Archive for July, 2017

Mind Outed

Thursday, July 20th, 2017

Charities often come in for criticism for various reasons, and our charity law is in some respects curious. Many question why schools founded hundreds of years ago for the education of poor scholars – clearly a worthwhile charitable aim – should still have charitable status when they now are exclusive high-fee institutions maintaining the English class system. And others, founded more recently often to meet desperate social needs often now seems to be rather commercial undertakings more interested in empire building than in their original aims, with directors paid ten or twenty times the average wage – though often still relying on a great deal of volunteer labour as well as charitable donations.

I probably should declare an interest, as my wife is a trustee of two small charities and a volunteer for another, all unpaid and all still serving some useful purpose.

Mind is a mental health charity, and most of those taking part in this protest were from the Mental Health Resistance Network (MHRN) and Disabled People Against Cuts (DPAC) and with first-hand experience of the charity as users, and some had disturbing stories about how they had been treated at local centres run by Mind.

Of course when people speak we are only hearing one side of the story and having had considerable personal experience of living with and knowing people with mental health issues, starting at a very young age, I sometimes had my doubts about how others might have seen the events they describe. Of course we all see the world from our own perspective, but sometimes this is more distorted than others.

Since the Tories came to power – at first in the 2010 coalition – welfare reforms and sanctions, along with cuts in local authority services because of their austerity programme, have led to the premature deaths of many with mental health problems. The MHRN and Mind for some time worked together taking the government to court over the unfair way that Work Capability Assessments discriminated against people with mental health conditions.

But now, Mind has dropped out of the fight, ending support for the court case and failing to mention the effects of government policies in its latest five-year strategy report. MHRN says it is now colluding with the government, and as evidence, its policy and campaigns manager Tom Pollard has been seconded to work as a senior policy adviser to the DWP, the arm of government responsible for the deaths.

What was unusual about this protest was that instead of locking the doors, hiding inside and calling the police as so often happens when protests take place, Mind’s chief executive, Paul Farmer, came out to speak and argue with the protesters.

There were some angry exchanges, with Farmer insisting that Mind was still working for people with mental health problems and not for the DWP, and that Pollard’s secondment had been a personal decision by him to find out more about the government’s thinking, not to assist them in discriminating against the mentally ill. I don’t think any of the protesters were convinced, but I did feel that perhaps there was really more common ground between them than the protest suggested.

But while Mind may be convinced that their change of approach is still fighting their corner, I suppose what matters is how effective it is, and nine months later government policy has only worsened. It is becoming increasingly difficult not to think that starvation and suicide are deliberate Tory policies for dealing with the the disabled and mentally ill rather than simply a side-effect. Time I think for Mind to rethink.

More pictures at Mind’s collusion with the DWP.
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Hull Photos: 6/7/17-12/7/17

Wednesday, July 19th, 2017

Finally more or less up to date with the digests from my image a day Hull2017 UK City of Culture project – though you can see the new pictures every day and see them with my comments on my Facebook page – details at the end of this post.


6th July 2017

Here and for the next few pictures I have to apologise, for these are not pictures of Hull but of Goole, upstream and on the other side of the river, not on the Humber but on the Ouse, though at least in the East Riding. Goole is the UK’s most inland port, 50 miles from the sea and close to the industrial areas of Yorkshire with good canal links, as well as rail and now motorway connections.

Timber, shown in this picture still comes into Goole, largely from Russia and the Baltic States, Finland, and Sweden, and is still handled here in West Dock.

In the background at right we see Goole’s iconic (if anything at Goole can be iconic) landmarks, the listed ‘salt and pepper pots’, both water towers, and this view is from Lower Bridge St and the ship is in West Dock.


36d22: Timber wharf and ‘Salt and Pepper Pots’, Lower Bridge St, Goole, 1983 – Goole

7th July 2017

The two water towers are still a notable landmark for some miles around, and the buildings to the left of the railway line still stand, but there is now no level crossing and the buildings at the right have gone.

Both water towers are grade II listed. The more slender brick tower dates from 1885 and is approximately 43 metres high and 10 metres in diameter. It is no longer in use. It was replaced by its fatter neighbour, diameter 27.5m, height 44m, completed in 1927 with a capacity of 750,000 gallons. It was claimed to be the largest structure of its type in Europe when built for Goole Urban District Council.


36d24: ‘Salt and Pepper Pots’, Lower Bridge St, Goole, 1983 – Goole

8th July 2017

I think these steps were up to Bridge St from the dock side, and that they are now closed to the public. But Goole has changed considerably since I was there. I think the only map I will have had would have been a 1:50,000 OS map, borrowed from my local library, which at that time showed no rights of way and of course had no street names. So I simply followed what seemed an obvious route and was fortunate it took me to a footpath around the docks.

Things are rather easier now – Goole even has an online electronic interactive town guide and a conservation area guide, as well as the Yorkshire Waterways Museum and an art trail. My mother-in-law in Hull thought I was mad to visit Goole back then, but then she thought I was mad to photograph the parts of Hull I did.


36d32: Steps, Bridge St, Goole, 1983 – Goole

9th July 2017

No 1 shed was built in 1933 next to Barge Dock, Goole. Quite why someone has painted ‘Sleepy Hollow’, well before the film or TV series I don’t know, though it was probably a good description of the place.

The Legend of Sleepy Hollow was a short story by Washington Irving, first published in 1820 (though his Rip Van Winkle was more popular.) It’s a story including a headless horseman set in a Dutch settlement (perhaps there is some connection with the Dutch River just a few yards away) in New York State who is possibly one of the two male contestants for the hand of Katrina Van Tassel, riding with a pumpkin for a head on his saddle, and is popular at Halloween. There were a couple of US TV adaptions of the story in 1970 and 1980 but I doubt if they made it to Goole and the story wasn’t popular outside the USA.


36d41: No. 1. Shed, South St, Goole, 1983 – Goole

10th July 2017

There appears to be some lettering on the bow of the barge in the foreground, but I cannot make it out. Behind it are ‘Alison’ and ‘Claire’ both Goole barges.

Barge Dock was one of the original docks when the port as opened in 1826 and is now connected to the River Ouse by Ocean Lock, built 1938 and the largest in the docks.

The pub on South St, here T.C.’s Bar, is still standing and one of very few pubs on the docks still open as The Middlehouse.


36d45: No 1 Shed, Barge Dock and South St, Goole, 1983 – Goole

11th July 2017

Back in 1626 by King Charles I of England employed Sir Cornelius Vermuyden to drain one of his favourite hunting grounds, Hatfield Chase, as he was fed up with his horses getting stuck in the mud. The River Don flowed through and too often over the area, and at first this was diverted to flow into the RIver Aire rather than the Trent. But this still flooded and a new channel, the Dutch River was dug to take the river into the Ouse at Goole and was completed in 1635.

It wasn’t dug for navigation, but was used by boats despite various problems with shoals, bridges and low water at some tides. But since 1905 when the New Junction Canal from Stainforth to the Aire and Calder Navigation west of Goole was opened has almost entirely been a drainage channel.

The building of the Dutch River marked the start of Goole, but it was the arrival of the Aire and Calder Navigation in 1826 that really began the town as it is today, with its major trade being the export of coal from the West Riding to the continent. With the opening of railways – the Wakefield, Pontefract and Goole Railway in 1848 (later Lancashire and Yorkshire) connecting Goole with the West Riding and rather later in 1870 the Doncaster to Hull line of the NER – the port really took off. The port remained busy until the end of much of Yorkshire’s industry and coal mining at the end of the 1970s, and was at a fairly low ebb in the 1980s when I took these pictures.

The terrace of houses is still there on the Swinefleet Road. A few more pictures from Goole in a week or two.


36d51: The Dutch River from Vermuyden Terrace, Goole, 1983 – Goole

12th July 2017

The block of concrete is still there at the end of Ann Watson St, along with three of the wooden posts but little of the rest of the scene remains. At extreme right is the back of The Ship pub, and though the closer storage tanks have gone there are still some in the middle distance – and possibly some of the same distant riverside sheds.

This is close to where the ferry from which Stoneferry got its name used to cross the River Hull. The current pub dates from 1932, but it replaced an earlier ‘Ship Inn’ on the riverbank probably since the 17th century.

Not a lot is known about the life of Mrs Ann Watson, the widow of Reverend Abraham Watson but her will in 1720 left a legacy to provide her house in Stoneferry to provide accommodation and relief to widows or unmarried daughters of Church of England Clergymen and to to provide a school for poor girls as well as a grant of £5 towards the maintenance of any scholar of Halsham School in Holderness to go to Oxford University, all from the income from her farm lands, houses and tenements. These were obviously extensive, and included five fields to the north of Holderness Road which were sold to the Hull Urban Sanitary Authority for £16,909.7s.6d in 1884 to form part of East Park and also land sold for the track of the Hull to Hornsea Railway.

Ann Watson’s Charity continues to this day to provide accommodation and relief in need for poor women who are members of the Church of England, with preference being given to such persons who are widows or unmarried daughters of clergymen of the Church of England and to promote the education of persons under the age of 25 who are residents of or attend schools in the East Riding of Yorkshire. In 1907 Hospital Lane in Hull where Ann Watson’s alms house formerly stood was renamed Ann Watson Street.

To the north of Ann Watson St was HOMCO (the Hull Oil Manufacturing Co., Ltd.) founded in 1888 was one of the first uses of solvent extraction for oil seed processing. They were an early processor of castor oil and a soap manufacturer and were acquired by BOCM in 1922 and closed in 1953. The sign on the fence says ‘Matches & Lighters Strictly forbidden past this point, so the site here was presumably storing highly flammable materials. This site is now occupied by the Regroup (UK) Ltd oil waste disposal and re-cycling. To the north-west was a paint works, Hangers Paints, with its entrance in West Carr Lane, which I think is probably the tall building on the riverbank.

Behind me as I took the picture was the site of the General Extracting Co., opened in 1896 and bought up in 1904 by Joseph Rank. It became the Premier Oil Extracting Mills Ltd. and in 1919 was amalgamated into Premier Oil and Cake Mills Ltd and closed around 1971. There was a short branch railway line to the mill from Stoneferry Goods Station across Stoneferry Road, which was a branch from the Hull to Hornsea line. The mill is long gone and the site now occupied by B&Q.


36e35: River Hull and Ann Watson St, 1983 – River Hull

13th July 2017

South of Stoneferry Bridge is the Isis Mill, a Grade II listed building still standing (and mentioned in earlier posts.) The string of six barges gives an indication of the importance of the River Hull for transport, and beyond them a larger vessel (its name unfortunately not legible) is moored at the wharf, either at Croda’s Isis Mill or just past it at Reckitt’s ultramarine factory with its tall chimney in Morley St.

The silo and the buildings to its left are still there, but beyond it only the now unused chimney still stands. The sheds across the river with a Michelin advert on them also remain in what is now called Innovation Drive.


36e36: River Hull south of Stoneferry Bridge, 1983 – River Hull


You can see the new pictures added each day at Hull Photos, and I post them with the short comments above on Facebook.
Comments and corrections to captions are welcome here or on Facebook.
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Hull Photos: 29/6/17-5/7/17

Tuesday, July 18th, 2017

Still catching up…


29th June 2017

This fish smokehouse is still in Subway St, though a little altered is readily recognisable. It and the premises on both sides of the entry were then the premises of G Hannath, now they have boards for Transfish Seafoods, Tudor Fisheries and J Laughton Fish Merchant.

The Hull ‘Local Listing’ notes it as “Distinctive and once commonplace Hull building type, now rare. One of only 9 surviving examples. Important reminder of Hull’s once great fishing and fish-processing industries and a significant contributor to local distinctiveness.”

Although the writer of that note obviously recognised their significance, the fact that only nine remain, and the condition of some of them are a reflection of a lack of general interest by the council over the years in Hull’s heritage. It is also interesting that the nine are only on the local list and not a single example is on the national list.


36c12: Smokehouse, Subway St, 1983 – Hessle Rd

30th June 2017

Much of the area between Hessle Rd and the docks had been flattened, leaving just a few of the older small factories, works and commercial premises but laying flat all of the working class housing. In its place came large and largely anonymous sheds such as this – which I am unable to positively identify. Almost certainly it will have altered considerably since 1983.

Clearly much of the housing was in poor condition, and some had been badly built in the first place, and the crowded area between the Hessle Rd and the docks needed dealing with, but I can’t help feeling it could have been done so much better than this wholesale mess.


36c24: Redevelopment, off Hessle Rd, 1983 – Hessle Rd

1st July 2017

Rose Downs & Thompson (now De Smet Rosedowns Limited) specialized in the manufacture of oil-milling machinery, supplying one of Hull’s major industries. Founded in 1777 it is still in Cannon St, Hull but supplies presses around the world for the oilseed and rendering industries and is a part of the Desmet Ballestra Group. Founded as ‘Old Foundry’ by John Todd, its early products included cannons (some of which were in use at Waterloo) and parts for windmills and it also became a ship chandlery. According to Grace’s Guide the company installed its first hydraulic press for linseed by 1820.

Christiana Rose, a daughter of one of the original partners Duncan Campbell, inherited the company in 1840, employing 50 men at the works in Sculcoates. In 1859 she took on James Downs as her manager and the company began to specialise in oil seed crushing machinery. Downs was made a partner and the company became Rose and Downs in 1871, the year than Christiana Rose died. Her grandson John Campbell Thompson joined the company in 1874 and it became Rose, Downs and Thompson. The company was bought by the Power-Gas Corporation in 1951 and passed through several other hands before becoming De Smet Rosedowns.

The lorry gate and wall are still there on Bridlington Ave, a little south of the junction with Cannon St, but the building behind, with its gable with ‘R D & T LTD’ on it disappeared a few years ago – and that empty noticeboard along with its small grass area and tree at the edge of the car park went some time earlier.


36c43: Rose Downs & Thompson, Bridlington Ave, 1983 – Beverley

2nd July 2017

The large building in the background on the other side of the River Hull is clearly still present on Wincolmlee, just to the north of the junction with Oxford St – and it has a similar pattern of three vertical slots – perhaps for ventilation – on the street side. A board on the wall on its left there is for Humber Fabrications (Hull) Ltd, who appear to be based in other sites on Wincolmlee and were founded some years after I took this picture.

Lime Street is quite close to the river here, and I think this picture was probably made from the road with my lens poking through the fence or through an open gate where Lime Street meets Eagle Terrace. Or I may have been able to wander a little closer. The site is now part of IBL Liquids.

The oil drums are all clearly labelled but even for those I can read offer no information of interest to me, though I can make out the word ‘OIL’ on the side of one of them. The vessel is clearly of some size, but unfortunately the name on its lifeboat is obcsured, though it appears to start ‘HAM’.

There is a large storage tank at left – still there – but that across the river has gone, along with what looks like pile of timber on a wharf opposite.


36c51: Ship and Oil Drums, Lime St, 1983 – River Hull

3rd July 2017

Google Streetview from July 2008 shows just a huge pile of bricks and rubble where the factory building on the right was when I took this picture, though the high brick wall with its peeling sign for H&L Vehicles – M.O.T Testing – Repairs – Welding – Services on the north side of Chapman St is still there, along with the metal fence and gates on New Cleveland St. The mill was demolished by a careful series of explosions in September 2007.

This was the Swan Flour Mills, Sculcoates Bridge, originally built in 1897 for Rishworth, Ingleby & Lofthouse Ltd and expanded the following year with the silo added in 1906, but almost entirely destroyed by wartime bombing in March 1941. In 1921 the company became part of Spillers. The mill was rebuilt after the war in a rather more plain style with a reinforced concrete silo beyond the brick building, which at 149 ft was one of Hull’s taller buildings. Beyond that the lower buildings are I think a part of the British Cocoa Mills (Hull) Ltd.

Lee Shore, a general cargo coaster of around 299 gross tons was built in 1954 by Büsumer Schiffswerft W. & E. Sielaff in Büsum in North Germany and went through a succession of owners and names: (1954) Labor Et Fides; (1964) Jutta Brey; (1980) Hubert; (1983) Delta Lady; before she became Lee Shore, owned by Corolan Maritme Ltd, registered in Gibraltar in 1983. A fire at Hull destroyed her wheelhouse in 1984 and in 1986 she became the NORDICA STAR and in 1990 her last name change to MILLSUPPLIER. After being abandoned when the engine room flooded in the North Sea in December 1990 she was towed to Lowestoft, and in 1994 was laid up in Rotterdam and presumably broken up.

The ship was 135 ft long and around 27 ft wide and fully loaded needed about 11 ft of water and was certainly one of the larger vessels I noted this far up the River Hull.


36c52: Lee Shore moored at Spillers mill, River Hull, 1983 – River Hull

4th July 2017

Most of this picture – the Lee Shore and the Spillers Mill at right is described in the previous post. I can see no name on the vessel at left, which appears to be a coaster of a similar size.

The low buildings are the extreme left are now the Hull Microfirms Centre on Wincolmlee, but the taller buildings where the ship is moored are at around 308 Wincolmlee have gone. I think these were a part of the Wincolmlee Oil & Cake Mill, on Wincolmlee just to the north of the Sculcoates Bridge works of John Hamilton & Co.

Hull was one of the largest centres of the oil crushing industry in the world, from around 1500 with linseed from Russia, but later with other crops including soya, cottonseed, rape, castor, palm kernels, ground nuts, sunflower seeds and more from Argentina, Egypt, India, Cyprus, the Caribbean and elsewhere, particularly across the British Empire.


36c54: River Hull upstream from Sculcoates Bridge, 1983 – River Hull


5th July 2017

This selection of pipes and chimneys was on somewhere on Lime Street, running roughly parallel to the east of the River Hull, with wharves and factories supplied by the river between. Apart from the drainpipe, the pipes are well-lagged, suggesting they carried wither steam or liquids at high temperature. I was particularly interested in the shadow of the pipe, and its shadow within another shadow, which creates a slight spatial disjunction in the lower left quarter of the image.

Most of Hull’s early industries developed around the River Hull, based on whaling and on agricultural crops brought up-river, coming both from across the Humber and from across the North Sea.

I don’t think this building or the pipes remain, though I can recall exactly where it was, probably not far from the crossroads with Jenning St.


36c66: Pipes and chimneys, Lime St, 1983 – River Hull


You can see the new pictures added each day at Hull Photos, and I post them with the short comments above on Facebook.
Comments and corrections to captions are welcome here or on Facebook.
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Hull Photos: 22/6/17-28/6/17

Monday, July 17th, 2017

Another week of posts – still catching up.


22nd June 2017

Another view looking down Queen’s Terrace towards Tunis St, eight months after my previous picture, shows more properties sealed with corrugated iron awaiting demolition and a dramatic increase in the amount of graffiti on the gable end. The wicket is still there, but clearly the paint spray has arrived in Hull.

Most of the property between Sculcoates Lane and Tunis St was demolished shortly after I took this picture, though the houses across the end on Tunis St remain.


34i44: Queen’s Terrace and Tunis St, Sculcoates Lane, 1983- Beverley Rd

23rd June 2017

I’m disappointed that I missed the siege of Wyndham Street, one of the more colourful events in Hull’s recent history. As this and another picture shows, I was there just a few months before it began, photographing these US military vehicles of the Northern Allied-Axis Society in the street and Melbourne Terrace. Had I known what was about to happen I would have taken more than the three pictures I did.

Barry Nuttall was a 38 year-old who lived in Melbourne Terrace with a wife and 7 kids and his passion was military re-enactment, using old US Army vehicles and uniforms and giving displays that raised thousands for local charities. He was the self-proclaimed Major General and had an army of around a dozen officers and men (at least one of whom was a woman.)

When the council decided to carry out a comprehensive redevelopment of the whole Argyle St area in 1979 the residents set up a campaign for refurbishment rather than demolition, but unfortunately the council wasn’t ready to listen. Eventually everyone moved out except Nuttall, who decided the compensation they were offering to home owners wasn’t enough and refused to move. There were stand-offs with police and bailiffs against his army defending his property making use of their military equipment and uniforms, which drew in reporters from the nationals and made headlines.

The battle dragged on for a month, but eventually the council were able to enforce a compulsory purchase order and sent in the bulldozers, but that wasn’t the end of Nuttall’s fight. He and his supporters used the rubble they left to build a fort, which they defended for the next three years, with huge support from the community who brought in supplies.

Eventually the police responded with a siege, refusing to let in supplies or to allow anyone who left the site – where there was no gas, water or electricity – back in, but resistance and support continued and it was three years before Nuttall finally quit in 1986. During those three years he was said to have only left the site twice, once to take a petition to Parliament in London and the second to marry his second wife – when Hull singing star Joe Longthorne lent him his Cadillac for the occasion.

One of Hull’s great characters, Nuttall died in 2011


34i52: Northern Allied-Axis Society vehicles, Wyndham St, 1983 – Argyle St

24th June 2017

I have to admit that I took this one mainly for its name, Marshall St. It’s a fairly ordinary street off west from Newland Avenue next to the old primary school, now converted into flats, built in 1896 for the Hull School Board (with a larger senior school behind added in 1900) shortly after these streets just south of the railway bridge. The development was in land left after the Hull & Barnsley railway was completed in 1885.

The school creates a slightly unusual road pattern for Hull, with a road on each side of it – this and Reynoldson St – running parallel well past the end of the school site and then sweeping around to meet in the middle, with Reynoldson St then continuing straight on to make the shape of the streets like a tuning fork (a two-pronged fork). The street ended at the Cottingham drain and is still a cul-de-sac for cars, though on foot you can walk along the now-culverted drain (Jack Kaye Walk) to either Ella St or under the Hull & Barnsley line to Goddard Ave. There are no ‘terraces’ off the two ‘prongs’ of the fork, while the ‘handle’ has six to the north and four to the south.

When I last looked, this corner was still very much as it is in this picture, except there are now rather more vehicles parked most of the time.


34i56: Marshall St, 1983 – Springbank

25th June 2017

Another picture of the site where Major General Barry Nuttall made his stand against demolition of his home together with his colleagues in a few months after I took this picture, resisting demolition for a month, then building a fortress from the rubble and defending it against a police siege for three years. See my previous post for more detail.

Unfortunately I didn’t go this way again for some years, perhaps because most of the area was a giant building site. I think that the Hull Daily Mail had stopped reporting it by the time I was next in Hull.


34i66: Northern Allied-Axis Society vehicles, Wyndham St & Melbourne Grove, 1983 – Argyle St

26th June 2017

Somewhere in my wanderings between Freehold St and Cranborne St, off to the north of Springbank I came across this terrace with a rather curious entrance, what looks rather like a rustic aviary.

Much of the area was then laid out with streets with slightly larger houses than many in Hull and without terraces. More or less the only ones that remain are on Mayfield St, but none seem to look like this one – even without the structure across the front.

It seems to be a double terrace, with four houses on each side and then a wall separating it from a similar terrace from the next street. The houses look in decent condition and are all occupied. Perhaps someone who lived in the area in 1983 will recognise it.

34j25: Terrace, Springbank area, 1983 – Springbank

27th June 2017

The Kenfig, a grab hopper dredger built in 1954 by Henry Scarr Ltd of Hessle for the British Transport Docks Board at Port Talbot. It was one of the dredgers used to clear the passage into Humber Dock for the Marina, and in 1983 was bought by Jones & Bailey Contractors Ltd of Hull who renamed her Hedon Sand in 1984. Around 5 years later she was scrapped at New Holland.

Kenfig was moored just a little upstream of Drypool Bridge on the River Hull for most of the 1980s, seldom if ever moving.


35y14: Kenfig above Drypool Bridge, River Hull, 1983 – River Hull

28th June 2017

Some of my contact sheets of films taken back in the 80s present a number of mysteries, and this was one of them. There are 35 pictures from a single film in six strips of six (with one blank) on the contact sheet in the order in which they were taken, and helpfully I’ve added brief locations to some of them – normally indicating when I’ve moved to a different street or place. The first five pictures in Hull are followed by a single image of the Ropery at Barton upon Humber and the remainder of the film was taken in Hull.

The next nine pictures are of sites I photographed on other occasions and know the exact location, but then come three of a pattern of windows etc on a wall which I labelled ‘Off Hedon Rd’ but almost certainly I had confused with that other H, Holderness Rd. Where I took the next two, one of which shows a gate into a large and fairly empty industrial yard with a sign on it pointing to ‘Beach and Cliff Walk’ is anyone’s guess, though it must have been someone’s idea of a joke.

The next frame is looking upstream along the River Hull from Sculcoates Bridge and is followed by today’s picture labelled Wincolmlee and then several labelled Stepney Lane.

From this, I guessed that this picture was made on Wincolmlee somewhere between Chapman St and Fountain Rd, but when I walked along there a few months ago it was nowhere to be seen. Google Streetview on this road goes back to July 2008, and taking a virtual walk then the facade, though much altered, leapt out at me.

The blocked doorway now had a door in it, smaller and blue and wooden, and a ventilator had been added in the wall to its left, but it was clearly the same – and in 2008 had a large notice ‘Barker & Patterson Fabricators – Mild – Stainless Steel & Aluminium – Structural Steelwork & Engineering Services, along with another from Scots property company announcing the c.5,900 sq ft site was now for sale due to relocation – and a quick Google found B&P now in nearby Oxford St.

In 2017 it is now Fox Precision Engineering Ltd, and looking rather different to the old facade shown here, which has been completely cladded. Had I stepped back across the road for an image showing the building as a whole it would however have still been recognisable. The site extends to York St which Fox list as their address. This building had also been Barker & Paterson’s ‘back door’.

There remains the mystery of a name on the blocked letterbox in this picture. Looking at the full size image I can see parts of the letters ‘EDWAR’ at its start, probably ‘Edward’ or ‘Edwards’. It would be interesting to know what this building, with its rather grand doorway whose remains attracted my interest was originally built as, but I can tell you no more. It was a surface that seemed to tell a story but one I’m still unable to reveal. And perhaps it’s better that way.

Streetview, usually unreliable on such things, tells me the address is 297 Wincolmlee.


35y35: Frontage around 297 Wincolmlee, 1983 – River Hull


You can see the new pictures added each day at Hull Photos, and I post them with the short comments above on Facebook.
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Hull Photos: 15/6/17-21/6/17

Saturday, July 15th, 2017

I’ve got rather behind on posting these digests from my image a day Hull2017 UK City of Culture project – too much happening elsewhere – though I have so far managed to post a new picture every day. Purists might object that some the more recent ones have been of Goole, but these are all of Hull. I’ll try and catch up over the next few days. As usual, comments and corrections on pictures and my text welcome.


15th June 2017

I have only the vaguest idea where this photograph was taken, but think it was somewhere on or near Charles St where considerable clearance was taking place for the building of Freetown Way which opened in 1986.

I was intrigued by the sun ray pattern of the sheets of material covering the window and the top half of the right hand door. There was what appeared to be an opening in section at the right of the window, which was now part covered by a strange structure of boards with four planks fixed on top, joined with gaps at the corners by metal straps.

It seemed too that the door had been fully covered, but the bottom section torn off, taking a little of the top too. It was all something of a puzzle, if inconsequential.

Though I also photographed this in colour where the oranges and yellows and red brick add to the impression of warmth and sun, I think I prefer the more austere pattern of this black and white image. I am currently scanning many of my colour images (there were around 40 in the 1983 Ferens show) though I haven’t yet managed to find all of those I took and will add some to the web site later.


34g62: Property awaiting demolition in the Charles St area, 1983 – City Centre

16th June 2017

This was taken close to the railway line somewhere near the end of Gladstone St, and that the yard is probably now a part of the large car park between there and Argyle St, and where I was standing is probably now on the edge of the landing ground for the Air Ambulance helicopter. The tall modern building of Hull Royal Infirmary and the older building on the left with a chimney showing behind the right-hand tower indicate the location fairly precisely.

It was perhaps fortunate that the hospital was so close, as this was obviously a dangerous place, with the welcoming notice on the gate ‘KEEP OUT – ANYONE FOUND IN HERE WILL BE SHOT’ with a double underline under that last word. Usually Hull is a very friendly place and this came as something of a shock.


34h15: ‘KEEP OUT – ANYONE FOUND IN HERE WILL BE SHOT’, Gladstone St area, 1983- Argyle

17th June 2017

Ellerman’s Wilson Line ceased trading in 1973, ten years before I took this picture on Bishop Lane Staithe, reached through an archway from High St. The site has changed rather since I took this picture – the gates and the building to their left are gone completely and that at the back of the small enclosed yard has lost those small windows, replaced rather more and larger ones, nicely in keeping with the building, though some of the brickwork doesn’t quite fit in.

The stone plaque under the window at right seems rather worn and I can’t quite make out what it is from my picture. It appears to have a shield of some sort on it and the listing text says it has the date 1655, though the warehouse, now flats was rebuilt around 1800. The building in the centre of the picture is also I think listed and dates from 1829, but only the river and High Street frontage are of any visual interest.


34h61: Ellermans Wilson Line Bishops Warehouse, 1983 – Old Town

18th June 2017

I took several pictures walking along the disused Hull Barnsley and West Riding Junction Railway and Dock Company (later it became the Hull & Barnsley) railway embankment which opened in 1885 which ran into Cannon St station, looking down onto the tightly packed terraces. Cannon St was Hull terminus of the Hull & Barnsley Railway, which was originally intended to run closer to the city centre to Charlotte St or Kingston Square, but the company ran out of money. It site on Cannon St is now occupied by the Motor Vehicle department of Hull College, and only some of its gates remain. The station closed in 1924 after the railway which had just been bought by its rival the NER ( North Eastern Railway) became part of the newly re-grouped LNER and all passenger services ran into Hull Paragon.

Although my contact sheets show the location Bridlington Avenue, a long and winding street that in part runs parallel to the former track, looking at maps from the era convinces me that these pictures were takin a little further north, looking down on the terraces off of Fleet St. This fits better with my contact sheet of the whole film which shows me before this photographing on Sculcoates Lane and afterwards going down Stepney Lane. Clinching the matter in the full size version above the rooftops at the left the dome of Beverley Rd Baths can be seen.

This was clearly a densely packed area about to be cleared, with virtually all properties empty and nothing that was there then remains. This and the few other pictures give a good impression of the dense packing of houses with the terrace system with each house having a small yard with an outside lavatory. A narrow alley in the middle of this picture led to the back gates to these yards. A second picture (click ‘Next’) shows the view from just a few feet to the right.


34i11: Fleet St and terraces from the Hull & Barnsley embankment, 1983 – Beverley Rd


34i26: Fleet St and terraces from the Hull & Barnsley embankment, 1983 – Beverley Rd

19th June 2017

Another picture from the disused Hull & Barnsley embankment, looking down along one of the terraces to Fleet St. Around half the houses in the terrace are already emptied and their ground floor bay windows covered with corrugated iron to prevent squatting.

Telephone wires run to virtually every house in the picture. Thanks to Hull Corporation running its own telephone system, almost every house had a telephone, though many of these would have been shared ‘party’ lines, where when you picked up the phone to make a call you would often hear your shared subscriber already using the line – and could either listen in or, as you were expected to do, put down the receiver and try again later. Local calls were untimed – and for 2p you could talk for hours, and people did. Some of those who grew up in Hull still do!

Along the bottom of the image is a typical railway fence with its close solid wood posts.


34i24: Fleet St and terraces from the Hull & Barnsley embankment, 1983 – Beverley Rd

20th June 2017

The off-licence is still there on the SW corner of Nicholson St and Sculcoates Lane, now calling itself Sculcoates News and no longer part of the Bass Charrington empire which no longer exists, selling off all its pubs in 1997.

That loyal flag celebrating the Queens Silver Jubilee is also long gone – and I think was already a little faded when I took the picture.

Also gone is the doorway at the left, but the rest of the surroundings remain more or less as they were in 1983, for a few hundred yards down Nicholson St, some of the streets off it and those to the north of Sculcoates Lane. Somewhere around here the Corporation bulldozers ran out of steam, though not before they had destroyed much that could have been better given new life rather than demolished.


34i32: Off Licence, Nicholson St corner of Sculcoates Lane, 1983- Beverley

21st June 2017

I think that this blocked up window was next to the site of the railway bridge which carried the old Hull & Barnsley Railway across Sculcoates Lane. I can’t remember for sure if that bridge was still there in 1983, and can find no record of when it was demolished. Although passenger traffic on this branch to Cannon St ended in 1924, the line was only closed for goods in 1968, and the bridge was still there when I first walked along this road in the early 1970s.

Certainly the embankment leading to the bridge was still there – and I think is what can be seen on the right of this frame. Later much of it was removed to make a gentle slope up from the road.

Later the embankment was removed on both sides of Sculcoates Lane, probably to make the former rail line more accessible to pedestrians and cyclists.

I’ve no real idea either what kind of ‘REPAIRS’ once went on inside these premises, which look like a later single storey addition to a larger building which can be glimpsed at top left, in what looks like older and less regular brick. Memory, so often fallible, suggests it was a cobbler.


34i35: Repairs, Sculcoates Lane area, 1983 – Beverley


You can see the new pictures added each day at Hull Photos, and I post them with the short comments above on Facebook.
Comments and corrections to captions are welcome here or on Facebook.
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United in sorrow and anger

Friday, July 14th, 2017

Janet Alder, whose son Christopher Alder was killed by police in 1998 in Hull leads the annual procession of families and friends of those who have died in  police, prison and psychiatric custody from Trafalgar Square on its way to a rally at Downing St. And at the right is Marcia Rigg who has led the determined campaign to find out the truth of how and why her brother Sean Rigg was killed in 2008 by police in Brixton Police Station.


Marcia Rigg

We now know more about the deaths of these two men, deaths which official inquiries by the IPCC  were determined to sweep under the carpet and drown in the long grass of deliberately slow investigation because in these and a few other of the over 3,000 known deaths in custody since 1969, whose names were recorded on a poster carried in the march the families have campaigned long and hard to find the truth – which officialdom has done its best to hide.

Unusually four police officers were tried for manslaughter over Christopher Alder’s death, but were acquitted on the orders of the judge. In 2011 the government was forced to formally apologise to Alder’s family by the European Court of Human Rights and to admit that they had failed to carry out an effective and independent inquiry into the case. This perhaps explains some of Theresa May’s obsession to ensure European courts have no jurisdiction in the UK.

The United Families and Friends Campaign (UFFC) has brought together many of these bereaved families, providing mutual support and advice. You can find out more about many of the cases on the 4WardEver Campaign UK web site.

Doreen Jjuuko, mother of Ricky Bishop, killed in Brixton Police Station in November 2001 holds flowers. Behind her is the banner for Rebecca Overy, who died because of a lack of care in her transition from an adolescent to an adult mental health hospital and whose family are fighting for a change in the law ‘Rebecca’s Law’ to prevent future deaths.

This year police held up the start of the march while a march by Vegans for Animal Rights went past on its way to Parliament Square, and the UFFC were held up in Parliament Square for longer than usual before starting on their slow, silent progress down Whitehall. There were frequent short stops and as they neared Downing St the silence was broken by noisy chanting for justice.


At the memorial to the women of World War II there was a short rally and a minute of silence in memory of the victims followed by some loud chanting and short speeches, before the marchers moved on the few yards for their main rally on Whitehall opposite Downing St.

Here there were more speeches by family members of the various campaigns to get justice over deaths who come together in the UFFC. Some are people who I’ve heard speak many times before, still fighting to get justice for deaths many years ago, but every year there are new deaths and new injustices.


Marcia Rigg holds the letter they will take to Theresa May

After a number of speeches a deputation went into Downing St with a letter for Theresa May, but given that as Home Secretary she led the deceit and covering up of these deaths for six years it seems unlikely she will take any action to either prevent them or see that those responsible for them are brought to justice.

There are far too many pictures of the protest to post here, and you can see them and read more at Families United against Custody Deaths.  I didn’t find taking pictures easy during some of the speeches, as this was a highly emotional event, and several times I had to stop to clean my glasses and wipe my eyes. When the deputation went into Downing St I felt too tired and went home.
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Barclays

Wednesday, July 12th, 2017

One of the first protests I took part in – as a protester rather than a photographer – was outside a Barclays Bank in Manchester in the 1960s, part of a campaign against their financing of the South African apartheid regime. Although the ‘Global Nonviolent Action Database‘ at Swarthmore University states “Student activists launched the Boycott Barclays campaign in 1969” and credits “students at London universities”, I’m fairly sure we did it before then in Manchester.

But of course Manchester did so many things first, and I sat for physics lectures at a bench with a small plaque recording “Rutherford first split the atom here” and later a short distance away shortly after 11 o’clock in the morning on June 21st, 1948 the computer age began, when the first stored program ran on the world’s first stored-program electronic digital computer, the Small-Scale Experimental Machine, better known as “The Baby“. As its father Freddie Evans later said “It was a moment to remember. This was in June 1948, and nothing was ever the same again.”

People often tell me that protest never works, but the Barclays campaign proved them wrong, though it did take until 1986 before Barclays completely ended its support for the apartheid regime. But Barclays have of course since been involved in many other ethically questionable activities including laundering money for Russian criminals, and, the focus of the protest I was photographing in October last year by  Frack Off London and Divest London in collaboration with Frack Free Ryedale, financing fracking in various communities across the UK.

The London protest was one of many at Barclays around the country, but this one was meeting in Golden Square and heading for an unnamed branch – which turned out to be at Piccadilly Circus. As we approached we met up with people carrying a sofa and other furniture which they hoped to set up inside the branch for to ‘Bring it Home to Barclays’ the effect the fracking they finance would have on communities – such as Ryedale.

The first protesters to arrive managed to rush into the branch but security there quickly closed the door before the furniture arrived, and rather than rush inside with the protesters as I’ve often done, I’d chosen to stay with the sofa – and it turned out to have been the right choice.

The protesters quickly set up their living room set up a ‘living room’ on the pavement outside while those inside held their banners up against the windows. A mother and daughter from Rydale where fracking has been approved around their home made themselves at home on the sofa with a picture of their house and a framed sampler embroidered with the Barclays eagle and the message ‘Home Fracked Home’. There wasn’t a lot of space to work, with other photographers and protesters crowding around, but with the fisheye and a lot of patience waiting for people to get out of the way I managed to get the whole scene – including two engineers with a fracking rig – into a picture.

And there was tea with hot water from the urn and specially made biscuits which tasted fine.

More at Bring Fracking Home to Barclays.

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Haywire

Tuesday, July 11th, 2017

Long ago, while still a fairly young and impressionable photographer back in the 1970s, I first came across the work of Lee Friedlander in the pages of Creative Camera and was immediately a fan (though I’d probably seen some of his work without knowing who it was by in jazz magazines and on record sleeves earlier.)

So a few years later when the same magazine announced a book of his photographs, self-published by the Haywire Press, I immediately ordered it by post from them. Lee Friedlander: Photographs was published in 1978, but it took a very long time to arrive, as I think neither Haywire – Friedlander’s own publishing business or Creative Camera were the most reliable of companies, but eventually it came and I spent a great deal of time studying it’s pages. I’ve got several more Friedlander books since, but it probably remains my favourite, and is still available at a fairly reasonable price secondhand – probably less, allowing for inflation than I paid in 1978.

It wasn’t Friedlander and Haywire Press’s first book, they began with Self Portrait in 1970, and I remember looking through it a year or two later, perhaps at the Photographers Gallery. I didn’t buy it, partly because I thought I’d already seen the best of the work in magazines, but largely because I simply couldn’t afford it. I did buy the second edition around 1998.

The year before Self Portrait, Friedlander’s photographs had been published in a book paired with etchings by Jim Dine, Work From the Same House, a slim volume with 33 black and white plates. An image shows the two artists, lying on a bed looking towards the camera but dominated by the sole of a shoe in the foreground. And it states:

Biographical details of Lee Friedlander are almost non-existent. Aside from being one of America’s leading photographers, recently exhibiting work at the Museum of Modern Art, he was born in 1934 in Aberdeen, Washington and lives in New City [sic] New York with his wife and two children. He is said to be right handed.

There is now rather more information on line, but I still learnt quite a few things from the video of the NYPL talk.  Work From the Same House was published by Trigram Press on the Kings Road in London and printed in Chatham, Kent. I think I once had a copy (it sold for 21s – £1.05 – when published), but being so slim it’s hard to find!

Thanks to a report of the first interview given by Friedlander in 30 years reported in PDNPulse, How Lee Friedlander Edits His Photo Books, I now know why he called his self-publishing company Haywire Press. You can see and hear the whole event at the New York Public Library web site, though at around an hour and a half long I’ve not yet found time to sit an watch all the way through. Friedlander, sitting with a camera around his neck, is interviewed by his grandson, Giancarlo T. Roma, and there are certainly some interesting moments, though as he was born on 14th July 1934, there are a few minor lapses of memory, but he seems in great shape for someone coming up to 83.

Of course Friedlander has taken many pictures since that 1978 book, and I’ve bought a few more of his books (and got others as review copies), including Like a One-Eyed Cat and Letters from the People, though there have been some areas of his work that have left me cold. But he has given us so much, and I’ll certainly be wishing him a happy birthday on Friday.

Bad Practice by Theori

Saturday, July 8th, 2017

I can only hope that the terrible fire at Grenfell Tower will not just bring to light the criminal actions by those running Kensington & Chelsea Council and its TMO but also the socially divisive housing policies of other councils which are increasingly failing the residents of their boroughs. Those who died at Grenfell died because they were poor and those responsible for their housing didn’t much care what happened to them. It isn’t just a local failure, but a national failure, and one expressed powerfully by Potent Whisper in his Grenfell Britain. Click and listen if you’ve not already done so.

It’s a failure that I’ve been documenting over the years, including social cleansing by Labour dominated boroughs such as Southwark at the Heygate and Aylesbury estates, in Newham with the Carpenters Estate and the disgustingly shabby treatment of the Focus E15 mothers and many more, most recently the £2 billion give-away of public assets by Haringey Council involving comprehensive demolition of roughly a third of their social housing. Of course it isn’t just these Labour councils who are at fault, but some seem to have embraced these anti-social policies with rather more fervour than the Tory-run areas.

Housing and food are the two most basic physical needs we have. Under the Tory government most of the responsibility for the second has been delegated to charity, with huge numbers of people having to rely on food banks to keep them from starvation, largely caused by the benefits system with its sanctions, cuts and administrative failures – which can leave some people destitute for long periods. Government cuts have given local authorities problems with meeting housing need, but the problems here are a long term malaise; Thatcher’s irrational hate of council housing was taken up and accelerated by Blair’s Labour under the title of ‘regeneration’ and austerity under the coalition was just another turn of the screw.

Some people in desperate housing need qualify for support from the local authority, though for others it is sofa-surfing or the streets (and the number sleeping on London streets continues to rise dramatically; 7,500 in 2015 and probably over 10.000 now.) Again in 2015, 48,000 London households were living in temporary accommodation – and that including 74,000 children.

London boroughs use companies like Theori Housing Management to provide temporary accommodation for vulnerable people they have a duty to care for, but rather like outsourcing of jobs, outsourcing of their responsibilities is a way of turning a blind eye to sub-standard and insanitary conditions. Of course the management companies will also play their part in the deception, putting on visits for council officials where they don’t get shown the damp streaming down the walls and the cockroaches and return giving the company a clean report.

Housing protesters from decided to bring the cockroaches with them to the protest outside Theori Housing Management’s offices in Walthamstow, a company used by many London councils including Waltham Forest and Newham, with two very large specimens – protesters dressed as them.

The protest was organised by residents of Boundary House and Focus E15 from Newham. Boundary House, managed by Theori, is not in London, but in Welwyn Garden City, which makes it difficult or impossible for those housed there to keep jobs or retain contact with friends or family in London and for their children to keep at the same schools – even an off-peak rail ticket costs £15. There were some residents and former residents present, but few could afford to travel and many were scared to complain in public. They complain of leaking roofs, mould on interior walls, cockroach infestation and say children could easily fall out of unguarded upper floor windows that appliances are dangerous faulty appliances, and large photographs stuck to the windows of Theori during the protest confirmed their stories.

Many had complained to Theori, but say they are hung up on, placed on hold for hours and called liars, ignored, insulted and patronised. So they had got in touch with Focus E15 (I’d been at one the weekly Stratford street stall when one of them had come to speak) and together organised this protest. Focus E15 themselves came together to oppose their own evictions and attempts by Newham council to move them into private rented accommodation in distant areas of the country away from nurseries, jobs and family – when a short distance from there hostel was a large council estate the council had forced most residents to move out from and kept empty for years. They argue and campaign to have people found homes in their own areas.

Cockroaches at Theori Housing Management

And back to Grenfell Tower, where we are now learning of the failure of Kensington and Chelsea to offer suitable homes to all but a small proportion of those made homeless. People want to stay in the area – but some have been told by officials that if they turn down properties a long way away they will be judged to have made themselves intentionally homeless. Rightly the nation has shuddered at this total lack of humanity and sensitivity towards these traumatised people – and I think the council has withdrawn the threat. But it is a threat that is routinely made in other cases in many if not all boroughs in London.

It isn’t even that there are no homes. There are said to be 1400 empty properties in Kensington & Chelsea at the moment, many of which would be suitable and could be bought by council or government. And nearby the large Silchester council estate is arked for demolition and new build gentrification in what has been described as “classic London social cleansing”.

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Here from Down Under

Friday, July 7th, 2017

It was a great privilege to be able to meet and photograph several leading figures from Australia who were here in London. If you look hard at the picture above, in the middle close to the bottom you can see a man playing a guitar, Australian Aborigine musician and activist Bunny Lawrie, one of the Jirkala Mirning people of southern Australia.

His unofficial performance in the Great Hall of the British Museum told the story of how BP, who the British Museum supports through its sponsorship deal which puts a cultural gloss on its murkier activities, were forced to drop plans to drill in the Great Australian Bight, and of the continuing fight to stop drilling by BP’s partner Statoil and others.

The British Museum’s collection holds a number of items from indigenous cultures around the world, many of which were initially taken by rather dubious means. When Captain Cook and his crew tried to make their first landing in Australia at Botany Bay in 1770 they were met by two Gweagal warriors with spears and shields. Accounts differ of the exact nature of that meeting, but it ended with Cook’s men firing muskets at the two men, one of whom, Cooman, was hit in the leg, and the warriors dropped their spears and ran.

When Cook returned to Europe, he brought with him around 40 spears and other artifacts that they found on the beach. Among these was the wooden shield which Cooman had held, complete with a hole made by the musket round. Rodney Kelly, a sixth generation descendant of Cooman was in England to demand the return of this shield to Australia, where it would be an important exhibit in a new museum to be opened in Sydney on the 250th anniversary of Cook’s landing. The following week he went to the museum to discuss the return of the shield, but unfortunately was met with a refusal – they are unwilling to part with any of the objects in the museum.

In the British Museum the shield is hidden in a display in a glass windowed cabinet, with little being made of its historical significance. Reflections make it difficult to view, and the lighting is low, presumably for conservation reasons, though with daylight coming in from the windows the UV levels may be higher than acceptable. Most visitors would not be aware of its presence, though it is featured on the audio tour, but today it did attract a small crowd as Kelly knelt in front of it to pay his respects to his ancestor and then talked about it and the events.

Later he posed with a reproduction of the shield in a catalogue in the museum bookshop. The photograph appeared to show it in better condition than it was now and he and the others expressed worries about its conservation, though it could simply be that the photograph has been a little tweaked to make the red ochre more visible.

For the pictures taken in the long gallery (The Kings Library) where the shield is kept, I decided that using flash would be inappropriate and obtrusive, though there were a few flashes from other photographers. Of course with the glass on the cabinets, reflections of the flash would made pictures taken more or less straight on impossible in any case.

Using the D810, most of the images taken there were at ISO 6400, a stop higher than I like to use, but even then with my 28-200 generally at full aperture, shutter speeds dropped to 1/20th of a second. Of course that lens is a slow lens, but a faster lens wouldn’t really have helped much as when filling the frame with people’s heads I was working at around 160mm focal length equivalent and needed the depth of field that f5.6 provided. Some were sharp enough to use, but quite a few were not. For some pictures a vibration reduction lens would have helped, but I think much of the blur was due to the people moving rather than the camera.

With the D700 I kept the ISO at 3200, the wider 16-35mm allowing me to use slower speeds with the lens wide open at f4. Once out into the Great Hall the light was much brighter and I was working at around ISO 1000 with the longer lens and ISO 400 with the wide-angle.

Give back Cooman’s Shield
Great Australian Bight Alliance
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