Archive for the ‘My Own Work’ Category

Iona – the Abbey

Friday, August 14th, 2020

Every time I peel an onion, something I do several times most weeks, it reminds me of our stay at Iona. As paying guests of the Iona Community at the Abbey we took our part in the daily chores which kept the place running, and each morning after breakfast I went with the other ‘Otters’ – the work group to which I had been assigned to the kitchen to prepare vegetables. My part in this job seemed always to be one of two or three of us peeling onions – and you need a lot of onions to cook vegetarian meals for around 50 or 60 people.

There are a lot of dodges that people advise to avoid tears when peeling onions, and I think I tried them all. They may help if you are only peeling one or two, but none help if you have a mountain of them to get through. You cry, and crying only makes it worse. Still, I think I preferred it to cleaning the lavatories and washrooms that my partner was assigned to.

The Abbey is essentially a twentieth-century reconstruction carried out by teams of volunteers from the Iona Community after the site with its ruins was gifted to the Church of Scotland by the 8th Duke of Argyll in 1899, with more modern living accommodation built alongside it in a matching external style.

The Duke is still present – in marble, lying beside his wife.

As well as the abbey, alongside it is a small church, the oldest building on Iona (c 1150) with an ancient graveyard where 48 Kings of Scotland were buried. They were joined more recently by Labour leader John Smith; a boulder marks his grave with the message “An Honest Man’s The Noblest Work of God”.

There are ruins of another chapel in the grounds, as well as those of a former Bishop’s House, and splendid views across the sound to Mull, enough to drag me out of bed for a short walk before breakfast (and onions.) And of course there were a number of short religious services, optional but an important part of the experience, though with too much unaccompanied singing for my taste.

More pictures in and around the Abbey from our visit 12 years ago on My London Diary.


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


Portrait of a woman – Lucy Parsons

Thursday, August 13th, 2020

I’ve just finished reading the final instalment of a series of five articles by Colleen Thornton on Paul Grottkau and Lucy Parsons published as a guest post on A D Coleman’s Photocritic International. It was a story which began by Thornton buying on E-bay a rather fine cabinet-card portrait of an unidentified African American woman, made by a hitherto unknown photographer whose name and Chicago address were below the picture.

Although Paul Grottkau was not well-known as a photographer, he had been prominent in socialist circles both in his native Germany and, after escaping to the USA in 1877 following political arrests and persecution, in Chicago where he settled, quickly becoming editor of the German language workers’ newspaper there.

Thornton goes briefly into considerable detail about his activities there, and in particular to the Haymarket Bombing in May 1886 and the arrests and execution of leading anarchists who were Grottkau’s colleagues, and were clearly unconnected with the bomb. Grottkau had by the time of the bombing moved to Milwaukee, where he had started another German language workers newspaper and become a leader in a number of strikes, including the large strike at the Milwaukee Iron Company’s rolling mill in Bay View. The National Guard fired on the 12,000 strikers and their supporters in ‘The Bay View Massacre’, and Grottkau was arrested as he tried to calm the situation by speaking to them in German. The New York Times reported Mrs. Albert R. Parsons as being in the court when he was sentenced to a year in jail (he only served 6 weeks.) Her husband, Albert Parsons was one of The ‘Haymarket Martyrs’, then awaiting execution, and hanged in November 1887. The following year Grottkau returned to Chicago to edit the newspaper again and opened a photo studio. Two years later he moved away with his family, briefly setting up studios in Milwaukee and Detroit before settling in San Francisco in 1891. There he may have worked in the studio of Joseph Holler, as well as continuing his political activities as a Social Democrat. He contracted pneumonia after returning to work for them in Milwaukee in 1898; 10,000 people attended his funeral and his obituary was published by the New York Times. But although his life-long work as an “anarchist/socialist writer, editor, labor organizer, and political activist” is well-known and documented, nothing at the time mentioned that he made a living and supported his family as a studio photographer, and very little is known about his photographic work.

Thornton was led by her research to Lucy Parsons and by comparing with the few known pictures of her, was able to establish to her satisfaction that the picture she had bought was of Lucy Parsons. Without access to the original it is difficult to fully assess the evidence, and in particular that of some fairly extensive and skilled retouching by Grottkau that Thornton discusses. She certainly makes a good case, but I am left with just a scintilla of suspicion; I’m convinced but not entirely so. But of course her research about both Grottkayu and Parsons still stands even in the unlikely event that Thornton was wrong about the photograph which prompted it.


I have a particular interest in this story as I have photographed Lucy Parsons many times in different locations, or rather her image on a banner produced by UK anarchist group Class War. What I call their ‘Lucy Parsons‘ banner has on it “We must devastate the avenues where the wealthy live” attributed to ‘Lucy Parsons (1853-1942)’. I first photographed it in July 2014 at one of their many protests against one of London’s new apartment blocks providing separate ‘poor doors’ for those living the the social housing from those in the larger private part of the building. I’ve since learnt rather more about her life and politics, but not before about some of the aspects of her life covered in this series of article.


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

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


Camden and more, 1987

Wednesday, August 12th, 2020
Gilbey House, Regents Canal, Camden, 1987 87-3a-36-positive_2400
Gilbey House, Regents Canal, Camden, 1987

This view will be familiar to the millions of people who flock to Camden Lock, now one of London’s main tourist attractions. The Gilbey brothers who had volunteered to go abroad to work in a hospital during the Crimean War returned to London and set up a wine and spirit business in 1857. As wines from France and elsewhere on the continent had to pay heavy duties they successfully promoted wines from the British Empire, particularly the Cape. The duties on continental wines were lowered in 1861 and Gilbey’s sold those as well, supplying the off-licences which grocers had been allowed to open by Gladstone in 1860.

Gilbey House, Regents Canal, Camden, 1987 87-3a-12-positive_2400
Gilbey House, Regents Canal, Camden, 1987

They added other drinks, sherry, port, whisky and in 1872 Gilbey’s London Dry Gin which made their name familiar in Britain and throughout the Empire. They built their gin distillery in Camden and soon had a large area of offices and stores around Oval Rd. But in 1962, following various mergers, Gilbey’s left Camden and moved to Harlow New Town.

Popbeat Records, Stucley Place, Camden, 1987 87-3b-06-positive_2400
Popbeat Records, Stucley Place, Camden, 1987

Stucley Place is just a few yards from the now often crowded Camden High St, just behind The Elephant’s Head. I think it had already become a rather trendy area by 1987, a stone’s throw from the TV AM studios in Hawley Crescent.

TV AM, Hawley Crescent, Camden, 1987 87-3b-05-positive_2400
TV AM, Hawley Crescent, Camden, 1987

This was the street side of the building, probably rather better known for the eggs in egg cups on the canal side of the former Henlys building. To me it seemed peculiarly tacky.

Bridge, Regents Canal, Camden, 1987 87-3a-34-positive_2400
Bridge, Regents Canal, Camden, 1987

The bridge and locks are still there, and are now pretty much tourist central, and even back in 1987 there are still quite a few people visible if you look closely. But it might now be difficult to get just 3 pairs of people actually on the bridge.

These locks held up the opening of the canal for several years as originally they were built in 1814 as boat lifts to conserve water. Sir William Congreve, who had developed many novel ideas, but was best known for the rockets he made for military use, designed a hydro-pneumatic canal lift with twin caissons. The canal company modified his designs and they were built by Henry Maudslay and Co. The lifts worked for a few months, though they were difficult to operate, but soon failed when they were handed over to the canal company. Following angry arguments with the three parties each blaming the others, the Regent’s Canal company decided to replace them with the conventional locks now present.

Undoubtedly had they been built to the original designs there would have been fewer problems, but the manufacturing tolerances and sealing materials of the day would have made them unreliable and needed frequent maintenance. It was a great idea but many years ahead of its time.

The Cleveland, Post Office Tower, Cleveland St, Fitzrovia, E=Westminster, Camden, 1987 87-3a-54-positive_2400
The Cleveland, Post Office Tower, Cleveland St, Fitzrovia, Westminster, Camden, 1987

Two rather curious buildings in the same picture. The Cleveland Pub later became a restaurant and then a bar, remaining in use until around 2015 and was demolished I think in 2019. The Post Office Tower is still there.

Langham Works, Great Portland St, Westminster, 1987 87-3a-63-positive_2400
Langham Works, Great Portland St, Westminster, 1987

The 13.8 acres of the Langham Estate stretch from the Euston Road to Oxford St in an area property developers call ‘Noho’, but everyone else knows as Fitzrovia. In 2008 when billionaire tax exiles the Candy brothers named the block of flats they were developing on the former Middlesex Hospital site Noho Square, local residents responded with a “say no to Noho” petition.

Although my contact sheet places this building on Great Portland St, I cannot now find it on the street. It may have been demolished, or possibly I had wandered down a side street and not noted the fact. Please let me know if you recognise it somewhere.

University of Westminster, New Cavendish St, Westminster, 1987 87-3a-65-positive_2400
University of Westminster, New Cavendish St, Westminster, 1987

In 1970 the Regent Street Polytechnic became the Polytechnic of Central London, one of 30 new polytechnics formed in 1970 awarding degrees from the Council of National Academic Awards. It became the University of Westminster in 1992. This building is still at 115 Cavendish St, though it has added an extra floor since I took this picture in 1987. In the background of this picture you can see the Post Office Tower.


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

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


Another side of Marylebone

Tuesday, August 11th, 2020
Paddington Green, Paddington, Westminster, 1987 87-3b-15-positive_2400
Paddington Green, Paddington, Westminster, 1987

There is another side to Marylebone, particularly to the north of the Marylebone Road, around Lisson Grove and Edgware Road. The trees are still there on the Green, and I think my tilted camera was an attempt to maximise their effect. The tower blocks at right, Hall and Braithwaite Towers, both 22 stories were commissioned by Paddington Metropolitan Borough Council, more or less identical blocks by R A Jensen, completed in 1966 and still standing, each with 80 flats, but Paddington College, opened here in 1967 was replaced by a new building for what is now City of Westminster College in 2011.

Ralfe Electronics, Transept St, Marylebone, Westminster, 1987 87-3c-42-positive_2400
Ralfe Electronics, Transept St, Marylebone, Westminster, 1987

Ralfe Electronics was indeed ‘The “Famous House” for Electronic Components‘ and a company of that name still exists, but is now in Watford. They were at 10 Chapel St, on the corner of Transept St, just a few yards from Edgware Rd (District) line station. Electronics geeks used to come from all over the country, if not the world, to shop here.

Bookmakers, Crawford Place, Paddington, Westminster, 1987 87-3c-15-positive_2400
Bookmakers, Crawford Place, Paddington, Westminster, 1987 87-3c-15-positive_2400
The Christian Union Almshouses, Crawford Place, Paddington, Westminster, 1987  87-3c-26-positive_2400
The Christian Union Almshouses, Crawford Place, Paddington, Westminster, 1987

The bookmakers was in Crawford Place, a short street off the Edgware Road in the rather plusher area south of the Marylebone Rd, close to the Christian Union Almshouses. This building is still there, and in very much better condition. Built as a small hospital for the elderly and inform in 1899 it was converted into a dozen self-contained flats a few years after I took this picture. It still provides housing “for older or retired people in housing need, who are of the Christian faith“, particularly those “who live in, or have a strong local connection to the Boroughs of Westminster, Camden, or Kensington & Chelsea.

Ken's Junk Shop, Lisson Grove, Westminster, 1987 87-3b-21-positive_2400
Ken’s Junk Shop, Lisson Grove, Westminster, 1987
87-3b-36-positive_2400
Lisson Grove Cottages, Lisson Grove, Westminster, 1987

The date on the houses in this small street off Lisson Grove is 1855, and they were Grade II listed a few months after I took this photograph. I think I was aware of these artisanal dwellings and Bell St from the drawing and writing of Geoffrey Fletcher – these cottages are drawn on p51 of his London Souvenirs (1973).

It was easy to walk past the entry to them without noticing, and I think it is now behind a locked gate.

Bookseller, Bell St, Lisson Grove, Westminster, 1987 87-3b-23-positive_2400
Bookseller, Bell St, Lisson Grove, Westminster, 1987

Bell St here now has a very different character, with most of the shops including this second-hand book dealer now converted to residential properties. Back in 1987 it was difficult to walk along this street without being diverted into browsing the extensive stock in search of a bargain, though these were hard to find.

The first Turkish Bath in London was opened in this street by Roger Evans in 1860, but the area was described at the time as being densely crowded with a population lower than the ‘decent poor’ on the east side of Lisson Grove, with Bell St “the main stream of a low colony, with many tributary channels.”

Stirling & Sons, Bell St, Lisson Grove, Westminster, 1987 87-3b-12-positive_2400
Stirling & Sons, Bell St, Lisson Grove, Westminster, 1987

One of my favourite pictures from this area shows the street and pavement outside Stirlings at 54 Bell St, a junk and scrap metal dealer with an extensive range and whose premises appear to need scaffolding. But it is the group of people in the doorway that provide much of the interest, as well as their backdrop.

Numbers on the street now go direct from 52 to 56, with no 54. The space of this shop and that on its right are now the Lisson Gallery, built to the designs of Tony Fretton shortly after I made this picture. The concrete pillar at left, part of a run-down single-storey building, continued to deteriorate until around 2010 when it was refurbished and in 2015 had two storeys added in a late Victorian manner that could be original.

More pictures of various areas of London in 1987.


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

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


12 Years Ago – our journey to Iona

Monday, August 10th, 2020

Twelve years ago today (I’m writing this the day before posting) we – myself, my wife and our elder son – were on our way to Iona. We’d enjoyed 5 nights in Glasgow at a Rennie Mackintosh hotel – more pictures here – and seen the sunset over the Clyde but had got up early to leave the hotel to catch a bus to Oban in the rain which continued to drive against the windows throughout the 3 hour journey.

Near Inverary – this was the clearer view from the bus on our way home

It was still raining as we queued to buy tickets for the two ferry journeys. We were fortunate to reach the bus when the ferry landed at Craignure in time to get a seat, while some unlikely people were left standing in the rain, waiting for 5 hours for our bus to return for a second journey.

We could see Mull from the ferry on our journey home. Outward we only saw rain
The ferry we had arrived on from Oban at Craignure. seen from the bus windo

The rain eased off a little for what is quite a spectacular journey across Mull to Fionnphort, around 35 miles on what is rather jokingly called the A849, mostly single track with passing places. It was around an hour and a half before we arrived at the landing slip there for the ferry across the strait to Baile Mòr on the island of Iona.

The jetty at Fionnphort and Mull. The ferry has just started across the strait.

From the slip we could see the island clearly, though there was still a little light rain, and watch the ferry making its way across the 0.85 miles of water, and very clearly see the Abbey where we were to spend a week.

The ferry docks at Fionnphort.

Technically our stay at the Abbey was not a holiday but a retreat and we were there with around thirty friends sharing in the life of the Abbey, including sharing the chores as well as taking part in its religious life including shared meals. But this left plenty of time to enjoy and explore the island, 3 miles long and at its widest point only 1.5 miles wide and virtually car free. I’ll perhaps write more about that later this week.

The Bishop’s House and the Abbey – where we were to stay – from the ferry

A week later we were on our way home, and the weather was much better, and I was able to make a few more photographs, a couple of which I’ve used here.

The ferry approaches the slip at Baile Mòr on Iona

Today, sat at home and still only venturing out for exercise and the very occasional shopping for essentials it’s good to re-live a little from 12 years ago. We’ve had to cancel our holiday this year which would have been in Wales – and hope to make it there in 2021.

More on My London Diary.


Marylebone musings

Sunday, August 9th, 2020
Joseph Bros, Textiles, Great Portland St, Fitzrovia, Westminster, 1987 87-3e-45-positive_2400
Joseph Bros, Textiles, Great Portland St, Fitzrovia, Westminster, 1987

Joseph Bros (Textiles) Ltd according to Companies House is dissolved, last filing company reports in 2006, though some online directories still list it at an address in Finchley which appears to be a garage. But the building is still there, with its ground floor occupied until recently by an “avant-garde” cosmetics company claiming inspiration from Salvador Dali claiming a “cosmetic artistic approach to stop time and restore youthful appearance.” Seeing what Dali did with clocks in his ‘The Persistence of Memory’ and other works, I don’t think I’d want to entrust my own ‘clock’ to them.

Park Crescent, Marylebone, Westminster, 1987 87-3e-21-positive_2400
Park Crescent, Marylebone, Westminster, 1987

John Nash’s Park Crescent, built in 1812-21 for the Prince Regent and still owned by the Crown Estate is of course Grade I listed, although only its facades are orginal, everything behind them having been restored in the 1960s. They had been badly damaged by bombing in 1940.

According to John Summerson‘s classic work ‘Georgian London’ published in 1945 (my copy is of the 1947 reprint though bought a little later) “Nash inaugurated the real stucco age with the building of Park Crescent in Parker’s Roman Cement in 1812“. He also comments that “the simple appropriateness of Park Crescent with its Ionic colonnades is beyond criticism“.

All Saints Church, Margaret St, Fitzrovia, Westminster, 1987 87-3e-02-positive_2400
All Saints Church, Margaret St, Fitzrovia, Westminster, 1987

All Saints Church in a kind of fantasy gothic called for a very different treatment. It was designed by William Butterfield in 1850 and completed in 1859. Another Grade I listed structure it has been described by Simon Jenkins as “architecturally England’s most celebrated Victorian church” and was pioneering in its use of brick rather than the traditional gothic stone. It set a style that would be much copied for the next 20 years though largely less flamboyantly.

I’ve always felt it would be a good location for a horror film, but is actually a leading centre for Anglo-Catholics in the Church of England.

West London Synagogue, Upper Berkeley St, Marylebone, Westminster, 1987 87-3d-52-positive_2400
West London Synagogue, Upper Berkeley St, Marylebone, Westminster, 1987

Quite in contrast is the West London Synagogue, Upper Berkeley St, Marylebone, Westminster, opened in 1870. The congregation had split away from the Sephardi and Ashkenazi synagogues to worship as “British Jews”, adopting a practice based on the “written Torah”. In 1940 they becamae a part of mainstream Reform Judaism.

The architectural style of the building, by Henry David Davis (1838/9-1915) and Barrow Emanuel (1841-1904), is described as Neo-Byzantine, and is certainly unlike their other works I’ve been able to identify. As well as some artisanal blocks of flats for the East End Dwellings Company they also designed the City of London School for Boys still on Victoria Embankment. The synagogue seems to me a slightly odd amalgam of a fortress and a triumphal gateway.

Off-licence, Upper Berkeley St, Marylebone, Westminster, 1987 87-3d-51-positive_2400
Off-licence, Upper Berkeley St, Marylebone, Westminster, 1987

I was amused by the shop sign and not at all sure that I understood it when I took this photograph of what appears to be a rather up-market off-licence. I’m still not sure about it, with a star, arrow and what seemed to me half a lyre with the text ‘E du V’. Doubtless there is some obvious cultural reference which is lost on me, and hopefully someone will point out my ignorance in response to this post.

The reflection in the window clearly indicates it was on a corner of Upper Berkeley St, though I’m not sure on which corner, possibly of Seymour St. It is surely long gone.

St Mary's Church, Wyndham Place, Marylebone, Westminster, 1987
St Mary’s Church, St Mary’s School, Wyndham Place, Bryanston Square, Marylebone, Westminster, 1987

The church, listed Grade I, was designed by Robert Smirke and built in 1823-4. There is a very full description of the church in ‘A Topographical and Historical Account of the Parish of St. Mary Le Bone’ by Thomas Smith, printed and published in 1833 by John Smith and available at the Internet Archive. The descirption ends on p105-6 with these comments:

It would have been desirable, if possible, to have procured a site for this church in a more central part of the District than that which has been assigned to it. In short, it should almost seem as if the greatest possible pains had been taken to select a site, in all respects the most inconvenient for the majority of the congregation ; it being surrounded by streets of worse than a second rate description.

If it be said, that the accommodation of the poor has been principally consulted the answer is the poor are always sure to fill the free seats allotted to them wherever the service of the Church of England is decently and impressively performed. The tower and cupola of this church form a tolerably picturesque termination to the view from Cumberland Gate, Hyde Park.

Internet Archive
Bryanston Square, Marylebone, Westminster, 1987 87-3d-21-positive_2400
Bryanston Square, Marylebone, Westminster, 1987
St Mary's School, Wyndham Place, Marylebone, Westminster, 1987  87-3d-11-positive_2400
St Mary’s School, Wyndham Place, Marylebone, Westminster, 1987

1987 Shoreditch

Saturday, August 8th, 2020
Great Eastern St, Curtain Rd, Shoreditch, Hackney, 1987 87-3h-63-positive_2400
Great Eastern St/Curtain Rd, Shoreditch, Hackney, 1987

Almost every picture I took in Shoreditch in 1987 seemed to have a ‘For Sale’ notice on a building in it.

The Mission, Shoreditch High St, Shoreditch, Hackney, 1987 87-3h-54-positive_2400
The Mission, Shoreditch High St, Shoreditch, Hackney, 1987

Shoreditch is an area just outside the City of London, and it was this position outside of the City’s jurisdiction that led to its being the site of London’s first theatres towards the end of the 16th century. These soon moved to other areas – such as Southwark – but people and trades continued to grow in the area. There was a massive increase in population in the Victorian era, with local industries particularly based on timber and furniture-making and upholstering. There are still many Victorian warehoused in the area, but almost all now put to other uses as the furniture trade lost out to cheaper mass-produced and often imported goods. The de-industrialisation was hastened by the shift under Thatcher away from manufacturing to service industries, and by the time I took these pictures in 1987 many warehouses and workshops were empty.

Andrews Office Equipment, Great Eastern St, Shoreditch, Hackney, 1987 87-3h-42-positive_2400
Andrews Office Equipment, Great Eastern St, Shoreditch, Hackney, 1987
Shops, Tabernacle St, Old St, Islington, Hackney, 1987 87-3h-24-positive_2400 87-3h-24-positive_2400
Shops, Paul St, Old St, Islington, Hackney, 1987

The fire at Butler’s wharf led to the many artists who had set up studios and often lived in them illegally in disused warehouses being given notice to quit in 1978/9. One of my artist friends being evicted got on his bike and cycled north looking for a suitable new home and got a flat tire on Curtain Rd. He stopped to repair it outside a furniture factory which was closing down and asked a man there if he could have a bowl and water to try and locate the puncture. They talked a little and he was told that the premises were to let – and he had his studio there for the next 20 years or more.

Old St,  Shoreditch, Hackney, 1987
Old St, Shoreditch, Hackney, 1987

Other artists also found cheap property to use as studios, and their presence kept the area alive and gradually made it a more desirable area. Developers moved in, rents increased and artists were gradually forced out of the area, as new clubs, restuarants and other leisure venues proliferated. From the mid-90s Shoreditch began to be a popular area to go for a night out, and is now one of London’s tourist destinations.

W A Hudson Ltd, Curtain Rd, Shoreditch, Hackney, 1987 87-3g-12-positive_2400
W A Hudson Ltd, Curtain Rd, Shoreditch, Hackney, 1987
Old St,  Shoreditch, Hackney, 1987 87-3g-43-positive_2400
Old St, Shoreditch, Hackney, 1987

There are still some artists with studios in the area, but most of its art is now outside on its walls as London’s prime graffiti area. In their place as well as the clubs and food outlets the area has also become home to many high-tech computer based companies, and an epitome of gentrification and hipster culture.

Rivington St,  Shoreditch, Hackney, 1987 87-3g-34-positive_2400
Rivington St, Shoreditch, Hackney, 1987
B Smiler & Sons, Rivington St,  Shoreditch, Hackney, 1987 87-3g-23-positive_2400
B Smiler & Sons, Rivington St, Shoreditch, Hackney, 1987

More from Shoreditch and elsewhere on Page 3 of my 1987 London Photos.


Marylebone Doors

Friday, August 7th, 2020
Duchess St, Marylebone, Westminster, 1987 87-3j-65-positive_2400
Duchess St, Marylebone, Westminster, 1987

This gem of a building is just around a corner from the BBC on a few yards down Duchess St, on the opposite side of Portland Place was built to the plans of Robert Adam in 1769-71 as the stable-coach house to Chandos House, Queen Anne Street, and was altered – according to its Grade II listing text “quite sympathetically” around 1924 by Arthur Bolton. The text states it is now part of the British Medical Association.

The lean of the lamp post emphasises the rectangular formality and symmetry of the building as does the man walking past. I’m not sure if I would have preferred not to have a taxi speeding into the picture. The 35mm shift lens enabled me to keep the verticals upright and get the whole building in frame from the opposite side of a fairly narrow street.

Mansfield St, Marylebone, Westminster, 1987 87-3j-56-positive_2400
Mansfield St, Marylebone, Westminster, 1987

Just around the corner from the previous picture is this magnificent fence with its baskets of flowers. I felt the out of focus bush made a suitable contrast between natural vegetation and its representation.

I think this is the garden screen mentioned in the listing text and probably like the house behind dates from 1914.

Hinde St,  Marylebone, Westminster, 1987 87-3j-22-positive_2400
Hinde St, Marylebone, Westminster, 1987

Doorways are one of the most important architectural features of buildings, and this one very clearly gives an impression of the luxury of the flats inside Hinde House.

Hinde St,  Marylebone, Westminster, 1987 87-3j-21-positive_2400
Hinde St, Marylebone, Westminster, 1987

A similar doorway next door (London streets sometime number in odd ways) is a little plainer, perhaps suggesting that inside are flats for less important people. Though it is certainly not a ‘poor door’ leading to any social housing in the block.

The Royal Society of Medicine, Henrietta Place, Marylebone, Westminster, 1987 87-3i-52-positive_2400
The Royal Society of Medicine, Henrietta Place, Marylebone, Westminster, 1987

My theme of doors continues with the grand entrance for The Royal Society of Medicine in Henrietta Place.

Marylebone Lane, Marylebone, Westminster, 1987 87-3i-42-positive_2400

And another door is a prominent feature in this building with its series of semi-circles on Marylebone Lane. It’s a building with the window at the centre of the picture set a little lower, so it seems to be winking at us.

Again a taxi has crept in. There are far too many of them, often simply cruising around empty in the centre of London, a significant cause of both pollution and congestion. They are slowly changing from diesel to electric which will help with the pollution, but wont ease the congestion. Ridiculously they are exempted from the congestion charge while minicabs have to pay it. We don’t need ‘ply for hire’ when cabs can be summoned by smartphone and its time for change.

Rimmel, Wigmore St, Marylebone,, Westminster, 1987 87-3i-25-positive_2400
Rimmel, Wigmore St, Marylebone, Westminster, 1987

There are a few more pictures of doors in the area in this section of my 1987 London Photos, but this at Bessborough House on the corner of Cavendish Square is perhaps the most impressive. According to the Grade II listing the house dates from 1770s with c.1800 and early C20 alterations. About this entrance it states “Blind return to Wigmore Street has neo-Adam style pilaster treatment to ground floor with shallow relief modelled “graces” between pairs of pilasters under entablature – all in stucco.”

When I took this picture it had the circular message at left that it was the premises of Rimmel, the cosmetics house founded in 1834 by French-born perfume chemist Eugène Rimmel and often known as Rimmel London. He put on sale a product for darkening eyelashes using the newly invented petroleum jelly and black pigment, marketed under the name mascara which was hugely successful both in the UK and internationally – and mascara is still called ‘Rimmel’ in a number of languages.

More pictures on page 3 of 1987 London Photos.


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

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

No More Hiroshimas

Thursday, August 6th, 2020
A prayer by Japanese monk Rev Nagase, from the Battersea Peace Pagoda, 2011

Most years if I am in London at the start of August I attend the London CND Hiroshima Day commemoration in Tavistock Square. This year, the 75th anniversary, I will be at the online event.

The US bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki was a war crime on a massive scale and lacked any real military justification. So far, despite a huge number of atomic weapons being manufactured and many billions spent on them and their delivery systems none have been used, though we now know that it was only the refusal of one Russian soldier to obey orders that saved us from nuclear annihilation.

The theory of nuclear deterrence never made sense, and over the years more countries have created their own nuclear weapons, mainly as a status symbol. US, UK, Russia, France, China, India, Pakistan, Israel and North Korea currently have them. South Africa is the only country which has given them up (several soviet republics handed them back to Russia when the USSR broke up) but around 190 countries including South Africa have now signed up the the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, confirming they will not develop them.

The Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons opened for signature at United Nations headquarters in New York on 20 September 2017 having been passed with 122 countries in favour – but none of the nuclear states or other NATO members voted and the Netherlands was the sole vote against. So far only 40 states have ratified the treaty.

The London 75th Anniversary event is one of many around the world you can join in or view online. I’ve posted a few of my pictures from earlier years here, but there are many more on My London Diary – for 2004, 2009, 2011, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018 and 2019.

Jeremy Corbyn introduces the Mayor of Camden, Cllr Faruque Ansari, 2009
Hetty Bower, 105, holds up a Peace Card given her by a primary school class, 2011
Tony Benn speaks, 2011
CND Chair Kate Hudson, 2014
Flowers are laid at the Hiroshima Cherry Tree in Tavistock Square, 2015

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

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


1987 Fitzrovia and around

Tuesday, August 4th, 2020
Fitzroy Square, Fitzrovia, Camden, 1987 87-2q-24-positive_2400
Fitzroy Square, Fitzrovia, Camden, 1987

I think I had an appointment to see a man who worked for a well-known architect’s firm with plush offices in Fitzroy Square. It was such a different atmosphere from my own workplace, at the time in a sixth-form college. I was offered coffee and a secretary brought it, filter coffee in a cup with a saucer on a tray with biscuits, cream and tinted sugar crystals. When I had visitors at work they got instant served by me from a kettle in the corner of a dingy shared office and if they wanted milk it was powdered granules. Sugar would come in a screwed up bag and if they were lucky I’d find a spoon to stir it, otherwise they might be offered a cleanish spatula or even a pencil. We had a BBC computer with a small green screen in one corner, there I walked past more computers, large graphics tablets and oversize screens than I’ve ever seen in the same building before. It was the first time I’d really seen how things were where the real money was.

The coffee was good, the talk interesting, but I don’t think I sold any of my photographs.

Fish Stall, Goodge Place, Fitzrovia, Westminster, 1987 87-2r-65-positive_2400
Fish Stall, Goodge Place, Fitzrovia, Westminster, 1987

It was only a fairly short meeting, and I had time to walk around the area before and after – and to cut my costs I’d got a train to Charing Cross and walked from there rather than use the Underground. So there are some pictures from Covent Garden and St Giles as well as Fitzrovia.

There are still stalls in Goodge Place, but not I think any dealing in basic foods such as fish, but all selling fast food for lunches for those who work in the area.

H Wolfin, Textiles, Great Titchfield St, Fitzrovia, Westminster, 1987 87-2r-46-positive_2400
H Wolfin, Textiles, Great Titchfield St, Fitzrovia, Westminster, 1987

This shop is still there, but rather than selling fabrics in large rolls to the trade now sells children’s clothes and baby presents to tourists and others, with delivery around the world. H Wolfin is still in business but elsewhere in Greater London, now was Wolfin Textiles in Hatch End, Pinner, and their web site states:

Originally known as Wolfin and Levy, Wolfin Textiles has been established for over 100 years and began in 1900 as an independent family-owned textiles shop in London’s Old Street. Specialising in fabrics for the theatre, film, interior and fashion industries, Wolfin and Levy moved to London’s West End in 1972, before finally relocating to Greater London in 1999 as Wolfin Textiles. Today we continue to hold onto the family ethos of offering the finest quality fabrics and real customer service. We pride ourselves on being able to offer wholesale prices for everyone, with no minimum order.

https://www.wolfintextiles.co.uk
St Charles Borromeo, Church, Ogle St, Fitzrovia, Westminster, 1987 87-2r-24-positive_2400
St Charles Borromeo, Church, Ogle St, Fitzrovia, Westminster, 1987

St Charles Borromeo in Ogle St is one of London’s stranger church buildings, a small Grade II listed Roman Catholic Church in what is described as a simple but “muscular” Gothic. Charles Borromeo was a 16th century Italian cardinal who took an active role in the counter-Reformation and is best known to Protestants for his ruthless suppression in the Swiss valleys; during a pastoral visit to one of them in 1583 he arrested 150 people including the provost, who, along with 11 women was condemned to be burnt alive for witchcraft.

According to Wikipedia, one biographer described him as “an austere, dedicated, humorless and uncompromising personality” and his uncompromising implementation of reforms “brought him into conflict with secular leaders, priests, and even the Pope.” After his death in 1584 he was rapidly venerated, particularly in Milan where he had been archbishop since 1564, and was made a saint in 1610.

Centre Point, St Giles, Camden, 1987 87-2q-66-positive_2400
Centre Point, St Giles, Camden, 1987

The building of Centre Point, designed by architect Richard Seifert, began in 1963 at the start of ‘Swinging London’ and the building, described as London’s first ‘Pop Art Buildings’ has always been controversial – as was its listing in 1995. Completed in 1966 it was then one of London’s tallest buildings and still dominates the area, its 34 floors reaching to 385 ft (117m).

Centre Point stood empty, apart from a brief occupation by squatters to draw attention to its being deliberately left empty during a housing crisis in London in 1974, for nine years until 1975. In 2015-8 the building was converted to residential use with 82 apartments, their interiors designed by  Conran & Partners. The cheapest was on sale in 2017 for £1,825,000 but the owners apparently denied that these were luxury flats.

More on page 3 of my 1987 London Photos.