Archive for the ‘LondonPhotos’ Category

Independent Living Ends, Robin Hood Gardens

Thursday, June 30th, 2022

Independent Living Ends, Robin Hood Gardens. On Tuesday 30th June 2015 I joined disabled people at Downing St marking the ending of the Independent Living Fund before going to Robin Hood Gardens, a brutalist estate in Poplar doomed for demolition.


DPAC’s ILF Closing Ceremony – Downing St to Old Palace Yard

Disabled people and supporters of DPAC, Disabled People Against Cuts, met outside Downing St to bring a petition with over 25,000 signatures calling for a continuation of this essential support for the disabled.

Sophie Partridge, disabled Actor, Writer & Workshop artist

The Independent Living Fund which was coming to an end on that day had given them to money to employ support to enable them to live with dignity and for many to continue in work and make a contribution to society. Without it they fear they will simply be shut away and left to rot, many fearing they will now be left for many hours at a time in incontinence pads.

Paula Peters

Outside the gates of Downing Street they wrote slogans on incontinence pads; Paula Peters of DPAC had a message for Iain Duncan Smith, then Secretary of State for Work and Pensions responsible for the ending of support, ‘I want dignity – I want to be treated as a human – You wear one of these I. D. S. They are awful’.

A campaigner dressed as Brittania was among those who had come to hand in the petition which had gained support from a video by the stars of Coronation Street and the Graeae Theatre Company’s 2014 UK Tour of The Threepenny Opera. One of those stars spoke in front of the gates of Downing Street.

John Kelly as Schimmel leads the march

From Downing Street the campaigners marched the quarter mile or so to Old Palace Yard opposite the Houses of Parliament, led by John Kelly as Schimmel, the equine star and proud battle horse of the Threepenny Opera.

Here they were joined by others including Labour MP John McDonnell who spoke at the rally marking the end of the Independent Living Fund, at the end of which a wreath with the message’s ‘RIP ILF’ was laid.

DPAC’s ILF Closing Ceremony


Robin Hood Gardens – Poplar

Two walls of flats protect an inner garden area

The ILF protest had ended a little before 1pm and it was a fine day and I decided to take another visit to Robin Hood Gardens in Poplar, where demolition had begun after the refusal to list the site. Listing had been recommended for listing by the advisory committee of English Heritage in 2009, but the then Minister of Culture Andy Burnham had issued a certificate of immunity against listing which expired in 2014.

These are large and desirable properties, but often have been used to house difficult residents

A further attempt was then made to have the site listed, supported by almost every well-known British architect, but Historic England, now responsible for listing buildings rejected this.

A wall at left screens the estate and there is a lower service and parking area

An open letter signed by many leading architects including Richard Rogers made clear the value of the site, and I quoted from this in My London Diary.

The buildings, which offer generously sized flats that could be refurbished, are of outstanding architectural quality and significant historic interest, and public appreciation and understanding of the value of Modernist architecture has grown over the past five years, making the case for listing stronger than ever.”

The end of the ‘street in the sky’

The refusal to list on both occasions was clearly a political one, almost certainly driven by the huge profits demolition and rebuilding on the site would make for the developers.

As with the award-winning Heygate Estate in Southwark, and the fine Central Hill Estate at Gypsy Hill, Lambeth, the local council, Tower Hamlets, was keen to get rid of the estate and had carried out what I described as “a well funded campaign of vilification“, seeing it “only as a large area with potential for redevelopment at a higher density“, working with “developers who see any area of social housing in London as rich pickings for redevelopment and sale to the rich.”

A large enclosed playground at the south end of the site

By the end of June 2015 most of the west block seemed empty and boarded up and I was unable to gain entry. But I could roam the large garden in the centre of the estate, now let to grow wild, and went inside the still occupied east block, going up to the highest public level, a ‘street in the sky’ built rather less wide than the architects had originally intended, overlooking the Blackwall Tunnel approach. From there I took a number of pictures of the views from the block looking towards the east.

The south end of Robin Hood Gardens was on Poplar High St

As on a couple of previous visits I talked briefly with some of the residents who all told me they were pleased to be living in the block and sad they would have to leave – though some did complain about the lifts (I think only one of the two at the entrance I went in was working.)

Knocking down buildings like these which are structurally in good condition is inexcusable in terms of the huge carbon footprint involved in their construction, demolition and rebuilding. The estate could and should have been refurbished at relatively low cost and would have continued to provide good quality homes for many years. Its replacements – the west section already built – are of lower quality and will almost certainly not last as long as this could have done. The advantage of their roughly three times higher density is at the expense of possible amenity.

As well as walking in and around the estate I also took some pictures of it from the surrounding area, and some other pictures you can see on My London Diary, including a few when I stopped at Canning Town station and took a few pictures of people on the new footbridge across Bow Creek.

Robin Hood Gardens


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West Lane & Spa Road Bermondsey 1988

Wednesday, June 29th, 2022

My previous post on this walk was Thames, Rotherhithe & Wapping 1988 and ended next to the isolated former offices of Braithwaite & Dean, close to the Angel pub on the bank of the Thames.

Servewell Cafe, West Lane,Bermondsey, 1988 88-10l-34-Edit_2400
Servewell Cafe, West Lane,Bermondsey, 1988 88-10l-34

I walked a short distance west by the river, photographing some recent flats on Bermondsey Wall East and the riverside warehouse at Corbett’s wharf, since discretely refurbished (not digitised) before turning down West Lane where there was more new housing and finding The Evangelical Church of the Deaf which I think was where there is now a new block of flats on Paradise Street.(also not digitised.)

The Servewell Cafe was then at number 14, and is now a few doors down in larger premises, its former site now an Indian Takeaway. The barbers on the corner remains a Gents Hairdresser, but the wool shop is now ‘glue bermondsey’ creative space.

Bermondsey & Rotherhithe, War Memorial, West Lane, Jamaica Rd, Bermondsey, Southwark, 1988 88-10l-35-Edit_2400
Bermondsey & Rotherhithe, War Memorial, West Lane, Jamaica Rd, Bermondsey, Southwark, 1988 88-10l-35

The Bermondsey & Rotherhithe War Memorial is immediately in front of the shops on West Lane, close to its junction with Jamaica Road on a wide area of pavement. It was erected here replacing a temporary memorial in 1921 “to the honoured memory of the men of Bermondsey and Rotherhithe who fell in the great war 1914 – 1918” and later inscriptions were added for the Second World War, including “In remembrance of all those civilians and members of the civil defence and fire brigade services who lost their lives in this community 1939 – 1945.” The coat of arms is that of the former Metropolitan Borough of Bermondsey with its motto ‘Prosunt Gentibus Artes‘ (arts profit the people). Among the sponsors of the memorial was the then owner of Peak Freans, Arthur Carr.

Scott Lidgett Crescent, Bermondsey, Southwark, 1988 88-10l-36-Edit_2400
Scott Lidgett Crescent, Bermondsey, Southwark, 1988 88-10l-36

John Scott Lidgett (1854-1953) was a Methodist minister, educationalist and politician who was at various times the first President of the Methodist Conference, vice-chancellor of the University of London. He played an important role in the development of women’s colleges and university support for teach training. He became an alderman of the London County Council and led the Progressive Party on the LCC from 1918-28.

In 1891 he established the Bermondsey Settlement, the only Methodist settlement, and became its warden. Among those that this attracted to devote themselves to come and live and work in the community were Ada and Alfred Salter. The settlement closed in 1969.

These solidly built houses were a part of the continuing redevelopment of the area which had been begun by Bermondsey Council – with the Salters as councillors and later Mayor and MP respectively, beginning at Wilson Grove in 1927. In the ten years after the war, the council and the LCC built 9,600 homes.

Salvation Army, Hostel, Spa Road, Bermondsey, Southwark, 1988 88-10l-11-Edit_2400
Salvation Army, Hostel, Spa Road, Bermondsey, Southwark, 1988 88-10l-11

The Salvation Army Social Services Hostel for Men on Spa Road was much needed in one of the country’s most deprived areas when this ‘elevator’, designed to both house men and provide some paid work to prepare them for work outside, opened in 1899. It was a waste paper depot and the men were employed in sorting the waste – recycling is nothing new.

Back in my childhood, before going to church my father would sort all the waste paper which had found its way into our house, flattening the sheets, piling them on top of each other before rolling them up and tying the roll with string, to be put out next to the dustbin for the council to collect.

The Spa Road hostel also housed some Belgian refugees in the First World War and Italian prisoners of war at the end of WW2. A laundry was added in the 1920s. By the time I photographed it the laundry had closed but the centre also offered other work, including basket-weaving, carpentry, candle-making, and picture-framing. It finally closed in 2001 and was demolished in 2003. The site is now occupied by a large block of flats.

Bermondsey Municipal Offices, Spa Road, Bermondsey, Southwark, 1988 88-10l-14-Edit_2400
Bermondsey Municipal Offices, Spa Road, Bermondsey, Southwark, 1988 88-10l-14

Bermondsey Town Hall was only Grade II listed 10 years after I made this picture. It was built as an extension to the existing Victorian Bermondsey Town Hall in 1928-1930, architect Henry Tansley indulging in a deliberate recreation of the 19th century Greek Revival. I’ve not digitised the picture I took of its grand frontage, but only this image showing a detail of the building, including some of its listed railings.

Planning permission was granted in 2012 for the conversion of the building into 41 homes and is now rather confusingly called Old Town Hall Apartments.

BermondseyCentral Library, Spa Road, Bermondsey, Southwark, 1988 88-10l-15-Edit_2400
Bermondsey Central Library, Spa Road, Bermondsey, Southwark, 1988 88-10l-15

Similarly I’ve yet to digitise the more overall image of the library which is in the background to this picture. The gate pier and railings are all that remains from another municipal building, the old Bermondsey Town Hall which was heavily damaged by wartime bombing and demolished in the 1960. The gate was kept when a new ‘One Stop Shop’ replaced the ruins, and it was retained when this was in turn demolished and replaced by ‘The Exchange’ around 2013. Its ground floor is now a Sainsbury’s Local.

Flats, Fort Rd, Bermondsey, Southwark, 1988 88-10m-65-Edit_2400
Flats, Fort Rd, Bermondsey, Southwark, 1988 88-10m-65

I wanders a little around the area by Spa Gardens making an image of new housing in Hazel Way and old in Balaclava Rd and then this which I think is Dartford House in Fort Road, part of the Longfield Estate.

To be continued…


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Pride, Class War Protest and Paedophiles

Monday, June 27th, 2022

Pride, Class War Protest and Paedophiles – Saturday 27th June 2015 in London. And a rather fine stencilled grafitti which I’ve not seen elsewhere – and I suspect was very quickly removed. Banksy couldn’t have done a better job, though I could perhasp have got the bottom of the image in my picture. And I would have preferred a red bus, though at least the blue one means the bus stop stands out better.


Pride Parade – Baker St

Pride in 2015 had a little more political edge than in recent years as this was the 30th anniversary of the support it gave to the miners strike and there were rather more trade union and other groups trying to reclaim the event as the radical festival it was until around the late 1990s.

My photographs from 2015 reflect this, and as usual I paid little attention to the large corporate groups who now provide sponsorship which enables them to dominate the parade and advertise their services to the crowds who line the route.

Despite this, as I wrote in 2015, ” It seems a long way from the event when I first photographed it in the early 90s when Pride was a protest.”

Pride is also a considerably over-photographed event, with people with cameras and yet more with mobile phones swarming over the area before the parade starts. I don’t object to this as photography is very much a democratic medium, but it would be nice if rather more of them were polite enough not to walk in front of me when I’m taking pictures.

I note in one of the captions, “I got the queen to pose for me with a friend. And found I now had collected another ten photographers at my shoulders“. This is one of the few events where I do occasionally ask people to pose. This is something I think has little or no place in photographing protests and documenting events, but at Pride many pose as soon as they see the camera pointed at them, so I feel OK to sometimes ask them to perform a little differently, perhaps with a different background, as in the picture above.

I didn’t stay as long as usual photographing people before the parade began as I wanted to go and meet Class War who were planning a little diversion.

Pride Parade


Class War protest ‘corporate pinkwashing’ – Piccadilly Circus and Pall Mall

While many criticised the corporate takeover of Pride, and some had tried to oppose it by joining in the march as protesters, Class War had decided it was time for a more direct approach.

I met them outside a pub close to Piccadilly Circus and photographed them as they protested outside Barclay’s Bank at Piccadilly Circus against corporate sponsorship of Pride in London, briefly closing the branch as the parade approached. After this short protest which hardly attracted the attention of the police, they rolled up the banner and ran, following along the route and looking for opportunity to protest at the march itself.

On Pall Mall they found a place where the crowds were thinner and they could take over a section of the barriers along the road for the event. And as the flag bearers at the front of the parade came in sight they pushed those barriers aside and rushed out onto the street with their banner.

I rushed out with them and photographed them as for a minute or so they led the parade until Pride Marshals and police guided them back behind the barriers again.

They continued to protest with megaphone and banner for a few minutes as the parade arrived, but when they saw a squad of officers heading towards them they rolled up the banner and hastened away. I followed some down into the subway where they lost the police, coming out at another subway entrance. They began to discuss further interventions at the event, but I think probably went to a nearby pub after I said goodbye and left. Later I heard police had continued to follow some of the others for half an hour or so, but made no arrests.

Class War protest ‘corporate pinkwashing’


Victims & Survivors call for Justice – Downing St

It’s hard to assess some of the claims made by conspiracy theorists about paedophiles in high places and the activities of the family courts. Clearly the activities of people such as Jimmy Saville and Sir Cyril Richard Smith MBE MStJ DL have provided plenty of fire behind the clouds of smoke and many of those at this protest had very disturbing personal stories to tell.

So while many prominent claims have been found to be false, there also seem to be many cover-ups and failures to properly investigate; all too often the response by the authorities appears to be to close ranks, make false claims against the complainants and deny the realities.

Someone once said that around 30% of conspiracy theories turn out to be true. I’ve no idea whether this figure is accurate, but certainly it reflects the truth that some are. Its just very difficult to decide which.

While we can be confident that there are no chem trails (just atmospheric conditions that make normal combustion products visible), that Magna Carta doesn’t give us much in the way of freedoms now, that 9/11 actually happened and Trump lost the election some others are less certain. And while there are clearly not 76 paedophile MPs, there may well be a handful or so still lurking in the House of Commons, and certainly there have been some very questionable decisions made by family courts – or at least they would be very questionable if we were allowed to know about them.

Victims & Survivors call for Justice


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Dangleway, Silvertown and Stratford Marsh

Sunday, June 26th, 2022

Dangleway, Silvertown and Stratford Marsh: My day out on Wednesday 26 June 2013 began by taking the tube to North Greenwich and then walking to the cablecar for the ride across the Thames.

Back then I commented “Given the huge losses it is sustaining I can’t see it remaining open too much longer, so if you’ve not taken a ride don’t leave it too long“, and I’m surprised to find it still running 8 years later. But perhaps not for much longer, as the sponsorship deal with the Emirates Airline comes to an end this month, and no other company has come forward to pick up the tab, even though TfL have offered a huge reduction for the privilege.

Never a sensible contribution to London’s travel network it remains one of London’s cheaper and more interesting tourist attractions. I’m not sure whether the fact that it now lands on the north bank spitting distance from London’s now misplaced County Hall adds to its chances of retention, but it could make it more likely to be brought within the normal London fare structures.

There are already fare reductions for people with Travelcards, and frequent users can buy a ticket which reduces the cost to make it a viable part of a commute to work, particularly as you can take a bike with you for free. However I suspect the number of ‘frequent fliers’ is probably only in two figures. Its also a service which is more affected by weather than surface transport, closing down in high winds.

But it does have the height to give some splended views, even if the surrounding area is perhaps less rich than that of London’s other aerial attraction, the London Eye. Actually for me is considerably more attractive, and it’s an area which is now rapidly developing on both sides of the river, with new residential developments replacing old industrial and commercial uses.

The dangleway is also a part of the East London sculpture trail, The Line, which vaguely follows the Greenwich Meridian, from North Greenwich to Stratford and makes an interesting walk, although this will become a more interesting walk once the riverside path from Cody Dock to the East India Dock Road is opened, something we have been waiting for around 20 years. One day it might even extend past Canning Town station to Trinity Buoy Wharf, but we may not live that long.

Although you can see the riverside from above, little of it is now publicly accessible, though I walked along Bow Creek and a little of the Thames here back in the 1980s taking photographs now on Flickr. But back then the Royal Victoria Dock was largely fenced off and you can now walk around it and over a high-level bridge which also has interesting views.

Or at least you can most of the time. But the area becomes a high security zone with the bridge closed when the Excel Centre is full of arms dealers selling often illegal arms to repressive regimes around the world – every other September. Fortunately it was June, though I was back there for the DSEI protests in September – and in other years.

The DLR also runs through the area on a viaduct, and from the train and the stations you also get some interesting views, though the train windows are often rather to dirty for taking photographs. That you are looking south from the line can also mean the sun is shining directly into the lens.

This is the Woolwich branch of the DLR and at Canary Wharf I changed onto a train towards Stratford, alighting at Pudding Mill Lane to walk up onto the Greenway. I arrived just too late to go into the View Tube there so I had to be content with making pictures from the Greenway which runs high through the area.

I’d begun making photogrfaphs here back in the 1980s, and had published some of these on my my River Lea/Lee Valley web site – and in the Blurb book ‘Before The Olympics‘, returning to the area occasionally and photographing it as it changed and particularly as the Olympic site developed. Progress on restoring the area to some useful purpose appeared to be very slow

More on My London Diary where the pictures are also larger – though you can see these ones larger by opening the images in their own window.
Stratford Greenway Olympic Revisit
Victoria Dock and Silvertown
Emirates ‘Airline’ – Arab Dangleway


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Thames, Rotherhithe & Wapping 1988

Thursday, June 23rd, 2022

From Southwark Park Schools which ended the previous post on this walk, Rotherhithe New Road & Southwark Park Schools, I walked a few yards up Southwark Park Road to the corner with Banyard Road, where I photographed the taxi office (still there but changed from A-Z Star Cars to 5 Star Cars) with the pub on the opposite corner, the Southwark Park Tavern, now closed and converted to residential around 2003.

There was a pub around here, the Green Man, possibly on this site before Southwark Park opened in 1869 but I think this building probably came shortly after the park was opened, and is opposite the Carriage Drive leading into the park.

Unfortunately I haven’t yet digitised this picture, nor one of rather plain two-storey terrace on Banyard Rd or an image showing a play area in the park. I hurried through the park to the Jamaica Road gate at its north, crossing to make my way to Kings Stairs Gardens and the River Thames.

River Thames, Downstream, Rotherhithe, Southwark, 1988 88-10l-63-Edit_2400
River Thames, Downstream, Rotherhithe, Southwark, 1988 88-10l-63

The two jetties visible here I think have now gone and there is certainly no line of lighters as in this picture, and there is one striking new building on the riverfront.

River Thames, Downstream, Rotherhithe, Southwark, 1988 88-10l-65-Edit_2400
River Thames, Downstream, Rotherhithe, Southwark, 1988 88-10l-65

A second picture taken with a short telephoto lens from almost exactly the same place shows the central area more clearly, with new flats being built on Rotherhithe St.

Wapping, River Thames, Rotherhithe, Southwark, 198888-10l-51-Edit_2400
Wapping, River Thames, Rotherhithe, Southwark, 198888-10l-51

Looking across the Thames downstream, with Free Trade Wharf at the extreme right and just to the left the cylinder ventilation shaft of the Rotherhithe tunnel in the King Edward Memorial Park. Both Metropolitan Wharf and New Crane Wharf are covered iwth scaffolding.

Wapping, River Thames, Rotherhithe, Southwark, 1988 88-10l-52-Edit_2400
Wapping, River Thames, Rotherhithe, Southwark, 1988 88-10l-52

Part of St John’s Wharf and King Henry’s Wharves seen across the River Thames.

Wapping, River Thames, Rotherhithe, Southwark, 198888-10l-53-Edit_2400
Wapping, River Thames, Rotherhithe, Southwark, 1988 88-10l-53

More of St John’s Wharf, including one of the earlier warehouse conversions and the Grade II listed Wapping Police Station, built 1907-10, Metropolitan Police architect John Dixon Butler. At extreme left is a part of Aberdeen Wharf built in 1843–4 by the Aberdeen Steam Navigation Company.

Wapping, River Thames, Rotherhithe, Southwark, 1988 88-10l-54-Edit_2400
Wapping, River Thames, Rotherhithe, Southwark, 1988 88-10l-54

The end of Aberdeen Wharf is at the right edge of this picture, and at its left the Wapping Police Boatyard, an unnecessarily ugly building opened in 1973. The new building in the centre of the picture also seems something of an eyesore, at least at its ends.

Wapping, River Thames, Rotherhithe, Southwark, 1988 88-10l-55-Edit_2400
Wapping, River Thames, Rotherhithe, Southwark, 1988 88-10l-55

Continuing up-river from the Police Boatyard are St Thomas Wharf, Pierhead Wharf, Oliver’s Wharf – the first warehouse in Wapping to be converted into luxury flats in 1972 – and Wapping Pierhead, with houses designed by Daniel Alexander in 1811 and the main entrance to London Docks.

Bermondsey, River Thames, Rotherhithe, Southwark, 1988 88-10l-41-Edit_2400
Bermondsey, River Thames, Rotherhithe, Southwark, 1988 88-10l-41

Looking upriver on the south bank with Tower Bridge at the extreme right and Guy’s Hospital tower just left of centre. Cherry Garden Pier is at left.

Silver Jubilee, marker, EIIR, River Thames, Rotherhithe, Southwark, 1988 88-10l-43-Edit_2400
Silver Jubilee, marker, EIIR, River Thames, Rotherhithe, Southwark, 1988 88-10l-43

There is still a marker for the Queen’s Silver Jubilee here but it looks far less impressive than this rugged stonework I photographed in 1988. London has also gained quite a few tall buildings, but the view along the river remains clear and you can still see the dome of St Paul’s Cathedral.

Braithwaite & Dean, Rotherhithe St, Rotherhithe, Southwark, 1988 88-10l-44-Edit_2400
Braithwaite & Dean, Rotherhithe St, Rotherhithe, Southwark, 1988 88-10l-44

41 Rotherhithe St, now apparently 1 Fulford St at least according to Google Maps, was the offices of lighterage company Braitwaite & Dean, where their lightermen would come to collect their weekly wage. Apparently it was known locally as the Leaning Tower of Rotherhithe, though the building’s lean is more apparent from across the river than in my picture.

It was left more or less alone on this stretch of the river with just the Angel pub equally isolated a few yards upriver after Bermondsey council bought many of the buildings in 1939 to create a park, with wartime bombing continuing the demolition job. There was some temporary housing by the river when I first walked along here in the early 1980s, but that soon disappeared.

My walk in Bermondsey continued – more about it in a later post.


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Rotherhithe New Road & Southwark Park Schools

Tuesday, June 21st, 2022

Rotherhithe New Road & Southwark Park Schools – October 1988

Rotherhithe New Rd Bermondsey, Southwark, 1988 88-10k-31-Edit_2400
Rotherhithe New Rd Bermondsey, Southwark, 1988 88-10k-31

I’m not entirely sure whether my next pictures, taken on Rotherhithe New Road were a part of the same walk as my previous post in this series, Down the Blue, Spa Road & Old Jamaica Road 1988 or the start of my next visit to the area from roughly where that ended.

This window was somewhere not far from Raymouth Road which I probably walked down to get to Rotherhithe New Road, and I liked the design of the window with its tall thin iron supports, though it was hard so see them through the branches – which perhaps added to their attraction. I can’t find the actual location and it may well have been demolished.

Debnams Rd, Rotherhithe New Rd Bermondsey, Southwark, 1988 88-10k-34-Edit_2400
Debnams Rd, Rotherhithe New Rd, Bermondsey, Southwark, 1988 88-10k-34

This is the corner of Debnams Road with Rotherhithe New Road and it was obviously the ‘5 Star Batteries’ painting on the first floor wall together with the other signage that made me photograph it. 203-5 is now covered with pebbledash and for some years had an advertising hoarding on this side wall, but this is now gone. The premises have changed hands several times, and in recent years have been a glazing firm, an African Food Store and now ‘Posh Hair Salon’.

Rotherhithe New Rd Bermondsey, Southwark, 1988 88-10k-22-Edit_2400
Rotherhithe New Rd, Bermondsey, Southwark, 1988 88-10k-22

Next to the railway arches on the south side of Rotherhithe New Road in what is now called Jarrow Road I couldn’t resist this smiling lorry for ‘Wood Be Good Paint Strippers’.

Rotherhithe New Rd Bermondsey, Southwark, 1988 88-10k-23-Edit_2400
Rotherhithe New Rd Bermondsey, Southwark, 1988 88-10k-23

This obviously dilapidated building was on Rotherhithe New Road close to the railway bridges and I think was demolished to build the Rotherhithe Business Estate at 214 Rotherhithe New Rd. Unfortunately I have no idea what it had been – if anyone knows please tell me in the comments.

Cain Hill Cafe, Rotherhithe New Rd, Bermondsey, Southwark, 1988 88-10k-11-Edit_2400
Cain Hill Cafe, Rotherhithe New Rd, Bermondsey, Southwark, 1988 88-10k-11

The Cain Hill Cafe which offered hot meals served all day, sandwiches and rolls was at the side of this railway bridge on Rotherhithe New Rd. This was demolished to give a wider entrance to the Rotherhithe Business Estate.

Southwark Park Schools, Southwark Park Rd, Bermondsey, Southwark, 1988 88-10k-12-Edit_2400
Southwark Park Schools, Southwark Park Rd, Bermondsey, Southwark, 1988 88-10k-12

Southwark Park Schools on Southwark Park Road, Grade II listed as an early example of a London Board School by E.R.Robson 1873-4. This frontage is a part of the original building which was extended in the 1890’s and 1910, and sensitively comprehensively redeveloped around 2010 retaining the listed buildings.

My photograph shows one of the two ‘2 sculptural reliefs which depict children learning; to each an inscription panel with the words “School Board for London”
and “Southwark Park Schools
“.’

From here I walked down to the River Thames, where the next post on this walk will continue.


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Central Hill, Brian Haw & Al Quds

Saturday, June 18th, 2022

Central Hill, Brian Haw & Al Quds. 18th June 2017 was a Sunday, and though I now prefer to observe Sunday as a day of rest, five years ago it was for me another working day. Since the lockdown I get tired much more quickly and I’m cutting down a bit on work. Today I’ll probably go for a walk with my wife after lunch, stopping off on the way home to sit and eat an ice cream before picking more strawberries from the garden and relaxing a little before dinner.

But back in 2017 I was making good use of a Travelcard, going first to the Central Hill Estate which looks down over London close to Crystal Palace then travelling to Westminster to remember Brian Haw before taking the tube up to Oxford Circus and walking to the BBC to join marchers gathering for the annual Al Quds march.


Ted Knight speaks for Central Hill – Central Hill Estate

Central Hill, Brian Haw & Al Quds
A woman comes to talk to me about living on the estate since it was built

I deliberately arrived very early at Central Hill so I could take a walk around and make more pictures of one of London’s finest council estates, but almost missed the start of the talk I had come to hear opposing Lambeth Council’s plans for its demolition as I spent some time talking with a woman who had seen me taking pictures who was still living in the home she had moved into when the estate was built and had raised her family here. She told me how good it had been living here in a fine home that was still in good condition and had never needed any major repairs.

Central Hill, Brian Haw & Al Quds

Ted Knight, former leader of Lambeth Council, had come to speak in support of the campaign to save the Estate, passed for demolition by the council despite the almost unanimous vote of residents for plans to refurbish rather than demolish and the plans by Architects for Social Housing which would achieve the increase in density desired without demolition.

Central Hill, Brian Haw & Al Quds

Knight as council leader earned the name ‘Red Ted’ from the gutter press for standing up to the Tory Government’s rate-capping 1984 Rent Act which severely limited the spending of local councils – which eventually led to him and 31 other councillors being surcharged and banned from political office for five years in 1986. He remained an active trade unionist and in the Labour Party and when he spoke was Branch Chair of the Gypsy Hill ward which includes Central Hill. Although his politics and mine were not entirely the same, I was sad to hear of his death in 2020.

As Knight said, under borough architect Ted Hollamby the estate was planned by Rosemary Stjernstedt as a living community and had remained remarkably successful, with a number of original residents from the 1970s still living there and wanting to continue to do so. At that time Labour believed that nothing was too good for the working people and the estate was built to high specifications and is still in sound condition. A deliberate process of managed neglect – like that which had resulted in the Grenfell Tower disaster had – had been carried out by Lambeth Council to legitimise its demolition.

Lambeth council now refuse to allow the community to use the resource centre

Although the meeting was poorly attended, surveys of estate residents have shown a very high proportion of residents want to remain on the estate and oppose the demolition. The council quotes very different figures and its response to feedback from estate residents has been to remove the estate representatives from the consultative body.

Faults in the paving are marked but left without repair

Lambeth Council has also ridiculously inflated the estimate for the refurbishment of the estate and rejected without proper consideration a carefully planned alternative scheme for a much cheaper limited infill of the site rather than demolition which would involve far, far less disruption to the families who live here and also result in the retention of much-needed social housing. The only real problem with the alternative scheme proposed by Architects for Social Housing is that it would not generate excessive profits for the developers.

Ted Knight speaks for Central Hill


Brian Haw remembered – Parliament Square

This was the sixth anniversary of the death of peace campaigner Brian Haw who had made a ten-year political stand against war in Parliament Square despite considerable harassment by police urged on by politicians, laws introduced against his and other protests, Westminster Council officials and almost certainly MI5 agents.

Brian Haw began his camp here on 2 June 2001, and remained in place despite many attempts, legal and otherwise to remove him for almost 10 years, leaving only when arrested, for court appearances and to speak at protests at Trafalgar Square and Downing St until 1 January 2011 when he left England to receive treatment for his lung cancer in Berlin. He died in Germany in the early hours of 18 June 2011.His ten years of protest and the frequent and repeated harassment undoubtedly hastened his decline and death.

His protest in Parliament square was continued by Barbara Tucker who had joined him in 2005 and had been imprisoned twice for her role in the protest and arrested 48 times. The level of harassment increased and she went on hunger strike on 31st December 2012. Late in January 2013 she was taken into hospital close to death, and was treated for frostbite and exposure. Her protests continued on-line.

Brian Haw remembered


Al Quds march – BBC to US Embassy

Several thousands came from around the country for the annual Al Quds (Jerusalem) Day march in London. Organised by a Quds committee with the Islamic Human Rights Commission it was supported by various groups including the Stop the War Coalition, Muslim Association of Britain and Jews for Boycotting Israeli Goods. At the front of the march were a group of Imams and Neturei Karta anti-Zionist Jews.

The march called for ‘Freedom for Palestine’ and for all oppressed peoples across the world. It supports of the BDS campaign for a boycott of Israel Israeli goods, divestment from companies supporting Israel and sanctions against the Israeli state. It demands that Israel ends its breaches of international law and its oppression of the Palestinian people in what is an apartheid system, and ends its siege and attacks on Gaza.

Zionists oppose the march with a protest close to the final rally at the US Embassy, but a small militant group carrying Israeli flags attempted to stop the march on its route, calling those taking part supporters of the banned terrorist group Hezbollah.

A number of the marchers were holding Hezbollah flags, which carried a message indicating they were supporting Hezbollah as a political organisation – it is one of two main parties representing Shia Muslims, Lebanon’s largest religious group – as a part of national unity governments in the Lebanese parliament.

Police seemed very reluctant to move the Zionists off the road in front of the march which was held up for some time, with marchers simply waiting for the police to clear them. After some time the the marchers held their planned minute of silence for the Grenfell Tower victims before getting up and telling police that unless the police cleared the road they would simply push them aside and march through.

The Al Quds day march is very much a family event but with the numbers involved the march stewards would clearly have been able to do so and the statement did galvanise the police into action, and the march was able to move on slowly.

The event organisers make it very clear that this is not an anti-Semitic event, and I think one or two placards which might have suggested this were rapidly removed by stewards. In 2019 Home Secretary Sajid Javid decided to proscribe Hezbollah’s political wing as well as the military wing which had been proscribed in 2008, so showing any support for Hezbollah would be an offence carrying a sentence of up to 10 years in prison.

Al Quds march
Zionists protest Al Quds Day March


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Down the Blue, Spa Road & Old Jamaica Road 1988

Thursday, June 16th, 2022

R & G Holden, Household & Fancy Goods, Southwark Park Road, Bermondsey, Southwark, 1988 88-10j-31-Edit_2400
R & G Holden, Household & Fancy Goods, Southwark Park Road, Bermondsey, Southwark, 1988 88-10j-31

‘The Blue’, the area around the market on Southwark Park Road and Blue Anchor Lane gets its name from the Blue Anchor Pub at the corner of the lane. The pub is on the site of an ancient hostelry, marked on the earliest maps of the area dating from 1695 as the Blew Anchor. The area belonged to Bermondsey Abbey and attracted many pilgrims, some on their way to Canterbury. The anchor is thought to have not been any reference to the later nautical links of the area but to the many Anchorites, many of them women who were enclosed in religious buildings having withdrawn themselves from secular society to lead a life of prayer. Pilgrims would visit them to join them in prayer and seek advice. It was a practice largely when Henry VIII broke away from the Pope.

The market was along Southwark Park Road until a separate market square was created in 1976, but shops like this still spilled out onto the pavement.

Spa Rd Station, Former Railway Station, S E & C R,  Priter Rd, Bermondsey, Southwark, 1988 88-10j-22-Edit_2400
Spa Rd Station, Former Railway Station, S E & C R, Priter Rd, Bermondsey, Southwark, 1988 88-10j-22

London’s first railway station was a short walk away. The London and Greenwich Railway opened its Spa Road station in 1836 before it had completed the line into London Bridge. Although little more than a temporary halt and at first without platforms it remained open until 1838. A second Spa Road station was opened after the line was widened in 1842 and operated until 1867 when a new station was opened 200 yards to the east with its entrance in the railway arches on what is now Priter Road. This closed as a wartime economy measure in 1915. Some of the buildings of the 1867 station including this can still be seen in the railway arches and I photographed several of them as well as this one. The initials are for the South Eastern and Chatham Railway which was only formed in 1899, and until 1923 ran all the railways in Kent and to the Channel ports.

Spa Rd, Bermondsey, Southwark, 1988 88-10k-62-Edit_2400
Spa Rd, Bermondsey, Southwark, 1988 88-10k-62

On my contact sheet I state that this remains of a former garage was on Spa Road and although I have no reason to doubt this the roads around here were confusing and the rail bridges all have a similar appearance. I took a number of very similar frames, obviously intrigued by both the broken boarding and the branches growing through it was well as the strange tower rising about a very tall brick wall on the other side of the road.

Rouel Rd, Frean St, Bermondsey, Southwark, 1988 88-10k-53-Edit_2400
Rouel Rd, Frean St, Bermondsey, Southwark, 1988 88-10k-53

The tower block in the background of this picture is Lupin Point on Abbey St, a 21 floor 61 m tall bock on Southwark’s Dickens Estate. This was made at the mouth of the bridge on Rouel Road, with Frean Street going off to the right. More recently this part of Rouel Road, was renamed Marine Street which previously had only started north of Jamaica Road (now Old Jamaica Road.)

This area has been redeveloped since I made this picture and the old housing replaced by a nine storey block so you need to go a little way along the road to see Lupin Point.

Old Jamaica Rd, Bermondsey, Southwark, 1988 88-10k-42-Edit_2400
Old Jamaica Rd, Bermondsey, Southwark, 1988 88-10k-42

These buildings on Old Jamaica Road are long gone. In 1988 clearly Robinsons Motorcycles Cycles Mopeds was still in business with a row of machines outside and bike parts in the shop window and curtains on the floors above, but much of the rest of the block was ready for demolition.

Enid Garage, Old Jamaica Rd, Bermondsey, Southwark, 1988 88-10k-43-Edit_2400
Enid Garage, Old Jamaica Rd, Bermondsey, Southwark, 1988 88-10k-43

Enid Garage on the south side of Old Jamaica Road was clearly a very basic concrete structure, its skeleton of beams exposed at the left. Behind are the railway arches and a long gantry across the tracks, still there. Enid Garage has gone and this is now the Old Jamaica Business Estate.

I think my walk continued to Rotherhithe New Road, where I’ll begin the next post in this series.


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Deptford to Rotherhithe October 1988

Saturday, June 11th, 2022

Deptford to Rotherhithe October 1988 – the continuation and end of my photographic walk in October 1988. The previous post on this was Liquor, Motors, Furniture, Packing & Timber.

Grinstead Rd, Evelyn St, Deptford, Lewisham, 1988 88-10h-25-Edit_2400
Grinstead Rd, Evelyn St, Deptford, Lewisham, 1988 88-10h-25

I turned around on Grinstead Road and made this picture as I returned to Evelyn Street. Directly ahead on the other side of Evelyn St was the car auction site shown in a previous post, and towering above that two of the towers on the Pepys Estate. On my right was the grim factory wall of the former galvanised iron and zinc Ida works, at the back of Neptune Wharf on the now filled-in Surrey Canal

Clare Villas, Evelyn St, Deptford, Lewisham, 1988 88-10h-26-Edit_2400
Clare Villas, Evelyn St, Deptford, Lewisham, 1988

Clare Villas at 114-116 Evelyn Street and the neighbouring semi-detached pair Oak Villas whose doorway is at the left of the picture show us that there were then some wealthy local residents. These houses back on to Deptford Park and probably date from when this land was market gardens around the time this was bought by the London County Council in 1884. I think one of the two pairs was a little earlier than this date; Pevsner mentions both Clare Villas and Oak Villas, dating the latter to 1881.

Clare Villas, Evelyn St, Deptford, Lewisham, 1988 88-10i-22-Edit_2400
Clare Villas, Evelyn St, Deptford, Lewisham, 1988 88-10i-22

Another picture of Clare Villas. I walked further along Evelyn Street stooping to take a couple of pictures of a large block on the corner with Bestwood Street, with six rounded columns going up between its four storeys of windows with a vaguely deco feel, I think where MacDonalds now is, which I seem to have forgotten to digitise, along with an interestingly angled four-storey building with balconies on the north side of the junction, also not digitised.

Bestwood St, Rotherhithe, Southwark, 1988 88-10i-26-Edit_2400
Bestwood St, Rotherhithe, Southwark, 1988 88-10i-26

I often saw this block of two storey properties with their neatly trimmed hedges from the top floor of a bus, but this time I was on foot and stopped to make a couple of pictures, of whcih this, with its row of striped posts is more successful. Though I think it looked better from the higher viewpoint of the bus. This is a council development from the 1930s.

Lower Rd, Plough Way, Rotherhithe, Southwark, 1988 88-10i-14-Edit_2400
Lower Rd, Plough Way, Rotherhithe, Southwark, 1988 88-10i-14

Scorer’s Corner has conveniently placed road signs among its wealth of text to tell us that this is the corner of Plough Way and Lower Road. The buildings on Lower Road were demolished before 2008 and the site remained empty until replaced by a rather boring development in 2015-6. This includes the site of the Dreadnought pub at right, first recorded in 1849, although its mock Tudor frontage is rather later.

The buildings along Plough Way at left are still standing, though the Prince of Wales pub, there since at least 1861 closed and became a betting shop around 2012.

The Crystal Ball, Rotherhithe New Rd, Rotherhithe, Southwark, 198888-10i-15-Edit_2400
The Crystal Ball, Rotherhithe New Rd, Rotherhithe, Southwark, 198888-10i-15

The Crystal Ball frontage at 30 Rotherhithe New Road survived until around 2011 although I think the shop probably closed rather earlier. The building was then converted into residential use.

The Crystal Ball, Rotherhithe New Rd, Rotherhithe, Southwark, 1988 88-10i-16-Edit_2400
The Crystal Ball, Rotherhithe New Rd, Rotherhithe, Southwark, 1988 88-10i-16

It name ‘The Crystal Ball’ was inspired by the pub next door, the Crystal Tavern, first recorded here on the corner of Rotherhithe Old Road in 1852 but the current building, a fine example of a late Victorian pub, is dated 1895. Although it still has the pub sign (altered to read ‘Christ All Tavern’) and the Courage cockerel you can see in part at top left of this picture, it has since 1996 been home to the Christian Arise & Shine Evangelistic Association as their London Outreach Centre.

I think this walk ended here, at Surrey Quays Station, though it was then a rather longer an inconvenient journey for me by Underground back to Waterloo, requiring changes at Whitechapel from the East London Line to the District, then at Embankment onto the Northern Line one stop to Waterloo. The extension of the Jubilee Line to Stratford, opened at the start of 2000 made journeys to Rotherhithe considerably more convenient.


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Liquor, Motors, Furniture, Packing & Timber

Sunday, June 5th, 2022

Liquor, Motors, Furniture, Packing & Timber My previous post on this walk in in Deptford on October 1988, More From Deptford, ended at Tooheys Liquor Barn on Evelyn Road, where this section starts.

Liquor Barn, Evelyn St, Deptford, Lewisham, 1988 88-10h-62
Liquor Barn, Evelyn St, Deptford, Lewisham, 1988 88-10h-62

Toohey’s Brewery was founded by two brothers, John Thomas Toohey,born in COunty Tipperary whose family emigrated to Melbourne in 1841, and his younger Australian-born brother Matthew.
They ran pubs in Melbourne and then moved to Sydney where they set up their brewery in 1869, brewing Tooheys Black Old Ale. The company went public in 1902 and began brewing lager in 1930, though normally it comes in rather smaller bottles than this one. After various mergers and takeovers the company is now owned by Japanese brewer Kirin. Evelyn St. Wines of which this was a part was on this site until around 2015.

City Motor Auctions, Evelyn St, Deptford, Lewisham, 1988 88-10h-64-Edit_2400
City Motor Auctions, Evelyn St, Deptford, Lewisham, 1988 88-10h-64

City Motor Auctions Ltd was just to the east of the Liquor Barn on Evelyn St and car auctions, latterly under the name Docklands City Car Auctions continued here until around 2014. Like the Liquor Barn it became a part of the large development site

Bucks,  Furniture Warehouse, Evelyn St, Deptford, Lewisham, 1988 88-10h-52-Edit_2400
Bucks, Furniture Warehouse, Evelyn St, Deptford, Lewisham, 1988 88-10h-52

Bucks were still here at Bridge Wharf immediately to the west of the former Surrey Canal until around 2012 and their site was then briefly taken over by the car auctions, with Bucks returning briefly when those moved to Charlton at the start of 2015. The site was derelict by the end of 2015 and demolition was complete by 2017.

I was unsure if the circular bricked area with a post at its centre was a relic of the former wharf or simply a sculpture recalling the past. I couldn’t see any particular purpose in it, so it was probably art!

Evelyn St, Deptford, Lewisham, 1988 88-10h-53-Edit_2400
Evelyn St, Deptford, Lewisham, 1988 88-10h-53

Ocean wharf was at the south-west corner of the bridge built to take Evelyn Street over the Surrey Canal. Parker Packing Co Ltd were presumably the Parker whose corner was a few yards away on the opposite side of Evelyn St on its corner with Dragoon Road. The sign at an angle points to Neptune Wharf and a sign for a company dealing in polythene sheeting, polythene & paper sacks and other items, while a larger sign behind the branches is completely blank.

Timber Sheds, former Surrey Canal, Evelyn St, Deptford, Lewisham, 1988 88-10h-54
Timber Sheds, former Surrey Canal, Evelyn St, Deptford, Lewisham, 1988 88-10h-54

The view from Blackhorse Bridge looking towards the southwest where once the Surrey Canal ran, with timber sheds along its east bank. Timber would have been a major part of the canal traffic, as the Surrey Docks were largely used for timber imports and had large timber ponds. By 2008 the timber sheds had been replaced but otherwise the view was much the same, but in 2016 the empty space was filled by a large Shurgard self-storage shed.

Timber Sheds, Blackhorse Road, Deptford, Lewisham, 1988 88-10h-56
Timber Sheds, Blackhorse Road, Deptford, Lewisham, 1988 10h-56

The view of the timber sheds in the previous picture from Blackhorse Road, replaced some years ago by the Blackhorse Business Park.

Grinstead House, Grinstead Rd, Deptford, Lewisham, 1988 88-10h-34-Edit_2400
Grinstead House, Grinstead Rd, Deptford, Lewisham, 1988 88-10h-34

All the buildings along Grinstead Road have been demolished and replaced by residential properties. This was the only building I found of interest in the long stretch facing Deptford Park. The park was opened to the public in 1897 and probably Grinstead Road dates from then or shortly afterwards. I can find no explanation for the street name.

Grinstead House, Grinstead Rd, Deptford, Lewisham, 1988 88-10h-36-Edit_2400
Grinstead House, Grinstead Rd, Deptford, Lewisham, 1988 88-10h-36

Another view of its distinctive doorway. I can find nothing out about this property and there are few if any clues although it interested me enough to take nine frames concentrating on the doorway. The logo above the door is I think made of the letters J & J and this house was around halfway down the street, a short distance past the former galvanised iron and zinc Ida works, at the back of Neptune Wharf. It probably dates from the early 20th century.

To be continued in a later post.


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