Archive for August, 2022

Hindu Festival and Heathrow Protest 2007

Friday, August 19th, 2022

Back in 2007, My London Diary’s text was still firmly stuck in lower case – an affectation perhaps reflecting my admiration for the work of ee cummings, whose works, though not completely free of capitals used rather less than the normal quota, but I did it more to speed up my use of the keyboard. I’ve corrected at least most of the capitalisation in the following account I wrote back then about the events I photographed on Sunday 19th August 2007. When I set out I hadn’t intended to go to Heathrow – their restrictive media policy had put me off, but a police search changed my mind.


Janam Ashtami Shobha Yaatra – Shri Krishna’s Birthday, Shree Ram Mandir, Southall

On Sunday 19th August 2007 I cycled through the light rain to the Shree Ram Mandir (Temple Of Lord Rama) in King Street, Southall, which was apparently the first Hindu temple established in Britain, although recently rebuilt. They were holding their Janam Ashtami Shobha Yaatra, a procession in honour of the birth anniversary of Krishna which in 2007 was on September 4th.

I have to admit to finding the Hindu religion confusing, but processions such as this are lively and colourful events even if their full appreciation may require a rather different mindset to mine.

it is easy to share the feelings of celebration and of community, and to feel the welcome given by so many. I also met for the first time the newly elected MP for Ealing Southall who held the seat for labour in last month’s by-election, Virendra Sharma, taking part in the procession; many were eager to pose for their picture with him.

Many more pictures on My London Diary


Heathrow Climate Camp Protestors – Bath Road, Sipson Sun 19 Aug 2007

I took a route back from Southall along the north side of Heathrow, close to the climate camp. On my way to Southall, along the Great South West Road which runs along the south-east of the airport, I’d been stopped and searched by police at Hatton Cross. Its a power that police are using more and more – on average around 11,000 a month in London now, and one that makes me feel uneasy. We now seem to be in a kind of police state I’ve certainly never voted for and don’t wish to live in.

I won’t appear in the Met’s figures, despite being searched in London, as the two officers concerned had been drafted in from Surrey for the day. They were polite and we had a pleasant enough conversation, but to me it still seems an unreasonable intrusion – and I think they only did it because they were bored. Under section 44 of the Terrorism Act 2000, the police can search anyone in an area designated as likely to be the subject of a terrorist attack – such as airports. They don’t need to have any grounds to suspect you, being there is enough.

Cycling back along the pavement by the bath road (a shared path) there were rather more police around, but they were too busy with more likely targets to stop me. As I came along the road I found myself riding along with a woman who was obviously hurrying to get somewhere. We both stopped at the same point, opposite where three activists had scaled the side of a small building with a banner reading “MAKE PLANES HISTORY”.

She jumped over the fence between the two carriageways to approach the protesters, while I stayed on the opposite side from where I had a better view. Later she came back to talk to the TV crew beside me and was talking to one of the protesters – obviously she was proud of her daughter’s action.

And she had every right to be proud. we need action over Heathrow, action to prevent the takeover of even more land for the third runway. I’ve long opposed the expansion of Heathrow – and was on the local march against the third runway. Now there shouldn’t even be a possibility of further expansion, but the government must look at ways of running down the activities at Heathrow, or it will be failing not just west London but the world.

Further along the road I found protesters gathering around the British airports authority offices, which were ringed by police. Nothing much seemed to be happening and the media were there in force, so I left the guys to it. I’d previously been upset by the restrictive media policy adopted by the climate camp, which had the effect of preventing sensible photographic coverage of the event. So I was rather less interested than I might otherwise have been in putting myself out to take pictures.

Along the road I met a few groups of demonstrators and did take a few pictures of them, including some on the bridge over the road into the airport, and a couple of the clown army being harassed by a police photo team, but my heart still wasn’t really in it.

The British airways offices had seemed to me a likely place for a confrontation – and obviously the police had thought so too, as teams of black clad figures paced up and down spoiling for a fight, watched over by the guys in uniform and a group of suits. At the top of the mound in front of the offices were a couple of officers on horses.

It was like some painting of the field lining up before a medieval battle, and I wish I’d stopped to take a picture, but they were so obviously looking for trouble I decided I didn’t want the aggravation that this would most likely have caused. For once you will just have to imagine it!

more pictures

Flats, A Square, Bread & Funerals – Walworth

Thursday, August 18th, 2022

This post about my walk on Sunday 13th November continues from Gardens, Neckinger, Silver Sea, Special Girls & Deaf Boys.

Congreve St area, Walworth, Southwark, 1988 88-11c-42-Edit_2400
Congreve St area, Walworth, Southwark, 1988 88-11c-42

Flats, A Square, Bread & Funerals – Walworth 1988
My walk continued on the other side of the Old Kent Road, in Walworth, where late Victorian housing was partly replaced by modern council estates in the 1930s and 1960s. I wandered through the Congreve/Barlow estate getting rather lost, as I often did in such places, where street maps like the miniature A-Z I always carried in a pocket were seldom of much use. The older houses here are in Tatum St, with those at the right further back in Halpin Place.

The passageway in which I was standing is between Ellery House on my right and the longer block of Povey House on my left, both dating from around 1964 and part of Southwark Council’s Barlow Estate.

Congreve St, Walworth, Southwark, 1988 88-11c-43-Edit_2400
Congreve St, Walworth, Southwark, 1988 88-11c-43

Thelow wall at the left in front of Comus House was obviously designed for children to walk on top, and I found a small group doing so. The building on the right at 5 Congreve St is also still there, and has been in use by the Redeemed Christian Church Of God (RCCG) since 1997. I am not sure whether it was still in use as a factory when I made this picture, or what was made there.

I think this was the rear of a site entered from a yard on the Old Kent Road, possibly Preston Close, the front part of which was redeveloped in around 2005. Excavations on that part of the site by the The Museum of London Archaeology Service after it was cleared suggested it might have been the site of a Roman mausoleum.

At the end of the street you can see Townsend Primary School, still very much in use.

Comus House, Congreve St, Walworth, Southwark, 1988 88-11c-44-Edit_2400
Comus House, Congreve St, Walworth, Southwark, 1988 88-11c-44

The block is a part of the Barlow/Congreve Estate and was built in 1957 for Southwark Council. The picture is from the corner of Congreve St and Comus Place.

Surrey Square, Walworth, Southwark, 1988 88-11c-35-Edit_2400
Surrey Square, Walworth, Southwark, 1988 88-11c-35

The blue plaque on 42 Surrey Squareclose to the centre of the picture records that artist Samuel Palmer (1805 – 1881) was born here, just a few years after this street was developed in 1793-4 by architect Michael Searles. His plan included houses around the other three sides of a square but these were never built.

My Surrey Square Park describes this as “the only remaining group of 18th century domestic buildings in Walworth with any pretension to architectural quality“.

A church, All Saints was built in 1864-65 to the designs of R. Parris and S. Field, but damaged by bombing in WW2 and replaced by a rather plain church designed by N F Cachemaille-Day in 1959. This became redundant when parished were merged in 1977 and is now in use as The Church of the Lord (Aladura) and is their Europe Diocese HQ.

I was standing in front of the church with it out of picture to my right as I made this picture which shows the church hall, an Arts and Crafts style building dating from around 1900. It was used for a variety of purposes after the church closed and is since 2019 the Walworth Living Room, a community space.

Dalwoods, Bakers, Bagshot St, Smyrk's Way, Walworth, Southwark, 1988 88-11c-22-Edit_2400
Dalwoods, Bakers, Bagshot St, Smyrk’s Way, Walworth, Southwark, 1988 88-11c-22

Dalwoods Quality Bakers and Quality Confectioners on the corner of Bagshot St and Smyrk’s Way was closed when I made this picture on a Sunday morning but still in business.

Dalwoods, Bakers, Bagshot St, Smyrk's Way, Walworth, Southwark, 1988 88-11c-25-Edit_2400
Dalwoods, Bakers, Bagshot St, Smyrk’s Way, Walworth, Southwark, 1988 88-11c-25

I was rather attracted to the display font used for DALWOODS and BAKERS although I couldn’t put a name to it, perhaps a 1930s Deco touch? Something very similar came free with the first Desk Top Publishing package I taught, and it was one of several of which students would make highly inappropriate use. It rather contrasted to the sold block serifs of ‘HOME MADE BREAD’ above the window, best seen in the previous image.

The shop has changed hands since then and now offers the rather less tasty selection of ‘Hair, Nails, Cosmetics & Fashion Wears’ (sic) as a unisex hair salon and boutique. The shopfront has also been redesigned with smaller windows and canopies over the windows.

Funeral Services, Albany Rd, Walworth, Southwark, 1988 88-11c-26-Edit_2400
Funeral Services, 96 Albany Rd, Walworth, Southwark, 1988 88-11c-26

Another business shopfront, for J W Simpson’s Funeral Service, with the word CREMATIONS over the coach entrance at left, suggesting to me an on-site service for anyone misguided enough to drive into it. The clock had suffered some damaged, with a blank black area above the face where one of the two texts partly visible below had once fitted.

I disliked the fussy little bricks that had been imposed on the front extension of the shop, but they perhaps look less annoying now as the concrete walls around the front garden have gone to make room for a parking space in front of what is still a funeral director. It’s one business that never runs out of clients.

My walk will continue ….


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XR, Hong Kong, Animal Rights & London – 2019

Wednesday, August 17th, 2022

XR, Hong Kong, Animal Rights & London

XR, Hong Kong, Animal Rights & London – 2019 Three years ago today, on Saturday 17th August I made a few journeys around London to photograph protests in Greenwich by Extinction Rebellion and Animal Rights marchers in central London as well as protests supporting Hong Kong’s Freedom marches and Chinese students opposed to them in Westminster.

Royal College and Thames with sailing barge from Greenwich Park, Greenwich. 1982 31p-44: barge, college, palace, river, Thames

My day taking pictures ended in Greenwich Park, where I made the picture at the top of this post, a view looking down the Queen’s House and the Old Royal Naval College and on towards Canary Wharf. I’d made a photograph from a very similar position in 1992 and the pair make an interesting comparison.


XR Rebel Rising March to the Common – Greenwich

XR, Hong Kong, Animal Rights & London

Supporters of South East London Extinction Rebellion met beside the Cutty Sark in Greenwich to march to a two-day festival on Blackheath Common, calling for urgent action on Global climate change.

XR, Hong Kong, Animal Rights & London

Blackheath Common has a long history of involvement in protest. It was here that around 100,000 anti-poll tax rebels gathered under Wat Tyler in 1381, and in 1450 that Jack Cade’s 20,000 Kent and Essex yeomen camped in their revolt against Henry VI’s tax hikes. Neither of these events ended well, nor did the several thousand Cornishmen killed and buried on the common after they rose up against taxes levied to fight the Scots 1497. The Chartists who met here also largely failed, but the Suffragettes did better.

XR, Hong Kong, Animal Rights & London

Ten years earlier, I’d come with Climate Camp to swoop to a secret destination which turned out to be Blackheath Common, and photographed the camp being setup and spent another day there as a part of the Climate Camp documentation team. But that too had failed to spur the UK into any really effective action, though perhaps more lip-service.

The situation by 2019 was clearly critical and Extinction Rebellion were calling on our and other governments to take the urgent actions needed to avoid the extinction of species including our own, and also for local councils to do everything within their powers.

Unfortunately I wasn’t able to stay with the marchers all the way to the festival ground as the march started late, waiting for the samba band to arrive. I had to leave them halfway up the hill and rush back down to the station for a train to central London.

XR Rebel Rising March to the Common


Stand with Hong Kong & opposition – Trafalgar Square

My train took me into Charing Cross and I rushed the short distance to Trafalgar Square where I found a rather confusing situation. It took me a few moments to realise that the first group of Chinese protesters I met were supporters of the Chinese government, but the number of Chinese flags they were waving was an undeniable clue.

There are many Chinese students studying at UK universities, providing a very useful source of finance to these institutions. Most of that money comes from the Chinese government or from families that are very wealthy from their Chinese businesses which depend on that government, and as they intend to return to China have no choice but to come and be seen showing their support for China.

I spent a few minutes photographing their protests, then moved on a few yards to a protest with a very different colour, dominated by yellow posters, banners and umbrellas of the Hong Kong Freedom Movement.

Eventually they set off to march down Whitehall, stopping to protest opposite Downing
St. The Chinese students followed them, but police largely kept the two groups on opposite sides of the road, with the Chinese supporters shouting to try and drown out the speakers opposite.

After a rally at Downing St the Hong Kong freedom protesters moved off towards a final rally in Parliament Square – followed too by some of the Chinese who continued to shout and mock them. But I left to go elsewhere.

Stand with Hong Kong & opposition


Official Animal Rights March 2019

I’d missed the start of the vegan Animal Rights march in Hyde Park, but met them and took some pictures as they came to Trafalgar Square, where they halted, blocking all the roads leading in and out of the square.

This march was organised by the vegan activist collective Surge and non-violent civil disobedience movement Animal Rebellion, who say animal lives matter as much as ours and call for an end to speciesism, and the misuse of animals for food, clothing and sport.

Some of the marchers wore t-shirts with the number 269, the number of a calf on an Israeli diary farm whose number Israeli animal rights activists branded themselves with in a 2012 protest after which 269life became a worldwide movement.

Official Animal Rights March 2019


Charing Cross to Greenwich & Back

Deptford Creek

For once my trains to Blackheath and back from Greenwich after photographing the central London protests both had reasonably clean windows, and I took a number of photographs on the outward and return journeys. Also in this section I included the picture from Greenwich Park at the top of this post, along with a couple of others from much the same position.


Charing Cross to Greenwich

XR Rebel Rising Royal Observatory Die-In – Greenwich

From Blackheath Station I rushed to the Rebel Rising festival on Blackheath Common, arriving just in time for the start of a march from the festival to protest at the Royal Observatory in Greenwich Park.

The march proceeded behind a black banner with the text asking the question ARE WE THE LAST GENERATION? Unfortunately at least for the younger members of the marchers, some of whom were in push-chairs the answer could well be YES.

At the Royal Observatory there was a die-in on the area in front of the gates, the site chosen to symbolise we have zero time left and that we need to act now on climate change. Some taking part had clock faces drawn on their faces and the protest was just a few yards to the east of the markers for the Greenwich meridian, zero longitude.

Many of the tourists passing the protest including those going in and out of the Royal Observatory stopped at least for a few moments on the crowded paths to watch and listen, and many expressed their support for the need to take urgent actions to avoid global climate catastrophe.

Rebel Rising Royal Observatory Die-In


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London Solidarity with Marikana Miners

Tuesday, August 16th, 2022

London Solidarity with Marikana Miners
South Africa House, 16th August 2014

London Solidarity with Marikana Miners Today, 16th August 2022, from 5pm people will be outside South Africa House to remember the massacre ten years ago of 34 striking miners at Lonmin’s Marikana platinum mine, a massacre deliberately planned by South African police working for London mining company Lonmin, whose directors at the time included Cyril Ramaphosa, now President of South Africa.

London Solidarity with Marikana Miners
Outside Lonmin offices, London, 18th August 2012

It was an attack that brought back memories of the Sharpeville massacre of 1960 and the 1976 Soweto Uprising, things we had perhaps thought no longer possible after the overthrow of the white apartheid regime. South Africa may have got rid of its crude system of racial injustice but it was a demonstration that there are still huge differences and exploitation based on wealth and privilege – and of the lengths that those who benefit most from these are willing to go to maintain their position. A naked expression of class war.

London Solidarity with Marikana Miners
South Africa House, 18th August 2012

As usual, Wikipedia gives a detailed account of what took place, although some details are unknown or contested, and my account here largely relies on it. The massacre “was the culmination of a series of violent encounters between the SAPS, Lonmin security, and members of the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) on one side; and strikers on the other.” Various clashes in the five days before it had led to a number of strikers being injured and ten deaths, of “six mine workers, two Lonmin security guards, and two SAPS members.

South Africa House, 16th August 2017

It was not a single massacre on 16th August; police opened fire with their assault rifles on two groups of miners around 500 metres apart, killing seventeen at each of these places. Police say they first tried to control the strikers with water cannons, rubber bullets, stun grenades and tear gas. The miners were largely armed with spears, knives and sticks, but six guns were later found at the site, including one taken from a police officer killed earlier in the week.

South Africa House, 16th August 2018

Police accounts as in this country are seldom reliable, usually decorated or invented to justify and defend their actions. But there were more independent observers. A Reuters photographer present does confirm that he saw one of the strikers firing a pistol before the police opened fire. The noted South African journalist Greg Marinovich who investigated the scene closely found that some of the miners killed were shot at close range or crushed by police vehicles, but most were targeted and killed from around 300 metres, concluding “It is becoming clear to this reporter that heavily armed police hunted down and killed the miners in cold blood.” Other reports say police shot and killed miners who had their hands up in surrender.

South Africa House, 16th August 2019

270 miners were arrested and charged with ‘public violence’ which was later changed to murder, using the doctrine of “common purpose”. Most of those arrested complained that they were beaten in custody. Eventually after great public outcry the charges were dropped and most of those arrested released.

South Africa House, 16th August 2014

A commission was set up into the massacre, though many feel it made its inquiries after the authorities had time to cover up and falsify evidence. And although it made recommendations none has been implemented and no prosecutions have followed. You can watch a recent long interview with Rehad Desai, derector of the documentary film ‘Miners Shot Down‘ (Trailer here) from a few days ago on YouTube, Marikana Massacre | A decade later, still no justice.

South Africa House, 16th August 2014

The first protest in London took place two days later on 18th August 2012, when a small group of people marched from the Lonmin offices at Hyde Park Corner to South Africa House in Trafalgar Square.

Lonmin HQ, London, 16th August 2017

There have been protests each year on or close to the anniversary, with vigils outside South Africa House, where security have often come to harass those holding the events. But after the offices there have closed for the day and the security are off-duty people put flowers and pictures of the murdered miners on the gates and walls.

South Africa House, 16th August 2017

And there are speeches and songs and a silence. Some years those taking part have included guests from the Marikana women’s organisation Sikhala Sonke (We Cry Together), including Primrose Nokulunga Sonti who have joined those from various African and UK organisation members at the vigil.

National Gallery, Tate, Sikhs, Kashmir, Iran, Sewol & Sotheby’s

Monday, August 15th, 2022
National Gallery, Tate, Sikhs, Kashmir, Iran, Sewol & Sotheby's

National Gallery, Tate, Sikhs, Kashmir, Iran, Sewol & Sotheby’s. I thought to myself “nothing much ever happens in London in the middle of August” as I began to think about writing this post for August 15th. Then I looked back in my diary to 2015 and found out just how wrong I was, and there were also some other years where I’ve photographed several events. But on August 15th 2015 I photographed seven protests as well as taking a few pictures as I walked around London.

National Gallery, Tate, Sikhs, Kashmir, Iran, Sewol & Sotheby's

Three of the protests in 2015 were about labour disputes, all in the cultural sector, at the National Gallery, Tate Modern and Sothebys, while the other four were over things outside the UK, in India, Kashmir, Iran and South Korea. Just another day in London.


National Gallery 61st day of Strike – Trafalgar Square

National Gallery, Tate, Sikhs, Kashmir, Iran, Sewol & Sotheby's
Candy Udwin, PCS rep

It was the 61st day of the strike by PCS members at the National Gallery against the privatisation which will outsource the 400 galley assistants in what is called “modernisation” but which actually is just a cost-cutting exercise.

National Gallery, Tate, Sikhs, Kashmir, Iran, Sewol & Sotheby's

People who work at the gallery would no longer be employed by the gallery and would lose the terms and conditions they currently have from a responsible employer. Outsourcing companies cut costs and extract their profits from the contracts by increasing workload and reducing pay and conditions for the workers, treating them extremely poorly in ways that a public body such as the National Gallery itself never would.

The dispute had also become one demanding the reinstatement of PCS union rep Candy Udwin, sacked for her trade union activities. The PCS picket who had arrived earlier as on every strike day were joined by supporters from other unions.


Equalitate at Tate Modern – Bankside

From Trafalgar Square I took a bus to St Paul’s Churchyard and then walked across the footbridge to Bankside and Tate Modern. There and at Tate Britain visitor assistants whose work has already been outsourced get £3 an hour less than directly employed colleagues, are on zero hours contracts and get far inferior employment rights.

This was the first public demonstration by Equalitate, who supported by the PCS are fighting to get equal pay and conditions for all staff doing the same job. They stood on the busy public riverside walkway in front of the gallery and handed out fliers. Many who took them were shocked to hear about the unfair treatment, but mainly they were tourists and not UK residents.


Sikhs call for release of political prisoners – Indian High Commission

A shorter bus ride took me back to Aldwych and the Indian High Commission. It was Indian Independence Day and Sikh protesters from Dal Khalsa were there supporting the call by hunger striker Bapu Surat Singh, for the release of Sikh political prisoners and for the ‘2020’ campaign for a referendum for an independent Sikh state, Khalistan. He is 82 and began his hunger strike on 16th January, 8 months ago.

The Sikhs are the “indigenous people of Punjab” and say they “have a historical homeland, a separate religion and have the right to self-determination” which was ignored at the time of the 1947 partition of India, with their land being split between India and Pakistan. They intended to hold the referendum in the state of Punjab and among Sikh diaspora living in America, Canada, United Kingdom, European Union, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Philippines, Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, Kenya and Middle Eastern Countries.


Kashimiris Indian Independence Day call for freedom – Indian High Commission

Kashimiris were also protesting at the Indian High Commission on what is celebrated in Kashmir not as ‘independence day’, but as ‘black day’ against the Indian military occupation of much of their country. There are also areas of this disputed country occupied by Pakisatn and China.

There is one Indian soldier for every 14 Kashmiris in the country, and more than 100,000 people have been killed since the current uprising against Indian occupation began in 1987. Many Kashmiris, including women and children have been tortured and some deliberatly maimed or blinded by the Indian Army. Pakistan has been less repressive with fewer human rights violations in the areas it controls, but also has a policy of continuous suppression, exploitation and bullying of Kashmiris.


Kurdish PJAK remembers its martyrs – Trafalgar Square

Another short journey took me back to Trafalgar Square, where on one part of the North Terrace Iranian Kurds from the Party of Free Life of Kurdistan (PJAK) were remembering its fighters killed in the fight against Iran and ISIS for self-determination.

There are a bewildering array of Iranian Kurdish political groups listed on the UK government web site, including the PJAK. Like the PKK, PJAK owes allegiance to Abdullah Öcalan and the ideals of the Rojava revolution and was possibly an offshoot of the PKK, but unlike them is not banned in the UK as its activities are directed largely agains Iran. It operates from northern Iraq. According to the UK government site it reached a ceasefire with the Iranian authorities in 2011 but is still engaging in underground activities in Iran.


16th ‘Stay Put’ Sewol silent protest – Trafalgar Square

A small group, mainly Koreans continute its monthly silent vigils to remember the victims of the Sewol ferry tragedy, mainly school children who obeyed the order to ‘Stay Put‘ on the lower decks as the ship went down. The call on the Korean government to raise the ship for a thorough inquire, to punish those responsible and bring in regulations to prevent similar tragedies in future.


United Voices – Reinstate the Sotheby’s 2 – Mayfair

I met members of the United Voices of the World trade union at Oxford Circus, along with other supporters including Paula Peters of DPAC and Candy Udwin, the victimised PCS rep from the National Gallery and some of the other PCS strikers, Class War and others.

They marched from there to protest against Sotheby’s who had sacked two union members, Barbara and Percy, for protesting for proper sick pay, paid holidays and pensions.

Police harassed the marchers and stopped them outside Sotheby’s attempting to move them onto the pavement on the opposite side of the road. The marchers sat down and blocked the road, ignoring the police requests. It’s a very minor route with plenty of alternatives but in a very wealthy area.

Finally they got up and marched around the block, with union officials Vera and Petros going into shops on the way and handing out leaflets explaining why the UVW were continuing to take action against Sotheby’s and asking shop owners and workers to complain to them. Police harassed them and tried to stop them doing this.

They returned to the street in front of Sotheby’s for a short rally – with again police trying without success to move them off the road – and then set off to march around the block again. This time police made an effort to stop them marching, holding UVW leader Petros Elia, and blocking the road, but other protesters simply walked past them on the pavement and marched around the block again.

They returned for a final short rally in front of Sotheby’s before deciding it was time to finish and marching back to an alley close to Oxford Circus, where and I was pleased to at last be able to go home.


You can find more pictures and text on these at the links below on My London Diary, where there are also a few more ‘London Views’, mostly taken from the top of buses, my favourite way of travelling around the city when it is too far to walk. But London’s traffic congestion means the Underground is often much faster.

United Voices – Reinstate the Sotheby’s 2
16th ‘Stay Put’ Sewol silent protest
Kurdish PJAK remembers its martyrs
Kashimiris Independence Day call for freedom
Sikhs call for release of political prisoners
Equalitate at Tate Modern
London Views
National Gallery 61st day of Strike


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Gardens, Neckinger, Silver Sea, Special Girls & Deaf Boys

Sunday, August 14th, 2022

This post about my walk on Sunday 13th November continues from A Mission, More Bermondsey St & Guinness

Leathermarket Gardens, Bermondsey, Southwark, 1988 88-11b-52-Edit_2400
Leathermarket Gardens, Bermondsey, Southwark, 1988 88-11b-52

Gardens, Neckinger, Silver Sea, Special Girls & Deaf Boys – 1988

We have the Luftwaffe to thank for Leathermarket Gardens, opened to replace a bombsite where formerly there had been a tannery and a warehouses in 1958. Kids at that time had long been making their own adventure playgrounds on derelict sites such as this, it was then opened by the council as a public garden with a rather tamer children’s play area. Perhaps the wooden posts on the mound here are the remains of parts of this. The shed-like building at left is Bermondsey Village Hall, a community centre run by a trust and I think fairly recently erected when I made this picture.

To the right of the hall is the Guiness Trust’s Snow Fields Estate block, and towering above that Guy’s Hospital. Now I think the Shard would be higher still.

Morocco St,  Bermondsey, Southwark, 198888-11b-54-Edit_2400
Morocco St, Bermondsey, Southwark, 1988 88-11b-54

Mastermail House was the home of Direct Addressing Ltd at 8 Morocco St, and has I think been completely replaced by more recent buildings. It is now at the back of the White Cube Gallery on Bermondsey St, and the street leads on to City Walk developed around 2007, its blocks of flats including Antonine Heights. Properties here have been found to have similar cladding to Grenfell Tower.

Back in 1988 Morocco Street was a dead end, but you can now walk through along City Walk to Long Lane.

Neckinger House, Neckinger Estate, Neckinger, Bermondsey, Southwark, 1988 88-11b-31-Edit_2400
Neckinger House, Neckinger Estate, Neckinger, Bermondsey, Southwark, 1988 88-11b-31

These two arches on the entrance to a council estate reminded me of whalebone arches I had walked under in Whitby. At the left you can see the word SHELTER on the wall, a residue from World War 2. These flats were typical of the large council blocks built in the mid-1930s by Bermondsey Borough Council.

Although my contact sheet confidently states this was the Aylwin Estate, I now recognise it as Neckinger House on the Neckinger Estate, on Neckinger, named after the river now long underground, close to the end of Grange Walk. This large estate was completed in 1938 on the site of old tanneries.

Abbey St, Bermondsey, Southwark, 1988 88-11b-33-Edit_2400
Abbey St, Bermondsey, Southwark, 1988 88-11b-33

I turned up Neckinger, taking a picture (not on-line) of the row of Victorian houses leading to the distinctive Victorian pub on the corner with Abbey Street. The Fleece was here from 1869, but closed in 2000, and was then converted to residential use. The buildings next door to the pub are in my picture above and have also survived and been converted. The Silver Sea restaurant was fairly comprehenisively rebuilt around 2009 and the rest, which early had become a garage and hand car wash, shortly after.

The Silver Sea Chinese Restaurant there in 1988 had replaced an earlier eating establishment there in 1940, Mrs Emma Florence Evans Dining Rooms, but 156 was still the premises of W R Jewiss, described in the street directory as a chain tester – but you can read rather more in my picture. Also at 156 in 1940 were Broadbent & Mobbs, motor engineers, but a sign at the end of the building in the picture suggests that Jewiss was by then the only business.

Maltby St,  Bermondsey, Southwark, 1988 88-11b-24-Edit_2400
Maltby St, Bermondsey, Southwark, 1988 88-11b-24

Maltby St leads up to run alongside the long railway viaduct coming from London Bridge station that divides the area in two. The viaduct is still there, but both sides of the street have been completely redeveloped.

Pope St,  Bermondsey, Southwark, 1988 88-11b-12-Edit_2400
Pope St, Bermondsey, Southwark, 1988 88-11b-12

There are still two school gateways on Pope Street, one with the legend SCHOOL-KEEPER and this one for SPECIAL GIRLS. The building behind them is now Old School House but most of the rest of the large school site has been redeveloped.

Pope Street gets its name not from the Vatican but from Sir Thomas Pope (c1507-1559) who was one of those responsible for confiscating the properties of religious institutions and somehow managed to end up owning around 30 of them. One was Bermondsey Abbey, and he demolished most of it to build himself a grand mansion, Bermondsey House, where Queen Elizabeth came to visit him in 1570. Later he sold it to the Earls of Sussex. It was in a rather unsavoury area, particularly with the smells from the tanneries and the house was neglected, eventually became a ruin which was demolished in 1820.

Almost the whole block between Tanner St, Riley Road and bounded on two sides by Pope St was occupied by Riley Street Schools, with a fine tall four floor building from 1874 on the corner of Tanner St and Riley St. Later this became part of Southwark College and was then demolished, I think in the 1990s. Part of the site in the early twentieth century was Riley Street Mentally Defective Council School – and it may be this was what made the girls “special”.

Deaf Boys, Old Kent Rd, Bermondsey, Southwark, 1988 88-11c-41-Edit_2400
Deaf Boys, Old Kent Rd, Bermondsey, Southwark, 1988 88-11c-41

I think I walked back down Tower Bridge Road to the Bricklayers Arms and then along to the junction with Albany Street without taking any more pictures, though I may well have taken a bus. I wandered around a few streets then walked back west to where I found another school gate, this one reading DEAF BOYS.

This gate is still there just off the Old Kent Rd in Mason St, but it has lost its legend and the upper parts of the wall, and now leads into the back of Charlotte Court on the Old Kent Road, a gated Victorian school conversion.

This was the site of the innovative Asylum for the Support and Education of the Deaf and Dumb Children of the Poor, and Mason St takes its name from the Rector of Bermondsey Henry Cox Mason who joined with the Dissenting Minister of Bermondsey John Townsend (whose street is on the east of the site) to found the Asylum in 1792 in a smaller rented building on Grange Rd. The school moved to its own building on this site in 1809,

The asylum was rebuilt in 1886 and most of the activities moved to a larger site at Margate and the Old Kent Road building again remodelled, with the ground floor used for physically handicapped children and the second floor for the deaf. It was taken over by the LCC in 1904 and finally closed in 1968.

More from this walk in a later post.


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Marikana, Bangladesh, Bahrain & Brazil – 2018

Saturday, August 13th, 2022

Marikana, Bangladesh, Bahrain & Brazil – 2018. One of the joys of London is its multi-cultural nature with so many people from different countries and nationalities working here and many for various reasons choosing to make a new life in the city, and the four protests I photographed on Monday 13th August 2018 reflected that diversity.

Marikana, Bangladesh, Bahrain & Brazil - 2018

London has long been a cosmopolitan place, and has a long history of welcoming people fleeing from persecution and oppression, certainly from the days of the Huguenots and in the late nineteenth century the Jews fleeing pogroms in Eastern Europe. London has also memorials to a number of the liberators of South America who were given refuge here, as well as European revolutionaries such as Karl Marx and Giuseppe Mazzini.

Marikana, Bangladesh, Bahrain & Brazil - 2018

In the twentieth century things began to change, beginning with the Aliens Act 1905 which was aimed at denying entry to ‘undesirable’ Jewish and Eastern European immigrants. But subjects of the British Empire still had free movement, though restrictions were tightened up against those from South Asia after the First World War.

After the Second World War we needed immigrant workers to run public services but also began to set up tight barriers against immigration from the Commonwealth. In the current century we have clearly racist anti-immigrant policies and now even plans to forcibly deport asylum seekers to Rwanda.

There are now many different national communities living in London, often gathered mainly in particular areas of the city. And from these are many groups still highly concerned about events in their countries including some who have come here as political refugees. Often their concerns are shared with others on the left in the UK who come to protest with them.


Justice For Marikana – 6th Anniversary – City of London

Marikana, Bangladesh, Bahrain & Brazil - 2018

South Africa was once a key part of the British Empire, and its mines in particular contributed greatly to the wealth of London and many mining companies are still based in the city. The earliest demonstrations I attended were against British companies and the UK government who supported Apartheid and these and the boycott continued for many years.

34 Striking miners were shot dead by South African police at Lonmin’s Marikana platinum mine in 2012, and three days before the 6th anniversary of the massacre the Marikana Solidarity Collective organised a tour of the City of London protesting outside the premises of investors, insurers and major shareholders profiting from the violence against people and nature in Marikana.

Lonmin plc was founded in London in 1909 as The London and Rhodesian Mining and Land Company Limited and became a huge company. As well as mines the company diversified its interests and for 12 years from 1981-93 was the owner of the Observer newspaper. Even Prime Minister Edward Heath described the company, then notorious as Lonrho, in 1973 as “an unpleasant and unacceptable face of capitalism” for its busting of sanctions against Rhodesia.

The protesters carried banners and large portraits of some of the murdered miners. They met up at St Paul’s Cathedral and then left to march to the offices of several investors, insurers and shareholders profiting from the violence at Marikana, calling for those responsible to be brought to justice and for reparations to be made to their dependents and to those survivors who were injured and arrested. The tour ended outside the London offices of BASF who are the major customers for the platinum mined at Marikana.

Justice For Marikana – 6th Anniversary


Release Bangladeshi opposition leader Khaleda Zia -Downing St

The Bangladeshi Nationalist Party UK protested opposite Downing St for the release of their party leader, Begum Khaleda Zia, jailed in February for five years for embezzlement of international funds donated to Zia Orphanage Trust.

Khaleda Zia was the First Lady of Bangladesh during the presidency of her husband Ziaur Rahman who founded the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) in the late 1970s, was Bangladesh’s first female head of government from 1991-6 after the BNP won the country’s first democratic election in 20 years, and served as prime minister later in 2001-6.

The BNP claim the charge against her was politically motivated. Her son has also been sentenced to 10 years in jail but remains in London. Some Bangladeshi friends say there is little to chose between Zia and her rival, Sheikh Hasina Wazed, leader of the Awami League and Prime Minister of Bangladesh since January 2009. They say both are corrupt and neither represents the interests of the people of their country.

Release Bangladeshi opposition leader


Attack on Bahrain Embassy hunger striker – Bahrain Embassy, Belgrave Sq

Inminds Islamic human rights organisation protested outside the Bahrain embassy after an attack in the early hours of the previous morning on hunger striker Ali Mushaima who was on hunger strike there since the start of August to save the life of his father Hassan Mushaima, one of the leaders of the 2011 mass movement that peacefully called for human rights and democratic reforms in Bahrain.

Inminds had protested in support of the Ali Mushima three days earlier, calling for the release of his father and all the other 5000 Bahraini prisoners of conscience languishing in the Al-Khalifa regimes jails and for and end of the dictatorship’s crimes against the Bahraini people.

Police had failed to properly investigate the early morning attack when a bucket of an unknown liquid was thrown over the hunger striker on the pavement below from the Ambassador’s balcony, but came to harass the protesters, trying to prevent them protesting in front of the balcony.

The protesters refused to move and then performed a rather unrehearsed short play in which Theresa May sold arms to the Bahraini dictator which he used to shoot protesters, who were then chained up. Unlike in real life the International Criminal Court came to their rescue, released them and condemned the Bahraini regime for their crimes against humanity.

Attack on Bahrain Embassy hunger striker


Free Lula – Brazilians for Democracy & Justice – Brazilian Embassy, Cockspur St, St. James’s

Brazilians protested outside the Brazilian embassy calling for the release of Lula – Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva – the former trade union leader who was President of Brazil from 2003-11 in order to enable him to stand for election again in October 2018.

The right-wing Brazilian government had brought highly dubious charges against both then President Dilma Rousseff and Lula to impeach Dilma in 2016 for what was not an impeachable offence and to send Lula to prison in an attempt to prevent the Worker’s Party (TP) winning in the forthcoming elections.

Unfortunately he was not able to stand in 2018, and the far-right Bolsonaro became President. But Lula was released pending appeal in November 2019 and in March 2021 the Brazil Supreme Court ruled the judge in his trial was biased and the following month restored his political rights and all his convictions were nullified. He is now the front runner for the 2022 presidential elections.


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A Mission, More Bermondsey St & Guinness

Friday, August 12th, 2022

This post about my walk on Sunday 13th November continues from Fellmongers, Kennels, Snakes and Thomas A’Becket 1988.

Central Hall, South London Mission, Methodist Church, Bermondsey St, Bermondsey, Southwark, 1988 88-11a-53-Edit_2400
Central Hall, South London Mission, Methodist Church, Bermondsey St, Bermondsey, Southwark, 1988 88-11a-53

A Mission, More Bermondsey St & Guinness

Bermondsey Central Hall, BCH has been on the corner of Bermondsey Street and Decima Street since 1900 and still boasts a thriving congregation. The Methodist South London Mission has been in the area a little longer, beginning in 1889 and still providing vital services for the community, supporting mothers and children and runnning a 32 room hostel offering low cost accommodation to both working people and students.

Central Hall, South London Mission, Methodist Church, Bermondsey St, Bermondsey, Southwark, 1988 88-11a-54-Edit_2400
Central Hall, South London Mission, Methodist Church, Bermondsey St, Bermondsey, Southwark, 1988 88-11a-54

Back in 1988 it was offering ‘Free Beef and Butter’ to those in need and it now is a partner and distribution center for the Southwark Foodbank PECAN, a local charity, based in Peckham.

Bermondsey St, Bermondsey, Southwark, 1988 88-11a-46-Edit_2400
Bermondsey St, Bermondsey, Southwark, 1988 88-11a-46

I walked again up Bermondsey St. It was earlier in the day than my previous visit and the low sun was shining obliquely on the properties on its west side, among them George, a hairdressers at 126 and The Three Day Service Ltd, Printers and Stationers at 124. A stone higher up on these buildings has the initials PD and date 1828 and they are Grade II listed. The gate at the right of the picture led to Black Eagle Yard with several workshops, but the gap in the street was filled in 2015 with a passable imitation of the listed frontages and is now called Renaissance Court, though seven years later the wide gate area still looks unfinished.

Morocco St, Bermondsey St, Bermondsey, Southwark, 1988 88-11a-32-Edit_2400
Morocco St, Bermondsey St, Bermondsey, Southwark, 1988 88-11a-32

The corner of Morocco St, leading off to the left of the picture and Bermondsey St, with the Grocery shop of M & K Co Ltd, trading as R E Dawson. On the left you can just see one of the horses heads on the frontage of the garage on Morocco St. This is another place where a gap has been filled in with a new building in a very similar styl. The two brick-filled windows are now actual windows – Window Tax ended in 1851 and this building, now called Lantern House, may date from before this. The hoarding, then with a cigarette advert, has also of course gone.

Bermondsey St, Bermondsey, Southwark, 1988 88-11a-35-Edit_2400
Bermondsey St, Bermondsey, Southwark, 1988 88-11a-35

I couldn’t resist taking more pictures of these fine listed properties – my favourite building on the street which I’ve written more about on an earlier walk.

Bermondsey St, Bermondsey, Southwark, 1988 88-11a-22-Edit_2400
Bermondsey St, Bermondsey, Southwark, 1988 88-11a-22

Ash & Ash Ltd are still listed in trade directories on the web at this address, and appear to have been printers, later moving into the sale of computer peripherals. But other companies have their offices in these buildings.

Bermondsey St, Bermondsey, Southwark, 1988 88-11b-53-Edit_2400
Bermondsey St, Bermondsey, Southwark, 1988 88-11b-53

I turned off Bermondsey St just before the railway and went west along Snowsfields.

Guinness Trust Buildings, Snowsfields, Bermondsey, Southwark, 1988 88-11b-63-Edit_2400
Guinness Trust Buildings, Snowsfields, Bermondsey, Southwark, 1988 88-11b-63

A little way along are these fine tenement blocks. There is an extensive history of the Guiness Trust online. In 1889, philanthropist Sir Edward Cecil Guinness, the great grandson of the founder of the Guinness Brewery, gave £200,000 to set up The Guinness Trust in London as well as another trust in Dublin. This was a huge sum of money, the equivalent of around £20 million allowing for inflation.

The money enabled them to build eight tenement estates in the first 11 years, providing 2,597 homes for London’s working class, or at least those working men who were earning around 20 shillings a week, although they wanted to make homes that even the poorest families could afford.

Their Snows Fields estate opened in 1898, with 355 tenements including 830 rooms and by 1900 there were almost 1600 people living here. They had cost around £78,000 to build, including tht cost of the land. The South Eastern Railway provided £4,000 as presumably some of its workers were to live there. The flats were modernised in the 1950s and 1970s.

My walk will continue in a later post.


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I Still Quite Like Peckham

Thursday, August 11th, 2022

I Still Quite Like Peckham

I Still Quite Like Peckham. Every time I visit Peckham I’m impressed by the vibrancy of Rye Lane, though perhaps if I lived there I might sometimes want to get away from the music, both live and recorded that assailed me from almost every street corner and some places between when I walked down to the Peckham Rye Station a few Saturdays ago.

I Still Quite Like Peckham

I didn’t take any photographs then – I was hurrying to catch a train, nor on my previous visit a few weeks earlier on my way to Nunhead Cemetery, but I have on some previous occasions, particularly on Saturday 11 Aug, 2007 when things were rather different and the ‘I love Peckham’ festival was in full swing. Here’s the piece I wrote about this on My London Diary and just a few of the pictures I also posted – you can see many more on the web site. The links I’ve left in the piece are all to other posts on that site, and I’ve kept the lower case only style I then used, but have corrected the odd typo.

I Love Peckham

Peckham, Saturday 11 Aug, 2007

I Still Quite Like Peckham

‘i love peckham’ is a festival backed by southwark council and based around the centre of peckham. although peckham has had a bad press – particularly over the murder of young damilola taylor in november 2000, and more recent violence on the streets, many parts of it are pleasant streets and vibrant shopping areas. recent investment – particularly since the murder – has led to a number of improvements.

I Still Quite Like Peckham

one of the more succesful regeneration projects has been in the bellenden road area which is home to a number of artists including tom phillips and antony gormley, both of whom have been involved in brightening up the streets.

I Still Quite Like Peckham

but there are still estates with corners that can hide dangers, and times when its wise to cross the road to avoid the dealers in their cars. it’s an area where it pays to be streetwise.

I Still Quite Like Peckham

as well as the activities in the square by the library and at the top of rye lane i photographed on saturday there were also other events, including a series of shop window displays.

I Still Quite Like Peckham

Like the other folks carrying built-in cameras on their latest mobile phones i did photograph some of these, but often felt that some of the other windows which had their normal displays were more interesting. but then i’ve always had an interest in shop windows, which feature strongly in projects such as ‘ideal café, cool blondes and paradise.

Kensal Green, 1988 from Ideal Café, Cool Blondes & Paradise

ideal café, cool blondes and paradise

on the main stage by peckham library were performances by indian musicians, a samba group and some young dancers from peckham. around the square were a number of sofas specially decorated for the occasion, many of which were greatly appreciated.

I Still Quite Like Peckham

this was the third annual i love peckham festival, but the previous ones had been blighted by british weather; today the sun shone on us at least most of the time, and the beach at times looked almost tropical.

The Human Rights Jukebox at Camberwell Green, 16 June 2007

i stopped off on the way home at the south london gallery, where the installation of isa suarez‘s human rights jukebox was coming to an end. i was pleased i’d stopped by to watch the video of the event and to have a beer and talk to a few of those involved with the project, including isa herself. i still find it mildly amusing to see myself on film, and there were glimpses of me (mainly my back) taking pictures, walking in the march, generally scurrying around and rather too lengthy a shot as i munched on a wholemeal sandwich.

despite these few moments, it was interesting to see the event again and from a different viewpoint. i was sorry i had to rush off to be home with friends.
more pictures


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Fellmongers, Kennels, Snakes and Thomas A’Becket 1988

Wednesday, August 10th, 2022

This post on my walk on Sunday 13th November continues from Bricklayers Arms, Page’s Walk and Birds of the World 1988.

The Tanners Arms, pub, Willow Walk,   Bermondsey, Southwark, 1988 88-11d-36-Edit_2400
The Tanners Arms, pub, Willow Walk, Bermondsey, Southwark, 1988 88-11d-36

Fellmongers, Kennels, Snakes and Thomas A’Becket 1988

The Tanners Arms at 61 Willow Walk on the corner with Crimscott Street was closed in 2003 and demolished the following year. There had been a pub here since at least 1822 under its previous name, The Fellmongers Arms. Fellmongers were dealers in fells – animal skins – who scraped the hair or wool from the pelts and then sold or passed over to the tanners who continued to process of cleaning and preparing them for the final tanning to produce leather.

The building in the picture is a rather attractive ‘streamlined’ design, presumably dating from around 1930, and is far more interesting than its replacement, essentially a large storage shed.

Pet Shop, Old Kent Rd, Walworth, Southwark, 1988 88-11d-22_2400
Pet Shop, Old Kent Rd, Walworth, Southwark, 1988 88-11d-22_2400

I think this pet shop and the next door tailor were on a site which is now a part of the Tesco car park, unless the numbering on the street has changed since 1988. I think the tailor’s Ben Beber was closed and empty and the shop unit on the extreme left was clearly derelict and flyposted.

I was impressed by the display of kennels of different sizes as well as the other goods on the pavement outside the shop.

Old Kent Rd, Walworth, Southwark, 1988 88-11d-23-Edit_2400
Old Kent Rd, Walworth, Southwark, 1988 88-11d-23

My reason for making this picture was clearly the bust about the shopfront with its ‘WE ARRANGE HOUSE CLEARANCES’ sign, but I also liked the sign to the left above ‘ANTIQUES WANTED’ which has a snake wriggling around the name MANTLE.

There is still a Blue Mantle Antiques on the Old Kent Road, but now in the Old Fire Station at 306-312 rather than this shop, and the history page on its site shows a picture of this shop where the business began in 1969. It is the UK leading supplier of antique fireplaces also selling modern replicas.

Old Kent Rd, Walworth, Southwark, 1988 88-11d-25-Edit_2400
Old Kent Rd, Walworth, Southwark, 1988 88-11d-25

I think these poster were on the empty shops not far from Blue Mantle Antiques, possibly some of those later taken over by the company before they moved to the former Firestation.
I thought these were an interesting selection of imagery in various styles.

The Old Kent Road here is perhaps the dividing line between Bermondsey and Walworth.

Thomas A' Becket, pub, Old Kent Rd, Walworth, Southwark, 1988 88-11d-26-Edit_2400
Thomas A’Becket, pub, Old Kent Rd, Walworth, Southwark, 1988 88-11d-26

The Thomas A’Becket on the corner of Albany Street is a fine Victorian pub and became famous for its gym on the first floor where among many others Henry Cooper trained and Mohammed ALi visited – and the floor above was the rehearsal venue for David Bowie and the ‘Spiders from Mars’. The building dates from 1898, replacing an earlier 19th century building on the site, but probably it had been a pub since long before that was built. It photograph shows ‘Established 1757’ on its Albany Street frontage.

But its iconic stature failed to save it from closure, at first briefly in 1983 after boxing promoter and landlady Beryl Cameron lost her fight with the brewery to keep it open, and more permanently after ex-boxer and promoter Gary Davidson ran it for 4 years from 1985. It became an estate agents, an artists studio, and the upper floors were converted to flats. It reopened briefly in 2017-8 as the Rock Island Bar & Grill, and then in 2019 as Vietnamese restaurant Viêt Quán. There is much more about the pub and its boxing history on the web, so I won’t bother to add more.

Beyond the pub at the right of the picture is the Old Fire Station, then looking in poor condition, now considerably restored by Blue Mantle Antiques

Grange Rd, Bermondsey, Southwark, 1988 88-11a-64-Edit_2400
Grange Rd, Bermondsey, Southwark, 1988 88-11a-64

Another picture of the Grade II listed 8 Grange Road. Unfortunately the listing did not include the striking wheels and part of a car body which- together with the fine doorway made it impossible to pass without me taking another picture.

My walk on Sunday November 13th 1988 in Bermondsey will continue in a later post.


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