Archive for November, 2018

Free Wine!

Friday, November 30th, 2018

Free Wine, or rather, ‘Free Bobi Wine‘ was the slogan of the protest. I have to confess that I’d not before been aware of Bobi Wine, a Ugandan business man, musician and more recently Ugandan MP. Bobi Wine his stage name, Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentamu grew up in a slum in Uganda’s capital Kampala and is noted for his humanitarian work and promoting practical projects to improve conditions for the poor. He was elected as an MP in a by-election in April 2017.

President Museveni has been in power since 1986, bringing in legislation that although it allowed political parties to exist, banned them from campaigning in elections. In 2005 this ban was ended by a constitutional referendum. When elections were held the following year, Museveni was re-elected and the Ugandan Supreme Court upheld the result despite finding evidence of “ intimidation, violence, voter disenfranchisement, and other irregularities.” He won further elections in 2011 and 2016.

International organisations rate the Ugandan government as among the most corrupt in the world, and the country has a terrible human rights record. Laws still limit many normal political activities and many opposition politicians, including main opposition leader Kizza Besigye have been arrested. So the arrest of Bobi Wine in August was hardly surprising, although it led to riots calling for his release with arrests and shooting by police and army and widespread calls in Uganda and internationally calling for his release.

Winee was tortured after arrest and in jail and was in a poor condition when brought first to a military court and then to a civilian court on the day of this protest. The charges against him were dropped, but before he left the courts he was rearrested and charged with treason. Released on bail the following month he went to the USA for medical treatment. In October the case against him and 34 co-defendants was adjourned and is expected to return to court on December 3rd.

Gatherings on his return to Uganda were forbidden, but he now appears to be getting on fairly normally with his life, and was recently in Ghana for the AFRIMA awards business summit.

It was a crowded and emotional event, with some very enthusiastic shouting and dancing as well as speeches. After a rally outside Ugandan House in Trafalgar Square they mmoved down to protest further in Whitehall opposite Downing St. When I left they were debating whether to return to the embassy.

Free Bobi Wine – Ugandans protest


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


Justice for Marikana

Thursday, November 29th, 2018

On the day of the 6th anniversary of the Marikana Massacre, August 16th, there was a protest and vigil for the victims outside South Africa House in Trafalgar Square.

People held up posters with large photographs and brief details of those killed. As well as the 34 shot by South African police as they ran away as a demonstration was dispersed, there were other workers killed during the course of the dispute.

The use of force by South African police against the strikers was encouraged by Lonmin, including Cyril Ramaphosa, one of its directors and now President of SOuth Africa, who described the dispute where the strikers were faced by 800 police as a ‘dastardly criminal act’ requiring ‘concomitant action’.

Lonmin has long avoided its responibilities towards the workers at Marikana, failing to provide them with proper housing and other facilities as well as paying low wages. The company is a subsidiary of the notorious Lonrho, originally founded by imperialist and white supremacist Cecil Rhodes, and the vigil organisers describe it as perserving “its colonial legacy as the corporate face of racial capitalism.” Having avoided any compensation for 6 years, Lonmin is apparently getting ready to cut and run, selling the platinum mine to Sibanye-Stillwater.

The vigil and other events earlier in the week were organised by the Marikana Solidarity Collective which includes members of Marikana Miners Solidarity Campaign, the Pan-Afrikan Society Community Forum, London Mining Network and Decolonising Environmentalism. There was drumming and speeches from activists including trade unionists from the UK and overseas before a vigil which began with African singing in which the names of the murdered miners were each read as their photographs were held up.

The photographs, along with flowers, were then laid in front of the gates of South Africa House.

More pictures at Justice for Marikana vigil


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


Marikana, Bangladesh, Bahrain, Brazil

Wednesday, November 28th, 2018

Monday 13th August was a long day for protests in London, and one that reflected the global nature of London both as a financial capital and in its population now.

The first event I covered reflected the huge involvement of the City of London in the exploitation of mineral resources around the world, and with it the callous disregard both for the countries whose resources are being plundered and in particular the workers involved. The very buildings we walked around on our tour of investors, insurers and shareholders profiting from the violence against people and nature in Marikana were a reminder of the great wealth that was appropriated from our Empire and is still being made from countries around the world.

This was a story backed up by facts and figures in presentations at the brief stops the tour made as the tour stopped at Majedie, Schroders, Investec, Legal & General and BASF, the major customers for Marikana’s platinum.

The tour came three days before the 6th anniversary of the Marikana Massacre when 34 striking miners were shot dead by South African police at Lonmin’s platinum mine, for striking for better wages and living and working conditions. Those shot were trying to disperse and hide and many who survived are still in prison, and 19 were charged with murder. There has been no justice and no compensation for the victims’ families or for the injured mineworkers. One of the South African company directors implicated in ordering the police to take action is Cyril Ramaphosa, now President of South Africa.

From the city I went by bus on my way to Belgravia, taking a route that took me down Whitehall. Looking out of an upper-deck window I saw there was a protest taking place opposite Downing St, rang the bell and jumped off at the next stop.

I’d photographed the Bangladeshi Nationalist Party UK at an earlier event also calling for the release of their party leader Begum Khaleda Zia, jailed in February for five years for embezzlement; her supporters claim the charge was politically motivated.

I took a few photographs, but couldn’t stop long as I was on my way elsewhere. Friends from Bangladesh have told me that both the BNP and their opponents now in power, the Awami League are both corrupt and neither represents the interests of the people of their country. There are some things on which I don’t know enough about to take sides.

Fortunately buses in London are usually frequent, and before long I saw the next on my route and made a run to the stop to catch it, getting to Belgrave Square only around ten minutes later than intended.

Belgrave Square was for a return visit to hunger striker Ali Mushaima, campaigning for his father imprisoned in Bahrain and camping on the pavement in front of the embassy. Early in the morning the previous day someone in the embassy had gone onto the ambassador’s balcony and thrown a bucket of an unknown liquid down on him while he was asleep.

The police had been called but do not appear to have taken the attack very seriously. While diplomats have immunity the attack is thought most likely to have been carried out by one of the bodyguards who are subject to the laws of this country, but the police appear to have declined to make appropriate investigations.

The campaigners from had returned to show their support in an emergency protest, along with a few friends of the hunger striker. Though the police had failed to properly investigate the attack, a small group came to harass the protesters, telling them they could not protest on the pavement outside the embassy, but had to move to the opposite side of the wide street.

There were arguments and threats of arrest, but the protesters who had previously protested in the same place with police on duty not objecting, refused to move and went ahead, performing a short piece of street theatre in which Theresa May sold arms to the Bahraini dictator which he used to shoot protesters, who were then chained up. Unlike in real life the International Criminal Court came to their rescue, released them and condemned the Bahraini regime for their crimes against humanity.

It was unrehearsed and something of a shambles, but pictures taken by Inminds were later made into an effective comic strip about the situation in Bahrain.

I rushed off and jumped on another bus to take me back to a protest outside the Brazilian embassy. I arrived shortly after it was due to start, but there were very few present and nothing much happening. Eventually more people arrived and the protest began, and I was able to take a few pictures before it was time to leave for home and some food.

The protest by the Workers’s Party (TP) was calling for the release of former President Lula so he could stand in the October elections. The TP say that the right wing who have seized power in Brazil have brought highly dubious charges against both Lula and Dilma Rousseff to prevent them winning in the elections.

By the time the event got going, the sun was low in the sky and shining almost horizontally into my lens making it impossible to work from some positions, and there were some excessive flare made unusable. It also created some very high contrast where there were areas of sun and shade in the same images. Fortunately working with RAW images does make it possible to do a fair amount of taming the contrast, so long as detail is retained in the highlights, but it does add to processing time. Some can be handled by overall changes but faces that are half in shade and half in sun sometimes need both ‘dodging’ in the dark areas and ‘burning’ in the light parts.

More on all four events on My London Diary:

Justice For Marikana – 6th Anniversary
Release Bangladeshi opposition leader
Attack on Bahrain Embassy hunger striker
Free Lula – Brazilians for Democracy & Justice


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


Free Shahidul, Free Hassan

Tuesday, November 27th, 2018

Shahidul Alam
who grew up in London returned to his native Bangladesh and has become its leading photographer as well as setting up a number of related major organisatins there, including Drik and Majority World photographic agencies and Pathshala which is now arguably the world’s leading photojournalism school. His work has made Bangaldesh an important centre in Asia and the world for photography.

His gallery at the Drik Agency has several times attracted the attention of police. A show on Tibet was closed down after China had put pressure on the Bangladesh government, and the show ‘Crossfire‘ dealing with extra-judicial killings in Bangladesh was also raided and closed down by a police raid.

On 5th August, shortly after Alam had been interviewed on Al Jazeera over Skype about the student protests on road safety that had been taking place in Dhaka, police raided his home and arrested him. A week later he appeared in court after having been badly beaten and despite various court appearances he remained in jail – until a few days ago when he was finally released on bail, possibly as a result of a special section about him in a resolution on the human rights situation in Bangladesh adopted by the European Parliament and the publication of an open letter about him by Indian writer Arundhati Roy both coming 48 hours before his release.

After his arrest, there were petitions and letters from photographers, academics and others around the world, including several I signed, as well as protests. The protest at the Bangladesh embassy in London was attended by a number of his friends and relatives and several well-known photographers.

I’ve written a number of times about Shahidul, both here and elsewhere; one of the longer pieces still available on line is From the Lions Point Of View.

Earlier in the day I had been at another protest calling for freedom, this time outside the Bahrain embassy, where Ali Mushaima was on the 10th day of a hunger strike demanding that his 70-year-old father immediately receives the medical care he needs, as well as access to books and family visits.

Hassan Mushaima was one of the leaders of the 2011 mass movement that peacefully called for human rights and democratic reforms in Bahrain, which was brutally crushed by the ruling Khalifa dictatorship aided by Saudi forces, killing dozens and imprisoning thousands. Around 5000 are said to still be held in Bahraini jails and Islamic Human Rights organisation who organised the solidarity protest calls for all of them to be released.

Ali Mushaima’s hunger strike has not led to his father’s release, but it did result in him being given a cancer scan and access to vital medicine and following many requests from his friends in September after 44 days he moved to a liquid diet that would keep him alive, though still resolved to keep fighting for other medical treatment and better conditions for his father, and if necessary to renew his hunger strike.

More from both protests:
Free Shahidul Alam
Free Bahraini Human Rights activist


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


Cleaners Protest in Pouring Rain

Monday, November 26th, 2018

The Ministry of Justice at times appears to be titled in best Orwellian manner, and certainly so far as its low paid staff – such as the cleaners – are concerned it is very much a Ministry of Injustice. It’s  place I’ve attended a number of protests outside, about the treatment of refugees and asylum seekers, about prisons, about privatisation of probation services, aboujt the slashing of legal aid and more. Most recently I’ve been there a few times about the rock-bottom wages and lousy conditions of employment for the people who keep the place clean.

One major reason that our UK benefits system has become so complex, leading to the fiasco over the introduction of Universal Credit, is that we have become very much a low pay economy, at least for those at the lower end of employment. Partly this is because of the huge salaries and other payments given to the people at the top, but more it reflects the contempt the well-off largely feel for those at the bottom.

Universal Credit aims to drive people into work by cutting benefits; its proponents say that aims to make work pay, but unfortunately they have failed to make work pay enough to live on, particularly in London, where costs are high. It seems to me axiomatic that any full time job should pay as a minimum a real living wage. Paying benefits to people because their employer doesn’t pay them enough to live on  – as our system does is a subsidy for inefficient or unscrupulous employers (just as housing benefit is a subsidy for landlords.)  And of course there are many jobs that the state should pay for people to do, either directly or thorugh employers, but it should be deciding what these are and not leaving it to the whims and distortions of private companies.

Cleaners perform a vital role at the offices of the Ministry of Justice, as they do elsewhere, and should be paid at least enough to live on, which is the figure published annually as the London Living Wage. It seems to me a simple matter of justice, but that seems to be in short supply at the ministry.

The campaign here is one of a number being fought for low paid cleaners by the United Voices of the World trade union, which many employers refuse to recognise and try to avoid having to deal with. The large established trade unions – with a few notable local branch exceptions – have not been very succesful in recruiting low paid workers and dealing with their problems, particularly when many of these workers don’t have English as their first language. They often have cosy arrangements with large employers and are ‘recognised’ as representing low paid workers even when they have few if any members among them. Unsurprisingly they haven’t done much for those at the bottom.

Unions such as the UVW are ‘grass roots’ unions with few if any paid staff – and those who work for them generally do so on the London Living Wage they fight for on behalf of their members. They are small enough to have simple democratic structures where every member can have a say – and in their first language. They organise effective protests at workplaces, but also educational classes (particularly language classes) and social events, a few of which I’ve been invited to and have enjoyed.

The main problem in photographing the event was the weather. The  protest began in light rain, but it was soon pouring, and there was only very limited shelter. Some of the protesters were directly against the wall of the building, where an overhang gave some protection, while others stood in the rain under umbrellas.

I had an umbrella with me, but it isn’t easy to take pictures holding one – cameras really need both hands to operate. And sometimes I could stand with those under the underhang, but it wasn’t always the right place to be to take pictures.  Occasionally I could stand under one of the umbrellas various people were holding, but more often I was standing a little further away and they poured water down on me.

I was getting very wet, and so were the two cameras I was using. Both the Nikon D810 and the D750 have some weather protection, though the lenses are leaky.

I usually keep the D810 on a sling strap at my side, with the lens pointing down, and on the 28-200 I have a screw-in lens hood which offers some limited protection. It isn’t perfect, and vignettes slightly at the wide end when working full-frame, but it’s a great improvement on the plastic Nikon version, which used to fall off at the slightest provovacation. It was an odd size and I think no longer made. I managed to replace the first one I lost after long searching on the web, but it cost £20 and when that one disappeared I decided to go for a generic screw in one.

The D750 with a wide angle uses a more standard lens hood. Still falls off if looked at hard, but when I lose them it’s only a couple of quid for a Chinese replacement (actually slightly better than the genuine thing.) But any lens hood you can use on a 18-35mm isn’t too effective at keeping the rain off.  I have the D750 on a fairly short neck strap, and slip it inside my jacket when it rains, but this means leaving the zip down some way on the jacket – and I get a wet neck and chest.

In my hand when photographing in wet conditions I have a large microfibre cloth, to wipe cameras and lenses. As well as the filter on the front of the lens, its important to keep the tubes of the zoom lenses dry, or else water migrates from them into the lens and condenses as a mist on the elements. And doubtless also on the mechanical bits inside the lens, which I’m sure isn’t good for them.

When I’ve got the camera with the wide-angle in my hand I make a ball of the cloth and hold it in the front of the lens to protect it from rain drops – glass seems to have a strong magnetic effect on them – only removing it briefly to frame and expose each picture.

But for part of this event my job was made much easier, as one of the UVW members, seeing me getting rather wet, came and acted as my assistant, holding an umbrella over me and keeping the worst of the rain off. I was extremely grateful to her. Later the rain did stop and it was easier to work, and for Shadow Justice minister Richard Burgon to come and support the workers in his shirtsleeves. And by the end of the protest the cleaners and supporters were dancing in the street outside the ministry.

Three months later, the dispute is still ongoing, with the Minister of Justice refusing to meet with the UVW.  I’m sure there will be more protests soon.

Ministry of Justice cleaners protest

On the street

Sunday, November 25th, 2018

Although I take almost all of my pictures on the street I’ve never really though of myself as a street photographer, largely because I think of it as a meaningless category. If you disagree I think it is worth going back to what many think of as the ‘bible‘ of the putative genre, Bystander, and read through it carefully and critically looking at the examples. Of course there are plenty of photographs we can say are definitely not street photography, but nothing really emerges which amounts to a clear definition of a genre.

Yesterday I watched a couple of videos about street photography, both of which were mentioned on PetaPixel. For some reason the link to ‘Cheryl Dunn’s highly-regarded 2013 documentary Everybody Street‘ which is now on YouTube refused to display in the PetaPixel page in my browser, but a search on YouTube found it without problems and I was able to watch it full-screen in fairly high quality and I didn’t notice the ads.

It contains a number of photographers who have worked on the streets of New York speaking about their work, and shows them taking pictures and some of the pictures they have taken. Some are very well-known, while others less so, and their work covers a fairly wide range of practices. There is some attempt to give a historical perspective, with Max Kozloff talking about a number of other photographers from Alfred Stieglitz on.

One of the featured photographers, Rebecca Lepkoff, talks a little about the New York Photo League which brought her into photography, though it would have been good to have had a interviewer drawing her out more about this. She was one of the photographers I wrote about years ago in a series on the Photo League, but it would have been good for the film to have looked in a little more detail on some of the others, though few now survive. I think it is impossible to overstate the importance of this organisation in what later became known as ‘street photography.’

Some of the work shown and discussed in the film is quite clearly documentary photography,  and the rest seems to me too varied for the overall category of street photography to have any real use.

I think the film was about 80 minutes long, and it is certainly a very professional film, with some nice footage of New York, making me feel I should have gone there and lived and photographed on its streets, but there were times when I felt it dragged and I did skip forward a little at times. The making of the film was made possible by over $45,000 of crowdfunding but it looks as if it cost considerably more

The second film featured on PetaPixel was the curiously capitalised ‘Why you SHOULDN’T do STREET PHOTOGRAPHY‘ by UK photographer Jamie Windsor, which I have to say I found far more difficult to watch. Not because of what he said, which in part echoes things I’ve said and written in the past, but because of the production and personality of the presenter. He looks at the work of several photographers, particularly the late Hong Kong photographer Fan Ho, Nan Goldin and Martin Parr.

I wasn’t familiar with the work of Fan Ho, but by the time I’d seen a few pictures found it extremely repetitive, and failed to see that it represented in any real way the changing times of the city. If you like pretty, arty photos it may be for you.

Goldin of course did as he suggests live the life of the subjects she photographed, recording moments in the lives of her friends and their particular subculture, with her work something of a ‘family’ album.

I share some of Windsor’s misgivings about Martin Parr and his depictions of working class life. His approach was clearly rather more distant than that of – for example – the Picture Post photographers, and sometimes appears to be very much as he suggests reflecting he prejudices of a middle-class photographer, making judgements about those he photographs.

But not all those Picture Post photographers were Bert Hardy, who grew up a working class kid in the Borough and some who managed a much more empathetic approach came from rather more patrician backgrounds than Parr.

Despite Hardy’s working class background he appears to have had no problems relating to and empathising with people from all walks of life and all levels of society. The nature of Parr’s work came from his intention to be a social commentator rather than to engage with the people he was photographing.

Taking a photograph always implies a point of view. We shouldn’t pretend to “accurately represent a culture” whether or not we are part of it, and I’m not at all sure what that means. For me, empathy with the people I photograph is vital, and to that extent I agree with him.

Much of the uneasy interest I have in, for example, Martin Parr’s New Brighton pictures, comes from knowing that his is a rather snooty middle-class exploitatative view of the working class. It gives them the edge that makes them stand out, just as Bruce Gilden’s photographic street assaults do, though in Gilden’s case I find the approach soon gets to be rather boring, the pictures more about his antics rather than the subjects he photographs. I want photography to be about the world, not about photography.

And it is perhaps empathy that I find absent in Fan H0’s work, which uses people as tokens or ciphers, something which the presentation in this video emphasizes. They remind me of my least favourite of Cartier-Bresson’s work, what another photographer called the ‘waiters’, where the photographer had clearly identified a situation and then waited for a person to put themselves in just the right spot. It’s a side of ‘street photography’, particularly loved by amateurs, that I find just boring. But I wouldn’t want to proscribe it. By all means let a thousand Fan Ho’s bloom, just don’t expect me to spend much time looking at them.

Both for the people who do it and for the audience (if any) for it, photography can be many different things. It’s fine for Windsor to state what he thinks and to ask others also to think about their own practices, but not, as his title says, to try to impose a straitjacket on others.

Meeting the Council

Saturday, November 24th, 2018

I don’t often go to Council meetings. In my experience they tend to be rather boring and I’ve generally avoided them. I was once asked if I’d like to stand as a councillor by the then Mayor of the borough where I live, but I declined the offer, not least because it would have meant joining the Conservative Party.

I’m not a member of any political party, though in the dim distant past I went to the meetings of the Labour Party youth, but really only because they gave out free cigarettes (this was back in the early 1960s – I gave up smoking when I was 21.)  As a student in 1963 I did join the Labour club at university, and was very  impressed by our President, Barbara Castle, then at her prime in her 50s, but then the Party decided we were all too left-wing and chucked us out.

In the late 80s I joined the Ecology Party, which split to become the Green Party, but I didn’t stay long; at that time there were too many eccentric sandal-wearers and not enough people with any political sense, and though I’ve known and admired people at the top in more recent years, including Caroline Lucas and Natalie Bennett, I’ve never quite felt like joining.  And although I like both Jeremy Corbyn and John McDonnell, both of whom I’ve met and photographed many times over the years, there are parts of the Labour Party I wouldn’t want to be associated with.

So although it might have been interesting to be a Conservative councillor on the very far left outside the party spectrum, I don’t think I would have lasted more than one meeting.

But on a Tuesday in August I did go to the public meeting with the planning committee of the Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea, and though it started in a rather prosaic fashion, things soon livened up, as I had gone in with around 30 members of the cleaner’s union, the United Voices of the World.

No sooner had the chair of the meeting outlined what was going to happen, than things began to run to a very different plan, with UVW’s Petros Elia standing up and interupting proceedings by demanding that the council pay their cleaners a living wage, and he was backed up by the others in the group who brought out banners and called for justice for the cleaners.

The protesters refused to back down, and after a few minutes argument, the chair led the members of the committee, except for one who remained, out into an adjoining room. A debate then took place between some of the public who had come to the meeting and the UVW. Local campaign groups wanted to present their case about a local development to the planning committee, and while they agreed that the cleaners should be paid a living wage asked them not to disrupt the meeting.

The cleaners who worked for the council had not come into the meeting but were holding a protest outside. They had been picketing the offices all day during a 3 day strike for the living wage and to be brought back into direct employment by the council rather than being employed by a contract cleaning company on the legal minimum conditions of service and badly managed.  Earlier in the day council officers had said the council would bring them back ‘in-house’ but later that offer had been withdrawn.  The UVW was angered both by this withdrawal of a promise, and also by the refusal of the council to talk with the union to which almost all the cleaners belong.

Eventually a woman who had been sitting with the public stood up and informed us all that she was a leading member of the council and promised that she would come and talk with the cleaners on the picket line the following morning, bringing with her as many of the other ‘cabinet’ members as she could arrange to be there to join in.

After some further discussion between her and Petros Elia for the UVW, the protesters agreed to leave the meeting to allow it to continue and went out to join the cleaners outside the offices and tell them the news.  The  protest had acheived a breakthough as before the council had simply refused to talk.

Less than a month after the strike and this action, the council agreed to ensure that the cleaners were brought up to the London Living Wage by December 2018 and to review the contract with Amey with the intention of early termination so the cleaners can be directly employed.

The cleaners who were currently paid on the minimum wage (renamed by the Tory government the National Living Wage, but well below a Living Wage in London) of £7.83 per hour will get an almost 30% increase.  Coming into direct employment will bring them proper sick pay, longer holidays and better pensions as well as management that has to take much greater consideration of their health and safety and will hopefully be far more competent.

You can read more about the meeting and see more pictures at Council cleaners demand a living wage


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


Victoria Coach Station – Paul Baldesare

Thursday, November 22nd, 2018

The latest title from Café Royal Books, Paul Baldesare — Victoria Coach Station 1991–1993, showcases some images that I’ve really loved since I first saw them when Paul was working on this project. And there are a few great pictures I’ve not seen before.

© Paul Baldesare 1991-3

Paul and I met at the Museum of London a year or so before he took these pictures, and we became members of the ‘London Documentary Photographers‘ group set up by Mike Seaborne who was the curator of photographs at the museum. At the time Paul had a great body of work taken on the London Underground (some in another Café Royal book) which inspired me to begin a series of pictures on London buses.

London Documentary Photographers decided to put on a show about transport in London – and the museum showed this, I think in 1992 or 1993. As well as some of the bus pictures, I also contributed a set of black and white panoramic images showing the DLR extension to Beckton under construction, including this picture of the line going over Bow Creek.

This was the first project that I’d done using the Japanese Widelux swing lens panoramic camera, chosen because the subject matter seemed to suit it so well. This picture from it has been published and shown a number of times, but much of the rest of the work has hardly been seen since I took it, though an image taken a couple of years later when the line was in operation and I returned to photograph it in colour,  still using a panoramic camera, did rather nicely wrap around both sides of a record cover.

There are plenty of other Café Royal Books worth looking at, and now is a great time to stock up, as there is a half price sale – 50% off orders over £24, but only until midnight on 26th November. As well as buying copies for yourself, they might make good stocking fillers for friends.


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


Hull in the Rain

Thursday, November 22nd, 2018

It rained rather a lot when we were in Hull. I generally write these posts without notes, based on the pictures I take and my memories, and for things that were now almost four months ago, unless I took photographs my memories are often a little vague. So writing about Friday night in Friday in Hull I mentioned that we ate in one of Larkin’s haunts, the Royal Station Hotel. We did eat there, but it was on the Sunday night, not on the Friday.

Friday night we had decided to eat somewhere on Princes Avenue, a street with a considerable number of eateries, most of which I would give a miss, and we took a bus there. Usually such vague ideas result in a lot of walking along and looking at menus before we find somewhere we can both agree is possibly suitable, but this time it was different. Almost as soon as we got off the bus, the heavens opened, and torrential rain had us scurrying for a bus shelter. The rain kept on, and after perhaps ten minutes the pavement inside the bus shelter was beginning to flood.

From the shelter we could see the lights of an Italian restuarant, ‘UNO’s Trattoria -Pizzeria’ and we made a dash for it, hoping there was room for us and that the storm and the flood would subside before we had finished our meal (and they had.) It was a place I would probably have walked passed without bothering to examine, but we had one of the best Italian meals there I’ve had for a long time, and certainly the best I’ve found in Hull. Thanks to a thunderstorm.

TripAdviser (not something I’d generally take too seriously) rates it as #21 of 534 Restaurants in Kingston-upon-Hull, and it gets some seriously good reviews – with the usual one or two with a grudge, who sound like very awkward customers who made a real nuisance of themselves.

Sunday started off rainy, and after another breakfast in the Admiral of the Humber (a modern Wetherspoons with their standard menu, decent and cheap) I refilled my coffee and waited there until I could go and worhsip again at the Kollwitz show, having pointed Linda towards Holy Trinity.

After lunch it wasn’t raining too hard and we set off for a walk down Springbank to Hull General Cemetery, apparently a favourite place for Larkin as well as for Linda an myself, somewhere we often walked while staying with her parents.

From the cemetery we head down Chants, familiar but different, with most of the shops having changes hands and business. We crossed Bricknell to go down the alley to Loveridge Ave, though the tenfoot there is now behind locked gates we could walk past the front of the house Linda grew up in. In the cemetery further on we visited her parents’ grave, and then walked on to Cottingham Road, turning down Newland Park, to see West Garth where we had often stayed with our friend Ian and then on to Larkin’s house, complete with a large toad.

Back to Cottingham Road through the eastern entrace to Newland Park we ran to catch a bus back into town. The services on a Sunday afternoon are few and far between. We spotted another Larkin sign as the bus passed Sharp St, where I’ve often stopped to photograph the street’s war memorial, moved several times as the buildings it was on have been replaced, and recently refurbished again.

Then it was time for the visit to the Royal Station Hotel (officially now the Mercure Hull Royal Hotel) for dinner as mentioned in a previous post. Good company but the food was nothing special.

We were leaving Hull at lunchtime on Monday, so had a morning still to spend. Despite light rain we went for a walk, taking Anlaby Road out of town as far as the ‘flyover’ where Linda left me as she wanted to revisit the Ferens which opened shortly, and I made my way along some back streets and then Boulevard to Hessle Rd.

On my way the rain turned from light to rather heavy, but I was determined to find a mural to ‘Big Lil’ that had been painted since I was last in Hull, and put up my umbrella and strode on. Despite the brolly I was pretty wet by the time I reached it, but managed to take a few pictures and then walked back a little way into town before the rain came on even more heavily, and I was glad to find a bus shelter, and, after a few minutes, a bus to take me back to collect my luggage at the hotel.

As we left Hull, the rain stopped and the sun came out.

More text and pictures:
Wet Sunday Morning in Hull
Spring Bank, Chants & Newland Park
Anlaby Rd & Hessle Rd


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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


Hull Saturday

Wednesday, November 21st, 2018

Saturday was the day of our family celebration, with a dozen family and friends coming from across the country (and France) to lunch with us at one of Hull’s newer eating places in Humber St in the Old Town. Fortunately, being Hull, the food was a little more down to earth than in a similar place in London, rather more filling (and mine at least actually came on a plate), the service was friendly and the cost perhaps half or less than it might have been in London, with the difference probably paying for both our hotel bill and train fares.

Not that we chose Hull for that reason. Hull was where Linda grew up and where we were married back in 1968, one of the less reported events of a rather spectacular year, though my recollections of it are rather hazy.

Before the lunch we had time to visit the Ferens where the Kothe Kollwitz show was spectacular and as always there were other things of interest too, thanks to the generosity of one of Hull’s great Methodist philanthropists, Thomas R Ferens, who gave the city its art gallery (and its University) but also had the sense to know the gallery needed a continuing income to buy works to show. One small disappointment was that the gallery space in which I had shown work in 1983 was closed for refubishment. Ferens was truly a remarkable man, both in business where he made Reckitts into one of the leading companies but in other ways. By 1920, when he was earning £50,000 a year (about £2.5m in today’s value) he was giving away £47,000 of it.

I didn’t quite have enough time to properly view the Kollwitz show, so promised myself I would return the following day before rushing out to go to Scale Lane. I got held up again in the square outside, where Morris Dancers were performing, and had to run most of the length of Whitefriargate to get to the bridge on time.

Because the bridge was opening as it does most Saturday mornings, probably mainly to check it still works, but also as an attraction to the city, as it is one of very few swing bridges on which the public are invited to ride as it swings. It’s a rather slow and sedate movement rather than a fairground ride, but is still something of an experience. It pivots around a centre close to the Old Town side, and because the bridge and its matching landside approach are both semicircular you can step on or off safely at any stage of its ninety degree swing.

My wife, slowly pushing a pushchair and baby across the swing bridge at Albert Dock entrance anticipated this attraction many years ago, probably because she was walking slowly and had stopped to appreciate the view. She got her ride despite notices forbidding it, flashing lights, warning sounds and gates. Fortunately she stayed in the middle of the bridge in safety and didn’t try to walk off before the bridge returned to its landward position.

We walked back across the high Myton Bridge, where the wind made it cold and difficult to stand still without holding the rail, then back towards the city centre, stopping to admire the new ‘Bean and Nothingness’ still being got ready to open in Whitefriar gate; we were able to go in and have a chat, but weren’t able to try the coffee.

Soon it was time to meet my son and his wife at Paragon (sorry, Hull) station, arriving after a long journey from the south coast where they had been holidaying, and to walk with them to Butler Whites to lunch with them and our other friends and family.

It was quite a long lunch, and after we had finished some had to rush away, while I led a short conducted tour of the Old Town for those who remained, finally leaving them with directions to station and car parks before finding another eating place in a ccorner of the now renamed Trinity Square. This was a totally different experience. Deafening noise, cramped seating, poor food, terrible service, a place to avoid unless you are totally drunk and want to shout at your friends. The town centre as we walked back to our hotel, an area frined who have visited Hull tell stories about on a Saturday night was civilised by comparison.

More here:
Riding the Bridge
A short Hull tour

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