Archive for March, 2021

South Ken, Earls Court and further west

Wednesday, March 31st, 2021

The final selection of images from my black and white photographs of London in 1987, taken in December.

Collingham Gardens,South Kensington, Kensington & Chelsea, 1987  87-12f-62-positive_2400
Collingham Gardens,South Kensington, Kensington & Chelsea, 1987

A couple of doorways from the area largely built in the 1880s to the varied designs of George and Peto, with motifs borrowed from a range of cities across Europe.

Collingham Gardens,South Kensington, Kensington & Chelsea, 1987 87-12f-63-positive_2400
Collingham Gardens,South Kensington, Kensington & Chelsea, 1987

You can read more about the architects in my previous post on the area.

Bolton Gardens, South Kensington, Kensington & Chelsea, 1987  87-12f-44-positive_2400
Bolton Gardens, South Kensington, Kensington & Chelsea, 1987

A LCC blue plaque records that Sir Edwin Arnold (1832-1904) lived and died at 31 Bolton Gardens. He spent five years in India as a college principal and return in 1861 to work as a journalist on the Daily Telegraph, later becoming its editor, and he, together with the New York Herald sent explorer H M Stanley, who had three years earlier discovered David Livingstone, to explore the course of the Congo River.

But he was best known in the Victorian era for his book of eight poems, The Light of Asia, an Indian epic about Prince Gautama of India, the founder of Buddhism, along with other poetic works on India and the far east. Mahatma Gandhi admired his poetic English translation of the Bhagavad Gita, The Song Celestial and invited him to be vice-president of the UK Vegetarian Society. Widely decorated at the time, Arnold and his work are now largely and probably deservedly forgotten.

Barkston Gardens, South Kensington, Kensington & Chelsea, 1987  87-12f-32-positive_2400
Barkston Gardens, Earls Court, Kensington & Chelsea, 1987

Barkston Gardens a short walk from Earls Court station was built from 1886 as a part of the Gunter estate, with houses by several developers. These flats have shops on the Earls Court Rd on their west side and on the east the long still private communal garden around which Barkston Gardens was developed. Previously this had been the site of Earl’s Court House.

Hogarth Rd, Earl's Court, Kensington & Chelsea, 1987  87-12e-64-positive_2400
6 Hogarth Place, Earls Court, Kensington & Chelsea, 1987

Hogarth Place is directly opposite the Earls Court Road exit from Earls Court Station, and seems to integrate seamlessly with Hogarth Road for its first section. Although there are still shops along here, the cacophony of signage is now considerably muted, though the New Asia is still there.

Cromwell Rd, South Kensington, Kensington & Chelsea, 1987 87-12f-13-positive_2400
Hotels, Cromwell Rd, South Kensington, Kensington & Chelsea, 1987

Cromwell Road is the busy A4, and perhaps not the quietest place for a hotel, but there are still many along it. I think this is now the Crown Plaza near Gloucester Rd station.

Sales Office, Cromwell Rd, South Kensington, Kensington & Chelsea, 1987  87-12f-22-positive_2400
Sales Office, Point West, Cromwell Rd, South Kensington, Kensington & Chelsea, 1987

Until the end of 1973 passengers for British European Airways (BEA) flights from Heathrow could check in at the West London Air Terminal on Cromwell Road, from where coaches would take them along the A4 to the airport. The terminal was built where a short disused section of railway line called the Cromwell Curve had connected the District Line close to Gloucester Road station to allow trains to go to High Street Kensington avoiding a section of Metropolitan Line track. The building, by Sir John Burnet, Tait and Partners was opened in 1963 replacing a temporary facility and had six floors of BEA offices above the concourse. After the closure part of the building became a Sainsbury’s Superstore and the rest was converted into flats, including many now used for short-term rentals by tourists.

Cromwell Rd, South Kensington, Kensington & Chelsea, 1987  87-12f-12-positive_2400
Cromwell Rd, South Kensington, Kensington & Chelsea, 1987

Christmas was coming and the Lorenzaccio Club was offering Christmas Parties ‘Lorenzo’s Way’ with a fine winged lion and a curious crescent moon sign supporting a rather sad-looking hanging basket. I didn’t go in to enquire.

Latimer Rd, Notting Hill, Kensington & Chelsea, 1987 87-12e-61-positive_2400
Latimer Rd, Notting Hill, Kensington & Chelsea, 1987

The view from the west end of the platform at Latimer Rd Station as I waited for a train to Hammersmith.

Wellesley Rd, Gunnersbury, Hounslow, 198787-12e-62-positive_2400
Wellesley Rd, Gunnersbury, Hounslow, 1987

You can still see this row of houses with unusual facades topped by a faux balustrade reminding me of icing on a cake on Wellesley Rd though I think one of those shown here has since lost its topping.

There are a few more photographs I haven’t featured here on page 8 of my 1987 London Photos.

Land Day Protests

Tuesday, March 30th, 2021

On 30th April 1976, Palestinian residents in the town of Sakhnin held a march against the confiscation of Arab land close to the town as a part of the Israel’s policy of building Jewish settlements. It was one of a number of protests that day against the taking of land for settlements, including those in 5 other villages in Galilee.

Israeli police attacked the protesters in Sakhnin and shot and killed six Palestinian citizens of Israel, injuring hundreds of others. Since then March 30th has been known as Land Day and commemorated as showing the collective steadfast Palestinian resistance to colonisation by Israel.

2002

Palestinians in London hold protests on Land Day calling for freedom, justice and equality for all Palestinians, usually on Land Day itself or close to it. Often these protests have also been linked with other events taking place in Palestine and sometimes those elsewhere. Back in 2002, Palestinians took part in the CND and Stop the War demonstration against the invasion of Iraq and a US military ‘Star Wars’ programme

A protester calls for the release of the many political prisoners held in Israel’s jails

Land Day in 2018 came at the start of a six week period of regular peaceful protests demanding the right of Palestinian refugees to return to their former homes and villages, ‘The Great March of Return’, and the world was horrified as videos showed Israel Defence Force snipers in position on the wall firing on unarmed protesters several hundred yards using live ammunition – and Israeli citizens who had came to watch the slaughter. On Land Day itself 17 Civilians were killed in the massacre and over 750 seriously injured by live fire, with others injured by rubber bullets and tear gas.

As well as some protests on Land Day itself, this prompted a larger emergency protest close to the Israeli embassy condemning the cold-blooded shooting by the Israeli army of peaceful protesters near the separation wall in Gaza on the following day.

A larger protest took place on the first anniversary of the 2018 massacre and the continuing shootings during the six weeks of the Great Return March, in which Israeli soldiers killed over 250 unarmed protesters and severely injured thousands.

This man was shouting repeatedly ‘There are no Palestinians in Gaza!’

As often at protests calling for justice in Palestine a small group of Zionists came to shout insults and mock the Palestinians and their demands for freedom.

They were always outnumbered by Jewish campaigners who came in support of the Palestinian cause, and the protests are often joined by a small but very photogenic group of ultra-orthodox Neturei Karta Jews who reject Zionism and walk down from Stamford Hill to show their support for the Palestinian cause.

On My London Diary for 2018 and 2019:
Against Israeli Land Day massacre 2018
Land Day protest against Israeli state 2018
Freedom, justice & equality for Palestinians 2019


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.



Hunger, Housing and Injustice

Monday, March 29th, 2021

My work on Saturday 29th March 2019 began in north London at Bruce Castle Park in Tottenham, where the indefatigable Rev Paul Nicolson of Taxpayers Against Poverty had organised a march demanding living incomes and decent truly affordable homes, calling for an end to the bedroom tax, the housing benefit cap, unfair taxes, hunger and cold homes.

The Reverend Paul Nicolson who died peacefully on Thursday 5th March 2020 aged 87 had long campaigned on these issues, and had commissioned the work on poverty that helped groups such as London Citizens and Unison to persuade the Mayor of London Ken Livingstone to introduce the London Living Wage.

His Christian principles led Nicolson to found the Zacchaeus Trust, an anti-poverty charity providing frontline services on Social Security benefits, housing and homelessness as well as the campaigning organisation TAP, and he supported and spoke at many protests calling for justice for disabled and others on low wages and often inadequate benefits.

I left the march as it passed Tottenham Police Station on its way to a rally at Tottenham Green to make my way to Kilburn, where the Counihan Battlebus Housing For All campaign, along with the TUSC Against Cuts and Unite Community were holding a protest in Kilburn Square over child hunger and housing problems, calling for rents to be capped and for everyone to have a home.

Children played a large part in the protest and were having fun, but also making a serious point, with placards “Going to school hungry is not fair!” As I pointed out in my rather long article on the protest:

Children going to school hungry is a direct result of government policy and its inhumane (they call it ‘tough’ to make it sound positive) sanctions policy. What we need is not this kind of vindictive approach but more jobs and an end to poverty wages. And it would be far more productive to attack the huge sums involved in tax evasion and tightening up the rules on tax avoidance than the relatively small amounts of benefit fraud or the largely mythical workshy.

The journey from Kilburn to Parliament Square was fortunately a simple one on the tube and I arrived as students and staff from Oasis Academy Hadley came from Enfield to protest against the planned deportation of one of their students, 19-year-old Yashika Bageerathi. She had come to the UK with her family in 2011 to escape a dangerous situation in Mauritius and was in the final year of her A level course, in which she was expected to get high grades.

The Home Office decided that since she was 19 she could be deported without her family, and had already detained her in Yarl’s Wood ten days earlier. Two deportation attempts failed when both British Airways and Air Mauritius refused to fly her to Mauritius, possibly because of the huge public campaign to allow her to stay and complete her exams.

It was impossible to see why Home Office minister Theresa May was so keen on this deportation – other than wanting to seem to have a tough policy on immigration, and as I wrote, morally their position seemed indefensible. But deport her they finally did.

Despite spells in Yarl’s Wood which disrupted here education and the deportation which took place six weeks before her A Level exams, she was able to take the exams and passed with straight A grades. She then issued a statement thanking everyone – both in the UK and on her return in Mauritius for their support, and clearly stating “I have no desire for a life in the public eye any longer” and that she wished to begin a new chapter in her life.

More at:
Fellow Students Fight for Yashika
Kilburn Uniform Day
Mothers march for justice

Class War, Murdoch & Cross Bones

Sunday, March 28th, 2021

I began my work on Saturday 28th March 2015 meeting with a small group from Class War in Purley, a Surrey suburb south of Croydon, who had gone there to launch the general election campaign of Class War’s candidate Jon Bigger.

Jon is now Dr Jon Bigger, and his PhD thesis at Loughborough University was on “British anarchist group Class War with a specific focus on their approach to the general election of 2015. As anarchists tend to shun concepts like representation, even within their own ranks, as well as working towards the ending of the state, the groups’ electoral behaviour is worthy of close investigation. The study is ethnographic in nature providing a detailed account of how the group operates, its norms, values, structure and methods of organising.”

His work was very much as an insider, one of seven candidates the group backed at the 2015 election, all of whom lost their £500 deposits. The election campaigns were a form of direct action rather than an attempt to actually be elected, “one that ruptures the norms of electoral campaigning, providing the group with new avenues for activity.”

You can read more of Bigger’s views on his web site Jon Bigger: A Journal of Anarchy and in regular features elsewhere. South Croydon was always going to be a tough constituency for anarchist views and the 65 votes he got were probably more than expected – and recorded on the parliament web site as a 0.1% increase which perhaps compares well with the -16.9% of the Lib Dem candidate.

Jon Bigger makes his election address outside the Tory Pary HQ

My main surprise about the event was the almost complete emptiness of central Purley on a Saturday morning – avery windy desert where Class War found it difficult to find anyone to talk to other than the group of police – roughly the same number as them – who doggedly followed them around happily earning their overtime. Purley man (and woman) appears to have lost the use of their legs, only managing the short distance from supermarket car park to supermarket.

I was sorry not to be able to relax with Class War in the pub after their strenuous campaigning, but had to get back to London Bridge where Occupy Rupert Murdoch week was continuing outside the News International building at London Bridge with the People’s Trial of Rupert Murdoch.

Inevitably he was found guilty, but the sentence seemed extremely mild. My account continues:

Max Keiser then spoke about the economic fraud and the basis of our economic system. London is the the world’s largest tax haven, and the whole basis of the City is corrupt, allowing people to borrow money on the basis of their earlier borrowing in a system that seems rather too much like the Emperor’s new clothes which began to crash in 2008. He ended by handing out StartCOIN scratch cards with free money on them (“The currency of the revolution”) but I think I lost mine. Always been hopeless with money.

Occupy Rupert Murdoch

I decided not to stay on for the attempt to occupy the News International building at 7pm, but was tired and decided to leave it to my colleagues to cover. Rather to my surprise it was successful, with protesters managing to stay in the building for around 20 hours, but it got little or no media coverage. Even Murdoch’s competitors didn’t want to get on his wrong side by covering the event – as I commented “Those 5 billionaires obviously stick together and the BBC always seeks to marginalise any UK protest. Probably there was some important news about a minor celebrity hiccoughing.

I’d earlier seen two men in what looked like Victorian dress on the pavement outside a pub close to News International and had gone over to talk with them. The told me that they were attending an Open Day at the nearby Cross Bones Graveyard. It’s a place I’d visited before, where outcasts who were refused burial in churchyards had been buried until it was closed as overcrowded in 1853. Among them were many ‘Winchester Geese’ prostitutes licenced by the Lord Bishop of Winchester from 1142 on, whose taxes and fines provided a considerable income for the clergy, and their young children. Museum of London excavations of part of the site carried out for the Jubilee Line extension suggest that half of the around 15,000 burials there were of children.

Local writer John Constable (right, above) revived the story of Cross Bones through his cycle of poems and mystery plays, ‘The Southwark Mysteries’, and regular ceremonies and vigils now take place there. In 2020 Southwark Council granted a 20 year lease to Bankside Open Spaces to protect and maintain the graveyard as a public garden of remembrance.

More at:
Cross Bones Open Day
Murdoch on Trial – Guilty as charged
Jon Bigger Class War South Croydon


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.


Earls Court & South Ken: 1987

Saturday, March 27th, 2021
Melbury Rd, Holland Park, Kensington & Chelsea, 1987  87-12d-63-positive_2400
Melbury Rd, Holland Park, Kensington & Chelsea, 1987

Another of those artists houses in Melbury Rd, just a short walk north from Earls Court. The house, now Grade II* listed, was commissioned by painter and illustrator Marcus Stone from achitect Richard Norman Shaw and completed in 1875. Stone’s best work was probably his illustrations for books by Charles Dickens, Antony Trollope and others, and his paintings, particularly his later works, though technically superb have been described as “a particular type of dainty sentiment, treated with much charm, refinement and executive skill” or more bluntly, “chocolate box.” The many windows of the studio were probably more to light his work for clients than for painting, as the larger group shown here are east-facing.

Collingham Gardens, Earls Court, Kensington, Kensington & Chelsea, 1987  87-12e-31-positive_2400
Collingham Gardens, Earls Court, Kensington, Kensington & Chelsea, 1987

Collingham Gardens is one of a number of streets on the edge of Earls Court and South Kensington which together have a wide range of late Victorian architecture, sometimes rather overdone.

Collingham Gardens, Earls Court, Kensington, Kensington & Chelsea, 1987  87-12e-26-positive_2400
Collingham Gardens, Earls Court, Kensington, Kensington & Chelsea, 1987

Many of the houses in this area were built by Peto Brothers to the plans of Ernest George (1839-1922) and the younger Harold Ainsworth Peto (1854–1933). These architectural partners also designed houses for the Cadogan Estate before Peto decided to leave London in 1891. Many of the leading architects of the early 20th century trained in George’s London office, includint (according to Wikipedia) “Herbert Baker, Guy Dawber, John Bradshaw Gass, Edwin Lutyens and Ethel Charles”, who was the first woman to be admitted to the RIBA.

Collingham Gardens, Earls Court, Kensington, Kensington & Chelsea, 1987   87-12e-46-positive_2400
Collingham Gardens, Earls Court, Kensington, Kensington & Chelsea, 1987

George and Peto added a remarkable range of vernacular elements derived from across Northern Europe to the basically Queen Anne design of the hourses in the area, particularly in Harrington Gardnes and Collingham Gardens, based on the sketches they had made of houses in Holland, Germany and elsewhere. It was an eclecticism that was not always admired, either at the time or now.

Harrington Gardens, Earls Court, Kensington, Kensington & Chelsea, 1987  87-12e-35-positive_2400
Harrington Gardens, Earls Court, Kensington, Kensington & Chelsea, 1987

These houses are large and many have been converted into flats. Some are listed but many are not. The overall effect of wandering these streets is overpowering and best taken in small doses. A 2-bed flat in the area may cost you a million, and houses perhaps £15m.

Kenway Rd, Earls Court, Kensington & Chelsea, 1987  87-12e-41-positive_2400
Kenway Rd, Earls Court, Kensington & Chelsea, 1987

Coming out of Earls Court Station I often crossed Earls Court Road and made my way down Hogarth Road and then along the narrow Hogarth Place past shops onto Kenway Road as a short cut to a friend’s studio not far away. Or rather than wait for the crossing I might walk a few yards north and then cross directly to Kenway Road, where this shop was at No 9 on the north side of the street, with Arabic script on the window and its illuminated sign, together with an animal I was never sure was a sheep, cow or goat.

Kenway Rd, Earls Court, Kensington & Chelsea, 1987  87-12e-42-positive_2400
Kenway Rd, Earls Court, Kensington & Chelsea, 1987

I think Kashmir Stores was more or less opposite, where a short alley leads off to a rear yard. The owner saw me taking photographs and was very keen not to be left out.

There are a few more pictures of the area in my 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.


Brentford to Whitton – 2016

Friday, March 26th, 2021

The River Brent flows over a weir from the Grand Union towards the Thames

Saturday 26 March 2016 was Holy Saturday, the day between Good Friday and Easter Day which many people nowadays call Easter Saturday. My older son had taken a few days off work and had come home for Easter and we decided to go out for a walk, taking a train to Kew Bridge. I’d hoped to go somewhere considerably further away on the far edge of London, but engineering works taking place on the railways made that impracticable.

Boats moored where Brentford gas workswas and Isleworth Ait

Our plan was to follow the Thames through Brentford to Isleworth and then the Duke of Northumberland’s River to Whitton and take the train home from there, taking a few detours on the way to explore wherever looked interesting. Both of us were carrying cameras, though while I had a bag with a couple of camera bodies and several more lenses, Sam made do with his only camera, a fixed lens Fuji X-100. I expect he took some interesting pictures, but his web site at leaf-digital.com seems currently to be off-line.

Dockside flats at Brentford

I grew up a couple of miles away, but didn’t know most of the parts we were going to walk in particularly well, though I had gone back a few times since both on my own and with groups of sixth-form students to take photographs in Brentford.

Boatyard at Brentford

My father took us to Brentford when I was young, though mainly we just went through the town on the top deck of the bus on our way to Kew Gardens, as he was a keen gardener and then it was only a penny (one of the old 240 to the pound ones) to get in and I think children like us probably got in free. Decimalisation resulted in huge rise to 1p, but now it costs £11 for adults. Fortunately Sam and I had no desire to go there, and apart from the train fares our walk cost us nothing, though we did buy some drinks and snacks to go with our sandwiches.

Brentford Lock and flats on the former canal dock

You can save your legs and follow our walk in fairly full detail from the many pictures I put on My London Diary, though we wandered around rather a lot in Brentford taking pictures. From there on our walk was more straightforward, though it isn’t possible to walk beside the Thames on the Middlesex bank between Brentford and Isleworth as the Duke of Northumberland put Syon House there. A footpath does take you in a direct route out of sight of the river through his estate.

The pond below where Kidd’s Flour mill stood on teh Duke of Northumberland’s River in Isleworth

Isleworth was just a little disappointing, not least because of the light drizzle that made sitting on a bench to eat our sandwiches a little uncomfortable. But parts of the riverside development there are unfortunate.

Footpath and Duke of Northumberland’s River in Mogden Sewage Works

Isleworth boasts what when built was I think the largest sewage works in the country at Mogden, and a footpath runs beside the Duke of Northumberland’s River – a man-made river to run the bringing water to run the flour mill at Isleworth. This section of the river was built by monks who ran the area before the Duke took over to bring water from the River Crane – he added a section to the west to bring more water from the River Colne. And yes, Mogden does smell, though not as strongly or unpleasantly as you might expect, though this perhaps depends on the weather and the direction of the wind.

Twickenham

Twickenham makes its presence felt with two large rugby stadia, but fortunately it wasn’t a match day at either and they were very quiet – and there were no inebriated spectators staggering in our way. It’s a place best avoided when internationals are taking place even though drunken rugby fans are generally less violent than soccer supporters. And then were were in Kneller Park and walking by the River Crane through it before leaving to take a path to Whitton station.

Many more pictures on My London Diary:
Syon, Isleworth & Mogden
Riverside Brentford Panoramas
Riverside Brentford


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.


Wealthy Kensington – 1987

Thursday, March 25th, 2021

The London I grew up in, on the outskirts of the capital was an area of small late Victorian terraces and Edwardian and inter-war two or three-bed semis, interspersed with the occasional factory, church and municipal buildings, with few or any sizeable private houses of any age. It was largely working class, poor and largely honest but not particularly deprived. And back then we had the NHS, free education and the welfare state.

Walking around Holland Park and other wealthy areas of Kensington is a completely different world; another country of large detached house and large blocks of mansion flats, an opulence based both on the exploitation of the British Empire and of the exploitation of the workers in the mass of England. I wrote first “our country”, but I think it was never really our country, but their country, “England” or “Great Britain” a deception that sent many working people to toil in factories or die in the trenches – as well as profiting from slavery and working in mines and plantations across the world.

Looking at these pictures now, it’s hard not to think of the times I have walked past some of these and similar places more recently, often on my way to Grenfell Tower or to join the monthly silent marches in memory of those who died there, some of which have passed through this area, walking from Kensington Town Hall.

Vintage car, Philbeach Gardens,  Earls Court, Kensington, Kensington & Chelsea, 1987 87-12c-65-positive_2400
Vintage car, Philbeach Gardens, Earls Court, Kensington, Kensington & Chelsea, 1987

The Addison Road area was the first to be developed, on 200 acres of farmland belonging to Lord Holland, beginning in the 1820s. The estate was sold off in parts for development from 1823 to 1930.

Royal Crescent, Holland Park, Kensington & Chelsea, 1987 87-12d-12-positive_2400
Royal Crescent, Holland Park, Kensington & Chelsea, 1987

Royal Crescent to the north of Holland Park Avenue was built in 1846, and the whole crescent of houses is Grade II* listed. The picture shows the eastern corner of the crescent with Holland Park Avenue.

St Anns Villas, Notting Hill, Kensington & Chelsea, 1987 87-12d-15-positive_2400
St Anns Villas, Notting Hill, Kensington & Chelsea, 1987

The road leading north from the centre of Royal Crescent is St Ann’s Villas and is lined with substantial houses. After a few in stucco and a road junction it is lined with a development of 12 similar but not identical semidetached houses in a red brick Tudor style, with attractive stonework and blue brick diapering, built in 1852 and Grade II listed. The blue plaque here is for music hall artist Albert Chevalier, born here and best remembered for one of his many songs “My Old Dutch”. Although he wrote and performed in cockney as a costermonger and was called ‘the coster’s laureate’, he was from a rather more middle-class background, his father being the French master at Kensington School, Jean Onésime Chevalier, and Albert was christened Albert Onésime Britannicus Gwathveoyd Louis Chevalier. His mother was Welsh, which accounts for the Gwathveoyd, more usually spelt Gwaithfoed.

87-12d-23-positive_2400
Debenham House, Peacock House, Addison Rd, Holland Park, Kensington & Chelsea, 1987

Debenham House, also known as Peacock House, is the only Grade I listed building in the Addison Rd, designed by architect Halsey Ricardo for department store owner Ernest Ridley Debenham and completed in 1907. it became known as Debenham House after it was sold following Debenham’s death in 1952. The exterior, designed to retain its appearance despite the ravages of London’s soot with coloured tiles and glazed bricks is in an Italianate style, but the interiors are Arts and Crafts, with work by some of the leading designers of the time. Unfortunately we can only see them in photographs and in several films made using it as a location.

87-12d-31-positive_2400
Holland Rd, Holland Park, Kensington & Chelsea, 1987

Holland Road is a long straight street largely lined with 4 storey terraces of substantial houses like the one in this picture. Expect to pay something around £4m for one of them – or perhaps £700,000 for a 1-bed flat.

Addison Rd, Holland Park, Kensington & Chelsea, 1987  87-12d-35-positive_2400
Addison Rd, Holland Park, Kensington & Chelsea, 1987

This house at 77 Addison Road is opposite Debenham House and I rather prefer its more restrained manner.

Addison Rd, Holland Park, Kensington & Chelsea, 1987  87-12d-41-positive_2400
Addison Rd, Holland Park, Kensington & Chelsea, 1987

One of a row of similar houses on Addison Rd, in a neo-Gothic style dating from around the 1850s. The next door house is listed but for some reason this one is not.

Addison Rd, Holland Park, Kensington & Chelsea, 1987 87-12d-42-positive_2400
Addison Rd, Holland Park, Kensington & Chelsea, 1987

And this is the house next door, rather hidden behind its more impressive gate

All pictures are from page 8 of my album 1987 London Photos.

Aldermaston 2008 – 50 years

Wednesday, March 24th, 2021

Protesters join hands to surround the nuclear weapon factory at Aldermaston

I missed the first major march to Aldermaston organised by the Direct Action Committee Against Nuclear War (DAC) and supported by the newly formed CND at Easter in 1958. I was only thirteen at the time and not that interested in politics at the time, but was very aware it was taking place as my two older brothers (both no longer with us) walked the full distance, coming back tired and rather muddy after four days of marching from Trafalgar Square in the centre of London to the Atomic Weapons Establishment in Berkshire to demonstrate their opposition to nuclear weapons.

I didn’t go the whole way on the 50th anniversary in 2008, and although I had planned to join the group that were cycling from London I didn’t manage to do so, though I did photograph the cyclists as they rode down Oxford St.

On the Bank Holiday Monday they were cycling from Reading where they had stayed the night along with the walkers, mainly sleeping on the floor in church halls, and I had hoped to join them there for the final stage to Aldermaston. But I got up too late and missed the early train which would have got me there in time – and the next train half an hour later ran late, so I missed their start. Instead I rode on my own along the route that I’d taken on the march there four years previously, finding that on a bike it was rather hillier than on foot.

The Bikes not Bombs group arrive at the Aldermaston bomb factory

Once at Aldermaston, the bike made it easy for me to go to all the gates around the large site of the AWE to take photographs of the protesters there who later moved to surround the perimeter of the base, holding hands around it. And although I’d left Reading later, my more direct route meant I was able to photograph the arrival of the ‘bikes not bombs’ group with their police escort of two cars and several motorbikes.

After making the human chain around the AWE – I think around 4 miles long – and speeches and performances at the main gate it was time to go home, and I got back on my bike for the 12 miles or so to Reading, a slightly easier ride as the wind was behind me and Reading is around 60 metres lower, though the road still had plenty of uphill sections. But I took my time, even stopping to take a few photographs on the way.

Our nuclear weapons programme has never made any sense and the idea of nuclear deterrence has served only to enrich the arms industry. The expense of our nuclear submarines and their warheads diverts money away from more useful areas such as health and education, and the nuclear programme has skewed our power generation to increase electricity costs for us all. It cannot be justified in military or economic terms, but for most of those protesting the most important aspect is that the use of nuclear weapons can never be justified on moral grounds.

The UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons which entered into force on 22 January 2021 prohibits the development, testing, production, stockpiling, stationing, transfer, use and threat of use of nuclear weapons, Instead of signing this, the British government have announced an increase in number of nuclear warheads – in contradiction to our previous international agreements about the non-proliferation of nuclear weapons.

Jeremy Corbyn, Caroline Lucas, Walter Wolfgang, John Mc Donnell and Japanese peace campaigners

More pictures at Aldermaston – 50 years


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.





Holland Park, Earls Court & West Kensington: 1987

Tuesday, March 23rd, 2021

Melbury Rd, Kensington, Kensington & Chelsea, 1987 87-12c-13-positive_2400
Melbury Rd, Kensington, Kensington & Chelsea, 1987

Grade II listed 18 Melbury Road is now distinguished by two blue plaques, neither of which appear in my picture. Like many houses in this street in Holland Park it was home to a noted artist, in this case William Holman Hunt (1827-1910), one of the founders of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood in 1848. The house was built in 1877, but Hunt only moved here in 1903 and it was here that he died. His widow was still living here when the plaque to him was added to the front of the house in 1923.

Cetshwayo (c.1832-1884) King of the Zulus enjoyed a rather shorter stay, arriving in August 1882 after his defeat and capture in the Anglo-Zulu War of 1879, an entirely uncalled for attack on Zululand by British forces, who at first suffered an ignominious defeat at Isandhlwana before finally winning the war and taking Cetshwayo prisoner. He was brought to London together with his chiefs, where he was welcomed by inquisitive crowds and met with both the Prime Minister and Queen Victoria, and they agreed to re-instate him as King of Zululand, to where he was secretly returned the following January.

His reinstatement did not go well and he returned to a bloody civil war and had to seek refuge in a British reserve. He died, officially of a heart attack, but possibly poisoned in February 1884 and two months later his heir became king. The English Heritage blue plaque commemorating his stay, just above that of Hunt’s was only unveiled in 2006, long after I took this picture.

Tower House, Melbury Rd, Kensington, Kensington & Chelsea, 1987 87-12c-15-positive_2400
Tower House, Melbury Rd, Kensington, Kensington & Chelsea, 1987

In 1875 noted architect William Burges began the building and furnishing of the Tower House in a French Gothic Revival style as his home, but died as it was more or less completed in 1881 and was inherited by his brother-in-law, who later sold it. After several owners and tenants, and Grade I listing in 1949 John Betjeman inherited the remaining lease in 1962, but found the property needed expensive repairs and moved out without extending the lease. He claimed that after this it was deliberately left empty and left it to rot and be vandalised, hoping to be allowed to demolish it and develop the site.

Lady Jane Turnbull bought the house in the mid-60s to save it and began its restoration, selling it to actor Richard Harris for £75,000 in 1969 who continued the work. Three years later he sold it to Jimmy Page of Led Zeppelin (who outbid David Bowie for the property) for £350,000 and Page still owns it and has in recent years carried out a long legal battle with his neighbour Robbie Williams over his plans for underground excavations to develop his property that might threaten the structure of Tower House.

Earls Court Rd, Kensington, Kensington & Chelsea, 1987 87-12c-35-positive_2400
Earls Court Rd, Kensington, Kensington & Chelsea, 1987

Christmas was coming as I took these pictures in December as the multi-lingual messages on The Canning School suggest.

Moscow Mansions, Cromwell Rd,  Kensington, Kensington & Chelsea, 1987 87-12c-44-positive_2400
Moscow Mansions, Cromwell Rd, Kensington, Kensington & Chelsea, 1987

Pineapples, brought to Europe by Christopher Columbus soon became a symbol of wealth and status – and were apparently available for hire to be displayed (but now consumed) at posh dinner parties in the 18th century. Only the incredibly rich could afford to eat them at around the equivalent of £5,000 a fruit. And although they are now commonplace in supermarkets and market stalls, back in my working-class youth they only came in tins as rings or chunks. They can be seen on many buildings across London from St Paul’s Cathedral down – and here on the gateposts of Moscow Mansions.

Hoarding, car, West Cromwell Rd,  Kensington, Kensington & Chelsea, 1987 87-12c-54-positive_2400
Hoarding, car, West Cromwell Rd, Kensington, Kensington & Chelsea, 1987

The queues of traffic dawdling into London on the A4 were greeted by a car in an unusual parking place on this hoardiing.

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Railway, West Cromwell Rd, Kensington, Kensington & Chelsea, 1987

Looking over a wall or fence you can still see these railway lines, at left is now the London Overground going down to West Brompton Station, but in 1987 this line was only in use for goods trains, with passenger services only being resumed in 1994 and the Network Rail platforms at West Brompton only coming into use in 1999. At lower level is the District Line of the London Underground, coming from Olympia behind me and West Kensington at right. Behind that is the Lillie Bridge Railway and Engineering Depot; missing now from the right of centre is the large bulk of Earls Court Exbition Centre, but the Metropolitan Police tower at right is still present.

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Ashfield House, London Underground, West Cromwell Rd, Kensington, Kensington & Chelsea, 1987

Out of the previous picture to the right is Ashfield House in West Kensington, a block of offices for London Underground, which now includes a mock Underground Station, West Ashfield, used for training purposes. The building was purpose-built for London Underground and opened in 1983. It is likely to be demolished as a part of the redevelopment plan for the area.

Clicking on any of the pictures above will take you to a larger version on my Flickr album 1987 London Photos from where you can browse through over 750 black and white pictures I made that year – these are all on Page 8.


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.


Earls Court & Brompton – 1987

Monday, March 22nd, 2021

Old Brompton Rd, West Brompton, Fulham, Kensington & Chelsea, 1987 87-12b-01-positive_2400
Old Brompton Rd, West Brompton, Fulham, Kensington & Chelsea, 1987

As a sign indicated, the Fulham Training Workshops on the Old Brompton Road seem to lie on the very boundary of the London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham – and if so I was probably standing in Kensington and Chelsea to take this picture from outside West Brompton staion. Hidden behind the building at the time were the two builsings of the huge Earls Court exhibition centre – a site which when I last visited was a large empty expanse with dust clouds blowing around awaiting redevelopment.

Nevern Place, Earls Court, Kensington & Chelsea, 1987 87-12b-12-positive_2400
Nevern Place, Earls Court, Kensington & Chelsea, 1987

A whole block along the south side of Nevern Place, between Earls Court Road and Templeton Place has around 15 doorways each framed by a pair of these spiral columns. As my picture shows, the twists on each side of the door are in opposing directions.

Twisted columns were brought to Rome, probably from Greece in the 4th century by Roman Emperor Constantine the Great for the first St Peter’s Basilica. Legend grew that they came from the Temple of Solomon in Jerusalem, though they were probably made several centuries after that was destroyed, but their use in Byzantine architecture may possibly have been based on the oak tree used for the Ark of the Covenant. ‘Barley sugar’ columns became popular in Baroque architecture thanks to Bernini and were known as Solomonic columns. I’m not sure whether this is the correct term for these, which are made of a series of spiral elements around a central core.

Nevern Place, Earls Court, Kensington & Chelsea, 1987 87-12b-14-positive_2400
Nevern Square, Earls Court, Kensington & Chelsea, 1987

Nevern Place leads into Nevern Square where I photographed this impressive pair of doors.

Richard Tauber, grave, Brompton Cemetery, West Brompton, Kensington & Chelsea, 1987 87-12b-22-positive_2400
Richard Tauber’s grave, Brompton Cemetery, West Brompton, Kensington & Chelsea, 1987

Brompton Cemetery was one of seven large private cemeteries set up around 1840 when London’s churchyards and existing cemeteries were full to overflowing. This Grade I listed cemetery is now owned by the Crown and managed by the Royal Parks. Among the over 200,000 buried there (and there is space for more) are a number of well-known people – Wikipedia has a long list, though most of them I’ve never heard of.

Back in 1987 people were clearly coming to the grave of Austrian tenor and film actor Richard Tauber (1891-1948) and most of them had probably attended his concerts or had his voice on gramophone records.

Emmeline Pankhurst, memorial, Brompton Cemetery, West Brompton, Kensington & Chelsea, 1987 87-12b-24-positive_2400
Emmeline Pankhurst memorial, Brompton Cemetery, West Brompton, Kensington & Chelsea, 1987

Emmeline Pankhurst (1858 – 1928) is remembered by a rather fine memorial by Julian Phelps Allan, a woman sculptor born Eva Dorothy Allan, who changed her name to a more masculine version probably because it was hard for women sculptors to get work and continued to use the title ‘Miss’ and feminine pronouns.

Benjamin Webster, memorial, Brompton Cemetery, West Brompton, Kensington & Chelsea, 1987 87-12b-31-positive_2400
Benjamin Webster memorial, Brompton Cemetery, West Brompton, Kensington & Chelsea, 1987

I knew nothing about Benjamin Webster when I took several pictures of his gravestone, although it tells me he was an actor. I find that there have been two well-known actors called . This one was an actor-mnaager and dramatist and was born in Bath so I don’t know why he had Nottingham in his name though it doesn’t appear on the gravestone. It can be a little of a shock to see him still staring out at you with one eye.

Benjamin Webster, memorial, Brompton Cemetery, West Brompton, Kensington & Chelsea, 1987 87-12b-32-positive_2400
Benjamin Webster memorial, Brompton Cemetery, West Brompton, Kensington & Chelsea, 1987

Benjamin Nottingham Webster named his son William Shakespeare Webster, and his son was Benjamin Nottingham Webster III who also became an actor, though more normally known as Ben Webster. There is also another actor Ben Webster, still so far as I know living, but for me Ben Webster is a guy with a tenor sax who I spent an unsuccesful afternoon trying to entertain in Manchester many years ago trying to keep him sober enough to play. He got through a bottle of whisky and seemed more or less incapable, but then got up on stage and played so beautifully I cried.

Brompton Cemetery, West Brompton, Kensington & Chelsea, 1987 87-12b-45-positive_2400
Brompton Cemetery, West Brompton, Kensington & Chelsea, 1987

The Colonade around the Great Circle, designed by the cemetery’s architect, Benjamin Baud and based on the piazza in front of St Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican. It was made for people to walk around – and a stroll around the cemetery was popular among well-off Victorians who would hold family picnics in the grounds.

Brompton Cemetery, West Brompton, Kensington & Chelsea, 1987 87-12b-52-positive_2400
Brompton Cemetery, West Brompton, Kensington & Chelsea, 1987

Nowadays it remains a popular place to go, particularly for film crews and photographers – and you may have to wait some time if you want to avoid others in your pictures. According to Wikipedia, “The cemetery has a reputation for being a popular cruising ground for gay men”.

Brompton Cemetery, West Brompton, Kensington & Chelsea, 1987 87-12b-65-positive_2400
Brompton Cemetery, West Brompton, Kensington & Chelsea, 1987

Clicking on any of the pictures above will take you to a larger version in my Flickr album 1987 London Photos from where you can browse forwards or back through the pictures.