Archive for July, 2021

Our Lady of Mount Carmel

Wednesday, July 21st, 2021

Most years around this time I would be enjoying an afternoon in Clerkenwell, with the area thronged with Italians and people of Italian descent enjoying their major London festival, the procession of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, in the area around St Peter’s Italian Church. These pictures are from Sunday 21 July 2013, eight years ago.

When Queen Victoria gave the procession special permission to take place in 1883, it was the first Roman Catholic event on English streets for 349 years and was doubtless rather a contentious event. The Popery Act of 1698 had made discrimination against Catholics official, and when the Papists Act of 1778 relaxed some of these restrictions it led to a week of intense riots in London, with the Catholic Chapels at foreign embassies being burnt down and attacks on Newgate Prison and the Bank of England before the army was sent in to stop the destruction. After that things got rather quieter, though we still celebrate with what was very much an anti-Catholic bonfire on November 5th each year.

The celebrations now are very much both a religious and cultural event, and along with the procession from the church there is also an Italian festival or Sagra in the street below the church, with traditional Italian food, music, dancing and wine.

I’m not sure if the wine improves my photography, but it’s hard to resist and I usually meet up with a few of my photographer friends and it is as much a social as a photographic occasion. But I always try to photograph the religious procession, and in particular the release of doves which has become the highlight of the event. In 2013 six doves were released by six of the first communicants in a slightly uncoordinated manner, and – as the top picture shows – didn’t really fly in a way that made a good picture, at least not for me. It’s always a rather unpredictable event.

The rest of the procession follows in a more predictable fashion, though it has changed a little over the 20 or so years I’ve photographed it. But as often with processions most of the more interesting photographs come before the actual event, and while I stay taking photographs until the end of the procession has moved off down the road, my photographer friends are probably back down in the Sagra, while most of the crowd is up on the street applauding the walking groups and floats.

The route has changed since I first began to photograph the event, perhaps to make things a little easier for those carrying the heavy statues, though I think some of the floats had problems in the narrow streets to the south of the church in Hatton Garden. It now sticks to the main roads, in a triangle down Clerkenwell Road, up Rosebery Ave and back down Farringdon Rd. At its rear are the clergy and a large group of parishoners, but most of those watching are long back down drinking and eating before the procession finished.

I didn’t feel my photographs from 2013 were as good as on some other years, but they do tell the story of the event. You can see more of them at Our Lady of Mount Carmel.

Links to the festival in some other recent years on My London Diary: 2008, 2009, 2012, 2014, 2015, 2017, 2018, 2019

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.

Around Sloane Square & Brompton: 1988

Tuesday, July 20th, 2021

Four Eyes, Opticians, Shop, Sloane Square, Kensington & Chelsea, 1988 88-4m-16-positive_2400
For Eyes, Opticians, Shop, Sloane Square, Kensington & Chelsea, 1988 88-4m-16

I perhaps need an eye test, as when I was captioning this picture to go onto Flickr I called it ‘Four Eyes’, a term of abuse for schoolboy spectacle wearers. But perhaps I was referring to the door at left which has very much a face on it with the two circular panels and a letter box and a know for the nose, panels of facial hair on each side and a lower letter box for a mouth, along with the cut-off face of a man walking into the picture at extreme left.

Or perhaps I just thought ‘Four Eyes’ was a better name for an opticians rather than the prosaic ‘For Eyes’. The shop at 136 Sloane St is long gone, though the building remains and this is now a part of a wider shopfront.

Shop, Cadogan St, Halsey St,  Brompton, Kensington & Chelsea, 1988 88-4m-21-positive_2400
Shop, Cadogan St, Halsey St, Brompton, Kensington & Chelsea, 1988 88-4m-21

The term ‘corner shop’ conjures up something far to plebian for this location, though this is one of a pair of them on the junction of Cadogan St and Halsey St. One is now an Estate Agents and this one an office for a company advising wealthy clients on their investments.

Cadogan Gardens, Brompton, Kensington & Chelsea, 198888-4m-25-positive_2400
Cadogan Gardens, Brompton, Kensington & Chelsea, 1988 88-4m-25

Cadogan Gardens, originally Leete St, a part of the Cadogan Estate was rebuilt in 1887 in a Queen Anne Rivival style. No 20 apparently dates from 1891 and was built by Henry John Wright who also built some other houses on Lord Cadogan’s estate. The previously rather poor area was one of speculative building for the growing upper middle classes who often had large families – there were no reliable or widely used methods of contraception and women who survived childbirth continued to produce children until menopause. The house was converted into flats in the 1950s.

Donne Place, Brompton, Kensington & Chelsea, 1988 88-4m-31-positive_2400
Donne Place, Brompton, Kensington & Chelsea, 1988 88-4m-31

Donne Place is a “mews Style cul-de-sac with pedestrian through road”, off Draycott Avenue in the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea. The houses were built in the mid 19th century in what was then a poor area and the street was then known as Caroline Place. Other streets in the area have also changed names and when built it was a street off what had been Blacklands Lane, was then Marlborough Road and is now Draycott Avenue. Although sometimes described by estate agents as a mews, the forty or so houses were built as small family homes around the middle of the nineteenth century, along with other similar streets in the area. At the end of the street is the large block of Marlborough Buildings, two large blocks opened in 1890 by the Improved Industrial Dwellings Company to house 500 people.

A high-explosive bomb destroyed some of the area in 1940-41, and some properties and I think part or all of this one, at the corner with Bulls Gardens, a slightly earlier development, is probably one of these. Many of those in the street have been extensively rebuilt behind their facades (and in some cases below ground) in more recent years. Houses built as simple dwellings for the better-off working classes now sell for £2-3million.

Draycott Ave, Brompton, Kensington & Chelsea, 1988 88-4m-32-positive_2400
Draycott Ave, Brompton, Kensington & Chelsea, 1988 88-4m-32

I think this building was probably at 163 Draycott Avenue, and though still standing, its frontage has been altered beyound recognition, with no trace of their the Draycott Gallery, Manguette or the subterranean L’escapade.

Milner St, Brompton, Kensington & Chelsea, 1988 88-4m-42-positive_2400
Milner St, Brompton, Kensington & Chelsea, 1988 88-4m-42

10 Milner Street still looks much the same apart from a coat of paint and a new front door, and is still next to the entrance to St Catherine’s Mews, now with a less attractive gate that no longer matches the balcony. The shop at right is still an estate agent, but has changed from Lloyds to Stanley.

The house, often known as Stanley House, is Grade II listed as a substantial early mid-19th century house. It was built in 1855 by “Chelsea speculator John Dodd” as his Chelsea Home according to Wikipedia and the many web sites who have copied this information. I think this may be John Todd (1817-1897), the son of George Todd & Ann Beecroft of Durham who were married in 1815 at Bishop Wearmouth, Durham, England and is said to have moved to Middlesex where he became an builder and became rather rich.

Milner St, Brompton, Kensington & Chelsea, 1988 88-4m-43-positive_2400
Milner St, Brompton, Kensington & Chelsea, 1988 88-4m-43

And these are the doors no longer present on 10 Milner St. The house became the home of famous horologist Courtenay Ilbert and housed his collection of clocks, watches, marine chronometers and sundials. His nephew, Michael Inchbald lived with him from 1945 and after his death refurbished the interiors in a manner that established his reputation as an interior designer. Inchbald’s then wife Jacqueline Ann Duncan founded the Inchbald School of Design, the first interior design school in Europe, in their family home in 1960. (Thanks again Wikipedia and their link to Christies.) It is still going strong but now at 7 Eaton Gate, where somewhere inside they possibly still have these doors.

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.

Telling the Story – 19 July 2019

Monday, July 19th, 2021

I often find myself thinking about my role as a documentary photographer when I’m taking pictures of protests. And of thinking about how I can carry out that role.

Clearly I’m not their to take part in the protest – though often I support the cause of the protesters I’m making pictures of. I’m an observer rather than a participant, though there are occasions when I will intervene in some way, largely the kind of actions that I would expect anyone to take, like stopping people walking into traffic or helping someone who has fallen down or dropped something.

There have been times too when I reminded police of the law (not always advisable) or protested at their use of unnecessary force. And on some occasions when marches have got lost or taken a wrong turning I’ve pointed this out to the marchers. Some embassies and companies are quite hard to find.

I never set up people or groups, though sometimes when photographing people I may ask or gesture them to look at me or to hold their poster or placard higher or lower. But it isn’t a portrait session and I don’t ask them to smile or scowl or act up for the camera. It would have been much easier to make the picture of the XR symbols in those dark glasses in the studio and it took a number of attempts to catch him looking in exactly the right direction and catch those reflections from a banner which I’d noticed moving across them earlier.

But it isn’t just a matter of passive observing. I’m choosing my position, framing my pictures, selecting the moment, working to try to present the story clearly and effectively.

It isn’t essentially about making dramatic or attractive pictures, though I always hope some might be.

Extinction Rebellion’s ‘Requiem for a Dead Planet’ at Northcliffe House, home of the Daily Mail, Independent, Mail on Sunday, London Live and Evening Standard demanding they publish truth and end lies about climate change was a tricky one to cover, with heavy rain falling much of the time and a very limited area under cover for protesters and photographers. As we’ve seen in the past week, the weather is becoming more violent and this seemed appropriate if making the job more difficult.

Here’s some of the text I wrote at the time – the link below has more and more pictures:

“XR say avoiding climate & ecological devastation needs the media to tell the truth and stop publishing fake science denying climate change as well as advertising and editorial material that promotes high-carbon lifestyles, whether about fashion, travel food or other consumerist content so government can take the drastic action needed.

The protest included suitable requiem music by a small group of musicians in XR Baroque, a eulogy for lost species by a priest, speeches, poems, skeletons, banners and a die-in.”

Requiem for a Dead Planet at Daily Mail

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.

XR London Tax Rebellion

Sunday, July 18th, 2021

Extinction Rebellion launched their campaign for a tax strike against the Greater London Authority, withholding the GLA element of their council tax until they abandon projects which will cause environmental degradation and hasten ecological collapse with a protest outside City Hall on Thursday 18th July 2019.

They were particularly concerned about three major GLA projects, the Silvertown tunnel under the Thames, the Bow East concrete plant in Newham, and the Edmonton incinerator in Enfield, and called for a citizen’s assembly to formulate an “Emergency London Plan”, replacing the current 2020 London Plan with sustainable policies on air quality, land development and transport for the City of London and 32 London Boroughs.

Sian Berry, Green Party

The rebellion called on London residents to withhold the average proportion of their council tax – 22% – which goes to the GLA and to pay that into a special fund which would be used for climate related projects. To have any impact it would have to be supported by large numbers of London council tax payers, and XR set a threshold of 2,700 for it to go ahead – needing the support of around 15% of their London members.

Although some other XR actions involving tax are proceeding, I’ve been unable to find any more announcements about the London Tax rebellion from XR, and suspect that they may not yet have managed to sign up enough supporters for this action which is no longer listed on the on-line platform which was being used to carry the forms concerned.

Possibly the reluctance to take part may have been influenced by the change in policy towards those arrested for minor offences at XR protests. Normally only a fairly small fraction of those arrested are actually charged and brought to court, but political pressure from Home Secretary Priti Patel, who called XR criminals threatening the “UK way of life” has resulted in almost 100% of those arrested during the 2019 protests being brought to court. There is now a very long back-log of cases awaiting trial.

Many more pictures at XR London Tax rebellion.

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.

Around Gloucester Rd – 1988

Saturday, July 17th, 2021

Cornwall Gardens, Kensington, Kensington & Chelsea, 1988 88-4f-02-positive_2400
Cornwall Gardens, Kensington, Kensington & Chelsea, 1988 88-4f-02

I never felt quite at ease when photographing the plusher areas of Kensington, but it was something I felt I had to do if my work was to reflect the whole of London. And certainly these streets showed an enormous diversity and and incredible amount of craftsmanship made possible by the wealth of London, particularly in the Victorian era, largely dependent on our exploitation of the British Empire as well as the working class of this country.

Cornwall Gardens was built between 1862, when Queen Victoria’s eldest son who was the Duke of Cornwall had the title Prince of Wales added to his portfolio and 1879 and is a series of three linked rectangular garden squares to the west of Gloucester Rd. This building is later and I think not actually in Cornwall Gardens (as my contact sheet says) but close to it, though I can’t actually find it.

Queen's Gate Terrace, South Kensington, Kensington & Chelsea, 1988 88-4f-12-positive_2400
Queen’s Gate Terrace, South Kensington, Kensington & Chelsea, 1988 88-4f-12

Helpfully 56 Queens Gate Terrace has its address on it. It is part of a Grade II listed pair at 56-58 on the corner of Gloucester Rd built by architect Charles Gray in 1863–65.

Queen's Gate Terrace, South Kensington, Kensington & Chelsea, 1988 88-4f-16-positive_2400
Queen’s Gate Terrace, South Kensington, Kensington & Chelsea, 1988 88-4f-16

This is the side of 58 Queen’s Gate Terrace which adjoins the Gloucester Rd, which has been occupied since 1972 by Da Mario Kensington, described on Google as “Family friendly trattoria in Venetian-Gothic building, serving thin-crust pizza and other classics.”

Elvaston Place, South Kensington, Kensington & Chelsea, 1988 88-4f-33-positive_2400
Elvaston Place, South Kensington, Kensington & Chelsea, 1988 88-4f-33

The out-of-focus posts at left and extreme right lend this fenced yard in front of a Queen’s Gate Lodge on Elvaston Place a rather sinister feel, quite different from the next picture in the album (not in this post) which you can see if you click on the above and then to the right.

The house is on the corner of Elvaston Mews, entered through a rather grand arch like many in the area.

Launceston Place, Kynance Mews, Kensington, Kensington & Chelsea, 1988 88-4f-42a-positive_2400
Launceston Place, Kynance Mews, Kensington, Kensington & Chelsea, 1988 88-4f-42

Kynance Mews also has its entrance arch, in this case from Launceston Place, though rather more rugged and business-like, and it faces a similar arch across Launceston Place into the east section of the mews.

Back in 1988 the house to its right was occupied by Hairdressers Simon and Peter St John but now appears to be residential.

Launceston Place, Kynance Mews, Kensington, Kensington & Chelsea, 1988 88-4f-62-positive_2400
Launceston Place, Kynance Mews, Kensington, Kensington & Chelsea, 1988

And this is the facing archway on the east side of Launceston Place.

Launceston Place, Kensington, Kensington & Chelsea, 1988 88-4f-63

Next to the hairdressers on Launceston Place is this rather fine villa. Along with its neighbours it is Grade II listed and described as a semi-detached stucco house, circa 1830, distinguished from the others in the row by its circular tower and dome

Kynance Place, Kensington, Kensington & Chelsea, 1988 88-4f-65-positive_2400
Kynance Place, Kensington, Kensington & Chelsea, 1988 88-4f-65

There are several shops in Kynance Place which is off Gloucester Road immediately north of Kynance Mews, but I can’t remember which of them had this window display. It appears to feature a number of brushes, some things I think might be small genuine sponges, a tortoise (or turtle?) and an advert for eyelash dye, something I never knew existed, but apparently in demand in Kensington.

There are quite a few more pictures around the area in my album 1988 London Photos which you can access by clicking on any of the above images to get a larger version from where you can browse the album.

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.

End Austerity, No to Racism, Tories Out! 2016

Friday, July 16th, 2021

Five years ago the People’s Assembly and Stand Up To Racism organised a march through London as a response to the referendum campaign conducted by many Brexit campaigners on an anti-immigration platform which had provoked an upsurge in racism and hate attacks on Black and particularly Muslim people online and on the streets of Britain.

The marchers met outside the BBC, as I wrote ” in the forlorn hope that they might for once cover a protest in Britain properly” but of course they ignored the thousands on their doorstep. Probably they were too busy giving Nigel Farage a quite disproportionate amount of publicity and air-time, along with the Labour plotters against Jeremy Corbyn – who sent a message of support to the marchers and like them showing solidarity with refugees and asylum seekers.

This banner and the placards for me summed up the message of the march, a demand for ‘Hope Not Hate’ and for people of all backgrounds to join hands in love and respect and say ‘No Racism’. We’ve recently seen a huge backlash against racist remarks against footballers in the English team showing that people across the country oppose racism, whether from the far right or Tory ministers and MPs who denigrate footballers who ‘Take the Knee’.

Later I managed to get to Parliament Square for the rally at the end of the march with speakers from many organisations, including an asylum seeker as well as politicians and activists. It was a sunny day and there was a warm and pleasant atmosphere in the large crowd listening and applauding the speakers.

I’d waited on Regent St as the march set off for some time until the last of the several thousand marchers had passed me, then hurried off to the HQ Offices of CBRE in Henrietta Place, where cleaners from the strike at 100 Wood St, managed by CBRE, had broken away from the march to stage a flash mob, along with supporters including United Voices of the World General Secretary Petros Elia and Bakers Union (BFAWU) National President Ian Hodson.

I’d arrived too late to go with them into the foyer, whose large glass doors were firmly locked when I arrived, but after a few minutes photographing through glass the doors were opened I was able to take a few more pictures as they got ready to leave. They went on to rejoin the march, but I went off to look for the English Defence League whose protest had been called to oppose that by the People’s Assembly.

I don’t like photographing extreme right-wing groups such as the EDL. It gives them publicity, which they don’t deserve as it exaggerates their importance. Generally their protests are small and their extremism represents a very small fringe of our society, though racist attitudes unfortunately are much more widespread. But rather more directly they are generally not nice people to be near. They shout and scream messages of hate, often in vile language, and routinely threaten me as I take photographs. I’ve been spat at and even, fortunately not often, grabbed, pushed and punched.

While with most protests I can move freely through the event, at these I need to keep a safe distance away. I’m usually glad that police are present, and without them I would be assaulted and my equipment smashed, but police sometimes make any photography virtually impossible. While I’d managed to cover the march I could only see brief glimpses of the rally which followed through several lines of police with several hundred of them surrounding perhaps a hundred protesters. I gave up then and took the tube to cover the anti-racist rally.

EDL march and rally
Cleaners Flash Mob at CBRE London HQ
End Austerity, No to Racism, Tories Out!

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.

Cake, Yacht and Dodo

Thursday, July 15th, 2021

The cake came outside the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) where PCS members who work as cleaners and catering workers were beginning the first ever indefinite strike at a government ministry, demanding they be paid the London Living Wage, and get decent conditions of employment.

It was the third anniversary of the founding of the BEIS, and also the third anniversary of the campaign to get the workers there decent pay and to be employed directly by the BEIS, rather than outsourcing companies ISS and Aramark whose only concern is cutting costs to the bone by exploiting the workers so they can undercut competitors for the contracts and make profits at the workers’ expense.

A crowd of around a hundred supporters was there to cheer the strikers when they came out of the BEIS to begin their strike and there were speeches from trade unionists including PCS General Secretary Mark Serwotka, RMT General Secretary Mick Cash, and UCU’s Jo Grady as well as then Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell MP and some of the BEIS workers. I did manage to get a piece of the cake before I had to leave for the Royal Courts of Justice.

Extinction Rebellion had brought the yacht to to court to begin their ‘Summer Uprising’, another series of protests in five major cities against the criminal inaction by the government on climate and ecological collapse. The yacht was named Polly Higgins after the Scottish barrister who fought for years for an Ecocide Law and had died of cancer 3 months earlier, only 50.

When I arrived some kind of new age ceremony was taking place with people bringing water from across the country to pour into a large bowl and a Druid celebrant in long white robes. It’s one of the kind of things that makes it hard for many to take XR seriously as a movement.

But of course it is serious and the crisis that we face is existential. An ecocide law would be a powerful way to restrain some of the worst excesses of companies that are driving us to extinction. There were some good speeches at the event, with some very clear thinking, but also a few which made me cringe a little.

Eventually it was time to march, with the pink Dodo and the yacht, making our way across the river towards Waterloo where XR was to set up a camp on Waterloo Millenium Green.

There really is a climate and ecological emergency, with too many species going the way of the dodo, and we do need governments to tell the truth and make real and difficult actions to halt what seems an inevitable slide into irreversible heating which will make the world uninhabitable for many species, probably including our own. It’s time to end the kind of lip-service which has our government setting targets long into the future while ramping up disastrous policies like Heathrow expansion, road-building and coal mines.

The yacht went with them at the back of the procession, which halted for some time to block Waterloo Bridge, remembering the many arrests there in the previous XR protests, before continuing. It was then stopped by police on Waterloo Rd, causing far more rush hour traffic chaos than necessary by completely blocking the Waterloo roundabout. Eventually they were allowed to continue and occupy the green space they were heading for, but by that time I had left and walked into Waterloo station to catch my train home.

XR Summer Uprising procession
XR call for Ecocide Law
BEIS workers begin indefinite strike

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.

Kensington Gore and More 1988

Wednesday, July 14th, 2021

Royal College Of Organists, Kensington Gore, Kensington & Chelsea, 1988 88-4d-61-positive_2400
Royal College Of Organists, Kensington Gore, Kensington & Chelsea, 1988 88-4d-61

I’m not a great fan of organs, an instrument generally used in churches to overpower the combined forces of both choir and congregation and to glorify the immense ego of the organist intent on world domination. I think my mental predictive text tends to replace the ‘rg’ with an ‘n’, both words concerning an excessive interest in organs. Of course they can be played with sensitivity, or so I’m told. Visually organs often add interest to church interiors, and this building seems to me to perfectly express the idea of the organ, visually punning on those pipes and also having a ridiculous showoffiness.

Queen Alexandra's House,  Kensington Gore, Kensington & Chelsea, 1988 88-4d-62-positive_2400
Queen Alexandra’s House, Kensington Gore, Kensington & Chelsea, 1988 88-4d-62

Queen Alexandra’s House nearby also has a musical theme, but is considerably more restrained. It was founded in 1884 by Sir Francis Cook Bar to provide accommodation for women students at the Royal College of Music, Royal College of Art and the Royal College of Science, and apparently still serves a similar but wider purpose. Queen Alexandra is I think largely forgotten now. She was born in 1844 as Princess Alexandra Caroline Marie Charlotte Louise Julia of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glucksburg, a relative of Queen Victoria, and moved up the scale when a conference of Austria, France, Prussia, Russia and the United Kingdom made her dad King of Denmark in 1863 and her brother became King of Greece.

But by this time, Queen Victoria had decided her heir Albert Edward needed a wife and although she wasn’t the first choice (and he was enjoying one of his many affairs that continued after his marriage) the two were married in 1863. When Victoria died, Albert became King Edward VII and she became Queen Alexandra. Both as Princess of Wales and Queen she carried out many royal duties and supported many charities – including the one that set up this house, and was a keen photographer, issuing a book of her photographs, Queen Alexandra’s Christmas Gift Book, to raise money for charity in 1908.

Queen's Gate Gardens, South Kensington, Kensington & Chelsea, 1988 88-4e-22-positive_2400
Queen’s Gate Gardens, South Kensington, Kensington & Chelsea, 1988 88-4e-22

Rolls-Royce DYR6 enjoys a suitably elevated position in front of some suitably grand housing in Queen’s Gate Gardens. The development of 127 houses and 51 stables around the square is said to have been a model for later Victorian Garden Squares. The grand design of the houses was probably laid down by the Commissioners for the Exhibition of 1851 who purchased a large slab of South Kensington, parts of which were used for the various museums etc.

St Stephen's Church, Emperor's Gate, Kensington, Kensington & Chelsea, 1988 88-4e-34-positive_2400
St Stephen’s Church, Emperor’s Gate, Kensington, Kensington & Chelsea, 1988 88-4e-34

This is not St Stephen’s Church which is on the corner of Gloucester Road and Southwell Gardens, but on the continuation of that road on the opposite side of Grenville Place in Emperor’s Gate and is St Stephen’s Church Hall. I think it may have been actually in use as a church when I made the photograph, but now is a health centre, a hall for hire and has a kindergarten.

This area was sold by Lord Kensington to the Metropolitan warily way in 1867 and lies just to the east of the junction where the Circle Line parts company with the District, known as the ‘Cromwell Curve’. The railway let this South Kensington Baptist Chapel be built here in 1868-9, and in 1873 it became English Presbyterian – and they added this porch. Around 1930 it became the Russian Orthodox Church in Exile.

Middle-class housing was developed here in 1871-3. Initially the developers wanted to name this Alexandra Gate (after the Princess of Wales), but this was vetoed by the authorities and they came up with Emperor’s Gate, possibly a reference to the German Emperor – another of our royal family. The Survey of London says the mews behind the road on the south side, adjoining the railway was named McLeod’s Mews after “Sir Donald McLeod, a local resident and ex-Lieutenant-Governor of the Punjab, who died in November 1872 after attempting to board a moving train at Gloucester Road Station, falling between train and platform and suffering fearful mutilation.”

Eldon Rd, Kensington, Kensington & Chelsea, 1988 88-4e-52-positive_2400
Eldon Rd, Kensington, Kensington & Chelsea, 1988

Eldon Rd, Kensington, Kensington & Chelsea, 1988 88-4e-55-positive_2400
Eldon Rd, Kensington, Kensington & Chelsea, 1988 88-4e-55

Eldon Road with its urns, lion and unicorn and at the top St George and a dragon comes at the west end of a short and rather plainer brick terrace, apparently built in 1852. But I’ve been unable to find out more about it. Eldon Road is a short street with a rather eclectic selection of houses as well as Christ Church Kensington. Hardy Amies (1909-2003) lived four doors along the road from 1961 to 1979 at 17b Eldon Road, not surprisingly making a number of alterations to the fabric.

Kensington Court Place, St Alban's Grove, Kensington, Kensington & Chelsea, 1988 88-4e-64-positive_2400
Kensington Court Place, St Alban’s Grove, Kensington, Kensington & Chelsea, 1988 88-4e-64

The Builders Arms is still a pub of sorts, now a gastropub with an extensive and fairly expensive menu and craft ales on tap while I think when I took this picture it was a local where crisps and nuts and pork scratchings probably were the main foods on offer. Similarly although there is a shop opposite, it is no longer a launderette but considerably more upmarket where you can buy a pearl and jade harmony necklace for a mere £3,800. I think you now have to take your washing quite out of the area.

Clicking on any of the images will take you to the album 1988 London Photos with larger versions of these pictures and from where you can browse through over 1300 more pictures from the many I made in London that year.

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.

Five Years Ago – 13th July 2016

Tuesday, July 13th, 2021

Wednesday was a busy day for me on 13th July 2016, photographing five events in London.

Cleaners at the 100 Wood St offices were still on strike against the anti-union cleaning contractor Thames Cleaning, by then the longest running industrial dispute in the history of the City of London and supporters including Unite the Resistance, the Haldane Society of Socialist Lawyers, Class War and others held a rally in support of the action by the United Voices of the World trade union, beginning on Wood St and then moving on to the street outside CBRE who manage the offices.

CND members and supporters had come to Parliament to lobby MPs against the plans to replace Trident at a cost of at least £205 billion, and held a ‘Mad Hatters Tea Party’ in Parliament Square where members of Faith groups including both Christians and Buddhists held placards. Church leaders had written to The Times stating ‘The Government must take a lead – cancelling Trident would be a momentous step – Britain can lead the way!’ The government was instead led in its decisions by the lobbyists from those arms companies that profit greatly from these totally redundant weapons.

Also on Parliament Square was a protest supporting Labour MP for Wirral West Margaret Greenwood’s ‘Ten Minute Rule Bill’ with cross-party support to stop the privatisation of the NHS and return it to its founding principles. Among those who spoke was Shadow Health Minister Diane Abbot.

The day was also a ‘#PIPFightback’ National Day of Action against the Personal Independence Payments which disabled people say are a totally inadequate replacement for the Disabled Living Allowance. These rely on systematically flawed assessments carried out by private firms Capita and Atos which make no allowances for many variable conditions and ignore medical evidence. Administered by poorly qualified staff, many are overturned at tribunals after disabled people have suffered for months, sometimes leading to hospitalisation or suicide.

I’d started the day outside the Vauxhall PIP Consultation Centre run by ATOS in a back street with a small group of protesters including Gill Thompson, whose brother David Clapson, a diabetic ex-soldier died in July 2013 after his benefits were ‘sanctioned’. He was left starving without money for food or electricity to keep the fridge containing his insulin running. Like many his benefits had been stopped for trivial reasons and she was calling for a full and public inquiry into cases like those of her brother and to ensure a fairer system for vulnerable claimants.

Later people from the Mental Health Resistance Network (MHRN), Disabled People Against Cuts (DPAC) and Winvisible (Women with Invisible and Visible Disabilities) and other supporters met outside the Victoria St offices of Capita PLC, one of the companies responsible for PIP assessments and held a rally on the busy pavement there.

After some speeches they moved from the narrow pavement to the busy road to continue their protest, holding up traffic for a few minutes, though they quickly moved to one side to allow an ambulance to drive through.

From there the moved to hold a short protest outside the Department of Work & Pensions offices at Caxton House, and then on to Parliament Square for another short rally.

Finally they decided to go to College Green where a media village was present with politicians being interviewed on TV over the appointment of Theresa May as Prime Minister. Police tried to stop them going into the area, but after some moved in eventually allowed them to stand on a path in the middle of the area a few yards away from the TV crews, who almost all totally ignored the protesters. Disabled people suffering and even dying apparently isn’t news.

Solidarity for Wood St cleaners
Trident Mad Hatters Tea Party
Disabled PIP Fightback blocks Westminster
NHS Bill protest at Parliament
PIP Fightback at Vauxhall

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.

Clean Air – 1990 cyclists and 2019 XR East London

Monday, July 12th, 2021

Cyclists protest, Whitehall, Westminster, 1990, 90-11c-14
‘Let London Breathe’ – Cyclists ride down Whitehall to a Trafalgar Square rally – November 1990

Back in 1990, I rode with hundreds of cyclists from the London Cycling Campaign and others protesting about the terrible air quality in London from Battersea Park to a well-attended rally in Trafalgar Square. Following the rally, some MPs raised the issue in Parliament.

XR East London marches for clean air – 12 July 2019

Almost 30 years on there has not been a great deal of progress – and the statistics now show almost 10,000 excess deaths per year in the city due to air pollution, and untold misery from various respiratory conditions, some crippling. In 2019 XR East London met at Bethnal Green on Friday 12 July to march to Hackney behind a banner ‘The Air That We Grieve’, calling for a rapid end to the use of fossil fuels.

Much of the pollution comes from road traffic, and the already announced end to the sale of new trucks, vans and any other combustion-powered vehicle from 2030 onwards will do a little to improve air quality, but existing petrol and diesel vehicles will continue to be used for many years, though we may see more stringent ultra-low emission zones to restrict their use in cities.

But although the switch to electric will cut down pollutants such as nitrogen oxides as well as reducing climate changing carbon dioxide, it will still leave other harmful substances such as particulates from tyres and brakes in the air. And the carbon footprint is only lowered so long as the electricity used to charge those car batteries comes from truly renewable generation.

Cleaner air in cities also needs us to move away from the car to more eco-friendly means of transport – such as public transport and bicycles. Even electric scooters and electric bikes also have a part to play.

Better public transport means more trains, light rail, trams and buses. The simplest and most cost-effective solutions are probably more dedicated bus lanes and bus-only routes, and giving buses greater priority in traffic. Many years ago I cycled in French cities where buses had priority and motorists (and cyclists) had to give way whenever they wanted to pull out from a stop, and changes like this to our Highway Code and traffic rules would make a difference.

In 1990 cyclists were calling for 1000 miles of dedicated cycle routes through London. We do now have some ‘cycle superhighways’ and ‘quietways’, although many of these – we are now supposed to call them ‘cycleways’ – still involve sharing with often dangerous traffic. Progress is still slow, and there is bitter opposition from some interest groups, particularly black cab drivers.

We need too an overhaul of London’s taxi system, with rules still made in the days of horse-drawn Hackney cabs. I’ve often stood at bus stops in the City waiting for my bus, held up by traffic while 20 or 30 or more black cabs drive by, the great majority of them empty. A move away from ‘ply for hire’ to smartphone based systems summoning a cab from a nearby taxi rank would hugely cut both congestion and pollution in the centre of London.

More at XR East London marches for clean air. You can click on the black and white image above to go to the album with more pictures from the 1990 cyclists protest.

As always I was travelling around London on public transport (I sometimes bring up a folding bike on the train) and as the march neared its end I boarded a bus in the opposite direction back to Bethnal Green where I took the tube back to Holborn, then took the short walk to the University of London’s Senate House, where exploited outsourced workers were holding a noisy protest after the newly appointed Vice-Chancellor Wendy Thomson had failed to reply to a request to meet them and discuss their grievances. You can see more about this at IWGB welcome new Vice Chancellor.

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.