Archive for September, 2021

30 Sept 2007 – Two Religious Events

Thursday, September 30th, 2021

Martydom of Ali

On Sunday 30th September 2007 I photographed two events in London connected with religion, the first Muslim and the second organised by Christian Aid.

Shia Muslims hold a large parade every year mourn the martydom of Ali, a cousin who grew up the the house of the prophet Muhammad and was one of the first to profess his belief when the prophet disclosed his divine revelation when Ali was around ten years old. Later he married Muhammad’s daughter Fatimah and was a great warrior and leader and one of the foremost Islamic scholars.

Ali was elected as the fourth Caliph at a time when civil wars were taking place between Muslims following the death of his predecessor, and he fought in a number of battles, eventually being assassinated in 661 CE by a member of a group who regarded him as a heretic while praying in the mosque at Kufa, now in Iraq. Many of the details of events around this time are disputed.

Ali is one of the central figures of Shia Islam and they regard him as having been the rightful successor to Muhammad while Sunni Muslims supported the father-in-law of Muhammad, Abu Bakr who became the first Caliph. The split led to various battles but only became a schism almost 20 years after Ali’s death, when Ali’s son Husayn and family were killed at the Battle of Karbala in 680 CE.

The ceremonies which involve a procession with an elaborate flower-decorated coffin, and tall banners about Ali, began at Marble Arch with a long period of mourning. There was much beating of breasts and then a procession moving very slowly down Park Lane with much continued mourning and beating of breasts. The men march in one group and then the women behind them, the two groups separated by the bier. Many of the men are stripped to the waist and their bodies become reddened by their powerful beating.

It’s an impressive event which I photographed on several occasions. The stewards at the event have sometimes told me “We do not photograph the ladies” but I’ve also had emails from some of the women thanking me for recording their participation in the ceremony.

Cut the Carbon

An event of a very different nature was taking place at St Mary’s Battersea, a church with fine views across the River Thames that Turner sat at window above the entrance to record – and a window inside remembers him, with another for William Blake, along with some splendid monuments, one with a relief illustrating Edward Wynter’s feats of crushing a tiger to death and overcoming 60 mounted moors.

I was there with others to photograph the arrival of Christian Aid’s ‘cut the carbon’ march, arriving in London at the end of a thousand mile journey from Bangor in Northern Ireland via Belfast, Edinburgh, Newcastle On Tyne, Leeds, Birmingham and Cardiff to London – including a detour to meet Prime Minister Gordon Brown at the Labour Party conference in Bournemouth. The following day they were going on to City Hall and then to finish at St Paul’s Cathedral.

This was a march 14 years ago with an international perspective on climate change, with walkers from Brazil, El Salvador, Kenya, India, Bangladesh, South Africa, Congo and elsewhere. When I photographed it the following day in front of Tower Bridge it was led by marchers from Brazil representing an organisation of landless farm workers – and I was very pleased a few months later to include picture of them in my show on environment protests as a part of Foto Arte 2007 in Brasilia.

More at:
Mourning the Martydom of Ali
Cut the Carbon march

and on October 1st 2007
Christian aid Cut the Carbon march – final mile

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.

At the LSE – Sept 29, 2016

Wednesday, September 29th, 2021

I’d gone to the LSE to attend a session in the LSE’s 3-day ‘Resist’ festival organised by Lisa McKenzie, then a research fellow in the Department of Sociology there, though I imagine that this was one of several reasons her contract was not renewed. It’s OK if your work is purely academic, or if it supports the kind of people and companies that fund universities, but anything practical which supports the working classes is definitely infra-dig.

At the end of the session (more about it below) McKenzie called upon Petros Elia, General Secretary of the United Voices of the World trade union to which many of the LSE cleaners now belong. He accused the management of the LSE of failing to protect the interests of cleaners working there who they have outsourced to a cleaning contractor in a cost-cutting exercise without insisting on decent working conditions and conditions of service. He invited all present to a meeting to discuss action by the cleaners which was to be held as a part of the Resist festival later that day. I hadn’t intended to stay for that, but decided to do so.

Covid has made many re-evaluate the contributions of many low-paid workers, and to realise how essential their services are to the running of society. Cleaners are one such group and the meeting organised by the UVW made clear how terribly they were being treated by their employers, Noonan, while the LSE was happy to pocket the few pennies they were saving by outsourcing and look the other way to the injustices taking place under their own roof – while claiming the moral high ground and uncovering and moralising on those in societies around the world.

It was also a meeting which would have shattered any prejudices about low-paid workers being less intelligent, less aware or less articulate than those in higher positions. Many of them were migrant workers and speaking in their second (or third) language, though some through interpreters, but made themselves heard more clearly than the average cabinet minister in a radio or TV interview.

The cleaners’ campaign for parity of treatment with other workers employed directly was supported by students – including those on a new graduate course in Equality – and the students union General Secretary, several post-graduate students and staff. One of those present was LSE Professor of Anthropology David Graeber who so sadly died aged 59 just over a year ago and is much missed.

Students and staff continued to support the cleaners in various actions and the campaign was partly successful. The cleaners were brought in house in June 2017, but are still remained “frustrated and grieved by their continuing treatment as “second-class” workers.” A petition was launched in April 2021 making 14 demands. A major continuing problem is that the LSE does still not recognise or talk with the cleaners’ trade union, the UVW, but talks with Unison which never consults the cleaners and fails to represent many of their needs.

The earlier session of ‘Resist’ was a lengthy and detailed indictment by Simon Elmer of Architects for Social Housing of a report by a group of LSE academics on Kidbrooke Village, a development by Berkeley Homes and Southern Housing. This replaced the LCC-built Ferrier Estate in SE London, which was deliberately run-down, demonised and emptied by Greenwich Council from 1999 onwards.

Elmer accused the report of lies about the estate regeneration, of basing their report on that of the property developer and passing it off as their own, of placing the cultural legitimacy of an LSE report in the service of Government policy and the profits of Berkeley Homes and of accepting financial backing to validate the desired conclusions of their backers.

Elmer made a convincing case, but none of those responsible came to make any defence of the report, and it was hard to know whether there could have been any – though I suspect it might well have been only a matter of picking a few holes and making minor corrections to his analysis. Clearly universities should not be places where property developers or even governments call the tunes and the LSE would appear to have been caught out kowtowing to capital.

More at:
LSE Cleaners campaign launch
Simon Elmer of ASH indicts LSE

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.

10,000 Disabled Dead

Tuesday, September 28th, 2021

On 28th September 2013, disabled activists and supporters came to Parliament Square for ‘10,000 Cuts & Counting’, a ceremony of remembrance and solidarity for over 10,000 who died shortly after the degrading Work Capability Assessments run for the government by Atos.

The figure of 10,000 is the number who died in the 3 months following the degrading Atos-administered tests used by the government intended to assess the needs of people receiving benefits related to disability and ill health. The campaigners are not claiming that the test itself killed people, although some have been driven to commit suicide after being failed by Atos, but that such tests administered in the final days of life are unfeeling, unnecessary and persecute the sick and dying.

At the event we heard moving personal testimonies by disabled people and a mother of three disabled children, with many damning indictments of the failures of Atos and the Department of Work and Pensions, both failing to understand the needs of the disabled and not treating them with dignity and humanity, and of deliberately discriminatory policies, arbitrary decisions and bureaucratic incompetence.

Parliament Square was covered with 10,000 while flowers, one for each of the dead, and there was 2 minutes of silent remembrance for those who have suffered and died.

The silence was followed by four prayers facing the four sides of the square; prayers facing Westminster Abbey for the families of those who have suffered and disabled people still suffereing or despairing; facing the Supreme Court calling for justice and compassion for those without resources and power and for an end to discrimination and violence against the disabled; towards the Treasury calling on those in national and local government who decide on the use of resources to take into account the effect on people of what they do; and finally towards Parliament, calling for a new deal for disabled people and to put right the evident wrongs in the current system.

Unfortunately the prayers were not heard by those in power. The government’s response? They stopped issuing the figures on which this event was based.

More at 10,000 Cuts – Deaths After Atos Tests.

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.

Students Lead The Way 27 Sept 2019

Monday, September 27th, 2021

Two years ago school students and supporters were in Parliament Square campaigning at the end of a week of Global Climate actions and the start of a worldwide General Strike for climate justice and against extinction.

We had another Global Climate Strike last Friday (24th Sept 2021) though I was unable to photograph it for pressing family reasons, but although we now hear much more about the terrifying consequences of carbon emissions increasing global temperatures and have begun to feel them, there has been relatively little action. The UK government has learnt to talk a little of the talk, but is still pressing ahead with highly environmentally destructive plans – supporting new oil, gas and coal fields, subsidising destructive wood-burning and backing projects such as HS2 and Heathrow expansion.

It is hardly a good record for a government that is urging others do more, whether by the Prime Minister speaking at the UN or other diplomatic meetings leading up to COP26 in Glasgow. “Do as I say not as I do” is seldom a productive approach. Like other such meetings it seems almost certain to end with too little and too late.

The schoolkids get it – they’ve heard and understood the message from Greta Thunberg and David Attenborough. The scientists get it and have published reports which make it clear. Even some politicians across the parties get it, but not those in ministerial offices and Downing St. The real problem is that any effective policies would threaten the status quo which they have been put in charge to protect. They want business as usual, which is exactly what has got us in this mess.

I haven’t entirely abandoned hope, though it is getting very thin, rather like the hope of a revolution or a second coming, which is now about what would be needed to avert disaster. Things are certain to get very much worse than at present, perhaps enough to force our leaders to see sense before it is entirely too late, though I think it unlikely I will live long enough to see it.

Environmental lawyer Farhana Yamin, arrested for protesting against Shell with Extinction Rebellion

It wasn’t just the schoolkids who were on the streets in 2019. Later in the day I went with some of them to Trafalgar Square where artists, designers, musicians, cultural workers and others were talking about their own creative individual and collective responses to the climate emergency in a ‘Climate Rally for the Imagination.’

Although many of these were inspiring I left feeling depressed as it all seemed so divorced from our mainstream culture, which is dominated by the billionaire owned press and major TV stations which largely take their lead from those same publications. It would take a major miracle for Murdoch to convert from protecting his profits to protecting the earth, but that’s the kind of change we need for survival.

Climate Rally for the Imagination
Students Strike for climate justice

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.

Deaf & Disabled March & a Harvest Festival

Sunday, September 26th, 2021

Saturday 26th September 2015 wasn’t one of my busiest Saturdays, but the two events I photographed were very different, and took place some distance apart. The first was in the centre of London, at Westminster and was a protest over the discrimination by the Tory government against disabled people.

It was clear from the start of the coalition government that came to power in 2010 that the Tories were out to target the disabled, and that they saw them and the benefits they were getting as a drain on our taxes they were keen to diminish. They declared that cuts in government spending were essential, blaming the previous New Labour government for the results of the world-wide banking crash which in reality was caused by the exploitation of an unstable system by greedy bankers and using this as an excuse for largely counter-productive austerity.

Looking at ways to make cuts, they picked on the disabled as they thought they would be an easy target and could bring large savings. But the disabled have turned out far more resilient than they expected, with groups like Disabled People Against Cuts turning out to be formidable opponents and getting considerable public support.

This particular protest was over the the cutting of the DWP’s Access to Work scheme which enables disabled people to work on an equal basis to non-disabled people. They want to work and have careers and to make a contribution to society, but cutting this essential support will prevent them doing so. And as the protesters pointed out, every £1 spent on Access to Work results in a return of £1.48.

Local resident Christine Taylor of Stop Heathrow Expansion points at the Heathrow plan

A long tube journey, changing to go almost to the edge of London on the Piccadilly line and then catch a bus to Sipson took me to Grow Heathrow in Sipson. It was a reminder that although London once led the world with its Underground system, it has failed to keep up with the times and now so many other cities have more modern and faster systems. When I first went to Paris we used to laugh at the quaint Metro clattering slowly and noisily around under the city, but now Parisians used to the RER must enjoy at least a little smile at our creaking system – and perhaps gloat that some of their system is now financed by the profits from Londoners using RATP run buses. Germans too profit as DB Arriva run the Overground as well as buses as well as three rail franchises.

Grow Heathrow was celebrating another harvest at their occupied nursery site with ‘music, pumpkins and pizza’ as well as an open ‘No Third Runway!’ discussion. They had squatted the derelict site in 2010 and five years later were still resisiting eviction with their court case then adjourned until the following summer. Half the site was evicted in 2019 but the rest continued until the final eviction in March 2021.

I was late (thanks to that slow journey) for the start of the discussion on Heathrow, but got there in time to hear much of it and take pictures – and as a fairly local long-term resident to make a very small contribution to the debate led by John Stewart of HACAN and other campaigners including Christine Taylor of Stop Heathrow Expansion and Sheila Menon of Plane Stupid. I grew up under the flightpath a couple of miles from touchdown and have lived the last 47 years a similar distance from the airport. Established by deception it has long been clear the airport is in the wrong place, and now even clearer that we can’t continue expanding air transport if we want to avoid climate catastrophe.

It is hard to take the government’s environmental policies seriously when they continue to support the expansion of air travel and transport and plans for another runway at Heathrow. We should be looking urgently at ways to cut our dependence on air freight and reduce travel, as well as ways to reduce the carbon emissions involved in the lower amount that will continue. This is one of the government policies that seriously undermines its national and international credibility at the forthcoming COP26 climate talks.

Grow Heathrow showed how people could live in different ways and evolve stronger communities and more democratic systems, although few would want to live as ‘off-grid’ in the rather spartan conditions of the residents here. But although we might not all want to make our own charcoal, nor go back to running vehicles on it, producing biochar is one of the few practical methods currently feasible of carbon capture and storage.

Grow Heathrow celebrates Harvest Festival
Deaf & Disabled Access to Work protest

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

More Chelsea

Saturday, September 25th, 2021

Sir Thomas More, St Thomas More Gardens, Chelsea Embankment, Chelsea, Kensington & Chelsea, 1988 88-5g-25-positive_2400
Sir Thomas More, St Thomas More Gardens, Chelsea Embankment, Chelsea, Kensington & Chelsea, 1988 88-5g-25

My Chelsea walk continued with a little wandering close to the Thames where I found two elderly people contemplating the statue of Sir Thomas More. More (1478-1535) opposed the Reformation and wrote polemics against Luther, Zwingli, Calvin and Tyndale, although he is better known now as the author of ‘Utopia’, published in 1516. But it was his opposition to the politics of a real island, refusing to accept Henry VIII rather than the Pope as supreme head of the Church of England that led to him losing his head at Tower Hill and eventually to his being made a Catholic saint in 1935.

Cheyne Walk, Chelsea, Kensington & Chelsea, 1988 88-5g-15-positive_2400
Cheyne Walk, Chelsea, Kensington & Chelsea, 1988 88-5g-15

It was the elegant iron work supporting the balcony that particularly attracted me to 48 Cheyne Walk, though I didn’t think it was particularly improved by the lamp post outside, awkwardly in the pavement, which though of relatively elegant design seemed out of place.

Cheyne Row,  Chelsea, Kensington & Chelsea, 1988 88-5g-16-positive_2400
Cheyne Row, Chelsea, Kensington & Chelsea, 1988 88-5g-16

Cheyne Row leads north away from the river between no 49 and 50 Cheyne Walk and I get confused between the two similarly named streets. This house, known for obvious reasons as Old Sun House at No 2 is the first on its east side.

Boy with a Dolphin, David Wynne, sculpture, Cheyne Walk, Oakley St, Kensington & Chelsea, 1988 88-5h-62-positive_2400
Boy with a Dolphin, David Wynne, sculpture, Cheyne Walk, Oakley St, Kensington & Chelsea, 1988 88-5h-62

One of several variations on a theme by Sir David Wynne including his Girl with a Dolphin close to St Katherines Dock, this is perhaps the most interesting. I have to admit of not being a great fan. At least two other casts of this sculpture exist, both in the USA.

The model for the boy was Wynne’s son Roland David Amadeus Wynne, then 11. After Roly committed suicide aged 35 in 1999 a plate was added to the statue dedicating it to him.

Cheyne Walk, Kensington & Chelsea, 1988
Cheyne Walk, Kensington & Chelsea, 1988 88-8h-63

Perhaps the only distinctive later building on Cheyne Walk, this Grade II listed house at 38 was designed by Charles Robert Ashbee (1863-1942) one of the leading figures in the Arts and Crafts movements and built around 1900. C R Ashbee like Moore wrote utopias, though his two, like much of his work was very much inspired by William Morris, whose ‘News from Nowhere’ appeared in 1890. He was a prominent homosexual, but he married in 1898 and some years later the couple had four daughters.

Cheyne Walk, Kensington & Chelsea, 1988 88-5h-64-positive_2400
Cheyne Walk, Kensington & Chelsea, 1988 88-5h-64

C R Ashbee, like More, wrote utopias, though his two, like much of his work was very much inspired by William Morris, whose ‘News from Nowhere’ appeared in 1890. He was a prominent homosexual, but he married in 1898 and some years later the couple had four daughters, one of whom wrote a frank ‘novel’ about the family relationships in which only the names are thought to be fictional.

Thomas Carlyle, Chelsea Embankment Gardens, Chelsea, Kensington & Chelsea, 1988  88-5h-55-positive_2400
Thomas Carlyle, Chelsea Embankment Gardens, Chelsea, Kensington & Chelsea, 1988 88-5h-55

I took another picture of Thomas Carlyle sitting on his chair as well as the two in a previous post. I think this perhaps better describes both the statue by Sir Edgar Boehm, erected in 1882, the year after his death and also the surroundings.

Click on any of the pictures to go to a larger version in my album 1988 London Photos. They appear in a different order in the album but in this post are in the order I took them on my walk.

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.

Class War Occupy Rich Door 24 Sep 2014

Friday, September 24th, 2021

A few days ago I had to sit down and write some explanations to a friend who lives on a smallholding in rural France who doesn’t have a computer or internet access. It made me realise how much has changed for most of us since some time in the 1990s, when we all began to be connected by the World Wide Web and browsers such as Mosaic which really made the breakthrough to something like the web we now know and most of us spend large parts of our life in.

Some time ago I’d sent him a copy of my book – or rather ‘zine’ – ‘Class War: Rich Door, Poor Door‘ I published in 2015:

“A photographic account of the protests from July 2014 to May 2015 at One Commercial St, Aldgate, London against separate doors for rich and poor residents. The book includes over 200 images from 29 protests. ISBN: 978-1-909363-14-4”

It is still available, and at the very reasonable price of £6.00, though given Blurb’s postage rates it only makes sense to buy it if you get together with a few mates to order several copies.

More recently my wife sent him a copy of a postcard with my picture from 2014, ‘Vigil for Ferguson, US Embassy – No Justice, No Peace’ and he wrote back asking who Ferguson was – and included a couple of questions about the Class War book.

Google of course would have supplied him the answers in the twinkling of a mouse click, and told him Ferguson was a town in Missouri where riots had followed both the shooting of Michael Brown by a police officer and the failure to indict the officer for the murder. He could have got the answer even quicker on my own web site, My London Diary, where putting ‘Ferguson’ in the search box at top right on most pages returns links to the Solidarity with Ferguson vigil, Hands Up! Against Racist Police Shootings protest following the shooting and this Candlelit Vigil for Michael Brown following the decision not to charge Darren Wilson with his murder.

His second question was about the Class War banner with its message “We must devastate the avenues where the wealthy live” Lucy Parsons 1853-1942, and was simply to ask “Who was Lucy Parsons”. Again Wikipedia and other web sites such as the IWW Archive would have given a fast and far more comprehensive answer than the brief reply I wrote.

The final question was one that amused me. “Who, ” he asked, “was that elderly gentleman with a walking stick” and “why was he being arrested and being put into a police van in one of the pictures“. It was of course Ian Bone, and again my web site contains much about him on many occasions, including pictures and an explanation of his arrest on Wednesday 24th September 2014.

When the building manager had held open the ‘Rich Door’ for a resident to go through, the person holding one end of the Lucy Parsons banner had stepped in front of it to prevent him closing it. He made the mistake of walking away to the concierge desk, probably to ask the concierge to call the police, but leaving the door open and unguarded. So Class War walked in unopposed, bringing two banners with them and continued to protest in the the foyer.

Ian Bone talked to the building manager, then held up a couple of framed notices from the desk, and talked about them and the objections to social tenants being made to use a separate door on a dirty alley at the side of the building, before putting them back carefully on the desk next to a vase full of flowers. Others spoke briefly and people loudly shouted slogans.

And then “there was a crash and the vase of flowers was no longer on the reception desk. Ian Bone had knocked it off with his walking stick, which he had been swinging around rather wildly as he spoke. I only saw it out of the corner of my eye and couldn’t tell if it was deliberate or accidental.” Though I was fairly sure it would have been on purpose.

Shortly after, the police arrived, and there was some discussion; I went outside and a few minutes later the protesters followed and the protest continued as usual on the pavement, with more speeches and noise. Eventually the protesters decided it was time to leave and were moving away when a police office approached Ian Bone and told him he was being arrested as the CCTV in the ‘rich door’ foyer showed him breaking the vase. There was considerable argument as he was led away and put in the van, but no attempt at resistance.

Later we heard that Ian Bone had agreed to pay £70 for a replacement vase and the building owners had decided not to press charges. And at the following week’s Poor Doors protest Class War brought along a couple of vases of flowers to play with and to try and get the building manager to take, though as they probably came from a Pound Shop they “they were perhaps a little plastic and tacky looking compared to the one that had been broken the previous week.”

The building manager refused to take the replacements, but later made the mistake of grabbing hold of one which was thrust in his face, “probably by reflex. His face when he found himself holding it was interesting, and he quickly put it down, placing it on the desk in the reception area in the same place as the one knocked off last week, complete with its with a ‘Toffs Out!’ Class War card.” And I was just able to photograph it through the window there on the desk.

More on My London Diary:
Class War Occupy Rich Door
Class War Poor Doors Week 10

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.

Autumn Equinox on Primrose Hill

Thursday, September 23rd, 2021


I’ve photographed the ceremonies performed by Druid Order on the the Spring and Autumn Equinox on several occasions, and feel that interesting though these events are there is little more I can say about either of them. Probably I won’t attend them again, or at least I don’t feel any need to.


The Spring Ceremony takes place at Tower Hill and the Autumn at the top of Primrose Hill, which is a rather more atmospheric location with its extensive view of London. Tower Hill does have the Tower of London in the background, but not a great view of it, and the actual yard in which the ceremony takes place has all the appeal of any urban car park. In some earlier years there was something of a procession through city streets, but more recently the preparation has taken place in a hall of the adjacent church.


The Druids get ready for the Autumn ceremony under some splendid trees on the edge of the park and process to the top of the hill for the ceremony. My pictures in 2007 concentrated on describing the various stages of the event and I think do so well. Here I’ll post just a few of them but you can see the rest online – link below.


In 2014 I also showed the various stages of the ceremony, but managed to also show more of the druids and their getting ready for the event. I also took a monopod with me (as I had also in 2013) and was able to use it to hold a camera around 10 ft above ground to get a better picture showing the druid circle with the view of London in the distance.


I also talked more to some of those taking part before and after the event, and wrote a longer than usual introduction to the pictures describing the ceremony and giving some of the history of Druidism and the Druid Order.

Autumn Equinox on Primrose Hill


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.

Sculpture and more – Battersea &Chelsea 1988

Wednesday, September 22nd, 2021

Sculpture, In Town, John Ravera, Battersea Bridge, Wandsworth, 1988 88-5f-12-positive_2400
Sculpture, In Town, John Ravera, Battersea Bridge, Wandsworth, 1988 88-5f-12

My next walk in London on the following Friday started where I had finished the previous Sunday. I think I’d finished my teaching for the week at midday and jumped on a train to Clapham Junction then a bus to Battersea Bridge. I got off on the south side of the bridge to photograph a couple of pieces of sculpture and to enjoy the walk across the river.

Sculpture, In Town, John Ravera, Battersea Bridge, Wandsworth, 1988 88-5f-15-positive_2400
Sculpture, In Town, John Ravera, Battersea Bridge, Wandsworth, 1988 88-5f-15

The first piece, just the the west of the bridge was the sculpture In Town by John Ravera (1941-2006), commissioned by Wates Built Homes Ltd who developed the area around it and dates from 1983. Ravera was born in Surrey and went to Camberwell School of Art and created many public sculptures still on display. This one was cast at the Meridian Foundry in Peckham, where two of Britain’s leading art foundries were located in the railway arches between Consort Road and Brayards Road.

Sadly this sculpture is no longer intact, and the dove for which the young child is reaching – the real climax of the piece – has gone.

Two swans, Catherine Marr-Johnson, sculpture, Battersea Bridge, Wandsworth, 1988 88-5g-62-positive_2400
Two swans, Catherine Marr-Johnson, sculpture, Battersea Bridge, Wandsworth, 1988 88-5g-62

On the Thames Path on the other side of Battersea Bridge Road in front of an office block is Two swans, by Catherine Marr-Johnson, born in Crickhowell in Wales in 1945. The two piece sculpture dates from 1984 and the swans taking flight reflected the formation of the new company in front of which it stood.

Two swans, Catherine Marr-Johnson, sculpture, Battersea Bridge, Wandsworth, 1988 88-5g-65-positive_2400
Two swans, Catherine Marr-Johnson, sculpture, Battersea Bridge, Wandsworth, 1988 88-5g-65

I think on this visit I didn’t have a lens with a wide enough angle of view to take the picture I wanted with the pair of swans taking off across the river, though I returned at a later date to do so. It was rather easier to show both from the front, but not so satisfying as you can see if you browse the album.

Old Church St, Kensington & Chelsea, 1988 88-5g-56-positive_2400
Former Dairy, Old Church St, Kensington & Chelsea, 1988 88-5g-56

I walked across the bridge and began taking pictures in Chelsea, including one of a house decorated with tiles at 46 Old Church St and, between the second floor windows a cows head, with another cows head on the building down the alley by its side, which is dated 1908, though it could be the date a much older building was restored.

Wrights Diary was first set up in 1796 with around 50 cows and a goat, though it moved slightly west to this site in the 1800s. Cows were kept here into the 20th century but eventually milk production moved completely out of London. The company was eventually bought by United Dairies probably in the 1950s. Their properties on Old Church St became shops but the courtyard building was converted into a recording studio, Sound Techniques which was in business from 1964-74, where, according to Metro Girl, “Among the acts to record at Sound Techniques Ltd included Sir Elton John, The Who, Jethro Tull, Judy Collins, Tyrannosaurus Rex and John Cale.” as well as Pink Floyd and Nick Drake.

Justice Walk, Chelsea, Kensington & Chelsea, 1988 88-5g-41-positive_2400
Justice Walk, Chelsea, Kensington & Chelsea, 1988 88-5g-41

The picture looks up from Justice Walk into Lawrence St, and was probably named as the home of John Gregory, a Justice of the Peace, who possibly lived in the house which now has the name Judges House. An imposing building on the street, named The Court House has had many stories told about it by estate agents and others about trying highway robbers and other criminals is a former Wesleyan Methodist Chapel built in 1841 and used as a church until 1903.

This corner is the former site from 1750-84 of the Chelsea china works, demolished at the end of the 18th century. It was the first factory outside of Japan and China to produce high quality porcelain. Should you wish to walk around this area I recommend Adam Yamey’s Where A Judge Once Walked In Chelsea from which much of the information above comes. Nothing like this was available to me when I was walking around in 1988 before the days of the World Wide Web.

Lawrence St, Cheyne Walk, Chelsea, Kensington & Chelsea, 1988 88-5g-42-positive_2400
Lawrence St, Cheyne Walk, Chelsea, Kensington & Chelsea, 1988 88-5g-42

Lawrence St took me back to Cheyne Walk, and on the corner was this side of Carlyle Mansions, No 54 Cheyne Walk, dated 1886 and named after Thomas Carlyle who lived nearby. The white-painted stone relief panels with cranes and flowers date from 1888.

The block is nicknamed the “Writers’ Block” and has been home to authors including Henry James, Somerset Maugham (briefly), Erskine Childers and Ian Fleming who wrote Casino Royal here. Henry James who lived and died in Flat 19 described his flat as his “Chelsea Perch…the haunt of the sage and the seagull“.

Untitled, bas-relief, Jacob Epstein, sculpture, Ropers Gardens, Chelsea Embankment, Chelsea, 88-5g-45-positive_2400
Untitled, bas-relief, Jacob Epstein, sculpture, Ropers Gardens, Chelsea Embankment, Chelsea, 88-5g-45

More sculpture close to the riverside in Ropers Gardens – this by Jacob Epstein.

Awakening, Gilbert Ledward, nude, sculpture, Ropers Gardens, Chelsea Embankment, Chelsea, Kensington & Chelsea, 1988 88-5g-33-positive_2400
Awakening, Gilbert Ledward, nude, sculpture, Ropers Gardens, Chelsea Embankment, Chelsea, Kensington & Chelsea, 1988 88-5g-33

And a rather more realistic nude by Gilbert Ledward in this very artistic area of London. Ledward (1888-1960), born in Chelsea, trained at the Royal College of Art (where he was later a professor) and the Royal Academy Schools and became one of the best-known of British sculptors. His works included many war memorials.

Click on any of the images to go to a larger version in the my album 1988 London photos from where you can browse other images.

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.

Deaths in Eritrea & the UK and a Peace March 2017

Tuesday, September 21st, 2021

Most embassies are in the most expensive parts of London, with a large number around Belgrave Square and others in Mayfair. Eritrea’s is in Islington and I can only recall once having been to a protest outside it. There should be more, particularly by jounalists, as Eritrea, a one-party state ruled by presient Isais Afwerki since independence in 1993, has one of the worst human rights records and, according to Reporters Without Borders, has the worst press freedom in the world. In 2001 all independent media in the country were banned and politicians and ten leading journalists were arrested and thrown into isolation without charge, without trial and without contact with the outside world. Nobody knows their whereabouts and only four were thought to be still alive in 2017.

Those still alive are still in jail and have now been held for 20 years, along with other journalists imprisoned since then. Very little is known about most of them with no official information being released, other than government denials that some have been tortured, which are widely disbelieved. They are held in jails where torture is commonplace. In December 2020, 28 Jehohova’s witnesses, some of whom had been in jail for 26 years were released, raising hopes of the families of journalists, but there have been no further releases.

On Thursday 21st September 2017 there were 12 chairs set out at the protest across the street from the Eritrean Embassy, one four each of the journalists jailed in 2001, with photographs of them all. Protesters sat on four of the chairs, representing those thought still to be alive.

I went to another protest about deaths in prisons, this time in the UK. It was called at short notice after a Chinese man in Dungavel immigration detention centre. This followed the death earlier this month at Harmondsworth detention centre of a Polish man who took his own life after the Home Office refused to release him despite the courts having granted him bail. There have been thirty-one deaths in immigration removal centres since 1989.

Britain is the only EU country which holds refugees and asylum seekers to indefinite detention, and both official reports and media investigations have criticised the conditions at these immigration prisons. The protest outside the Home Office called for an end to immigration detention, which is inhumane and makes it difficult or impossible for asylum cases to be fairly assessed.

Stop Killing Londoners blocked traffic briefly in a carefully planned operation in Trafalgar Square, which involved the simultaneous stopping of traffic at all five entrances to the road system. As in previous events, it was a token block, holding up traffic for less time than it gets halted by congestion on some busy days, and around ten minutes after it began they moved off the road, returning a few minutes later for a short ‘disco protest’, dancing on the road on the east side of the square for a few minutes until police asked them to move.

The protest was to publicise the illegal levels of air pollution in the capital which result in 9,500 premature deaths and much suffering from respiratory disease. It was one of a series of similar protests in various areas of London.

I hurried down from Trafalgar Square to Westminster Bridge, going across it just in time to meet the World Peace Day Walk as several hundred campaigners walk arrived having walked beside the Thames from Borough Market carrying white flowers. The London Peace Walk was one of a number takeing place in Barcelona, Paris and other cities around the world on World Peace Day.

The marchers wore black and walked in silence to grieve for the recent loss of precious life due to violence in all forms, including terrorist, state, corporate, domestic. They stated that there can be no peace without justice, equality and dignity for all and that “We stand together against the forces of hate and division – for peace.” At the end of their march they went onto Westminster Bridge and threw flowers and petals into the Thames.

More at:
World Peace Day Walk
Trafalgar Square blocked over pollution
No More Deaths in immigration detention
Free forgotten jailed Eritrean Journalists

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.