Archive for July, 2020

Cycling and health

Friday, July 31st, 2020
M3 from Sheep Walk, Shepperton

Every weekday for the past few months I’ve been having breakfast, washing and then getting on my bike for some exercise, riding around ten miles. I take a camera with me and sometimes stop a few times to take pictures which does slow me down a little. I don’t have Lycra and the roads around here are in pretty poor condition, and I sometimes ride on some rough paths, so my progress isn’t that fast, and the rides generally take me 40-50 minutes – an overall speed of 15-12 mph. The pictures here were taken on my rides in the first week of July.

At the start I of these rides was very short of breath, and thankful that this part of South-West Middlesex is extremely flat – one reason for siting Heathrow here. Even now, 4 months after I was ill in March, hills are still a problem if I ride across the river into neighbouring Surrey, though I’m now having to stop and rest fewer times on the way up. But I can now ride up the slopes to cross the motorways or railways without much difficulty.

Cottage, Moor Lane, Yeoveney

At the start the empty roads (apart from the many potholes and cracks) were bliss, but I arrived home exhausted. Now traffic even on the relatively quiet roads I mainly ride is something of a pain but I’ve got fitter and while I’m a little tired when I get home I’m not on my last legs. Cycling has definitely improved my fitness, but I haven’t lost a single pound.

So while I’m pleased that the government is encouraging cycling, and I’m sure it will improve people’s fitness I don’t know that it will actually do much to reduce obesity. Nor am I sure that they are going about getting more people on their bikes in the right way with gimmicks like the repair vouchers and prescriptions. They need to divert much more of the money going into roads into making roads safer so more people feel able to ride on them. As well as providing separate cycle paths where possible this also needs special attention to the edges of roads, the roughly 2m in which cyclists normally ride and which currently are usually in even worse condition than the rest of the roads.

River Thames, Shepperton

It also needs the kind of changes currently being proposed to the Highway Code, which prioritise the needs of the most vulnerable on our roads, pedestrians, then cyclists and then the various other categories of road users. You can contribute to the consultation on this until 11.59pm on 27th October 2020.

I don’t think cycling has a great deal to offer in combating obesity. Cycling is such an efficient process that it uses relatively little energy, and isn’t a very good way to lose weight. Jogging would be better though I find it far too boring.

Lord Knyvett’s Schoolhouse, Stanwell

Obesity is now of course not to do with actually being obese but defined by the WHO for adults as having a BMI of 30 or greater. BMI is a useful but very crude measure, which only takes body mass and height into consideration.

I think I am as fit or fitter than my wife, but in terms of BMI I come out slightly overweight and she appears slightly underweight, a difference of around 9 or 10 in BMI. We eat more or less the same diet and roughly similar quantities. I think the difference in BMI is at least partly if not largely accounted for by the width of our frames. This is reflected in the width across the shoulders – mine being roughly 1.3 times wider., much greater than the 1.09 difference in our heights.

River Colne, Stanwell Moor

The BMI formula, BMI = weight(kg)/height(m)^2 seemed conceptually wrong to the Belgian scientist Quetelet, who first put it forward around 1840, as mass is essentially a three-dimensional property, and so we might expect it to correspond to the third power of height, but that doesn’t give sensible results. The square was adopted for fully grown adults and in order to give roughly acceptable results for the population as a whole, but Quetelet actually pointed out it should not be applied to individuals.

Seven years ago Professor L N Trefethen FRS, Professor of Numerical Analysis, University of Oxford, proposed a revised BMI to make a “better approximation to the actual sizes and shapes of healthy bodies” and it does cut down the difference between Linda and me slightly, bringing her just into the normal range. The differences it makes are rather small, but given the blind reliance we sometimes see on BMI important. Trefethen suggested using instead of the square the power 2.5 of height and points out that Quetelet had found that “during development the squares of the weight at different ages are as the fifth powers of the height” while suggesting the use of the square for fully grown adults. At the time it was certainly much easier to calculate a square, though now calculators and computers make fractional powers easy to use.

Duke of Northumberland’s River and Heathrow

It probably doesn’t matter if we regard BMI as a very rough measure, but does when it comes to setting out charts and and applying them to individuals. If your BMI is 26, you may actually be normal, while if it is 25 you could be overweight whatever the chart says, but it would be too inconvenient to give, for example, a BMI of 26 +/- 3 which would probably be rather more accurate a reflection. It would be more useful for individuals if we could find a more sophisticated formula that gave a clearer indication.

There is of course another equally simplistic but probably more reliable measure that can be applied to individuals to determine obesity. It’s called a tape measure. If you are a man with a waist of over 40 inches (102cm) then you are almost certainly obese.


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

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


1987 Bedford Park

Thursday, July 30th, 2020
Blenheim Rd, Woodstock Rd, , Bedford Park, Turnham Green, Ealing,  Hounslow, 1987 87-2n-45-positive_2400
Blenheim Rd, Woodstock Rd, Bedford Park, Turnham Green, Ealing, Hounslow, 1987
Bedford Rd, Bedford Park, Turnham Green, Ealing, 1987 87-2n-53-positive_2400
Bedford Rd, Bedford Park, Turnham Green, Ealing, 1987

The Bedford Park Society has an informative History of the garden suburb about this development close to Turnham Green station now on the borders of the London Boroughs of Ealing and Hounslow. Widely seen as the first garden suburb, it was the brainchild of Jonathan Thomas Carr (1845-1915), a man subject of a “record 342 bankruptcy petitions” who, inspired by Ruskin, William Morris and the Aesthetic Movement, “created an ideal suburb for the artistically inclined middle classes who could no longer afford Chelsea.” The station offering half hour journeys to central London had opened in 1869 and Carr bought 24 acres of land from his father-in-law in 1875 to begin the estate.

The Avenue, Bedford Park, Turnham Green, Ealing, 1987 87-2n-56-positive_2400
The Avenue, Bedford Park, Turnham Green, Ealing, 1987
Bath Rd, Bedford Park, Turnham Green, Hounslow, 1987 87-2n-34-positive_2400
Bath Rd, Bedford Park, Turnham Green, Hounslow, 1987
Tabard Inn, Bath Rd, Bedford Park, Turnham Green, Hounslow, 198787-2m-15-positive_2400
Tabard Inn, Bath Rd, Bedford Park, Turnham Green, Hounslow, 1987

The designs involved several leading architects of the era, most notably Richard Norman Shaw (1831-1912) who worked with the project for a few years from 1877 before withdrawing as Carr was slow to pay his bills. There were some intense arguments over the designs but the results were remarkable. Carr’s Bedford Park Company Ltd failed in 1886 but development of the wider area continued, and the estate had set a standard for buildings and the environment as well as for community development, providing the Club, Anglican Church and the Tabard pub which were a model for the Garden City movement.

South Parade, Bedford Park, Turnham Green, Ealing, 1987 87-2n-65-positive_2400
South Parade, Bedford Park, Turnham Green, Ealing, 1987

Among later buildings was the remarkable 14 South Parade facing Chiswick Green by by Charles Francis Annesley Voysey (1857-1941). Voysey was born in Hessle on the outskirts of Hull where his father Charles Voysey was curate, one of a number of clerical positions he held before being found guilty of promulgating “doctrines contrary and repugnant to or inconsistent with the Articles of Religion and Formularies of the Church of England” and forming his own church which denied the perfection of Jesus and the authority of the Bible. The Voyseys were direct descendants of Samuel and Susanna Wesley, often described as “the Mother of Methodism” and C F A Voysey ascribed “what little moral courage & independent spirit he happily inherits” to this Methodist connection.

More on Page 2 of 1987 London Photos.


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

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


Brixton Feb 1987

Wednesday, July 29th, 2020
Shops, Electric Ave, Brixton, Lambeth, 1987 87-2o-46-positive_2400
Shops, Electric Ave, Brixton, Lambeth, 1987

I visited Brixton fairly often in the 1980s and 1990s as it was one of the places you could buy cheap photographic paper, often outdated or cut up from larger sheets and re-packaged and sold by A.W.Young Photographic in Altantic Rd. Mostly I used this to make contact sheets of my black and white films, though at various times I also made small, often postcard-size enlargements of the more promising negatives as ‘file prints’, from which I would then make a choice to make as exhibition quality prints, usually on considerably more expensive papers.

Sanders, Jeweller, Brixton Rd, Brixton, Lambeth, 1987 87-2o-44-positive_2400
Sanders, Jeweller, Brixton Rd, Brixton, Lambeth, 1987

Cheap papers weren’t always poor quality. When Agfa stopped importing Portriga Rapid to the UK, remaining stocks went to the bargain dealers, and a similar situation happened with some papers from Kodak and Ilford, and some of my best prints were made on these.

Effra Rd, Brixton, Lambeth, 1987 87-2o-36-positive_2400
Effra Rd, Brixton, Lambeth, 1987

I’d begun attending events and workshops at the Photo Co-op in Battersea more or less as soon as it opened its Webb’s Road premises in 1984. It was an easy journey for me, just a short walk from Clapham Junction, and although I was pleased they got more funding in 1991, the move to Brixton as Photofusion almost doubled my journey time. But it did mean more frequent trips to Brixton in the 1990s, particularly as I began to put black and white photographs into the Photofusion Picture Library.

Mural, Coldharbour Lane, Brixton, Lambeth, 1987 87-2o-35-positive_2400
Mural, Coldharbour Lane, Brixton, Lambeth, 1987

More recently most of my visits to Brixton have been to photograph protest marches and rallies; at Brixton Police station, Lambeth Town Hall, in Windrush Square and around the area. Brixton has changed and lost a little of its character to gentrification, but remains a vibrant area.

Brixton Village, Brixton, Lambeth, 1987 87-2o-34-positive_2400
Brixton Village, Brixton, Lambeth, 1987
Tate Library, Brixton Oval, Brixton, Lambeth, 1987 87-2o-26-positive_2400
Tate Library, Brixton Oval, Brixton, Lambeth, 1987
Mural, Coldharbour Lane, Brixton, Lambeth, 1987 87-2o-15-positive_2400
Mural, Coldharbour Lane, Brixton, Lambeth, 1987

The pictures here were I think all taken on the same day, most likely before a visit to pick up some photo paper, and you can see a few more from that visit to Brixton in the Flickr album ‘1987 London Photos‘ . I also took around a dozen colour images, and some of these are in the album TQ31 London Cross-section


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

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


Feb 1987 Camden, London

Tuesday, July 28th, 2020
Saddler, Monmouth St, Covent Garden, Camden, 1987 87-2c-13-positive_2400
Saddler, Monmouth St, Covent Garden, Camden, 1987

This building is a part of a comprehensive redevelopment of the area, the Comyn Ching triangle, by the Terry Farrell Partnership which took place from 1983-1991, retaining the facades with rebuilt or restored shopfronts. This part of the Grade II listed terrace at 65-71 Monmouth St was only rebuilt in the third and final phase of development which began around two years after I made this picture. The lettering ‘B. FLEGG/ ESTd.1847/ SADDLER & HARNESS MAKER/ LARGE/ STOCK /OF/ SECONDHAND SADDLERY & HARNESS/ HORSE/ CLOTHING/18, with the name B. FLEGG applied diagonally to each side’ was then painstakingly restored.

Though sometimes referred to as a ‘ghost sign’, like many others it should more correctly be called a ‘resurrected sign’.

Thornhaugh St, Bloomsbury, Camden, 1987 87-2b-54-positive_2400
Thornhaugh St, Bloomsbury, Camden, 1987

One of the minor themes in my work at this time concerned the urban tree. London is a city with a great many of them, notably those London Planes, a hybrid of American sycamore and Oriental plane which first appeared by cross-pollination of these two introduced species in the Lambeth garden of London’s best known plantsman, John Tradescant the younger, who named it after the city around the middle of the 17th century. It has been widely grown in streets and parks across the city since the late 18th century.

I think these trees in their regimented rows are probably flowering cherries though probably some with greater aboreal knowledge will correct me. But this was a militarised forest that rather made me shudder. The planting was apparently designed to stop students playing football in the area. It hasn’t lasted and there is now a green area here – though some of the trees in it may be these same specimens, and there are still a couple of large brutalist concrete boxes around a couple of groups of trees.

UCL Institute of Education, Thornhaugh St, Bloomsbury, Camden, 1987 87-2b-43-positive_2400
UCL Institute of Education, Thornhaugh St, Bloomsbury, Camden, 1987

And in the background of the previous image was one of my favourite brutalist buildings, with a playfulness by Denys Lasdun’s that is perhaps more exiting than his National Theatre. It was a part of a larger plan, never completed and much opposed at the time, though in the end it was only a lack of money that really stopped the destruction of more of the area and the building on the open areas such as the ‘garden’ above.

Phoenix Cafe, Chalton St, Somers Town, Camden, 1987 87-2a-64-positive_2400

The Ossulston Estate in Somers Town, close to Euston Station was a remarkable council estate built by the London County Council in 1927-31, taking inspiration from modernist public housing which the LCC’s Chief Architect G Topham Forrest had visited in Vienna. The 7-storey housing blocks are behind a low wall of shop units along Chalton St, of which the Phoenix Cafe was one. Some of these units are still in use as shops, though not this one.

The 310 flats were built to high standards for the time and the development also included The Cock Tavern  – all are now listed. Some of the estate has been extensively refurbished.

St Pancras Church, Euston Rd, Bloomsbury, 1987  87-2a-25-positive_2400
St Pancras Church, Euston Rd, 1987

One of my favourite church exteriors in London is that of St Pancras (New) Church in Euston Rd, built in 1819–22 in Greek Revival style to the designs of William Inwood and his son Henry William Inwood. Perhaps its most remarkable feature are these caryatids, who look to me pretty fed up, perhaps unsurprisingly as they have a stone roof sitting on their heads. They are above the entrance to the burial vault and hold symbols suitable to this position, empty jugs and torches which have gone out.

Mahatma Gandhi, Tavistock Square, Bloomsbury, Camden, 1987  87-2b-01-positive_2400

A short distance away in Tavistock Square is a memorial to Mahatma Gandhi, 1869 – 1948, who studied not far away at UCL in 1888. The powerful likeness is by Fredda Brilliant and the site for it was chosen by V K Krishna Menon who was a member of the Theosophical Society and for some years a St Pancras Councillor before being made High Commissioner for India in the UK. The memorial was erected for the 125 anniversary of his birth and unveiled by then Prime Minister Harold Wilson.

Most years for some time I have visited Tavistock Square each August for the annual remembrance on Hiroshima day around the Hiroshima Cherry tree a short distance from this statue. The square also contains a memorial to the victims of the 2005 bombing here, the Conscientious Objectors Commemorative Stone, a memorial and bust of surgeon Dame Louisa Aldrich-Blake (1865 –1925) and a bust of Virginia Woolf.

More pictures on Flickr in the album 1987 London Photos.


The Thing Itself

Monday, July 27th, 2020

I never met Bill Jay, (1940-2009), though I’ve heard many stories about him from photographers who knew him, not all entirely positive. By the time I really came into photography Bill Jay had left for the USA, having considerably shaken up photography in the UK through his conversion of the magazine Camera Owner aimed at amateur hobby photographers into a publication which was at the forefront of contemporary photography in the UK, Creative Camera, and founding and published the 12 issues of his own magazine Album as well as establishing photography in the ICA.

I bought all the back-issues I could find of both Album and Creative Camera, soon taking out a subscription to the latter which I continued for many years until it entirely lost direction. And I read and sometimes bought a number of his books, though I think only his first, ‘View on Nudes’ has retained its place on my shelves. And many of his articles appeared in the various photo magazines I read, including the BJP.

In later years, Jay put some of the many articles he wrote and his photographs, particularly those of many photographers, on the web, and I both read and wrote about these on-line. There is still a Bill Jay web site with these pictures and some articles etc.

I was reminded of Bill Jay by a post on ‘The Online Photographer‘, Bill Jay on ‘The Thing Itself‘ about his most reproduced essay, first published in 1988 in a college newspaper. Perhaps surprisingly I couldn ‘t find itisn’t on the Bill Jay site, but is available along with much other material on Bill Jay on the ‘United Nations of Photography‘ site. It’s worth reading the full version.

Also on the ‘United Nations of Photography’ site is a link to the recent film about Jay, Do Not Bend: The Photographic Life of Bill Jay, about which Grant Scott writes:

Bill was a great believer in the sharing of knowledge, experience and beliefs and we therefore felt it was appropriate to make our feature length documentary on his life available for all to see. The film features exclusive interviews with Martin Parr, Brian Griffin, Daniel Meadows, Paul Hill, Alex Webb, Brookes Jenson, Homer Sykes, Anna Ray Jones and archival footage of Bill himself telling his story his way!

One of the others who knew Jay well – perhaps better than some of those listed above – and appears briefly on the film is John Benton-Harris, who I’ve often heard talking about Jay. It’s perhaps a shame that his views are not presented there at greater length.

Patina and Photography

Sunday, July 26th, 2020

According to Wikipedia, “Patina is a thin layer that variously forms on the surface of copper, brass, bronze and similar metals (tarnish produced by oxidation or other chemical processes), or certain stones, and wooden furniture (sheen produced by age, wear, and polishing), or any similar acquired change of a surface through age and exposure.”

For his post ‘Patina in Photography‘, Jörg Colberg interprets the word a little differently, using it to refer to the qualities of any surfaces in photographs, something I might prefer to refer to as texture, but also extends it to consider the content of images.

The piece is an interesting discussion, illustrated with some of his own work, of what makes a “good picture“, something which he rightly says is “enormously difficult to describe” but is also “usually straightforward to see“, though I think we might often disagree with other viewers. Colberg continues to give what is I think a useful definition of “a good picture as a picture that makes a viewer look more carefully, that makes a viewer think.”

Colberg writes about the “lure of the easy picture” which captures many photographers – indeed all of us much of the time, including as he admits himself, writing “Mostly I now ask myself whether a picture challenges me. Not surprisingly, most pictures don’t. I still take them.”

He then discusses his different reactions to the very different cities of Warsaw and Tokyo, which he ascribes to their different patina. Colberg rightly comments that as photographers we react to what we see and chose to photograph because of our “background, culture, society…” but I think I would equally stress that what we have in the world to react to is also a product of these aspects, a different culture, particularly in terms of aesthetics, but also in terms of ideas about space and personal space.

Perhaps the most important picture I took in my early years as a photographer is one that I don’t think I have ever shown to anyone. Taken on a the building site of a new estate in Bracknell where I was then living, it showed a number of sewage pipes waiting to be installed. It wasn’t a great picture but it worried me because it stood out from the others I had taken that day and that in the terms that Colberg uses, it challenged me, though not at the point of taking, but when I saw it on the contact sheet and later as a print.

I couldn’t quickly find a copy of that picture, and I think it’s one I’ve never digitised, but probably neither you nor I would find it very interesting now, and if I had it to hand I probably wouldn’t have included it here. It wasn’t a bad picture – I was taking plenty of those – nor I think a particularly good picture but one that made me begin to think and study and change.

More 1987 – Mainly Soho

Saturday, July 25th, 2020
Camden Town Cemetery, St Martin's Gardens, Camden St, Camden, 1987 87-1k-46_2400
Camden Town Cemetery, St Martin’s Gardens, Camden St, Camden, 1987

The slow process of putting up my old black and white pictures is continuing, thanks to the lockdown leaving the time on my hands. Although I’m going out of the house for exercise, that only occupies around 50 minutes of the day – and perhaps another half hour to recover.

This picture of the piled up gravestones in Camden Town Cemetery was taken in January and is one of the last from that month I’ve put on line. Although I’ve always liked to wander in cemeteries, often the only real places of peace and quiet in cities, and often good places to rest and eat my sandwiches, I’ve generally tried hard to avoid taking too many pictures in them unless there is a very strong reason to do so.

Partly because as a teacher of photography I saw far too many pictures by students of gravestones and monuments. They were easy to photograph, didn’t move much or complain about being photographed and supposedly said something profound about the human condition. At the in-house moderation of student photography coursework from across the country it was never long before I or another assistant examiner would be exclaiming “Not another sodding angel!”.

Wardour St, Soho, Westminster, 1987 87-2f-55-positive_2400
Wardour St, Soho, Westminster, 1987

In February I turned my attention to Soho, where photography was not always welcomed, though I didn’t intend to emphasise its more sordid aspects. It was one of London’s most varied and interesting areas, and remains so despite the ravages of property developers and Westminster Council.

But I didn’t avoid photographing the frontages offering ‘Intimate Bed Show – No Extras‘ though I didn’t go inside and photographed them in the early mornings when there were few touts or barkers around and any workers who might have occupied them were at home in their own beds. Nor did I meet the ‘Very Sexy Busty Brunette Model‘ whose notice was by a door in D’Arblay St, not even to make my excuses and leave.

Shop WIndow, Berwick St, Soho, Westminster, 1987 87-2f-46-positive_2400

But Soho was remarkable for the variety of shops, a place were almost everything was on sale – and sometimes it was difficult to know exactly what was on offer.

Butterfly, Upper James St, Soho, Westminster, 1987 87-2g-14-positive_2400
Butterfly, Upper James St, Soho, Westminster, 1987

There is still a clothes shop on the corner of Upper James St and Beak St, but it is now larger and more corporate, with a bland plate glass frontage, and Butterfly proved to be as ephemeral as its name suggests. Many other Soho businesses were longer lasting, and Randall & Aubin, late Morin and Cavereau remains in place on Brewer St, though many of the older continental businesses have now gone.

Randall & Aubin, Charcuterie, Brewer St, Soho, Westminster, 1987 87-2e-62-positive_2400

If you look through my pictures of Soho from 1987 you will find some showing the increasing Chinese presence in the area, including one of a crowd watching the New Year celebrations, but far less than in my later pictures of the area.

Charles II, Cibber, Soho Square, Soho, Westminster, 1987 87-2e-24-positive_2400
Charles II, Soho Square, Soho, Westminster, 1987

Soho Square still looked much the same when I was last there a few months before the lockdown, though I do wonder if Cibber’s statue of Charles II looks rather more worn now. Though we may now regret the restoration of the monarchy and feel that the puritanical excesses of the Commonwealth would better have been ended without bringing back a king the so-called ‘Merry Monarch’ does sound in some respects an improvement on our present royal house. And a king with no legitimate children who acknowledged at least a dozen by various mistresses is perhaps a suitable character to be remembered in Soho.

Haverstock Hill, Chalk Farm, Camden, 1987 87-1a-12_2400
More at 1987 London Photos

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

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


A black woman and a gorilla

Friday, July 24th, 2020

Photographers have often I think failed to pay sufficient regard to the people in their photographs. Its something that is particularly important because of the power differential that always exists between the person holding the camera and those being depicted. Its something implicit in the language of photography, when we use the metaphors of the gun or jailer, talking about ‘shooting’ or ‘capturing’ pictures, both terms I try hard to avoid. And particularly important where our work involved people of a different class or race.

It is a question that worried me greatly in my early years as a photographer, and explains why I made relatively few pictures of people in those years, outside my own circles of family, friends and communities, concentrating on the built environment. And it was why, though I had admired his earlier black and white work greatly, I felt considerable disquiet about the colour images of working class families holidaying on beaches which turned Martin Parr from a photographers’ photographer into a celebrity. They seemed the work of an intruder while previously he had worked within communities.

The years have somewhat mellowed my view of this work, and Parr has of course gone on to do so much more, including turning his camera on his own middle class, but I still find those pictures marred by class prejudice and I think that this was at least in part what led to their popularity in the media. But of course we have seen far worse by other photographers here and around the world, and Parr is in many ways one of the good guys of photography, through the foundation he set up to encourage young and emerging photographers from all backgrounds and one whose advice encouraged me on several occasions in my early years in photography.

I wasn’t until very recently aware of the work of Italian photographer Gian Butturini and his 1969 book on London, reissued in 2017 with the text ‘Edited by Martin Parr‘ on the cover. It’s the kind of European approach popular at the time when I first began as a photographer and which I set out in total opposition to in terms of its graphic nature and quest for instant impact rather than a more serious consideration of the subject. I’ve not seen the book, only those images I’ve seen on line, and not seen the particular pairing of images of a black woman and a gorilla at London Zoo a which so shocked student Mercedes Baptiste Halliday when she was given the book as a present that she began her 18-month campaign against the book which she says is “appallingly racist.”

Parr has now said he was ashamed of his association with the book and that he deeply regrets his failure to appreciate its racist implications, something Halliday points out is hard to understand from a visually literate person. Parr also points out that the claim on the cover that he edited the book is incorrect as it he only supplied an introduction to what is otherwise a facsimile of the photographer’s 1969 book. He has also said he will donate the fee he received to charity and has called for the book to be removed from sale and destroyed. It is no longer listed on the Damiani Editions web site.

The book and Parr have come into the news as the campaign has led to both the public apology from Parr and his decision to stand down as the artistic director of the first Bristol Photo Festival. But last year’s protests by Halliday outside Parr’s show at the National Portrait Gallery were brushed aside and ignored by the photographic establishment. Perhaps it was the decision by the photography students from the University of the West of England to cancel their end-of-year show at the Martin Parr Foundation in Bristol that precipitated Parr’s decision.

One supporter of Halliday has been Benjamin Chesterton, known to many in photography and film for his ‘duckrabbit’ blog which I’ve mentioned here on several occasions. Last month he made a post which looked critically at his own family’s history, ‘Our skin in the slave trade. Uncle Sir John Moore and I.‘ which – as ever – is well worth reading. The Guardian quotes him in its article about Parr and the Butturini case as making the very salient point, “The question remains why is it down to a black teenager to confront one of the UK’s leading photographers and curators?”

Goole 1983

Thursday, July 23rd, 2020

When I told my mother-in-law, a life-long Hull resident, that I was taking a day trip to photograph Goole she shook her head in disbelief, asking me whyever I would want to do that. She wasn’t a great fan of my pictures of Hull either, thinking I dwelt far too much on its less salubrious areas and on those old and dilapidated warehouses and derelict docks.

Goole 83goole168_2400

My only regret looking back is that I didn’t visit Goole more often. True its name isn’t inspiring – but then neither is Hull, perhaps why its more prosperous residents like to remind you it is really called Kingston upon Hull. For some reason the name Goole on Ouse has never been considered, though perhaps it should be Goole upon Dutch River or Don, which was diverted to meet the Ouse here in 1629 by Cornelius Vermuyden, not for the benefit of the few villagers of Goole, but to improve the hunting at Hatfield Chase for King Charlea I. But Goole got a bridge over the new river and barges could carry coal along it from the South Yorkshire coalfield at it could then be transferred to sea-going vessels.

Goole  83goole148_2400

In the 1820s the Aire and Calder Navigation opened a connection to the Dutch River and began the construction of docks and a new town at Goole. The canal opened in 1826 and in 1827 Goole became an official port with custom facilities, its docks able to handle vessels up to 400 tons. It’s main export remained coal until Thatcher closed the mines, with a system of compartment boats – the ‘Tom Puddings’ and special hoists giving a very efficient means to transfer the coal into seagoing ships. Timber was the main import, in part for use as pit props.

Goole 83goole161_2400

Railways first came to Goole in 1848 with a line to Pontefract and Wakefield, but it after the North Eastern Railway line from Doncaster to Hull was built in 1870 that the railway really became important. It was this route from Doncaster that I travelled on many times from and to the south between 1970 and now through Goole; sometimes the train stopped there, but more often travelled through at a leisurely pace, giving time to appreciate its landmark ‘salt an pepper’ water towers before swinging east to cross the River Ouse. But I never got off there until my first day trip in 1983.

The Victorian ‘New Goole’ seemed to have survived reasonably well, and gave a remarkable access to the docks (in those days they were a little less fettered by health and safety), and I spent a full day wandering around and taking pictures, particularly in black and white, but with some in colour too. I’ve returned more recently and it is still an interesting place to visit, though a little less so.

More colour pictures of Goole on Page 3 of Hull Colour 1972-85.

More black and white pictures on Hull Photos.

Hull Colour – 9

Wednesday, July 22nd, 2020

Time for the last post on my series of colour pictures from Hull in my Flickr album which covers the period up to 1985. I didn’t stop photographing Hull then, but I did stop using slide film around the middle of that year, and some of the pictures in the album from 1985 were made using colour negative film. Although this made it easier to get good prints and allowed me to work with a wider range of subjects, it does make the images harder to digitise. I’ll write more about this at a later date. The first few images here are from slides and later ones from negatives.

Barge moored in River Hull, Hull 83-Hull-1-2-Edit_2400
Barge moored in River Hull, Hull 1983

As well as the colour I was attracted by the seemingly random numbers on the building and the ordered line of them on the prow of the barge, indicating the draught – the distance from the waterline to the lowest part of the hull. This barge, R38, is more or less empty and I think floating, its draught below the lowest mark of 4 (I think in feet), but when fully loaded would be at 9 or a little above. The slide mount crops the image rather more than I intended when making this picture.

83-Hull-8-Edit_2400
Factory, River Hull, 1983

There are new industries on land adjoining the River Hull, particularly on the northern outskirts of the city, around Stockholm Rd, Malmo Rd and Bergen Way, names reflecting the traditional trade, still continuing across the North Sea into the port of Hull. I think this picture was probably made just to the north of Sutton Road bridge.

For me the bank of reeds expressed that these new industries have turned their backs to the river, while traditionally Hull’s industries had been on wharves and dependent on the River Hull for the transport in of raw materials – whale oil, agricultural products and later petroleum products and sometimes the export of bulk products such as edible oils. Now everything moves by lorry.

Lee Shore, River Hull, Hull 83hull159_2400

It is just possible still to recognise this as the view looking upstream from Chapman St Bridge, as the low sheds at left are still standing (or at least were in 2019) but I think most of the rest of the buildings in this view have disappeared and ships such as the Lee Shore and the other vessel upstream on the left bank no longer moor here.

The cocoa works on the right bank was razed to the ground around 10 years ago, and is now Energy Works, a renewable energy site built with the aid of a grant of almost £20 million from the European Regional Development Fund which will power 43,000 homes from waste and develop innovative technologies together with the University of Hull.

S Low, Laundry, Spring Bank, Hull 85-10c1-43_2400

S Low’s laundry had long amused me as I regularly travelled along Spring Bank either on foot or more often on the top deck of a Hull Corporation Bus, and I photographed it a number of times. This was the first I had taken on colour negative film and I’m not sure that the colour is as accurate as on the two different versions on slide film you can also see in the album.

This building is still there on Spring Bank, now painted very drably grey and no longer a shop.

Blanket Row, Hull 85-10c3-61_2400
Humber Dock Side/Blanket Row, Hull 1985

I apologise for the green cast in this image which I should really correct, but it is perhaps appropriate given that this location, now the Humber Dock Bar and Grill overlooking the marina, describes itself as “Formerly the Green Bricks”.

The picture shows that before becoming a pub and restaurant the area was home to Charles Batte and the Kingston Fruit Co and along the street a number of other businesses, and the green glazed bricks of the pub, opened in 1806 as the New Dock Tavern and around 1838 renamed as the Humber Dock Tavern, taller than the rest of the row, are only just visible above the parked blue van. The green bricks by the Leeds Fireclay Co. Ltd probably date from 1907 and the pub was locally listed in 2006.

This was the final picture from Hull in the album Hull Colour 1972-85 (though I may add more later) which ends with some pictures from Goole.


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

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