Archive for August, 2021

Notting Hill Carnival 2006

Tuesday, August 31st, 2021

Children’s Day 2006

I’d missed Carnival in 2005 for the first year since 1990. I’d tried to get there despite a painful knee injury a few days earlier, but had had to abandon the journey; the quarter mile walk from home to railway station ending with me collapsing in pain and deciding it just wasn’t possible.

Children’s Day 2006

By 2006 I had a considerably improved camera, the Nikon D200, still DX APS-C format (Nikon were still adamant it was all you needed) but with a hugely improved viewfinder and 10.2Mp. And a rather wider range of lenses, though for carnival I only took the remarkably versatile Nikon 18-200mm zoom (equivalent to 27-300mm). Looking at the full-size images its hard to fault the lens quality, though it had more distortion than prime lenses, but this was of no consequence for these pictures.

Notting Hill Carnival 2006

The other big change was in processing software. Pixmantec had brought out its ‘Raw Shooter’ software and it was streets ahead of anything else. So good that Adobe had just bought out the company as it couldn’t face the competition. Even though this gave them the Pixmantec raw processing engine it was some years and several versions of Lightroom later that reached a similar level.

Notting Hill Carnival 2006

As in most years I went to Notting Hill on both the Sunday – Children’s Day – and the Bank Holiday Monday for the Carnival proper. I’d photographed the Sri Mahalakshmi Temple Chariot Festival earlier on Sunday, as well as taking a few pictures around Stratford, so I didn’t arrive until after 2pm on the first day, and for some reason I only put a few of the pictures on My London Diary. But there are rather more from Monday, and I’d decided to concentrate more on the actual procession than in most earlier years.

Notting Hill Carnival 2006
Notting Hill Carnival 2006

More pictures on My London Diary.

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.

Notting Hill Carnival 2003

Monday, August 30th, 2021

Notting Hill 2003

2003 was the first year I photographed Notting Hill Carnival using a DSLR, a Nikon D100. It was primitive by current standards with a small, dim viewfinder image and on 6.1Mp with a half-frame size sensor. Nikon at the time swore that what they called the APS-C sensor was all that you needed for a professional digital camera, and although they were right, later brought out ‘full-frame’ cameras to keep up with the Canons and others in what was really a marketing rather than technology led decision.

Notting Hill 2003

I’d switched to Nikon for the D100 but was still also using various Leica mount film cameras as well as occasionally my pair of Olympus OM4 cameras for both of which I still had a range of lenses from 15mm to 90mm for Leica and 21 to 200mm for Olympus. But for the Nikon all I had was a 24-80 zoom, bought largely because it was one of the cheapest Nikon lenses available. On the smaller sensor this was equivalent to 36-120mm full-frame, so meant I was working with no really wide lens.

Notting Hill 2003

The colour quality of these images is also rather limited, not by the camera but mainly by the raw processing software then available and also by my relative inexperience in using it. If I have time one day I will find the raw files from my backup disks and reprocess them. But although I think they are a little drab I think they still show the carnival spirit.

Notting Hill 2003
Notting Hill 2003
Notting Hill 2003
Notting Hill 2003

And here’s just one I rather like from the following year – by which time I and the processing software had improved a little.

Notting Hill 2004

More at the bottom of the August 2003 My London Diary Diary page
And for those from August 2004.

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.

Notting Hill 1990 Colour

Sunday, August 29th, 2021

I’d forgotten when I wrote yesterday’s post that I had actually taken some colour pictures as well as the black and white of Notting Hill Carnival in 1990. I was then working in colour with colour negative film and I think the colour in some of these images is a little on the drab side. I think I found them less interesting than the black and white.

Notting Hill Carnival, Notting HIll, 1990 90c8-04-96-positive_2400
Notting Hill 1990
Notting Hill Carnival, Notting HIll, 1990 90c8-04-5-positive_2400
Notting Hill 1990
Notting Hill Carnival, Notting HIll, 1990 90c8-04-84-positive_2400
Notting Hill 1990
Notting Hill Carnival, Notting HIll, 1990 90c8-04-4-positive_2400
Notting Hill 1990
Notting Hill Carnival, Notting HIll, 1990 90c8-04-10-positive_2400
Notting Hill 1990
Notting Hill Carnival, Notting HIll, 1990 90c8-04-1-positive_2400
Notting Hill 1990
Notting Hill Carnival, Notting HIll, 1990 90c8-04-43-positive_2400
Notting Hill 1990
Notting Hill Carnival, Notting HIll, 1990 90c8-04-28-positive_2400
Notting Hill 1990

As usual, clicking on any of the images will take you to a larger version in the album, and you can also browse the other images in it. You can find colour from other years in the album as well, though in a rather strange order as I found them.

Notting Hill 1990

Saturday, August 28th, 2021

This weekend should have been Notting Hill Carnival. But not this year thanks to Covid. I’ll post instead a few pictures from earlier years over the next few days. The first time I photographed there was in 1990, and I was only taking pictures in black and white.

Notting Hill Carnival, 1990. Peter Marshall 90-822-44_2400
Notting Hill Carnival 1990
Notting Hill Carnival, 1990. Peter Marshall 90-822-63_2400
Notting Hill Carnival 1990
Notting Hill Carnival, 1990. Peter Marshall 90-825-52_2400
Notting Hill Carnival 1990
Notting Hill Carnival, 1990. Peter Marshall 90-826-24_2400
Notting Hill Carnival 1990
Notting Hill Carnival, 1990. Peter Marshall 90-822-35_2400
Notting Hill Carnival 1990
Notting Hill Carnival, 1990. Peter Marshall 90-828-45_2400
Notting Hill Carnival 1990
Notting Hill Carnival, 1990. Peter Marshall 90-818-46_2400
Notting Hill Carnival 1990

These and more are from my album ‘Notting Hill Carnival – the 1990s’ and clicking on any of the images above will take you to a larger version in the album, from where you can browse the rest of the collection.

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.

ATOS Olympics 2012

Friday, August 27th, 2021

Protesters outside the DWP where DPAC activists have occupied the lobby.

2012 was of course the year that London suffered the Olympics, which had been creating problems in East London since London was awarded the games in 2005. I’d photographed a number of event related to the games, both protests against it and others using it as a theme, as well as taking pictures around its perimeter and views into the site on Stratford Marsh, an area I’d photographed since the 1980s and which features strongly in my 2011 book ‘Before the Olympics‘.

With the games came the Paralympics, held a few days after the end of the main event on 29 August to 9 September 2012. Although these games were generally held to be a great success, and to have considerably raised the profile of disabled sport, there was criticism from many disabled groups about IT company Atos being the technology provider and sponsor of the games.

Atos Olympic medals and Atos Olympic flame

Atos was responsible for the work capability assessments for the Dept of Work & Pensions, and had clearly been both incompetent and discriminatory in this, finding many disabled people incorrectly fit for work to meet targets designed to cut the cost of benefits. Many who appealed the decisions were found to have been incorrectly assessed, but often shortly after this were called for another assessment and again wrongly found fit. It drove some disabled people to suicide.

Some disabled athletes obscured the Atos logo on their passes in protest, while activist groups led by Disabled People Against Cuts (DPAC) organised a week of action against Atos to coincide with the Paralympics, beginning with a spoof Opening Ceremony for the Atos Games in front of Tower Bridge.

DPAC made it clear that this is not a protest against sports or those taking part in the Paralympics, but against the government and Atos:

"We’re not against the Paralympics or the people taking part in it. We’re highlighting the hypocrisy of Atos, a company that soon may be taking disability benefits from the people winning medals for Team GB.

Ever since George Osborne announced he was slashing £18 billion from the welfare budget, the government has paid Atos £100 million a year to test 11,000 sick and disabled people every week, then decide whether they’re ‘fit for work’."
Tara Flood celebrates her second gold medal

One of those taking part in the opening ceremony was Tara Flood a Paralympic swimmer who won a gold medal in the 1992 Barcelona Paralympic games as well as 2 silver and 4 bronzes there and in the two other games she took part in. Along with two activists in wheelchairs she got on the podium and was awarded another gold medal and the others silver and bronze.

Paralympian gold medal winner Tara Flood is stripped of her gold medal and blue badge

Then along came an ATOS doctor who administered a fitness for work test, first on Tara. She was found fit to work and the gold medal was cut off and her disabled parking card taken away; the others were also found fit to work, losing their medals and benefits too.

The ATOS Games continued, and on Wednesday 29th I photographed DPAC deliver a coffin to the ATOS offices in Triton Square. Friday 31 saw them again outside the ATOS offices for the Closing Atos Ceremony which included the Atos Miracle Cure, making disabled people fit for work.

As the closing ceremony was coming to an end there was a special announcement that there would be another action elsewhere and eventually we learnt that some disabled activists had entered and occupied the lobby of the DWP.

I jumped on a bus, but should have taken the underground as the traffic was heavy in places, but I still got there before the main crowd who had travelled from the protest at the Atos offices. Police would not let them join the 20 or so who were inside so they protested on the pavement in front of the building. There were speeches and then a lot of minor scuffles when police tried to push the protesters back and I had to leave before the protest ended.

More on My London Diary:
DPAC Occupy Dept of Work & Pensions
Closing Atos Ceremony
Disabled Pay Respect to Atos Victims
Opening Ceremony for the Atos Games

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.

Climate Camp 2009

Thursday, August 26th, 2021

The Blue Group on the way to Blackheath

I’d been a little wary of photographing at earlier Climate Camps because of their published media policy, driven I think by a few individuals with paranoid ideas about privacy and a totally irrational fear of being photographed. It required press photographers visiting the site to sign the media policy and to be accompanied while on the site by a minder, and I’d not been prepared to do so.

Some made themselves comfortable on Blackheath Common

But in 2009 I was invited to attend by the late Mike Russell or ‘minimouse’ to be a part of the documentation team for Climate Camp and took up the offer. At the camp I was given a sash showing I was a part of the Climate Camp documentation team which made things a little easier, though there was still a “certain amount of hostility to photography. There were some ‘no media’ areas marked, and although strictly this did not apply to the documentation team, I largely steered clear of them. I was also asked not to photograph two particular events, and a few people declined my request to take their picture. But in general people were friendly, cooperative and helpful and some clearly enjoyed having their pictures taken.”

Capitalism IS Crisis’

I didn’t spend a great deal of time at the Climate Camp. I travelled down on the Wednesday on the tube and DLR with a group of campers who met at Stockwell Underground, a location chosen because of the murder by police there of Jean Charles de Menezes as he sat on a train on his way to work on 22 July 2005. The Blue Group was one of six groups meeting at different stations waiting for instructions of how to get to the then undisclosed site for the camp.

The Welcome tent for visitors

We left the DLR at Greenwich and made our way up the hill to Blackheath Common past an apparently deserted police station. The common is a large flat grass area that is home to several festivals during the year and is some distance from anywhere where a large gathering would cause any real nuisance. But though it was a very suitable site, it too was chosen for its history. As I wrote in 2009:

this was the site where radical cleric John Ball made what is described as the first speech against class oppression, with its famous “When Adam delved and Eve span, who was then the gentleman?” and urged his peasant audience to “cast off the yoke of bondage, and recover liberty.”

The Peasant’s Revolt of 1381 ended unhappily, and Ball was hung, drawn and quartered the following month while the teenage King Richard II looked on as the priest was bfirefly hung and then carefully kept alive to watch his genitals and bowels being removed and burnt before he was beheaded and his body hacked into four pieces. Ball’s fate didn’t stop Jack Cade leading a further popular revolt to also camp at Blackheath Common on its way to London in 1450, although Cade was fortunate to be killed in a battle before he could be hung, drawn and quartered; like Ball, his head was then displayed on London Bridge.

My London Diary

Ktichens around the site were preparing food

The Climate Camp hoped for rather more pleasant treatment by the authorities, and while they were setting up the police largely kept their distance. There was a minor incident when an anarchist group indulged in what they described as a ‘little anti-pig action’ hurling insults at two police officers who had come to talk to some of the organisers.

I was busy with other things on the Thursday and Friday, and returned to the Climate Camp on Saturday, and wearing my documentation team sash began to take pictures. I talked with a woman living in Catford who had come to visit the site and she was happy for me to follow her around in the Welcome tent and as she began to look around the site, then went to document some of the activities around the site.

Police surveillance cameras were covering the camp from just outside the fence and after I noticed one following my movements I walked closer outside the camp to photograph it, as I hadn’t brought a very long lens. I was then followed rather ineptly (perhaps deliberately so) by a young black man in plain clothes making notes in his notebook as I wandered around for the next 15 minutes.

Many talks and workshops were taking place

By then I thought I had covered all I could on the camp and it was time to go home. It wasn’t that exciting and the real events of Climate Camp took place whe groups left it to protest elsewhere around London, but I would have had to stay at the camp to take part in these.

In the set of pictures on My London Diary which I also supplied to the Climate Camp you can see something of the enormous amount of organisation that went into the camp. Those who came either to stay for several days or simply as day visitors will probably have learnt much about the climate crisis. Twelve years ago most people didn’t take it particularly seriously, and politicians were happy to ignore it. The Climate Camps were a call to action that was largely ignored and the mass media kept on giving at least as much air time and credence to climate deniers as to scientists and others aware of the impending disastrous consequences of man-made global warming. Now it has become rather difficult to ignore, but we are still not seeing the kinds of action by our government or other governments that will avert disaster.

Climate Camp: Saturday
Climate Camp: Setup
Climate Camp: Blue Group Swoop

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.

Hoxton 1948 Street Party

Tuesday, August 24th, 2021

No, I wasn’t taking pictures in 1948, nor was Hoxton’s 1948 street party taking place in 1948, but on Saturday 24th August 2008, the date marking the handover of the Olympics to London from Beijing where the 2008 Olympics had recently finished.

Hackney was one of the three boroughs – along with Tower Hamlets and Newham at the centre of the London 2012 Olympics, coming to London for the first time since 1948. The London Olympics then were very much run on a shoe-string in 1948, with a total budget of well under a million pounds – allowing for inflation probably rather less than a hundredth of the budget for 2012.

People in Hackney had decided to mark the event with a ‘1948 Street Party’ in Hoxton in the area of Hoxton Road where the market takes place (confusingly around half a mile from a street named Hoxton Market) and there were shops, museums and various local organisations taking part and putting on events and displays. And appropriately for a celebration of 1948 they organised their own ‘Austerity Olympics’ on the street, as well as some more serious boxing.

Hackney Council, being doctrinaire New Labour were of course appalled by the idea of a community initiative such as this. Their idea of politics was for people to put an X in the Labour box of the ballot paper and then sit back and let those they elected get on with running things to their advantage – without the people getting in the way of their schemes. So instead of backing a community initiative which might display what people thought about the forthcoming Olympics they snootily set up their own rival event in a park a few minutes walk away, with a giant screen relaying the events from Beijing.

There were two men waving Union Flags at the Hackney Council event.

I went to both, though most of the hour and a half I spent at the council event was an hour and a half of my life lost, tedious in the extreme, except for a short performance by a local kids group. There was a Chinese group with flags and a lion, but they seemed to be deliberately hidden away in a corner.

Back on Hoxton St, things were much more interesting, and very much a reminder of my own youth in the 1950s. I enjoyed a very nice cup of tea served in 1948 style china by a “nippy”, and in the street were tea parties (with free cakes) and displays of boxing, jitterbugging and various objects from the 1940s kitchen (almost all of which we still use at home, including a pastry blender – and no, it isn’t used to make bread.) Pearlies came in force and had a sing-song round the joanna.

And then there was the ‘Free Hackney Movement’ (aka Space Hijackers) who brought some serious politics to the event along with a ‘tank’. Here’s what I wrote about them in 2008:

The Free Hackney protest sees London 2012 as a great opportunity for property developers to rip us off and make obscene profits building luxury flats in the area, while at the same time restricting public access, closing down the existing free facilities and demolishing social housing and local businesses. So far its hard to argue against their case given the closure of local sports facilities including the closure of the Temple Mills cycle circuit and the removal of the Manor Gardens allotments and the wholesale clearance of small local firms which were based on Stratford Marsh

In 2008 I commented “The Olympic development has so far been something of a catastrophe for the area, and a lot has to be done to recover from this, let alone produce a positive outcome for the area.” Unfortunately most of what has been done since has borne out the fears and predictions that were made by the Free Hackney Movement and others back in 2008. London 2012 was a bonanza for the few but disrupted the lives of many in the three boroughs.

More at:
Hoxton Handover – 1948 Street party
Free Hackney Movement
Hackney Council Hoxton Handover

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.

Old Church St, Chelsea, 1988

Monday, August 23rd, 2021

Old Church St, Chelsea, Kensington and Chelsea, 1988 88-5b-21-positive_2400
Old Church St, Chelsea, Kensington and Chelsea, 1988 88-5b-21

Old Church St is, as its name suggests a rather old street in Chelsea, running north from Chelsea Old Church by the river up to the Fulham Road. It is thought to be the oldest street in Chelsea but it contains two of Chelsea’s most significant modern buildings. No 66 at the left was designed in 1935–1936 by Walter Gropius and Maxwell Fry for the scriptwriter Benn Levy and his actress wife Constance Cummings. They had bought a large site – perviously the garden of a large house – here together with publisher Denis Cohen, and shared it to build a house each, with a communal garden.

Gropius, the founder of the Bauhaus, came to England in 1934 and was fortunate to get a flat in the Isokon building in Lawn Road, Belsize Park, where he met many leading left-wing intellectuals of the age including modernist architects, among them the designer of the flats, Jack Pritchard. Pritchard and Gropius worked on several projects together, few of which were ever built.

Gropius also worked with Maxwell Fry, and this house they designed together was his most significant domestic work during the 3 years before he left to take up a professorship in the USA. My photograph doesn’t show it well, as it was built to face the private garden to which I did not have access, but for those interested there are plenty of pictures on-line. It was offered for sale in 2013 for £45 million, but I couldn’t afford it. Surprisingly the house is only Grade II listed.

Old Church St, Chelsea, Kensington and Chelsea, 1988 88-5b-34-positive_2400
Old Church St, Chelsea, Kensington and Chelsea, 1988 88-5b-34

Cohen House on the other half of the site, also completed in 1936 was designed by Erich Mendelsohn and Serge Chermayeff for the publisher Denis Cohen and is more visible from the road. Like Gropius, Mendelsohn was also fleeing from Nazi Germany and went on the the USA; Chermayeff, born to a Jewish family in Russia had come here as a young boy, was educated here and became a British citizen in 1928 and emigrated to the USA in 1940 . This building is Grade II* listed. The partnership between Mendelsohn and Chermayeff only lasted a few years but produced some of the country’s outstanding modernist buildings.

Old Church St, Chelsea, Kensington and Chelsea, 1988 88-5b-24-positive_2400
Old Church St, Chelsea, Kensington and Chelsea, 1988 88-5b-24

153 Old Church St. The gate at right I think leads to 153a. THe house at the right which you cannot see much of has a blue plaque for John Francis Sartorius (fl. 1775-1831), an English painter of horses, horse-racing and hunting scenes. Accord to Mark Keble in Chelsea The Resident, 153 Old Church Street was built between 1956-57 on the former site of the studio of the renowned Welsh portrait painter Augustus John (1878-1961).

Old Church St, Chelsea, Kensington and Chelsea, 1988 88-5b-32-positive_2400
Old Church St, Chelsea, Kensington and Chelsea, 1988 88-5b-32

This house is on the corner of Carlyle Square and Old Church St and the gatepost gives its address as 26 Carlyle Square. The land here which contained a number of buildings was sold to Lord Cadogan in 1835, who quickly had the existing houses and cottages cleared and building of a new square, Oakley Square, began in 1836-7. But progress was slow and there were only a few houses completed by 1851. The square was renamed Carlyle Square in honour of the historian and writer Thomas Carlyle in 1872.

Old Church St, Chelsea, Kensington and Chelsea, 1988 88-5b-33-positive_2400
Old Church St, Chelsea, Kensington and Chelsea, 1988 88-5b-33

This house is on the corner of Old Church St and Elm Park Rd at 125-127. The plaque records the fact that William De Morgan Ceramic Artist And Novelist (1839-1917) And His Wife Evelyn De Morgan Artist (1855-1919) Lived & Died Here. The house was specially adapted for their work – and you can just see the bottom of a large studio window in this picture.

Queen's Elm Square, Chelsea, Kensington and Chelsea, 1988 88-5b-26-positive_2400
Queen’s Elm Square, Chelsea, Kensington and Chelsea, 1988 88-5b-26

Queen’s Elm Square is on the west side of Old Church St close to the Fulham Rd. It was built in 1904-6 for the Sloane Stanley Estate, just behind the Queen’s Elm pub on the corner of Fulham Rd and Old Church St. This famous pub closed in the 1990s and the ground floor is now shops. The site was earlier a field known as the Queen’s Elm Field and began to be developed – including an earlier pub – in 1792.

The Vale, Chelsea, Kensington and Chelsea, 1988 88-5b-42-positive_2400
The Vale, Chelsea, Kensington and Chelsea, 1988 88-5b-42

The Vale is a short street running parallel to Old Church St north from the King’s Rd about 200 yards to its west. The unusual Russian House, at 27 The Vale, was built in 1914 just before the start of the First World War by architect F.E. Williams and incorporates at in the frontage of the substantial property a Russian Dacha that had formed a part of an exhibition at the Crystal Palace in the 1890s. The house was occupied by the British Red Cross during the war and later became the home of members of the Sainsbury family. It was then converted into flats, but in the 1990s converted back into a single house. It sold in 2018 for 12.75m

Click on any of the above images to see a larger version in my album 1988 London Photos and to browse other pictures in 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.

Chelsea – Social Cleansing

Sunday, August 22nd, 2021

The Gateways, Sprimont Place, College Place,  Chelsea, Kensington and Chelsea, 1988 88-5a-43-positive_2400
The Gateways, Sprimont Place, College Place, Chelsea, Kensington and Chelsea, 1988 88-5a-43

The Gateways is a block of houses with a difference and though it may look ancient, was built in 1934 in a Tudor Revival style to designs by Herbert Winkler Wills (1864-1937) and William Kaula. Certainly unusual but not greatly to my liking the whole block was Grade II listed in 1993, some under the address Whitehead’s Grove.

Chelsea Green, Chelsea, Kensington and Chelsea, 1988 88-5a-45-positive_2400
Chelsea Green, Chelsea, Kensington and Chelsea, 1988 88-5a-45

All that remains of the old Chelsea Common is a small triangle at this road junction with two small fenced plots of grass, each with a small tree, separated by a footpath through its centre, room on both sides for a couple of park benches and a rubbish bin or two.

Chelsea Green, Chelsea, Kensington and Chelsea, 1988 88-5a-46-positive_2400
Chelsea Green, Chelsea, Kensington and Chelsea, 1988 88-5a-46

Stepping a few feet gave a clearer view of the pub, still now open but called The Wild Tavern, and the buildings down Elystan Place which are a part of The Gateways, with some good brickwork.

Bray Place, Draycott Ave, Chelsea, Kensington and Chelsea, 1988 88-5a-51-positive_2400
Bray Place, Draycott Ave, Chelsea, Kensington and Chelsea, 1988

The ornate ironwork around and in the door of 5 Bray Place finds an echo in the window opposite. This doorway has now been converted into a rather plain window and there are other changes to the exterior of the building. It remains a restaurant but with a different name under different management.

Blacklands Terrace, Chelsea, Kensington and Chelsea, 1988 88-5a-52-positive_2400
Blacklands Terrace, Chelsea, Kensington and Chelsea, 1988 88-5a-52

This building is on Blacklands Terrace, but confusingly has the address 18 Culford Gardens, which it and the building to its right stand on the corner of. I don’t know when it was built – or perhaps when this frontage was added, but it was very different from the properties around. The ground floor has since been altered and is now less starkly geometrical.

Avenue Court, Draycott Avenue, Knightsbridge, Kensington and Chelsea, 1988 88-5a-61-positive_2400
Avenue Court, Draycott Avenue, Knightsbridge, Kensington and Chelsea, 1988 88-5a-61

Draycott Avenue is lined with large and rather boring appartment blocks, mainly in red brick, which are slightly enlivened by some impressive doorways – and I think this is the most impressive. Most of these large blocks of flats were built in the 1930s, replacing streets of smaller houses. In Pevsner’s The Buildings of England London NW it describes them as “enormous and forbidding blocks of flats, either cautiously Art Deco or approximately neoGeorgian in style.”

Avenue Court, Draycott Avenue, Knightsbridge, Kensington and Chelsea, 1988 88-5a-01-positive_2400
Avenue Court, Draycott Avenue, Knightsbridge, Kensington and Chelsea, 1988 88-5a-01
Sloane Avenue Mansions, Sloane Avenue, Chelsea, Kensington and Chelsea, 1988 88-5a-62-positive_2400
Sloane Avenue Mansions, Sloane Avenue, Chelsea, Kensington and Chelsea, 1988 88-5a-62

Sloane Avenue Mansions also dates from the 1930s, redeveloping an area of smaller houses but was designed by G. Kay Green in a more modern style with touches of Art Deco. Built in 1931-3, it towers 11 stories above the street, though appears slightly less massive as the top two are set back slightly. Around 20,000 working class people had lived in homes around here that were cleared after the company decided to redevelop the area in 1908, though much of the area remained empty or full of part-demolished slums until the 1930s. The large blocks of flats were usually provided with underground garages for the wealthy flat-dweller.

Click on any of the images to go to a larger version in my album 1988 London Photos, where you can browse through the rest of the images in 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.

Al-Quds Day Protests in London 2011

Saturday, August 21st, 2021

Here is a long post I wrote on My London Diary in 2011. I have made only minor changes, mainly adding more pictures. Otherwise it is as written.

Portland Place to Trafalgar Square, London. Sunday 21 Aug 2011

Muslim women show their support for Palestine
more pictures

Several thousand marched through London calling for freedom for Palestine in the annual Al Quds (Jerusalem) Day march. There were small counter-demonstrations by an Iranian opposition group and the EDL.

Al-Quds is the Arabic name for Jerusalem and Al Quds Day was started by the late Imam Khomeini of Iran as an expression of solidarity with the Palestinian people and of opposition to the Israeli control of Jerusalem, as well as more widely “a day for the oppressed to rise and stand up against the arrogant.” It is on the last Friday of Ramadan which this year is 26 Aug, but the march in London took place on the Sunday before this. Most of those taking part were Muslim and were observing the Ramadan fast.

The march is organised by the Islamic Human Rights Commission, an organisation that receives funding from the Iranian government. Despite this and the appalling human rights record of the Iranian Government the IHRC does carry out much worthwhile research and campaigning, including whole-hearted support of the Palestinian cause.

The proclamation of Al Quds day and its annual celebration have helped to revitalise worldwide interest in freedom for Palestine, and the even is supported by a number of mainstream UK campaigning organisations including the Stop the War Coalition and Ireland and Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaigns, as well as major Muslim groups including the Muslim Association of Britain and Muslim Council of Britain. Also backing it, and present on the march were several Jewish groups including Jews Against Zionism, Jews for Boycotting Israeli Goods and Neturei Karta UK as well as other groups supporting Palestine.

The marchers, many of whom had come in coaches from around the country, gathered on Portland Place from a little before 2pm, and many said prayers on the pavement before the march formed up.

Protesters opposite the Al Quds Day march with Free Iran flag and placards condeming Khamenei

Shortly after this, a small group of protesters against the Iranian regime began a protest against them immediately opposite on the other side of the road. As I walked across the road towards them a police officer stopped me and gave me a warning that some of them or their families might face prosecution if their photographs appeared in the press, and because of this I might not be welcome. I thanked him for the advice and continued across and it was clear that the protesters actually welcomed the attention of myself and the other press photographers present.

The two groups remained in position, chanting slogans at each other for the next hour or so, while the very much larger group on the Al Quds march waited for marchers whose coaches had been held up in traffic. Although many of the marchers carried placards with the message ‘We are all Hizbullah’ and there were chants of this along with ‘We are all Palestinians’, and their were graphic images of victims of Israeli attacks on Palestinians, the main emphasis was on the need to boycott Israel and companies that support Israel, among those mentioned being Marks and Spencer, Starbucks and Coca-Cola.

A huge cheer went up when the Neturei Karta ultra-orthodox Jews arrived, having walked from Stamford Hill. They carried placards which repeated their opposition to Zionism and support for the Palestinians, and when the march started they were more or less at the front, accompanied by several Muslim clerics. The marchers made clear that they were not anti-Jewish and welcomed the support of these and other Jewish groups present opposed to Zionism and the illegal actions of the Israeli forces.

It was an impressive march, with almost all of those taking part carrying banners, placards or small Palestinian flags. There were also several very large Palestinian flags, including a very long one carried horizontally.

The route went down Regent Street and through Piccadilly Circus to Haymarket and then on to Trafalgar Square. Several EDL supporters watched it as it came to the bottom of Haymarket and police questioned two of them briefly. As the march turned into the top of Trafalgar Square four more came to see it and I saw police briefly question two women, one of whom had stood raising a finger to the front of it. Apparently two others were also questioned briefly.

Police escort EDL from Trafalgar Square to the pen set aside for them
more pictures of the EDL

The police had provided a small pen for the EDL on the south side of Pall Mall at the mouth of Spring Gardens, where they were almost invisible to the marchers who were turning into Trafalgar Square. It seemed to them – and I could only agree – to have been an unacceptably distant location.

A few of the EDL were standing closer, quietly watching the march and one was taking photographs. The police appeared not to recognise them. Later a number of them walked into Trafalgar Square and walked quietly around, but other photographers reported a small incident where one man who police had previously asked to leave the area returned and was apparently arrested.

A few minutes later a small group of EDL appeared with an EDL flag on the North Terrace balcony. They were soon surrounded by police who escorted them back down to the pen amid their complaints that British people should be allowed to demonstrate on the British soil of Trafalgar Square and show their English flag there. In all there seemed to be around twenty EDL supporters present.

Short speeches from several of those present stated that they were opposed to the Al Quds march because it supported Hizbullah, an illegal terrorist organisation, and restated their position that they were non-racist and not opposed to Muslims in general only to Muslim extremists. They insist that they are standing up for England and our English freedoms and have no problems with other people living here as long as they respect our way of life. There were a few moments when individuals started some of the chants which others object to, including ‘Muslim bombers off our streets’, but while I was there others present quickly told them to “shut it.”

The group continued to protest noisily but were too far away to be heard by the several thousand at the rally in Trafalgar Square.
more pictures

EDL pictures

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.