Archive for September, 2020

Bayswater 1987

Saturday, September 19th, 2020
Westbourne Grove,Garway Rd, Bayswater, Westminster, 1987 87-7d-12-positive_2400

It isn’t clear now whether the first Dickie Dirts, named after Cockney slang for shirts, was in the former ABC Regal in Walham Green which had closed in 1972 or in the small shop opened by former photographer Nigel Wright in 1977 on Westbourne Grove in this picture. But it represented a revolution in fashion retailing, selling casual clothes at low, low prices. If you wanted genuine Levi jeans and lumberjack shirts cheaper than anywhere else it was the place to go, and the shop drove a coach and horses through laws restricting trading hours, opening seven days a week from 9am until 11pm, even on Sundays. The fines he had to pay were simply a business expense, more than made up by the Sunday sales. Dickie Dirts shops opened in Camberwell in 1981 and in Stratford. Dirts was the first UK clothing store to engage in ‘parallel importing’, buying jeans in overseas countries where they were cheaper and then selling these ‘grey imports’ at below the prices the manufacturer charged for ‘genuine’ goods it brought to the UK.

Dickie Dirts didn’t last, though it was still in business in 1987, as others learnt from their example but kept up better with the fashions, but although the building is still there all of the shops have changed hands; where Dirts was at No 58 now offers reflexology.

John p dennis and by the Grace of God his 8 Children, Westbourne Grove, Bayswater, Westminster, 1987 87-7d-13-positive_2400

‘John. p. dennis and by the Grace of God his 8 Children’ was on the shop front at 121 Westbourne Grove, though I think the shop was closed and empty. Dennis was a follower of Sir Oswald Mosley who ran a furniture and junk shop here and was interned for eleven months during the war. In 1931, 18 year old Miss Gladys Rogers moved in with him and remained living with him, apart from two short breaks, until 1949; they had 8 children together but he did not believe in marriage. As well as looking after the children she also helped in the shop.

While in internment, Dennis met Frederick Heyland who was interned for the whole of the war because his parents had been German. Heyland moved in with the couple after the war, and married Miss Rogers in 1947. She left Dennis in 1949 to live with Heyland who was then the owner of a café in Willesden Green. These details are given in from the report of an appeal she made in 1972 against a judgement against an order made against her in 1971 on behalf of Heyland.

Pembridge Square, Notting Hill, Kensington & Chelsea, 1987 87-7d-33-positive_2400

Kensington & Chelsea is a borough of extremes as has been shown very clearly by the council’s failures over Grenfell Tower. Pembridge Square was built between 1856 and 1864 and the architect was Francis Radford.

Linden Mews, Linden Gardens, Notting Hill, Kensington & Chelsea, 1987 87-7d-42-positive_2400

Linden Mews is also part of the Pembridge Estate, and is now a private gated mews of just 8 houses. Where I could simply walk in (and did, though I don’t think I found anything I felt worth photographing) there is now a locked gate with notices marking it as private and banning vans and lorries. In 2014 a 3-bed terraced house here sold for £4.6 million.

George William Joy and Florence His Wife built this house AD 1889, Red Lodge, Moscow Rd, Palace Court, Bayswater, Westminster, 1987  87-7d-53-positive_2400

On the wall of Red Lodge it recoreds that ‘George William Joy and Florence His Wife built this house AD 1889’ and I think the fine gate probably also dates from the same period. Joy (1844–1925) was an Irish painter and married Florence Isabel Mary Masterman, born in 1849 and, according to Google, now 171 years old. I think he painted her portrait before they were married and that she was the model in some of his other pictures.

Russian oligarch and friend of Putin Omar Murtuzaliev bought the £25million property around 2007 and had almost completed a massive six-year building project to make a home for his son. According to the Evening Standard report, “a marble swimming pool had already been fitted, and a basement excavation included a Turkish bath, plunge pool and gym, with a cinema and grand reception room being built in a two-storey roof extension” when a massive fire engulfed the property in January 2013.

Orme Lane, Bayswater, Westminster, 198787-7d-62-positive_2400

Edward Orme, (1775-1848) was a painter and etcher, and made etchings of around 700 paintings, becoming engraver to Geroge III and the Prince of Wales, as well as producing many books of aquatints and etchings. He opened several shops in Mayfair to make and sell prints from 1801-1824. In 1808 he began purchasing plots of land in Bayswater, developing this area on St Petersburgh Place and Moscow road from 1815, the year after a visit to London by Tsar Alexander I. In 1824-6 he developed Orme Square.

This small block on the corner of Orme Lane is clearly from a later century, almost certainly the 1930s, and I think a very interesting building. I think it is probably four flats and I think the plot was probably previously a part of the garden of 1 Orme Square.

You can view more of my pictures of London from 1987 on Flickr. There are also pictures from some earlier years on my Flickr site – and more to come.


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.


More London 1987

Friday, September 18th, 2020
Windsor Court, Moscow Road, Bayswater, Westminster, 1987 87-7c-13-positive_2400

Moscow Road and St Petersburg Place were probably named at the time of the visit by  Tsar Alexander I to England in 1814, when print seller Edward Orme was beginning to develop the area. I think that Windsor Court replaced Salem Gardens which had around 350 people living in 35 houses with many working-class families living in single rooms, and was built in or shortly before 1907. A large 4 bedroom flat here is currently on sale for £2.4 million and the there are doubtless high service charges for the portered block.

LSE, Houghton St, Westminster, 1987 87-7c-32-positive_2400

This view of the London School of Economics is from Clare Market looking towards Houghton St and the area has for some years been a building site. The LSE  Centre Buildings Redevelopment is re-shaping Houghton Street and Clare Market and this view may emerge rather differently.

Lincoln's Inn Fields, Holborn, Camden, 1987 87-7c-34-positive_2400

The original house on this site, built in 1638-9 was rebuilt after it was bought by then solicitor-general Charles Talbot in 1730, but this semi-circular porch was added to the designs ofSir John Soane in 1795. Among early visitors to the house was Samuel Pepys whose patron Edward Montagu, the Earl of Sandwich lived here in 1664-1666. Apart from apparently inventing a useful portable food, Montagu was also largely responsible for bringing back the monarchy to England, a yoke we are still suffering under 360 years later. Dickens made it the home of the lawyer Tulkinghorn who was found dead here, shot through the heart in his Bleak House. Having been for 96 years the home of patent agents Marks & Clerk, in 2004 it became part of Garden Court Chambers.

New Court, Temple, City, 1987 87-7c-44-positive_2400

Not far away and still in legal London this picture shows New Court and Devreux Chambers in the Temple, an unduly picturesque image.

Camdonian, Barry Flanagan, sculpture, Lincoln's Inn Fields, Holborn, Camden, 1987 87-7c-54-positive_2400

Sculptor Barry Flanagan exhibited a smaller version of this sculpture, Maquette for Camdonian, for the 1980 Camden Sculpture Competition and they commissioned its big brother, Camdonian, to put at the north-east corner of Lincoln’s Inn Fields. Its a site I often visited when photographing in this area of London, as a few yards to the south are one of London’s relatively few remaining public toilets. Camdonian is a structure that is different on every visit, changing with the lighting and with the graffiti which it regularly gathers.

It has its admirers (and I’m somewhat grudgingly one) but it has also probably attracted more negative comments than any other piece of public art in London.

An alley to its north, Great Turnstile, leads to High Holborn and to one of the better Wetherspoon’s pubs, Penderel’s Oak. Much though I abhor its owner’s politics and treatment of his staff this is a pub I’ve often visited in the past; one of my friends, now sadly deceased, used to add to his meagre earnings as an artist and photographer as a Wetherspoons Secret Diner, and recommended this as the best of their establishments. And although many have called for a boycott of ‘Spoons, my union friends advised against, well asking us not to cross any picket lines they may have, advice I was happily following until the Corona lockdown.

Kings Reach, Memorial, George V, Westminster, 1987 87-7c-56-positive_2400

It wasn’t enough just to have a mug and postage stamps, King George V’s silver jubilee was marked a by plaques under Temple Stairs Arch, part of Bazalgette’s 1868 Embankment plans on the bank of the River Thames and the Port of London Authority “renamed” this stretch of river between Westminster and London Bridges as Kings Reach. Although it’s always said to have been renamed, nobody appears to know any previous name for this part of the river.

There are two cherubs, one on each side of a large block at the centre of the arch. This one, on the upstream side has ripped out the mast and sail of a ship he is sitting on and is waving them in his right hand while his left points towards the river. A rather angry looking sea-god looks down over him. These are said to be by Charles Leighfield Jonah Doman (1884-1944) who also provided sculptures for Lloyd’s 1925 building in Leadenhall St and Liberty’s in Regent St and were presumably added in 1935.


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.


Back to Mayfair 1987

Thursday, September 17th, 2020
Culross St/Park Lane area, Mayfair, Westminster, 1987 87-7a-12-positive_2400

Logically you might expect Wood’s House to be in Wood’s Mews, and it may well have been, but if so is no longer there. The frame before I took two pictures of this rather pleasant 1930s building was a view of the side in Wood’s Mews of a house in Park Lane, and the frame after is of another house further south on Park Lane on the corner of Culross St.

I suspect a building with only two stories became yielded a huge profit to developers in being built as an ugly but considerably taller block, but it would be nice to be proven wrong and to find this still tucked away in a corner.

129 Park Lane, Mayfair, Westminster, 1987  87-7a-36-positive_2400

I think this rather splendid marble (I think) steps are still there on Park Lane behind the high wall that now keeps them out of view of the hoi polloi who often crowd the area around the bus stops close to this corner with Green St.

Perhaps walls like that which now hides these steps and the view from the pavement of the houses behind are a result of the increase in inequality in our society and reflect an increasing unease among the elites. Though there have been few signs of the London mob in recent years. More likely the owners got fed up with finding people sitting on them waiting for buses.

Eagle Squadron, memorial, Grosvenor Square, Wesminster, 1987 87-7a-41-positive_2400

Before the US joined in the Second World War at the end of 1941, 244 US citizens volunteered to join the RAF and served in the RAF, flying Spitfires and Hurricanes in three three Royal Air Force Eagle Squadrons, despite US laws which meant losing their citizenship for fighting for a foreign power The squadrons were transferred to the USAF in 1942 and the pilots were pardoned in 1944.

The bronze eagle on the top of the column is by Elizabeth Frink, and the memorial was financed by US newspaper owner William Randolph Hearst. It was unveiled here by Margaret Thatcher in 1986.

US Embassy, Upper Grosvenor St, Mayfair, Westminster, 1987 87-7a-43-positive_2400

Grosvenor Square was chosen as the site for the Eagle Squadron memorial because of the US Embassy which occupied the entire west end of the square. It was then a fine example of modern architecture and lacked the high fences, ugly lodges and patrolling armed police that made it a rather grim feature in more recent years. I think the long queue is of people queuing to enter the embassy to get US visas.

Car, Gilbert St, St Anselm's Place,  Mayfair, Westminster, 1987 87-7a-64-positive_2400

I have to admit to knowing nothing about cars. But this one parked in Gilbert Street was obviously a little out of the ordinary and I imagine very expensive. It looked to me like something out of a black and white film noir, and perhaps the setting would have served too. I’m sure there will be people who see this picture and can immediately recognise the make, model and date – and if so I hope they let me know in a comment.

To me it looks American, and the style seems to belong to the late 1930s, though it could be a modern replica, possibly one made for use in a film. It has an engine that doesn’t quite fit in the bonnet, perhaps 8 cylinders. The number plate NGF786Y no longer appears to exist. This is also a picture I seem to have missed retouching and there are more than usual number of scratches and dust spots.

Davies St, Mayfair, Westminster, 1987 87-7a-65-positive_2400

It isn’t hard to identify this building as the Grosvenor Works of John Bolding and Sons in Davies Street, as their name is proudly displayed on a plaque at bottom left and on the building at top right, with the initials JBS featuring twice in the centre of the picture. The company was founded by Thomas Bolding in 1822 in South Molton St and they were at first brass founders.

By the 1870s they had moved into the business they became famous for as providers of high-class sanitary equipment. They moved to this site in the late 1880s and these premises were built as a showroom for their goods, with a foundry elsewhere in London. The architects were Wimperis and Arber; John Thomas Wimperis had been appointed as one of the Grosvenor Estates approved architects in 1887 and his assistant William Henry Arber became a partner in 1889.

In 1963 Boldings bought up the business of their rather better-known rival Thomas Crapper. But a few years later in 1969 Boldings was wound up, while Thomas Crapper & Company Limited, founded in 1836, continues in business based in Huddersfield, offering ” a small yet extraordinarily authentic set of Victorian/Edwardian sanitaryware.”

The River Tyburn runs through the basement of the building which is now occupied by Grays Antiques, established in 1977. The river is a tourist attraction with large goldfish swimming in it.

Park Lane, Mayfair, Westminster, 1987 87-7b-66-positive_2400

93 Park Lane, a small part of which is visible at extreme right was a speculative rebuild of 1823-25 by builder Samuel Baxter and is Grade I listed primarily because it “was Benjamin Disraeli’s London residence from 1839 to 1872; Coningsby, much of Sybil and other novels by Disraeli were written here”, whereas the others are all Grade II. 94 to its left was also rebuilt by Baxter at the same date. Next left, 95 was rebuilt in 1842-4 by John Harrison in plain brick with stucco only on the ground floor; the rounded 96 was rebuilt in 1826 as was its more angular neighbour 97. Almost entirely out of sight at left, 98 from 1823-5 was from 1888-94 the residence of Frank Harris, “author and adventurer”, and the final house in the terrace, not in my picture, was also built then by Jon Goldicutt and was the home from 1826-85 of philanthropist Sir Moses Montefiore.

Many other photographers have photographed these houses, including Bill Brandt, who made his picture on a Spring afternoon in 1932 from behind railings across the south-bound carriageway, with a London bus in traffic behind a rather grander horse-drawn carriage driven by two top-hatted men. On page 27 of ‘Camera In London’ it appears with the simple title ‘Mayfair’. The Tate website lists it as “Regency Houses, Park Lane, Mayfair – c.1930–9, later print” and apologises “SORRY, COPYRIGHT RESTRICTIONS PREVENT US FROM SHOWING THIS OBJECT HERE”, but you can view it on Artnet where it is captioned “Park Lane (Mayfair, London) , ca. 1960”. I increasingly think that our current copyright law needs review.


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.


More Notting Hill – 1987

Wednesday, September 16th, 2020

As a schoolboy I used to cycle up a hill past some grand large houses on a street probably of a similar age to these, though not quite as grand, most of them in poor repair and multi-occupied, divided into flats and rooms. My first student flat with two friends in Manchester was in a not dissimilar house where one would meet men, usually the worse for drink, on the stairs when we went to use the shared toilet; we soon realised the occupation of two of the women who had rooms on other floors of the house, including the very motherly woman who collected our rent each week and offered consolation when she arrived one week to find me in on my own and still in bed.

Stanley Gardens, Stanley Crescent, Notting Hill, Kensington & Chelsea, 1987 87-6d-11-positive_2400

When I started work in the 1960s I could have bought one of those houses I cycled past for with a mortgage for around three times my then annual salary. There would have been a few sitting tenants, some of whom could have been easily persuaded to leave. Had I been like Peter Rachman I would have first made a modest cash offer, then if they refused would make their lives miserable by holding loud and noisy all-night parties in the already empty flats, moving finally to cutting off the water and electricity and perhaps sending men with large angry dogs to harass them. He made his fortune mainly in the more northerly parts of Kensington, and not so far as I’m aware in any of the areas shown in my pictures. But even for more law-abiding landlords there were fortunes to be made. Those houses I cycled past, now converted into self-contained flats are now worth at least a thousand times more, allowing for inflation around 50 times as much.

Stanley Gardens, St Peter's Church, Notting Hill, Kensington & Chelsea, 1987 87-6d-12-positive_2400

Stanley Gardens was as a part the Ladbroke Estate owned by James Weller Ladbroke who in the 1820s employed Thomas Allason to make a grand overall plan for the whole area. Ladbroke ran into problems with various developers and the plans were modified in the 1840s by landscape artist and architect Thomas Allom in the 1840s. After James Weller Ladbroke died in 1847 his cousin Felix Ladbrooke sold the land to developer Charles Blake who employed a builder in 1853 to build the houses to Allom’s designs and street plan. The builder went bust before finishing the job and others finished the work in 1858. Most of the houses in Stanley Crescent are also to Allom’s designs and THe Survey of London comments that these streets represent “grand display in the latest taste” of the Victorian era. All were Grade II listed in 1969. You can read a very full account of the area and its history at The Ladbroke Association.

St Peter’s Church Notting Hill was also designed by Thomas Allom and was built before the houses were completed in 1855-7. The site had been donated by Charles Henry Blake (1794–1872) who had made a fortune trading in indigo in India before coming back to make more as a developer in Notting Hill. Its classical style was out of fashion by the time it was built, but fits in better with the housing than would a gothic design.

Man on Skateboard, Portobello Rd, Notting Hill, Kensington & Chelsea, 1987 87-6d-31-positive_2400

My father, born in 1899, was a man of few if any qualifications but skilled in many trades including carpentry, all kinds of building work, plumbing, painting and decorating, bee-keeping and gardening. It was in this latter respect that he became a member of the Soil Association and we grew up eating the food and vegetables he grew in several gardens and an allotment, organic before anyone had thought of the marketing name.

We knew about Whole Earth Foods and Ceres, set up by Nebraska-born brothers Craig and Gregory Sams in 1967, though I don’t think we ever shopped there. Their shop on Portobello Rad was said to be the first English bakery selling wholemeal goods, though I think dedicated to them would be more accurate. They advertised Ceres as “London’s complete natural food centre featuring a full range of organically grown vegetables and grains.”

According to Craig’s blog “This was on the Portobello Road in the 1970s where we were in competition with 30 fruit and vegetable stallholders as well as cheap bakers, and when the yuppification of Notting Hill was just a glint in the property developers’ eyes.”

At some point Craig and his family moved away from Notting Hill to Hastings to continue their business – which went on to include various other companies including the fantastic ed Green & Black’s Organic Chocolate. The shop at the left of the picture had been the Ceres Bakery (which perhaps accounts for the rather American fire hydrant pictured on its front), and to the right is the entrance to Portobello Garden Arcade.
The shop is now Portobellow Health Foods.

I grabbed this image rapidly as a skateboarder came into view, which accounts for the more than usual tilt.

Pembridge Crescent, Notting Hill, Kensington & Chelsea, 1987 87-6d-41-positive_2400

Pembridge Crescent dates from 1854-9. Much of the area was developed by brothers Francis and William Radford, with Francis being the architect for the houses, and was one of the most financially successful developments in Notting Hill. The Survey of London suggests their work in Pembridge Crescent was “coarse in comparison with the earlier, gracious proportions of the houses” in the rest of the area they developed.

Pembridge Crescent, Notting Hill, Kensington & Chelsea, 1987 87-6d-43-positive_2400

Since 1969 the area has been a part of the Pembridge Conservation Area. There is a description of the architecture of the area in the Survey of London on the British History Online web site.

Pembridge Crescent, Notting Hill, Kensington & Chelsea, 1987 87-6d-55-positive_2400

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.


Yet More West End 1987

Tuesday, September 15th, 2020
Schomberg House, Pall Mall,St James's, Westminster, 1987 87-6b-36-positive_2400

My walks around London’s Westminster and Mayfair continued in June and July 1987 and ranged wider into Notting Hill. The selection of pictures I’ve put on Flickr represents roughly one sixth of the pictures I took, and are those I now find more interesting and feel will interest others more. They include a rather higher proportion of statues and sculpture and rather less of the more workaday buildings and scenes. I was also beginning to become rather freer in my use of film, more often taking two or even three frames of a particular building or view.

June was a busy time of year for me in my teaching, with students taking exams and I was involve in both marking and moderation, both stretching into the early weeks of July until term ended and sometimes beyond. I envied those who were free to go to Arles for the Rencontres, but could only read the accounts in the magazines (the web was yet to come) and by the time I’d left teaching and could have gone had lost the urge to do so.

Schomberg House in Pall Mall is a grand facade, partly from the town house built in 1698 for the Duke of Schomberg. The eastern third of it was demolished in 1850, but when the building behind the facade was demolished and redeveloped into offices in 1956 the missing part of the facade was rebuilt to restore the symmetry of the whole facade. This “Central projecting caryatid porch of painted Coade stone (dated 1791)” was originally the main entrance to the house, but now has no doorway, just a window. The ‘allegory of painting’ above the door possibly reflects that for some years the building was occupied by the artist John Astley (and the rather better known  Thomas Gainsborough lived in part of the house too),  though if it also dates from 1791 the house had passed into the ownership of the Scottish quack James Graham who, according to Wikipedia, set it up as a “Temple of Health and Hymen”, a high class brothel and gambling den which was eventually raided and closed down by the police.

Ship model, Cunard, Pall Mall,St James's, Westminster, 1987 87-6b-26-positive_2400

Cunard had an office in Pall Mall when Charles Dickens wrote his Dickens’s Dictionary of London in 1879, and there was still an office there in 1987, although clearly in a more modern building. I’m not sure if this is a part of the rather ugly functional building that is still there on the north side of Pall Mall, but what attracted me was clearly the model ship in the window.

King St, St James's, Westminster, 1987 87-6b-33-positive_2400

This is 54 Pall Mall and the site was for over a hundred years until 1940 occupied, according to The Survey of London on British History Online by
Messrs. Foster, auctioneers. They commissioned this frontage from architects Karslake and Mortimer in 1891, and later in 1931 had the building rebuilt behind it. That architectural practice ended in 1895 when Mortimer died and Karslake retired. This building with its perhaps strange mixing of styles was Grade II listed at the end of 1987. It is now the offices of the Kuwait Petroleum Corporation.

The Golden Lion, King St, St James's, Westminster, 1987 87-6b-34-positive_2400

The Golden Lion in King St was more interesting to me, not just because it was still open as a public house, though I don’t remember having been inside. The first record of a pub on this site, then the Golden Lyon, is in 1732, but the present building dates from 1897-8. The architect is not known, but the Survey of London has a long description which begins rather snootily:

Designed in a grotesque imitation of the Jacobean Baroque, its narrow stone front bulges with projecting windows and carved ornament on a scale quite out of keeping with its size. 

https://www.british-history.ac.uk/survey-london/vols29-30/pt1/pp295-307#h3-0012

I found it an appealing exuberance. This was a time when architecture of the late nineteenth and early 20th century was only really beginning to be widely appreciated, and this building was again Grade II listed at the end of the year.

Burne House,Marylebone Rd, Marylebone, Westminster, 1987 87-6c-13-positive_2400

You may need to look closely to see that the ‘building’ that occupies most of the lower section of this picture is not a building but simply a painting on a high fence in front of a building site.

The tall block is Burne House, built as a BT Telecommunications Centre in 1977 with 15 floors and around 207ft tall. The hoarding or wall on which the painted scene is is now a plain brick wall separating Peabody housing in Burne St, completed in 1977, from the Marylebone Rd.

Large Spindle Piece, Henry Moore, Sculpture, Spring Gardens, Westminster, 1987 87-6c-35-positive_2400

Henry Moore’s Large Spindle Piece was in Spring Gardens from from 1981 to 1996. Seven copies of this large bronze were cast in 1974 and this was the ‘artist’s cast’, currently on loan to Network Rail and in the square in front of Kings Cross station.

Britannia, Field Marshal Lord Clyde, statue, Baron Carlo Marochetti, Waterloo Place, Westminster, London  87-6c-55-positive_2400

Colin Campbell, 1st Baron Clyde (1792 – 1863) was one of the leading British military figures of his age; born Colin Macliver, he adopted the family name of his uncle in whose care he then was when he enlisted in 1808. He served in the Peninsular War (where his only brother had been killed) and went on to fight in many of our European and colonial wars of the era. There is a lengthy description of his career on Wikipedia.

In 1823 he was aide-de-camp to the governor in Demerara in Barbados, it is not clear if he took part in the brutal reprisals against the slave rebellion there in August 1823, but he was a part of the court martial which sentenced the Reverend John Smith to death. From there he went to Ireland where troops were needed to force the Roman Catholic majority to pay tithes to the Anglican Church of Ireland. In 1842 he led his regiment fighting in the First Opium War in China and later in the year was made commandant of Hong Kong. In 1848-9 he led his brigade in battles in the Second Anglo-Sikh War and afterwards was involved in other operations, though he resigned in disgust when asked to mount an invasion of the Swat Valley.

He is probably best known for his service in the Crimean War, where he commanded the Highland Brigade and was notably photographed by Roger Fenton. He was then made a general and sent to India to command all the British forces there and put an end to the ‘Indian Mutiny’, only returning to England in 1860 when ” all aspects of the revolt had died away”.

He died in 1863, and the statue by Baron Carlo Marochetti was erected in Waterloo Place in 1867. Campbell had obviously been a brave and courageous soldier and had done a great deal for Britannia, ensuring that if not the waves, she ruled the lands of many other peoples and was able to plunder them for profit. Men like him made possible the great wealth of our Victorian elites that we now see. Quite how we regard that now is a matter for debate, and his memorial is obviously in need of a great deal of recontextualisation, but it has more character as a work of art than most statues.


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.


Plagiarism or Privilege?

Monday, September 14th, 2020

If you’ve not already read the story about Alec Soth being accused of plagiarism in a set of pictures he took for a New York Times commission to explore inequality in Chicago, then the Art Newspaper provides good coverage in a feature ‘Magnum photographer Alec Soth accused of plagiarism by Chicago artist Tonika Johnson’ by Tom Seymour.

Soth has denied that he knew of Tonika Lewis Johnson’s long-term series The Folded Map Project when he took his pictures and has issued an apology and is donating his income from his work for the NYT to her project.

While I had no knowledge of Johnson’s work, I feel terrible for the offense I’ve caused. I apologize to Tonika Lewis Johnson and very much regret accepting this assignment. ⁣

⁣That said, I’m glad to be made aware of her committed work and will be donating all of my income from the New York Times to The Folded Map Project. I encourage you to check out the work too: foldedmapproject.com

https://www.instagram.com/p/CEzRQc4FK2a/

You can also read a letter that Soth has written to Tom Seymour about the article in Art Newspaper (which has since been edited to include comment from Soth.)

Soth suggests that rather than plagiarism he was guilty of “shallowness” in his approach to the commission, and he points out some key differences to his work and that of Johnson.

It seems to me to not be a case of plagiarism but of privilege. In his article Seymour states Soth “also criticised the historic culture—almost a founding principle of documentary photography—of image-makers “parachuting” to different locales in order to dispassionately visualise communities distinct from their own experience.”

Certainly this was the founding inspiration of Magnum, who divided the world between their first members, and it is something many of us have criticised for many years, but now given new emphasis by the Black Lives Matter movement. But although Johnson black and female and Soth is white and male and in many ways more privileged, these particular personal distinctions are I think not the essential root of the matter. He certainly was offered the job because he was well-known and a Magnum member. She didn’t get it because the NYT was unaware of her existence, not because of any failing by Soth.

Soth didn’t perhaps do as much research as he should have done, but he points out the commission was inspired by a Chicago Tribune story and when he Googled  “Streeterville and Englewood” he also found stories from the Chicago Sun Times, The Guardian, Chicago Public Radio and every network news station, in none of which was Tonika Johnson’s work mentioned.

It isn’t just Soth, it is the whole industry – press and other media – that has failed and needs to change. Journalists need to become aware about the communities they write about, the attitudes and voices of the people in them and documentary projects such as ‘The Folded Map Project’.


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

Notting Hill Carnival 2000

Sunday, September 13th, 2020
Notting Hill Carnival, 2000. Peter Marshall 00-814-55_2400

Some might think that pictures from 2000 have no place in an album called ‘Notting Hill Carnival – the 1990s‘, but the decade really starts with 1991 as when we move to labelling years as ‘anno Domini’ or AD the first year was 1 and not 0. It was only around 1200 that the idea of zero and ‘0’ as a number really came into European thought, though it had existed much earlier in other civilisations in Asia, the Middle East and South America. So while some celebrated the Millenium at the start of 2000, the more educated knew it really had another year to go.

Notting Hill Carnival, 2000. Peter Marshall 00-817-45_2400

But its actually just a matter of convenience and the result of a small mistake I made when I was putting together an exhibition of my first ten years at Carnival. For some reason I thought I had first taken pictures there in 1991, so this was to cover the years 1991-2000, but as I worked on the show I found I had also been there in 1990.

Notting Hill Carnival, 2000. Peter Marshall 00-819-34_2400

For the moment I’ll end this album at 2000, though probably I’ll come back later and change its name to include all those years I covered the carnival on film rather than digital, though I’m not quite sure when that was.

Notting Hill Carnival, 2000. Peter Marshall 00-805-32_2400

I’d also intended the album simply to be black and white pictures, but then I found a couple of years where I had taken few or no black and white pictures. So I’m now busily scanning colour negatives from the other years and adding them. Except for one year where I seem to have mislaid the file containing the negatives – which I’ve spend hours searching for, so far without success.

Notting Hill Carnival, 2000. Peter Marshall 00-805-66_2400
Notting Hill Carnival, 2000. Peter Marshall 00-808-52_2400
Notting Hill Carnival, 2000. Peter Marshall  Notting Hill Carnival, 2000. Peter Marshall 00-809-36_2400

See more pictures from 2000 on Page 3 of ‘Notting Hill Carnival – the 1990s‘.


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.

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


Photo Magazines – the Future

Saturday, September 12th, 2020

I grew up reading Amateur Photographer, though I didn’t buy it, but as soon as I was old enough to graduated from the Junior Library into the Adult section, probably when I was eleven, used to take it down from the magazine rack and sit at a table reading it from cover to cover. I don’t think I made much of any of the more technical articles and it was the photographs that attracted me most. Apart from anything else it was the nearest thing to an Adult magazine in the public library, featuring rather more attractive young ladies in swimsuits (and occasionally strategically posed without them) than was really necessary. But I also got to see pictures by some of the leading photographers such as Henri Cartier-Bresson, Doisneau, Brandt and others that appeared at times in its pages.

I’d actually started my photographic education at an early age with Picture Post, which had exposed me to the likes of Bert Hardy, Kurt Hutton, Thurston Hopkins and the rest – even Bill Brandt – though of course at that age the names had meant nothing to me. My family couldn’t actually afford to buy the magazine, but we did get copies passed on to us after wealthier friends or neighbours had finished with them. Another gift, from an ageing relative who worked for the Post Office in some relatively high up capacity, was a large pile of old issues of the National Geographic magazine,. It was then only illustrated with black and white photographs, some featuring natives from hot countries; when we leafed through these on the days it was too wet to play outside, the interests of me and my friends was certainly more pornographic than ethnographic.

It was only in the 1970s that I began to buy photographic magazines. Amateur Photographer largely for the advertising, but by then I was also interested in the technical articles in that and magazines such as SLR Camera. Photography Magazine published some rather better photography (and was the first to publish a small portfolio of my work) and they and the others had regular competitions, some of which I entered and won the occasional prize, including the latest Praktica camera which I promptly sold. After all I already had a camera, so it seemed a rather silly prize.

Early in the 1970s I came across Creative Camera, and soon took out a subscription. At first I found it rather strange, but it soon grew on me and changed my photographic life. I stopped buying most other UK magazines (except AP when I needed cheap film and paper or new gear), but later discovered Modern Photography and Popular Photography, both US magazines that published serious articles about photographers and also actually reviewed cameras and lenses in depth, testing them scientifically rather than just photographing the ships across the river out of the office window. They made their UK equivalents seem little more than an illustrated press release.

In later years I found other magazines worth buying. Until very recently I had a subscription to Aperture, as well as European Photography, Camera Austria and others from outside the UK. When I became more heavily involved with teaching photography and as a part-time professional I looked forward to the weekly news magazine, the British Journal of Photography, which came through my door, keeping me updated on the UK scene, with lists of exhibitions, reviews and news. When it changed to a monthly and altered its focus I saw no point in renewing my subscription.

As well as having the odd picture published in magazines, I also wrote a few articles for some of them – back then they paid a reasonable rate for both pictures and text. In the 1990s I also wrote for and edited unpaid a newsletter for London Independent Photography, one of a number of small essentially amateur publications.

Magazines then have played an important role in my photographic life, so I was interested to read Grant Scott’s article ‘Is There A Future For The Photographic Magazine‘ on his ‘The United Nations of Photography‘ web site. It’s very much written from the standpoint of someone previously professionally involved in a number of commercial photography magazines since he began in 1985. His conclusion? “Sadly, I don’t think so.”

If by photography magazines you mean commercial print titles that will sell on the magazine shelves of W H Smith and others, it is hard to disagree with Scott’s conclusion. But during COVID-19 we have seen something of a resurgence of on-line photo magazines and I have no doubt that this will continue – with some of those now free moving to a subscription basis, but other new, free publications taking their place. And of course there are a number of web sites which are essentially photography magazines.

We will also see some specialist print magazines continue, particularly those representing different aspects of the academic and art sectors. Some will probably soon move to solely on-line versions, but others, often highly subsidised will continue to attract high-end advertising and stay in print. As too will some of the amateur publications such as that I once edited.


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


Notting Hill Carnival 1999

Friday, September 11th, 2020

I’ve so far digitised only a small proportion of images that I took of Carnival in 1999, though I think that those I’ve put into the Flickr album Notting Hill Carnival in the 1990s are probably the best of those I took. But I’m sure there are some other pictures worth adding later from the 600 or so black and white pictures I took over the two days – and I also made around 250 in colour.

Notting Hill Carnival, 1999. Peter Marshall 99-807-15_2400
Notting Hill Carnival, 1999. Peter Marshall 99-808-34_2400
Notting Hill Carnival, 1999. Peter Marshall 99-808-56_2400
Notting Hill Carnival, 1999. Peter Marshall 99-810-31_2400
Notting Hill Carnival, 1999. Peter Marshall 99-817-35_2400
Notting Hill Carnival, 1999. Peter Marshall 99-817-61_2400
Notting Hill Carnival, 1999. Peter Marshall 99-821-63_2400

As usual, the pictures display rather small on this site, but clicking on them will take you to a larger version on Flickr. You can see all the pictures from 1999 in the album by clicking on this link to go to the first and then clicking to go to next picture to go through the other 18.


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.


Election Eve

Thursday, September 10th, 2020

Most Days at the moment I get four or five messages asking me to support Joe Biden, even though as a British citizen I have no vote in the forthcoming election. Trump’s team take no interest in me, perhaps because of the nature of some of my online posts. But it isn’t that election I’m writing about.

The Eye of Photography has reminded me of William Eggleston’s ‘Election Eve‘, originally published in 1977 as two leather-bound volumes containing 100 original prints in a box by Caldecot Chubb, a man best known as a film producer, in New York. It was a very limited edition of only five copies and the price was presumably astronomical, which was perhaps why I didn’t buy a copy.

There is a different reason which will stop me buying the second edition, printed more economically in offset litho. Though I have a great admiration for Eggleston, I already have somewhere on my shelves ‘William Eggleston’s Guide‘ and the first edition of his ‘The Democratic Forest‘, as well as the 1992 Barbican exhibition catalogue ‘Ancient And Modern’, as well as a number of portfolios in other publications. And frankly, although there are some images of interest, I think that from what I’ve seen so far ‘Election Eve‘ is a relatively minor work of Eggleston.

The price of the new edition, at € 85.00 (around £77) is perhaps not excessive, and doubtless it will be well printed and presented by Steidl. In 1989 ‘The Democratic Forest‘ cost £30.00, almost exactly the same allowing for inflation, though I think I may have got it as a review copy. But unless you are a completist collector, ‘Forest’ seems to me an unnecessary purchase.

There are relatively few photographers who I think it is worth owning more than a couple of books by, and rather more where just one is sufficient. The exceptions for me are those whose work has changed greatly over the course of their lives and also some where the subject matter is itself of great interest as well as the photography. Eggleston’s approach and subject matter seems to me remarkably consistent over the years (with a few minor aberrations.)

There have been so many interesting photographers over the years, and I’m well aware that many of the books on my groaning overloaded shelves are seldom opened but sit there gathering dust. For me they are a resource, a library I consult when writing about photographers, as well as occasionally sitting down to enjoy a volume.

But while books are important, the main way I and I think most others now experience photographs is on the web, and it would be good to see the Eggleston Art Foundation showing more of his work on the web. Although there are relatively few of his pictures available you can watch ‘page-throughs’ of several of his books on YouTube, including one of a more recent selection of work from ‘The Democratic Forest‘ as well as some others, often best with the soundtrack muted.