Archive for September, 2017

My London Diary: July 2017

Wednesday, September 6th, 2017

Another month of posts to My London Diary – July 2017 – complete

July 2017

Justice for Rashan Charles
Mitie get ‘Worst Employer’ Award
Atos still killing the disabled
DPAC/RMT ‘Right to Ride’ protest

Grenfell survivors tell Council “Resign now!”
Protest welfare reforms, cuts & sanctions
Kentish Town
Processione della Madonna del Carmine
March against school funding cuts

Barts NHS Cleaners march against Serco
Community calls for Ritzy Boycott
Freedom for Palestinian MP
Council tax TAP Protest
Have a Field Day HS2 protest
Anti-Racist & Migrant Rights reclaim Pride

Cleaners protest at Facebook HQ
Pub Jiro
Stop Killing Londoners Road Block

Haringey Residents protest housing sell-off
Tories Out March

And as usual a few pictures taken as I travelled around the city:

London Images


Hull Photos: 11/8/17 – 17/8/17

Tuesday, September 5th, 2017

Another week’s postings from August:

11th August 2017

Another view of the swing bridge across the entrance lock to the former fish dock. St Andrew’s Dock had been built with the coal trade in mind, but was opened in 1883 as the fish dock, and remained in that use until 1975, when the fishing fleet moved to nearby Albert Dock.

The area around the lock was designated as a conservation area in 1990, but the Lord Line building – trawler owners offices built in 1949 – is only locally listed. In May 2017 Hull Council issued an enforcement order against the building’s owners telling them to make it safe and secure after many photographs taken inside the building and on its roof had been published. The owners response was to put in plans to demolish both this building and the nearby listed Hydraulic Tower and Pump House, which environment officers have rejected.

Although people in Hull welcomed the recent listing of around ten Hull buildings in recognition of its year as UK City of Culture, many were disappointed that Lord Line and the also the threatened huge ‘Three Ships’ mosaic on the former BHS store were not also protected.

Most of the other buildings visible in the picture have now gone. In the distance at the left of the picture you can see the distinctive chimneys of two of the fish smoke houses.

36k54: Swing Bridge, St Andrews Dock entrance and Lord Line building, 1983 – Docks

12th August 2017

Water still remained in St Andrew’s Dock, though the entrance was now closed by the roadway across it. The main part of the Lord Line Building was I think empty, though people still seemed to be working in some of the other buildings around where cars and a van and a lorry are parked.

The Lord Line building was still in good condition, with not a single broken window. On its frontage are the names of some of the companies which used it – British United Trawlers Limited, Marconi Marine, J Marr & Son and another I can’t quite read.

At the end of the road are trawlers in William Wright Dock. Of the buildings on the right only the listed hydraulic tower remains. The Lord Line building has been deliberately left open to vandalism for years but its basic shell appears sound.

36k55: St Andrew’s Dock, Lord Line Building and road, 1983 – Docks

13th August 2017

St Andrew’s Dock had been the fish dock since it opened in 1883 until it was abandoned in 1975, with what remained of the fishing industry moving a short distance east to Albert Dock.

Those that remained of the businesses around the dock moved with it, leaving empty buildings, some dating from the 1880s, and they quickly deteriorated.

36k61: Abandoned buildings, St Andrew’s Dock, 1983 – Docks

14th August 2017

CEA Towne Ship Riggers Ltd is a family firm founded in 1948, becoming a private limited company in 1951, and still trading as the Towne Group. The plates by the office door show it was also the registered office for Charles Towne Agencies Ltd and ‘Ropes & Rigging Ltd’ presumably all part of the group. The bottom plate is for the Fleetwood Trawler Supply Company Ltd which was set up in 1912 to supply Fleetwood trawlers with oil burning navigation lamps and also provided sheet metal work, ships rigging, sail making, chandlery and provisions, and which became a part of the Towne Group, which also includes a farm on Hull Road in Skirlaugh.

The business of the companies has changed somewhat with the end of the fishing industry; some of the companies are now longer active but the Towne Group is now particularly involved with lifting equipment.

36k65: CEA Towne (Ship Riggers) Ltd, St Andrew’s Dock, 1983 – Docks

15th August 2017

Empty cable drums and coils of rope on the dockside at St Andrew’s Dock. The reflection in the window shows a fish smoke house and what I think is a part of the trawler owner’s offices in the Lord Line building.

36k66: Abandoned workshops, St Andrew’s Dock, 1983 – Docks

16th August 2017

I was fascinated by the texture and marks on this wall and the tall, slim post embedded in the concrete path in front of it on a corner of Lime St, to the east of the River Hull, and photographed it on several occasions. There was something about the vertical stains coming down the wall with their diffuse edges and the precise edge of the post, as well as the square aperture in the wall, and there always seemed a peculiar quality of light here, with the tall and fairly light coloured wall acting as a huge reflector.

There was a certain mystery about it. Lime St now has no walls, no posts like this.

Lime St is said to have got its name from the time when the processing of whales was one of Hull’s main industries. There were pits of quicklime beside the river where the whales were rendered down. It was an industry that gained the street the reputation of being the smelliest street in England. It was still a street lined on both sides by industrial premises – including the wharves along the River Hull on its west side – when I took this picture in 1983.

36l24: Post and Wall, Lime St, 1983 – River Hull

17th August 2017

The first of a few pictures from Goole, which I visited briefly. The port of Goole was always linked with that of Hull, as well as being a competitor, with barges taking goods between the two. Goole has its canal connections with West Yorkshire and beyond while Hull was closer to the sea and has docks for large ocean-going vessels.

The silo now helpfully has the name Hudson Ward across the top and is the Hudson Ward mill; it was perhaps being repainted when I took this picture in August 1983. The company are flour millers and manufacturers of animal foods of all kinds and came to Goole in 1885. On 31st December 1893 the partnership between Thomas Francis Hudson, Robert Robinson, and Thomas Hanley was officially dissolved and the business carried as the Hudson, Ward and Company Limited, Flour and Corn Merchants and Millers at the Dock Mills, Goole.

Robert Robinson was a farmers son, born in 1846 at Thorne Levels and worked on his father’s farm until he bought a flour mill at Conisborough in 1870 with his father-in-law T F Hudson. Four years later he rented a mill at Doncaster with Thomas Hanley, which unfortunately burnt down in 1881. They bought a mill at Retford and rebuilt the Doncaster mill.

The mill at Goole was opened around 1885 and cost around £18,000 though possibly older existing buildings on the site were used as offices. The rather plain silo in my pictures I think probably dates from the 1930s, built alongside the original six storey brick building which had many more windows and electric lighting and was demolished probably in the 1970s. Hudson Ward were formed when Robinson retired, spending a few years travelling abroad and later becoming a well-known Doncaster councillor and Mayor from 1902-3. He was also a leading Methodist in the area, as were several of Hull’s leading industrialists.

The major part of the wheat used for flour milling is brought up the river in the firm’s fleet of barges direct from trans-Atlantic ships in Hull and discharged in bulk into this large 4,000-ton silo on the north side of Goole’s South Dock.

36l32: Daunt Rock berthed at silo, South Dock from Bridge St, Goole, 1983 – Goole

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.

Hull Photos: 4/8/17 – 10/8/17

Monday, September 4th, 2017

I’ve managed to keep posting an image a day over the holiday period, despite some problems with accessing WiFi when away from home, but I’ve rather got behind in posting the weekly digests of posts. So this is the first of several posts in an attempt to catch up over the next few days.

4th August 2017

One of the upper rooms in the Pilot Office on the corner of Nelson St and Queen St was built to give the pilots a clear view up the Humber for incoming vessels, and doubtless they would sit or stand there with a telescope waiting for their turn to go out in the pilot boat to meet them. But on this occasion the launch had been out in the Humber and had then come in and was waiting at the riverside, next to the horse wash before setting off to meet the ship. The view out from the Pilot Office along the estuary is now blocked by The Deep.

The ship’s name appears to be Simone, and there are several ships of that name, but all I can find details of were built after I took this picture in 1983. She has the letters RNO large amidships.

36i24: Humber pilot boat Camilla speeds off provide a pilot, 1983 – Old Town

5th August 2017

This area close to the mouth of the River Hull was Hull’s ‘Old Harbour’, lined with warehouses and wharves. I was standing close to the end of Scale Lane – where the new footbridge is to take this picture. There are more boats behind these front four, including I think a couple of the redundant lightships from the Whitton Sands, replaced a year or two earlier by solar-powered unmanned lights.

A crane is mounted on a platform jutting out from one of the warehouses, but I think will no longer have been in use. The river walkway is still there but the varied buildings which made for an interesting townscape have been replaced by an anodyne apartment development, unpleasant though not particularly ugly but lacking in character

From left to right the four boats are named Onward Pioneer, Maureen Anne W, Iveco and a crudely written SFS. The Maureen Anne W was built in 1964 at Hessle or Thorne by Dunston’s as the Hessle Flyer II, used as tranport between their two yards, and renamed Maureen Anne W in 1978. Around 2010 the tarpaulin covered open hold was converted into living accommodation and the wheelhouse rebuilt in Hartlepool.

36i31: Boats in Old Harbour, Myton Bridge and Tidal Barrier, River Hull, 1983 – River Hull

6th August 2017

A man stands on a curious lump in the River Hull looking at the swirling water and I hoped he was not about to jump in. I decided not to follow him out on the rather flimsy looking bridge from the end of Nelson St.

Proba from George Town in the Dry Dock was a sizeable ship of around 1500 tons, around 268ft long and 40 ft wide, a coaster built by Ailsa Perth Shipbuilders at Troon for Wm.Robertson Shipowners Gem Line in 1962 and seemed to pretty well fill the dry dock. I think she was floating when I took this picture and soon to leave to pick up cargo in the King George V dock. She was named Tourmaline until 1982 when she became Proba until 1986, then had a string of names – Fergus H, Socotra, Sorocco and finally in 1993, Akram V, under which name she was converted into a tanker. At the time of the photograph she was owned by Concord Leasing Ltd of Brentford in West London but registered at Georgetown in the Cayman Islands. The ship was stranded off Malaysia in 2009 and is thought to have been broken up at Chittagong in 2011.

The dry dock is now the event venue Stage@TheDock, where the Proms did an afternoon concert last month. I think the stage is actually above the dock, which is still visible at each end. Also last month the Tidal Barrier was one of several building given Grade II listed status.

The bank to the right of the picture is Sammy’s Point and from 1849-1864 the site of Martin Samuelson and Co one of Hull’s best-known shipbuilding yards which built around a hundred iron ships in 10 years and was one of the pioneers in using steel for shipbuilding. It later became a timber yard for Victoria Dock and appears to have a number of buoys stored. This is now the site of Hull’s popular visitor attraction The Deep.

36i35: Mouth of the River Hull, Tidal Barrier and Hull Central Drydock from Nelson St, 1983 – Old Town

7th August 2017

Although there was still some river traffic on the Hull, many of these vessels were apparently moored here awaiting disposal

The Humber Princess, the largest vessel in the picture, moored on the far bank, a 380 ton Oil Products Tanker built in 1979 for John H Whitaker (Tankers) Ltd of Hull (“Industry leaders in bunker logistics for over 120 years”) is apparently still in service, her last reported position in Stanhope Dock, Goole a day ago. She was built just a little upriver in Hull at the Yorkshire Dry Dock.

Some of the other vessels will have been sold and converted into houseboats and others simply broken up.

None of the buildings on the far shore have survived, with the exception of the large light-coloured shed, which I think is still there though rather altered, the premises of John H Whitaker (Holdings) Ltd on Tower St.

36i41: The Old Harbour, River Hull, 1983 – River Hull

8th August 2017

Both the Pease Warehouse, tastefully converted into flats and Drypool Bridge, recently given a paint makeover to celebrate mathematician John Venn, born in Hull but who moved away almost as soon as he could walk, are listed buildings and have survived.

Unfortunately Joseph Rank’s Clarence Mill, rebuilt after wartime bombing was not listed and was demolished early in 2016, despite being one of Hull’s best-known landmarks. A solid building which could well have been converted to other uses – like the warehouse opposite – it was to have been replaced by an ugly hotel in time for Hull’s year as UK CIty of Culture, but that failed to materialise and the site remains empty and the riverside path fenced off. The half of the Rank’s site on the other side of the bridge which was manufacturing animal feed under the trade name Blue Cross still remains, now making shotgun cartridges.

36i55: Drypool Bridge, River Hull and Clarence Flour Mill, 1983 – River Hull

9th August 2017

This was a fairly typical sight in the Old Harbour on the River Hull back in 1983, with barges moored along the wharves at the rear of the High St. On the East bank of the river in front of a sand and gravel wharf is Bowprince, a 1,485 ton suction dredger, built by Ailsa at Troon in 1964 and in 1983 London registerd and owned by British Dredging (Sand & Gravel) Co Ltd. Like so many of the ships in my pictures she came to an unfortunate end; after being sold to Madeira Island in 1991, where her name was changed to Bom Príncipe she sank and was lost there. This was apparently not her first sinking – she had in around 1968 sunk in the Thames above Greenwich after a collision with the coal coaster Blackwall Point.

Gilyott And Scott Ltd were incorporated as a company in 1901 and liquidated around 1993. John Scott was born in Beeford, a village between Bridlington and Hull, in 1827 and was a lighter owner long before the company was formed. For a time the company also operated a fleet of lorries. They were a major owner of tugs and lighters in Hull certainly after 1964 when they brought together the companies of William Gilyott, John A. Scott, T.F. Wood, Furleys and John Deheer.

There were a number of barges in the Poem series, and several others appear in my Hull photos. Twite was one of a class named after bird species.

36i56: Poem 21, Bow Prince and Twite in the Old Harbour, 1983 – River Hull

10th August 2017

The Neptune Inn was first recorded in 1817 and closed in 1979 and was boarded up awaiting demolition – which finally took place a couple of years after I photographed it. The name of the licensee, J A Lancaster was still written above the door which bears the single word ‘BAR’. Previously an older picture by another photographer shows rather more ornate doors on both sides in keeping with the pub frontage.

The pub – taken over from a local brewery chain by Worthingtons in 1897, was known as the ‘Little Neppy’, perhaps not just because of its diminutive size, but also because there was from 1797 a Neptune Hotel in Whitefriargate, built by Hull’s Trinity House for merchants landing at the newly built dock, opened in 1778 and now Queen’s Dock Gardens.

That Georgian building survives, with a blue plaque about its history, though it soon failed as a hotel being too grand and too expensive for Hull, and it was Hull’s Custom House from 1815-1912. Since the 1930s it has been leased by Boots and the staff canteen was in the former Banqueting Hall.

Neptune St is still there, leading to the Albert Dock but I don’t recall where on it this pub once stood. A small and homely pub, it used to be popular, certainly up to the 1970s, being close to the docks, Smith & Nephews, Sanderson’s paint works and various fish dealers.

36k-34: Neptune Pub, Neptune St, 1983 – Hessle Rd

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.


Sunday, September 3rd, 2017

In the past I’ve bought HP printers. Both inkjet and laser printers for the college at which I taught, and we still have an HP Laserjet 1100 attached to my wife’s computer, still going strong after around 18 years, though now always with cheap compatible toners. I won’t buy HP – and their toners cost 5 times as much.

I probably first bought HP printers after seeing them on the HP stand at BETT, which used to be known as the British Educational Training and Technology Show but is now billed as the “World’s Leading EdTech Event” and likes to hide the British bit of its name. Back when I first went it was at the Barbican, then moved to Olympia, where I took my first ever pictures with a digital camera on one of the stands (and wasn’t too excited by the quality) and is now held every January at the Excel Centre on London’s Royal Victoria Docks.

People do come from all around the world to the show now – not that there is really any need to, but it’s a good excuse to get out of school for a few days and get a trip to London and your hotel paid for by your employer, though for me it was only a day off and the train fare. You can pick up a few ideas at the various sessions and stands of all the leading companies, and I certainly saved my employers money by getting some good deals on gear, but that was before the days there was so much on line that big shows like this with all the travel etc are really just a perk for those who get to dine out on them. How much longer we can waste all the carbon involved?

But now I certainly wouldn’t buy from HP, as I’ve read all the information from Inminds at this and other protests, and know the vital role that HP play in supporting the often illegal and inhumane persecution of Palestinians by the Israeli state and its military. Inminds launched its campaign to boycott HP in September 2014 and I’ve covered a number of their protests at various venues since then. You can read why they boycott HP on their web site, which also has some of their pictures from the protests and graphics which show some of the posters too small to read in my pictures.

I didn’t stay too long at the protest – the courtyard in front of the exhibition centre is a cold and windswept place. It’s also one of London’s many (and increasing) privately owned public spaces, and although the centre’s management don’t try to prevent the protest, they do try to marginalise them. Throughout the time I was there the police were constantly coming to the protest organisers and trying to move them further away or restrict their activities, though their requests were not always complied with.

Quite a few of those going into the show came to read the posters and others came across when they came out from the exhibition for a cigarette break. There were a couple of people who reacted adversely – one complained bitterly and loudly that they were not protesting about the mistreatment of Armenians, and was told if he felt strongly about the issue he should organise a protest. Police eventually led him away and talked to him and he went on into the exhibition.

Another man threw a hefty show catalogue at the protesters, fortunately missing them and complained that they were anti-semitic. They told him that they had no issues with Jews – and several of the protesters were Jewish, handed his catalogue back and told him to behave himself, and again police came and told him to keep the peace.

But there were more who came to praise the protesters and thank them, taking photographs on their phone and tweeting about the protest, including one woman who then went along the line of protesters, hugging and kissing each in turn.

More pictures: Ban HP from BETT show


King’s Cleaners

Saturday, September 2nd, 2017

Until recently, my main contact with King’s University in the Strand in London has been waiting for buses outside it, most usually for the short journey to Waterloo or Westminster. A lot of buses stop there, though as often in London you can wait a little while before the one you need comes along. And while you do, there are giant portraits along the frontage of Kings (aka KCL) of some of the alumni listing their achievements.

And it is an impressive pantheon. King’s began in 1829 when King George IV and the Duke of Wellington got together to found it, and not surprisingly it got a royal charter that same year. In 1836 it got together with University College London (which predated it by 3 years) to found London University. In more recent years it has added to the names it can proudly display by a number of mergers, taking in among others Queen Elizabeth College (formerly its Ladies Department), Chelsea College of Science and Technology, the Institute of Psychiatry, the United Medical and Dental Schools of Guy’s and St Thomas’ Hospitals and the Florence Nightingale School of Nursing and Midwifery.

Something it can’t be so proud of is the way it has treated its cleaners. So ashamed that it actually has employed another company to do its dirty work, outsourcing the cleaning to Servest.

Cleaners at King’s are paid less than the London Living Wage and are overworked, often expected to do the work of colleagues who are sick or on holiday in addition to their own. They have conditions of employment significantly worse than King’s would dream of giving staff directly employed by them, getting only statutory sick pay and other benefits and are subjected to arbitrary disciplinary measures. They work in King’s to keep King’s clean – but King’s denies any responsibility for them.

Perhaps surprisingly, the cleaners are members of one of our major trade unions Unison. And much less surprising was that in the ballot they voted 98% in favour of taking strike action. And this rather dull day I was photographing their lunchtime rally on the second day of their strike. They had been picketing there since the early morning, but were still in great spirits, blowing horns, speaking, shouting and dancing, supported by some King’s students and staff, and Unison members from other branches, as well as some cleaners from elsewhere in other unions including the UVW. There does seem to be an increasing feeling that low paid workers need to work together to get a wage they can live on and for cleaners to no longer be treated like the dirt they clean.

King’s College cleaners strike

Peckham against Deportations

Friday, September 1st, 2017

A week after their march in Brixton, Movement for Justice returned to South London for another march against deportation, this time in Peckham, another area where immigration raids have met with anger from the local population.

The protesters are calling on the governments of Nigeria, Ghana, Jamaica, Pakistan and Afghanistan to end their collusion with the racist UK government. They say that immigration raids and mass deportation charter flights are targeting long-established African, Asian and Caribbean communities, dividing families, deporting people who have built lives in the UK with parents, partners and children here.

One of several stops for short speeches to let everyone know why they are protesting

They compare these flights to the ships used in the slave trade, calling them modern slave ships, with deportees shackled with a guard on each side in a cruel and divisive act of racist discrimination.

High Court decisions have ruled that the Home Office has exceeded its legal powers in its deportation of people between 2005 and 2015 with over 10,000 asylum seekers having been illegally deported from the UK in that period. But those who oversaw these illegal acts – including Theresa May have gone unpunished.

Among those supporting the march were SOAS Detainee Support (SDS), Anti Raids Network, Zimbabwe Human Rights Organization Mazimbabweans, Jewdas, BLMUK, London Mexico Solidarity, Sisters Uncut South East London and Lesbians and Gays Support the Migrants.

More at Peckham march against deportations.