in Maidstone Building Mews whose upper windows are visible here.

The Crossbones burial ground was closed in 1853 when it was “completely overcharged with dead” and was sold as a building site in 1883, prompting much local opposition, with the sale being declared null and void the following year. But much of the human remains were removed to Brookwood cemetery after which the site was built over. Part was needed for a substation for the Jubilee Line extension and in 1992 there was an archaeological dig in a small area which uncovered 148 graves dating from 1800-1853, a third being of perinatal children and another 11% under a year old. The adults were mainly women over 36. Deaths during childbirth were then common, and older women were at greater risk. Southwark at that time was probably one of the most unhealthy areas of the country and it is thought that these represent a very small percentage of the bodies still underground.

The unconsecrated graveyard was thought to have been established for the prostitutes or “Winchester Geese”, women licensed by the Bishop of Winchester to work in the Liberty of the Clink, though later it was simply a pauper’s graveyard for St Saviour’s parish. Writer John Constable, also known as urban shaman John Crow, produced ‘The Southwark Mysteries’, plays and poems inspired by the site, and the Friends of Cross Bones hold monthly vigils in the memorial garden, with a larger event at Halloween.

More to follow….
______________________________________________________

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

________________________________________________________