Archive for September, 2018

John de Prey’s Notting Hill

Monday, September 17th, 2018

John de Prey‘s pictures of Notting Hill in 1971, made when he stayed for a few months with a friend in Powis Square in 1971, show some of the more interesting sides of daily life down the Portobello Road and elsewhere in an article in the International Times archive, and you can see more of his work on his Flikr site, serious but unabashed, though its a shame there is only one or two more from Notting Hill among the 150 in his ‘United Kingdom‘ album. Not that some of the other images aren’t of interest, though it would be nice to have more information with some of the pictures, including some taken by others.

Most of his other work is in colour and what broadly might be called travel photography, much of it from the Indian sub-continent, and of rather less interest to me. The Notting Hill pictures were I think made when he was fairly young and fairly new to photography and show an appealing freshness and directness.

I suspect I may be around the same age as de Prey, or perhaps a year or two older, but from a rather different social milieu, and it was a total lack of funds that meant I was only really able to start taking photographs seriously in my mid-twenties. And it was many years later that I first went to Notting Hill, though I think it had perhaps changed relatively little by 1987 when I took a few pictures there, including this one on the Portobello Road:

Back in the 1970s, Notting Hill to most people still meant the 1958 race riots and Rachman. The media were always keen to seize on any violent incidents, particularly around carnival and give them maximum publicity, and it was an area most Londoners avoided.

Now it is generally swamped by tourists, and many of the old shops and pubs have gone or been changed out of recognition. The main language I heard on the streets visiting there recently was Italian – and even some of those sitting begging on the streets had notices written in that language. The biggest change came of course with the 1999 film ‘Notting Hill‘, but for some years there had been increasing emphasis on Carnival as a spectacle rather than just the crime statistics. But even when I first went to Carnival back at the start of the 1990s there were people who told me I would get attacked and knifed and have my camera stolen and told me I would be mad to go.

It wasn’t of course true. Though like any large public event it makes sense to be careful and not to make life easy for pickpockets, and to be careful not to antagonise people. But for most people Carnival was a great day out and they came to enjoy themselves and were happy to be photographed – as I think you can see from the pictures in my ‘Notting Hill Carnival in the 1990s‘, still available at only £6 plus postage.


There are no adverts on this site and it receives no sponsorship, and I like to keep it that way. But it does take a considerable amount of my time and thought, and if you enjoy reading it, a small donation – perhaps the cost of a beer – would be appreciated.

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

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

To order prints or reproduce images


Universal Credit at the Tate

Sunday, September 16th, 2018

Sometimes space in photographs can be very important, and this picture of protesters in the Turbine Hall of Tate Modern in London is I think a good example. But it isn’t without its problems, and as this small reproduction shows one of them is that we really can’t read the message on the t-shirts unless the image is used on a rather larger scale.

The picture is one of around a dozen taken of the group of protesters, and actually one of them is missing. In this picture it reads STOPUNIVERSALCREDIT and there should have been a ‘#’ at the left. But the ‘#’ was talking to and delaying the security man who was trying to stop the protest, and a later picture shows running to join the protest with security runinng after him.

I was standing on the bridge across the hall, I think at the same level as the horizontal beam along the wall at the right, and hoping that there were going to be no security officers trying to stop me taking pictures – and fortunately there wasn’t. And I was able to take a series of pictures before the security officer rather got in the way of the message, some of which were more legible in small reproduction.

As well as making the message more legible, the larger scale also makes the reflection on the rear wall stand out more, helped by a little massaging in post-production. I’ve also done a little tweaking to make the inside walls of the building more or less vertical as intended, which is a lot easier on the computer than when we had to tilt the easel holding the paper under the enlarger.

I’d started taking pictures of the group earlier, at the riverside outside Tate Modern, and we had to start with the protesters with their back to us as they didn’t have quite enough people to wear the full set. Then they managed to persuade a person (or was it two) walking by to make up the numbers for a full frontal image by the river and then on the Millenium bridge before a couple of late-comers made it. It needed the 16mm fisheye to get in the whole group on the bridge with the former power stationi behind them.

But I think the pictures I like most from the riverside are those where you can’t read the message at all, or only the odd bit of it – and the tape which says ‘Beware Hostile Environment’.

And there was even a role for that over-zealous security officer when the protesters went to pose on the tarmac outside the building and he came to insist that they go completely off the property. But the logo on his jacket enabled me to take a photograph showing clearly where the protest was taking place. I’ve put the image on the web without cropping, but should really have cropped the group tighter, taking out the woman in blue at the left and a little of the foreground.

Universal Credit is now pretty universally admitted to be a disaster, but the government is refusing to halt its roll-out, creating greater hardship to so many, leading to evictions and suicides as well as a huge degree of deprivation and misery. If we lived in a society that was truly just, Iain Duncan Smith would be in jail and the whole programme scrapped.

The action at Tate modern was a prelude to other protests in London and elsewhere on a day of action against Universal Credit, of which more later. But its also a set of pictures, a little over 30 in all, which show very clearly how I was working that day, about the closest I like to get to studio photography.

Universal Credit protest at Tate Modern


There are no adverts on this site and it receives no sponsorship, and I like to keep it that way. But it does take a considerable amount of my time and thought, and if you enjoy reading it, a small donation – perhaps the cost of a beer – would be appreciated.

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

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

To order prints or reproduce images


Emerging Photographers

Saturday, September 15th, 2018

A nice piece in the New York Times, a paper that has used a great deal of good photography over the years, showcases the work of 12 ‘emerging photographers‘.

My own experiences working for the New York Times organisation were considerably less positive, working for an organisation they took over, I got fired from a job writing about photography and photographers because the editors they brought in thought my work was not commercial enough. I’d been hired to write about photography for professionals and collectors of photography some years earlier, but what the new editors wanted was something that appealed to a well off market in the USA that would appeal to advertisers. I had to stop using British spelling, stop writing long pieces, stop writing about foreign photographers, write everything for people who knew nothing about photography but had just bought a camera to photograph their kids, July 4th and thanksgiving… I should assume my readers knew nothing about photography but should convince them that if they bought the latest new camera it would make them a real photographer, up with the greats.

I’d built up a considerable following over the seven or so years I had written the web site, with photographers around the world reading my articles and writing to me. One article on the photographs from 9/11 got around a million hits in 24 hrs, and the audience figures generally weren’t bad – just as well as I only got paid by results. Though it turned out I and the other writers weren’t actually getting paid what we were promised, and a couple of years after I left I got a couple of thousand pounds more from a class action settlement.

All along I had been writing some things specifically for beginners and also for an American audience, but I also wrote and continued writing more serious articles as well. Using US spelling didn’t worry me, but there was too much I wasn’t prepared to compromise and dumb down on so after an uncomfortable few months I got fired. Which is really how this blog started.

A Holiday in Manchester

Friday, September 14th, 2018

Manchester, England’s second city, might not be everyone’s choice for a holiday, though I think it has a great deal to offer.  A little over 50 years ago, it was where I spent my honeymoon, though that was mainly because we had a flat there and were too broke to go anywhere else – at the time we were both pretty penniless students.  Though I’m not sure we went out a great deal in the first week or so, except for a day coach trip to the Lake District.

I’d lived at various addresses in south Manchester – Whalley Range, Alexandra Park (or was that really Moss Side), Longsight, Withington (that only lasted a week before the bed bugs chased me out), Rusholme, Fallowfield before we moved to occupy the top floor of a small terraced house within spitting distance from Maine Road where we spent the first two and a half years of our marriage, but after around seven years had to move, first to Leicester and then on further south, where work took me. I’d applied for jobs in Manchester, but without success. Since moving away in 1970, I’d only been back for the odd conference or passing through on my way elsewhere.

So my short holiday there – three days at the start of August – was something of a nostalgia trip both for me and my wife, and we spent some time visiting some of our former haunts, though most had changed beyond recognition. And as you will find if you read my accounts on the web site ‘My London Diary’ at least one of the places we had never quite managed to visit (and that Linda has held against me since 1970).  Three days wasn’t quite enough, as there weresome new things we wanted to do. and there were a few places we didn’t manage to revisit, so perhaps we will make another visit some time.

You can see some of what we did on My London Diary, perhaps not the most appropriate place, but though it mainly includes events and occasions in London, it should perhaps have had the rather less snappy title ‘My Diary of events and places mainly in London’. As usual on that site, the posts are in reverse order with the first at the bottom of the list.

Manchester Visit 

Ancoats – Saturday
Central Manchester – Friday
St Johns Quarter
Oxford Road to Castlefields
Mersey Walk &, Fletcher Moss
Manchester to Didsbury
Manchester: Canal walk
To Stockport & Bramhall Hall

Science & Industry Museum
Manchester: City Centre – Wednesday
Manchester: City Centre – Wednesday

Manchester: Oxford Road
Manchester: City Centre – Wednesday

I didn’t take a great deal of photo equipment with me, just one camera, the Nikon D810 and three Nikon lenses, the 16mm fisheye, 18-35mm and 28-200 zooms, along with one spare battery and a charger. It was all I needed.



London 1978 (11)

Wednesday, September 12th, 2018

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

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

London 1978 (11)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

There are no adverts on this site and it receives no
sponsorship, and I like to keep it that way. But it does take a considerable amount of my time and thought, and if you enjoy reading it, a small donation – perhaps the cost of a beer – would be appreciated.

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

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

To order prints or reproduce images


London 1978 (10)

Tuesday, September 11th, 2018

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

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

London 1978 (10)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Whitechapel, 1978
17g66: shop, Tower Hamlets

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Shoreditch, 1978
17h32: housing, Tower Hamlets

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

More to follow….

There are no adverts on this site and it receives no
sponsorship, and I like to keep it that way. But it does take a considerable amount of my time and thought, and if you enjoy reading it, a small donation – perhaps the cost of a beer – would be appreciated.

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

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

To order prints or reproduce images


London 1978 (10)

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

London 1978 (9)

Monday, September 10th, 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Richmond, 1978
17e52: house, Richmond

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

There are no adverts on this site and it receives no
sponsorship, and I like to keep it that way. But it does take a considerable amount of my time and thought, and if you enjoy reading it, a small donation – perhaps the cost of a beer – would be appreciated.

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

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

To order prints or reproduce images


London 1978 (8)

Sunday, September 9th, 2018

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

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

London 1978 (8)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

More to follow….

There are no adverts on this site and it receives no
sponsorship, and I like to keep it that way. But it does take a considerable amount of my time and thought, and if you enjoy reading it, a small donation – perhaps the cost of a beer – would be appreciated.

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

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

To order prints or reproduce images


London 1978 (7)

Friday, September 7th, 2018

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

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

London 1978 (7)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

More to follow….

There are no adverts on this site and it receives no
sponsorship, and I like to keep it that way. But it does take a considerable amount of my time and thought, and if you enjoy reading it, a small donation – perhaps the cost of a beer – would be appreciated.

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

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

To order prints or reproduce images


London 1978 (6)

Thursday, September 6th, 2018

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

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

London 1978 (6)

Mural and Morganite works, Battersea, Wandworth, 1978
14l42: wandsworth, battersea, works, mural

The Morgan Crucible Works between Church Road and the River Thames began with a company bought by William Morgan in 1850; he was joined by his five brothers in 1855 and in 1856 they bought the small crucible factory of E. Falcke & Sons, founded by Wilhelm Falcke around 1823, at Garden Wharf halfway between Battersea Bridge and St Mary’s Church. The Morgans had been selling a crucible made in the USA which used graphite mixed into the clay and decided to make these themselves, setting up the Patent Plumbago Crucible Company (plumbago being a now archaic name for graphite.) In 1872 they bought up the surrounding houses and built a new factory with a 100ft clock tower, designed by Charles
Henry Cooke.

They continued to expand and buy up neighbouring wharves, eventually owning an around 1,000 ft stretch of the riverside, erecting more buildings on the expanded site. The building in my picture is I think their large factory building from 1934-7. By the 1960s the business had run out of space for further expansion and moved production to sites in Worcestershire and Swansea. The Battersea Works closed in 1970 and building of a housing estate on the site, Morgan’s Walk by Wates Ltd, began shortly after I took this picture and was completed in 1984.

‘The Battersea Mural: The Good, The Bad and the Ugly’ on ‘Morgan’s Wall’ was designed by Brian Barnes in 1976 and painted with permission from Morgans by him and 60 local residents from the Battersea Redevelopment Action Group, taking nearly 2 years to complete. Scandalously an application to make the retention of the wall a condition of planning permission for demolition of the site was turned down and the 276-foot wide mural between 12 and 18 ft high was demolished when the Morgan Crucible Company brought in heavy plant at dead of night on 6th June 1979. The artist and six others were arrested at the site later in the day. Fortunately the mural, a vision of the future of the area, had been well recorded in photographs and on film, which you can see on YouTube.

Mural and Morganite works, Battersea, Wandworth, 1978
14l43: wandsworth, battersea, works, mural

A portrait format image showing the full height of the chimney.

Morganite works, Battersea, Wandworth, 1978
14l45: wandsworth, battersea, works

A long section of the wall along Church St to the west of the mural. At the end is a building with a notice stating it is Morganite Special Carbons Limited.

Morgan Advanced Materials plc is now a global engineering company with its HQ in Windsor and operating in 50 countries, manufacturing at around 85 plants in over 30 countries and selling to customers in more than a hundred. It describes itself as “a world-leader in advanced materials science and engineering of ceramics, carbon and composites”, making “insulating fibres, electrical carbon systems, seals and bearings, ceramic cores, crucibles for metals processing and high technology composites” as well as specialist materials “to perform critical duties in harsh or demanding environments” in “healthcare, petrochemicals, transport, electronics, energy, security and industrial” markets.

Hovis, River Thames, Battersea Rail Bridge & Fulham Power Station, Battersea, Wandworth, 1978
14l52: wandsworth, battersea, works, bakery, bridge, river, thames, power station, boat,

The view upstream shows an industrial scene that has now disappeared.

At left is Rank’s Hovis Battersea Flourmill. The first mill on this site, built by Thomas Fowler in 1788 was apparently a rather curious horizontal windmill to a design by a former naval captain, Stephen Hooper. Fowler used it for grinding linseed to give linseed oil, but it was soon taken over and used to grind corn and a Boulton & Watt steam engine bought to replace or augment the wind.

The mill was replaced by a new mill using steel rollers rather than millstones by Mayhew & Sons in 1887, and the business was acquired by Joseph Rank, Hull’s great miller, in 1914. He kept the Mayhew name and put his son Rowland in charge to try out new ideas in milling. Rowland’s first move was to bring in the architects of Hull’s greatest mills, Sir Alfred Gelder and Llewellyn Kitchen to provide modern mill buildings including some on land reclaimed from the river. They made various later additions to the site, fighting to build silos taller than were allowed under the London building regulations so that a whole barge of grain could be unloaded without stopping. After Rowland died in 1939, the mill became part of Rank’s who became Rank Hovis McDougall Ltd in 1962. The mill closed in 1992 and was demolished in 1997. The tall triangle of Richard Rogers’ Montevetro (‘glass mountain’) now occupies the site.

On the other side of the river, which is crossed by the Battersea Rail Bridge, is Fulham power station, with its 4 chimneys in line. Built for Fulham Borough COuncil and opened in 1936, it was the largest municipal power station in the country and had its own fleet of colliers to bring coal from the Tyne. It was also one of the first power stations to have flue-gas desulphurisation equipment, although this was removed around 1940. Nationalised in 1948 the power station was decommissioned in 1978 and demolished in the 1980s.

Park Lane Subway, Mayfair, Westminster, 1978
14o42: westminster, mayfair, subway, shadow

Another preoccupation at the time was my interest in shadows, such as this one apparently descending the Hyde Park corner subway at the lower end of Park Lane. Like my interest in reflections, this was at least in part inspired by my interest in the work of Lee Friedlander, whose work I had been introduced to by Creative Camera magazine.

I ordered a copy of his self-published book ‘Photographs’ (the second from his Haywire Press after his 1970 Self Portrait) when it came out at about the time I took this picture, though it took some time for the Creative Camera bookshop to actually get a copy for me. Self Portrait had been full of shadows, perhaps the earliest and most inventive book of ‘selfies’, but seemed then (and later when I got a review copy of the 1998 second edition) to rather stretch a single idea too far. ‘Photographs’ a few years later was a early career retrospective and still in my opinion contains his best work.

Bus, Piccadilly, Mayfair, Westminster, 1978
14o52: westminster, mayfair, bus, reflection,

Another Friedlandereque exploration of the complex visual landscape provided by reflections. Looking at it now I find it a mystery, but feel it doesn’t quite succeed as a picture. It is a single exposure and is printed the right way round
and I think involves two reflecting glass surfaces, one possibly a bus shelter. The trees are presumably in Green Park and I think this must have been made somewhere on the north side of Piccadilly between Half Moon St and Bolton St.

Carrington Mews, Mayfair, Westminster, 1978
14o56: westminster, mayfair, flats

‘Carrington Mews Dwellings’ were, as it says above the door, ‘Erected A.D. 1877 by the Metropolitan Association for Improving the Dwellings of the Industrious Classes’. Carrington Mews is now simply the part of Shepherd St west of Hertford St and this building was demolished soon after I took this picture. Its place is I think now occupied by May Fayre House, some kind of hotel apartments.

MAIDIC was “a well-intentioned philanthropic organisation” which had developed into “a major provider of housing” by the time this block was built. It was the first of its kind, founded in 1841 to provide to provide affordable housing for the working classes on a privately run basis, with a financial return for investors based on the ‘five percent philanthropy’ model (for MAIDIC this was specified as a minimum return.) It gained a Royal Charter on 30th June 1845 and was incorporated as a Royal Charter Company as The Metropolitan Property Association in 1981. It has no connection with the similarly named Metropolitan Housing Association.

The setting up of the association followed the work of Edwin Chadwick whose ‘Report on The Sanitary Condition of the Labouring Population of Great Britain’ was begun in 1839 and published in 1842 and predated the publication of Engels’ ‘The Condition of the Working Class in England’ in 1844.

Companies such as MAIDIC (and there were around 28 of them in 1875) increasingly found it difficult to make a sufficient financial return, and were largely superceded by organisations with a more charitable basis and the growth of large-scale municipal housing from the start of the 20th century.

More to follow….

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

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