Archive for May, 2023

Cold Harbour & Myatt’s Fields

Wednesday, May 31st, 2023

My walk on Sunday 9th April 1989 continues in this post, Cold Harbour & Myatt’s Fields. The previous post was Camberwell & Myatt’s Fields.

Church, Shop, Coldharbour Lane, Camberwell, Lambeth, 1989 89-4j-61
Church, Shop, Coldharbour Lane, Camberwell, Lambeth, 1989 89-4j-61

Back in 1989 I was still pretty pressed for cash, still buying film in bulk 100 ft lengths and loading it into cassettes myself in total darkness.

Over the years I’d perfected my method. Two nails on the back of my darkroom door, hang one of the sprocket holes at the end of the roll of film on the top one, unroll it down to the second, cut across, replace film in can. Pick up first spool from a waiting row on the bench, already with a short length of masking tape on it, attach to the bottom end of the hanging length of film, carefully roll it up to the top, remove from nail, pick up cassette body, insert spool with film end though velvet light trap, pick up end cap and pinch cassette to push it into place. Repeat another 18 times until the film roll is finished. Turn on light, trim film ends to fit cameras and put into plastic pots to go into camera bag.

Slow, tedious but then less than half the cost of buying film in 26 exposure cassettes, though I did ocasoinally treat myself – and if I bought Ilford film rather than Kodak I could reuse the cassettes with bulk film. Kodak had crimped on ends which had to be removed with a bottle cap remover destroying them.

I had learnt to be very careful with film in this project to photograph London, working with 35mm cameras much as I would have done with large format camera, carefully considering various viewpoints before deciding on an exposure. But when working with people I had to respond rather more quickly, and seeing these two men in front of the white church door my response was immediate.

Shops, Coldharbour Lane, Camberwell, Lambeth, 1989 89-4j-62
Shops, Coldharbour Lane, Camberwell, Lambeth, 1989 89-4j-62

After that rather snatched image I continued with photographing the two shops which had attracted my interest here, making first a vertical image and then moving back across the road for a wider view. In this (below) you can see the notice for the Celestial Church of Christ and the alley leading to this.

Shops, Coldharbour Lane, Camberwell, Lambeth, 1989 89-4j-63
Shops, Coldharbour Lane, Camberwell, Lambeth, 1989 89-4j-63

As well as these black and white images I also took a couple in colour which you can see in another album. I had two Olympus OM bodies with me and only brought the one with colour negative film out of my bag occasionally, while the black and white camera was usually on a strap around my neck. When I was intending to photograph people rather than buildings I usually went out with a Leica M2 instead.

Coldharbour Lane leads from Camberwell to Brixton and got a very bad reputation after the 1981 clashes between police and locals in Brixton. In 2003 it was called in an article in the London Evening Standard the most dangerous street in the most dangerous borough in London, but that was lagely rabid tabloid journalism. Wikipedia gives several theories about its name none of which seem entirely convincing, but the name seems often to have been associated with the ruins of Roman or Romano-British settlements, The area we know usually call Loughborough Junction around the station on early maps was called Cold Harbour. Coldharbour Lane was then known as Camberwell Lane.

Cafe,  Hinton Rd, Camberwell, Lambeth, 1989 89-4j-65
Café, Hinton Rd, Camberwell, Lambeth, 1989 89-4j-65

The S&J Corner Café was on the corner with Wellfit Street, close to Loughborough Junction station. The railway line here is just south of the station. A second bridge can be seen going above this and the cafe which is the line from Brixton to Denmark Hill, now used by London Overground services.

Cyclist, HInton Rd, Camberwell, Lambeth, 1989 89-4j-51
Cyclist, Hinton Rd, Camberwell, Lambeth, 1989 89-4j-51

Another picture I took on the spur of the moment as I saw a cyclist coming towards me under the bridges on Hinton Road. I was standing on the pavement beside the cafe in the previous image, and the cyclist is on the pavement, rather safer than roads like this in London. At the end of the row of shops on the left are the traffic lights and Coldharbour Lane whch I had just begun to walk towards.

Hinton Rd, Camberwell, Lambeth, 1989 89-4j-52
Hinton Rd, Camberwell, Lambeth, 1989 89-4j-52

The pub at right of this picture is The Green Man on the corner with Coldharbour Lane. According to a post on the Brixton Buzz, this had been on the site since 1881, but that is the date of the current building which replaced an earlier pub on the site important enough to be marked on Stanford’s 1862 map. The Buzz says it was closed in 2003 because of drug dealing and crime, and it quotes from the Urban75 blog that it was “was frequented by dealers (crack, heroin you name it), prosi’s and general madhatters.

The buildings at the left date from around the same time as the area was developed around the railways, and number 6 at left has a barely legible road name ‘Hinton Terrace‘ and I think at the top the illegible name of a builder and decorator whose sign presumably once hung on the bracket beside the street name.

House, Lilford Rd, Camberwell, Lambeth, 1989 89-4j-53
Houses, Lilford Rd, Camberwell, Lambeth, 1989 89-4j-53

I walked up past Loughborough Junction and made my next picture on Lilford Road at the corner of Minet Road, returning to the area I had been earlier on this walk, the Minet Estate around Myatt’s Fields. This is on the corner of a terrace with basement flats with an entrance here under the steps which extends along both streets and this grand entrance is actually for two adjoining houses above the flats, one on each street. The Grade II listing calls these “Early-mid C19″ and describes this a “double prostyle composite porch with fluted composite columns.”

Longfield Hall, Knatchbull Rd, Myatts Fields, Camberwell, Lambeth, 1989 89-4j-54
Longfield Hall, Knatchbull Rd, Camberwell, Lambeth, 1989

William Minet founded this Grade II listed community hall, architect George Hubbard, which opened in 1889, as well as the Minet library opposite which was destroyed by bombing and rebuilt in 1956 in what Pevsner described as ‘a meek replacement’. The Library was a memorial for his late wife. The Hall is still in use for various community activities including three church congregations and from 1969 -1975 was the base of Britain’s first Black Theatre Company, ‘Dark And Light’, recently marked by a Blue Plaque. It was Grade II listed in 1979 and is now run by a charity, The Longfield Hall Trust.

My walk made on on Sunday 9th April 1989 will finish in a later post. The first part from it is at Peckham and East Dulwich 1989.

No Third Runway at Heathrow – 2016

Tuesday, May 30th, 2023

No Third Runway at Heathrow

No Third Runway at Heathrow: Heathrow Airport celebrated its 70th anniversary on Monday 30th May 2016. and local residents marked the occasion with a protest on the village green at Harmondsworth against the plans to build a third runway which would destroy over 750 local homes.

No Third Runway at Heathrow

I grew up under the flightpath a couple of miles from touchdown on the main runway used for incoming flights, standing in my back garden and crossing off the registration letters of the planes passing rather close overhead in my spotters book. Those early planes – like the Douglas DC3 and the Vickers Viscount – were small and relatively quiet and gave young boys like me hours of interest with little disruption of normal life, but the generations that followed were very different, larger and ear-shattering. The complaints against their noise grew rapidly – and those easy to read letters on the underside of the wings disappeared so it was harder to identify flights in our complaints.

No Third Runway at Heathrow

Heathrow had been planted on the edge of London’s built up area by deception, beginning as a ‘military’ airport towards the end of the Second World War when it was known it would never be used as such, by people who were determined to make it London’s major civil airport. They did it to get around the objecteons there would have been later to a civil airport here.

No Third Runway at Heathrow
A huge mis-cake’ Heathrow Airport: Celebrating 70 years of unrelenting Aircraft Noise for local communities’

Over the years Heathrow continued to grow and grow. More flights and more terminals. More local traffic and more pollution. Every new development was made with promises that were later broken. T4 was promised to be the last new terminal – but then came the application to build T5. With this came the promise that Heathrow would never ask for another runway – but this was broken even before T5 had opened.

The enquiry into the third runway was said to be final – but while the local community were still celebrating their victory – and David Cameron was saying ” No Ifs, No Buts, No Third Runway”, Heathrow Airport was already plotting the setting up of a new inquiry that would somehow against all the evidence come up with the result they wanted – the Davies Commission.

John Stewart – HACAN – Heathrow want taxpayers to pay for the new roads, tunnels etc needed

In 2016 the threat of the new ‘third runway’ loomed dangerously over the area again, with the Conservative Government backing the proposals. Many of those who came to the event at Harmondsworth feared they would soon lose their homes – and property in the area was blighted as it had been for many years. Others outside the actual development would find their lives made impossible by aircraft noise, with people from almost the whole of West London suffering, particularly from flights in the early morning, with plane after plane passing overhead.

The Heathrow Adobe Hat, with portable air purifier and environmentally biodiverse suitcase

Heathrow’s noise and pollution affect a surprisingly large area of London. Twenty years ago I was in a hospital bed in Tooting in south London, around 12 miles away as the jet flies, awake early in the morning partly by their noise, watching and hearing a whole line of plane after plane in line for touchdown.

Neil Keveren, Chair of Stop Heathrow Expansion (SHE)

In our local area we get the pollution from the planes, both from running their engines on the ground and also from takeoff and landing. But more importantly the airport generates huge amounts of road traffic, both on local roads and the motorways serving the area – M3, M4 and M25.

Seven years on it seems increasingly unlikely that there will ever be a third runway built. Even the most jet-headed politicians are beginning to see that we cannot continue with airport expansion and meet the need to cut carbon emissions. Financial constraints increasingly make it less likely too.

My post on My London Diary has the details about the event on Monday 30th May 2016 and of course more pictures, including some of the village itself, including its pubs, church and remarkable Grade I listed tithe barn, said to be the largest wooden structure in the country, dating from 1426. Local campaigners saved that a few years ago and it was bought by English Heritage in 2012 and has been much restored. It lies just outside the area the airport would take over for the new runway and would be at serous danger from vibration – and would almost certainly need to be re-sited.

A church window remembers Ann & Bryan Sobey who led the ‘Right to Sleep’ campaign for restrictions on night flights into Heathrow

Though on the edge of London Harmondsworth still has a village atmosphere, and still seems much like the village I cycled through in my youth. I hope it remains that way.

More at No 3rd Runway Heathrow 70th Birthday.

London Loop – Uxbridge to Moor Park

Monday, May 29th, 2023

London Loop - Uxbridge to Moor Park
Spot the path

London Loop – Uxbridge to Moor Park: Monday May 29th 2006 was the Late May Bank Holiday for that year, the day which replaced the Whit Monday Bank holiday in 1968, though at first for a trial 5 year period, only becoming a final replacement in 1971. Unlike Whitsun it came in a regular place, saving us having to do esoteric calculations to find the date o0f Easter, and then add on 50 days for Pentecost. This year, 2023, the Late May Bank Holiday actually falls on Whit Monday, but that isn’t usual. Though some people still call it Whit when it isn’t.

London Loop - Uxbridge to Moor Park

We had decided to go on a walk on the bank holiday, and we had been following the various stages of the London Loop, a kind of walkers M25 around the outskirts of London. The section we had reached began at Uxbridge and ended at Moor Park.

London Loop - Uxbridge to Moor Park

Although the M25 has made journeys around London much easier for those in cars, there is no equivalent for public transport. I live only 8 miles as the crow flies from Uxbridge station it took us a train, two buses and well over an hour to get there.

London Loop - Uxbridge to Moor Park

From then on it was fairly plain sailing, or rather walking, though much of the first half of our route was on the towpath of the Grand Union Canal. We covered section 12 which ends in Harefield and section 13 which goes on to Moor Park. The two add up to around nine and a half miles, with another mile or to the station at each end. The two links give maps and details and also short notes on points of interest in the walks, so I don’t need to add to them.

We didn’t have these pdfs, but a copy of the book about the whole loop published five years earlier. Perhaps some things had changed but I think the directions given were at times in any case rather too vague to be useful. However the small reproductions of the OS Maps it contains soon let us work out the correct path. Nowadays of course you can get the maps and route guides on your phone, which can also tell you exactly where you are. Unless like me a few years ago when you get lost in a dense forest where there is no GPS (and no phone signal.)

On My London Diary right at the bottom of the May 2006 page there is a short text about the day which includes “most of it was pretty boring, far too much green. The book giving the route is pretty hopeless in places too, which is perhaps why there were parts of it that very few people seem to have found, with badly overgrown paths” and also points out that back in 2006, the London Loop was still “an almost unsigned footpath route“. I think the waymarks are now much improved.

The piece concludes with what should have been a link to the pictures simply reading “coming shortly” though there is a previously unlinked page with a set of them. The next page and the rest of the pictures are still missing. But probably I had decided the 25 that are there are enough to give a good impression for the walk.. I’ve uploaded just one extra to go with this post.

Beltane, Chariot Festival, Barking & Whitechapel

Sunday, May 28th, 2023

Beltane, Chariot Festival, Barking & Whitechapel: I had an interesting and varied day at events and places across London on Sunday 28th May 2006, taking rather a lot of photographs. Appropriately for a Sunday I covered two religious events.

Pagan Pride – Beltane Bash – Holborn

Beltane, Chariot Festival, Barking & Whitechapel

My working day began at Holborn, having caught a fairly early train into London. Now I like to relax a bit on Sundays, but for many years I often came up by the first train to take photographs. Though it wasn’t that early on Sundays, departing around 8am.

Beltane, Chariot Festival, Barking & Whitechapel

I took a bus from Waterloo to Holborn and walked the few yards to the Conway Hall at the north-east corner of Red Lion Square.

Beltane, Chariot Festival, Barking & Whitechapel

Here (with corrected capitalisation) is what I wrote about this event on My London Diary in 2006.

The Pagan Pride Parade in Holborn is now a regular annual event, a part of the Beltane Bash that takes place in the Conway Hall in Red Lion Square. Mostly it was the same people as last year, but I found it hard to get into the mood to take pictures.

Beltane, Chariot Festival, Barking & Whitechapel

As usual the parade was led by Jack In The Green – a dancing bush – the Green Lady and the Bogies. The Giants included the Morrigan (in green and flowers to welcome summer) with Black Ravens, Old Man Thunder and Old Dame Holder, along with the rest of it.

Beltane, Chariot Festival, Barking & Whitechapel

Dancing round the fountains was energetic, but somehow for me the event didn’t really get going, and lacked any real climax, people just slowly began to fade away.

My London Diary – May 2006

Chariot Festival, Sri Mahalakshmi Temple – East Ham

Those taking part in the Pagan Pride parade began to make their way back to Conway Hall for the rest of their day of events, but I rushed to Holborn underground station to take the Central line eastwards, changing at Mile End to get to East Ham. But I had stayed too long with the pagans.

The Sri Mahalakshmi Temple had been built in 1989 and opened and was almost opposite the station. Before that Hindus and worshipped at a converted shop on the corner of Kensington Avenue and High Street North, around 300 yards north from the station.

Unfortunately I had arrived too late and the procession on the streets had ended, though I was still able to photograph the chariots outside and a few of the people. I made a mental note to come back and cover this event another year, but although I photographed other chariot festivals including one in Manor Park, East Ham, I’ve never returned for this one.

My London Diary – May 2006

Barking and River Roding – Barking

I was in East Ham and the afternoon lay ahead; it was a fine day and I decided this was a great opportunity to take a walk a little further to the east by the River Roding. I took a few pictures of the chariots, then went to walk along by the River Roding and to photograph a new development by the railway in Barking.

The half-mile walk along unkonwln was rather uninteresting. It’s a long suburban street lined with terraces of working class housing from the early twentieth century on both sides, named for the family who once owned the estate on which it was built. As Stephen Benton points out in his London Postcode walk it has one small claim to fame, and almost every famous pop guitarist from the the 70s and 80s – including those from the Beatles, Rolling Stones, Yardbirds, The Who as well as musical failures like me will have started with Bert Weedon’s ‘Play in A Day – Guide to Modern Guitar’, first published in 1957. Weedon (1920-2012) was born here, though he had probably moved away long before he became famous.

The path led on to Watson Ave, with a view of the Leigh Road gasholder in what is now the derelict Leigh Road Sports Ground. The Barking Gas Works opened here in 1836 but was purchased in 1912 by the Gas Light and Coke Company, who closed it as they had the much larger and more economical works they had opened at Beckton in 1870. But the holder remained and was I think still in use by the North Thames Gas Board possibly until the change from coal gas to natural gas. The area around it became their sports ground.

At the end of Watson Ave is a long footbridge which took me over the North Circular Road, from which I took a few pictures before going through an industrial estate.

I made quite a few pictures in the Tanner Street area, where a considerable amount of new development was taking place.

I told myself I would return here later, but I don’t think I’ve done so yet.

My London Diary – May 2006


I think I had travelled back from Barking on a Hammersmith & City line train and needed to change soemwhere to the District Line. Having got off the train I decided I had time for a short walk around on before needing to continue my journey. I only taok a few pictures, perhaps making 20 exposures, and there are only four pictures on My London Diary.

My London Diary – May 2006

Wedding ‘Die-In’ Against Afghanistan Massacres

Saturday, May 27th, 2023

Wedding ‘Die-In’ Against Afghanistan Massacres: It was a cool and damp morning when I got on my bike to cycle the 19 or so miles to Northwood station on Wednesday 27th May 2009, my route though the outer western suburbs of London. I locked my bike at the Metropolitan line station and joined around 30 protesters, including two couples dressed as bride and groom waiting for the start of the march, watched by rather more police.

Wedding 'Die-In' Against Afghanistan Massacres

Two years earlier, on 27th May 2009, US forces had bombed a wedding party at Haji Nabu in Afghanistan killing 47 civilians; this was just one of a number of wedding parties massacred by NATO or US forces who killed thousands of civilians in Afghanistan – and three weeks before the protest another attack in Farah province had killed around 120 people, mainly women and children. Gatherings of civilians for any reason were too often misinterpreted as a threat to the occupying forces.

Wedding 'Die-In' Against Afghanistan Massacres

‘HMS Warrior’, the land-based Permanent Joint Headquarters in Northwood in London is the command centre for British and NATO forces in Afghanistan, and Voices in the Wilderness UK, Justice Not Vengeance and London and Oxford Catholic Workers had planned a ‘die-in’ as an act of non-violent civil disobedience at its main entrance.

Wedding 'Die-In' Against Afghanistan Massacres
John McDonnell MP speaks before the start of the march

Negotiations with police took place and eventually the police allowed the marchers to proceed along the roads towards the military base. The marchers were stopped several times on the way and had to threaten to block the road with a die-in if they were not allowed to proceed.

Wedding 'Die-In' Against Afghanistan Massacres

Around 200 metres from the main gate the road was firmly blocked by a line of police and the organisers decided to hold the die-in on the road there. Around half the protesters lay down on the road. Fortunately the organisers had come with a supply of black bin bags to put on the wet surface, but it was still cold and uncomfortable, and the rain, although light, was steady.

The rest of the protesters stayed on the wide verge and began reading out the names of civilians killed in Afghanistan. Among those taking part in the protest were Maya Evans and Milan Rai who were arrested in 2005 for reading out the names of Iraqis and British soldiers killed in the Iraq War, opposite the Cenotaph in Whitehall. For this Rai became the first person to be convicted under SOCPA for organising an unauthorised demonstration in the vicinity of Parliament. Also at the protest was Hillingdon MP John McDonnell.

Hertfordshire police had previously given the protesters a warning under Section 14 of the Public Order Act. They gave a further warning once people had ‘died’ on the roadway, but stood watching. After around 15 minutes, a second officer gave a warning that unless people cleared the road they would be moved, and said that they had 5 minutes to decide.

Twenty minutes later a final warning was issued, and then groups of police moved to each protester on the road in turn. Each was told they were committing an offence and that unless they moved they would be carried to the side of the road, and that if they attempted to move back on to the road they would be arrested.

At this point some protesters got up an moved, but most waited for the police to remove them. Most went limp and were fairly carefully lifted and deposited on the verge with a warning they would be arrested should they return to the road. I saw one man being arrested and taken away when he did so and was later told that there were five other arrests.

When the road was clear the press was also threatened with arrest and could only cover the event from the side of the road. Previously we had been allowed to cover the event without much interference, as I commented “For once I was only told to get out of the way when I was really in the way. There were some FIT officers from the Met present – let’s hope they take some intelligence back to their force about how to police protest.”

The protesters had only intended for the die-in to last an hour, and it was three-quarters of an hour before the road was finally cleared. After a short delay the police allowed the remaining protesters to march back down the road to the station. It was still raining as I unlocked my bike and rode home.

Red Cross, School Cuts and Dead Cyclists

Friday, May 26th, 2023

Red Cross, School Cuts and Dead Cyclists: Six years ago on Friday 26th May 2017 I phototographed a vigil outside the Red Cross HQ, the Fair Funding for All Schools’ ‘School Assembly Day’ in Walthamstow and a protest against the hege toll of deaths due to air pollution and lack of proper cycling infrastructure.

Red Cross act for Palestinian Hunger Strikers – Moorgate

Red Cross, School Cuts and Dead Cyclists

Human rights group Inminds were holding a vigil at UK Mission of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in Moorgate, London, demanding the organisation end its complicity with Israel’s violation of the rights of Palestinian prisoners.

Red Cross, School Cuts and Dead Cyclists

The vigil with flags, banners and some live music came as a hunger strike by Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails were on the 40th day of a hunger strike and Israel was making preparations to force-feed them.

Red Cross, School Cuts and Dead Cyclists

Inminds also called on the ICRC to restore the twice-monthly family visits and uphold the Geneva Conventions relating to the treatment of prisoners. They chalked the outline on the pavement of one of the underground cells in which some Palestinian child prisoners have been held for many days in solitary confinement, adding a soft toy to the chalked outline of a child.

Red Cross, School Cuts and Dead Cyclists

Although quite a large proportion of those who saw the vigil read the display and came to sign the petition, the ICRC headquarters building is on a back street and not widely visible.

Red Cross act for Hunger Strikers

E17 Protest Against School Cuts – Walthamstow Town Square

Students, parents and teachers from 17 schools in London E17 marched to a rally in Walthamstow Town Square in protest against the cuts in school funding on Fair Funding for All Schools’ ‘School Assembly Day’.

City areas like Walthamstow will be disproportionately affected by the cuts and schools in the borough will lose over £25m from their annual budgets with the loss of around 672 teachers. On average schools will lose £672 per pupil, with some expecting cuts of over a thousand pounds per pupil.

I left the crowded square as people were listening to a long series of speeches from teachers, parents, educationalists, local politicians and education experts.

E17 Protest Against School Cuts

Cyclists Tory HQ die-in against traffic pollution – Westminster

Stop Killing Cyclists were holding a protest vigil and die in outside the Tory Party HQ a short distance from Parliament against the huge number of avoidable deaths from air pollution and the failure to encourage cycling since the Tories came to power in 2010. They had carried out a similar protest outside the Labour party HQ the previous week over their failure to take action when in power.

Statistics suggest that over the seven years of Tory government around 280,000 people have died prematurely due to the effects of air pollution, largely due to traffic on our streets. The campaigners called for a ban on diesel vehicles in city centres within 5 years, and on all fossil-fuel powered vehicles within 10 years, for all non-zero emission private cars to be banned from cities on days where pollution levels are predicted to rise above EU safety levels, and for regular car-free days in major cities following the example of Paris.

Cyclists particularly suffer from the effects of traffic pollution as they are exercising on city roads, breathing in the dust and fumes. As well as illegally high levels of gaseous pollution from exhausts, including nitrogen oxides, there are also dangerous levels of particulates from tyres and brakes. The carbon emissions from petrol and diesel vehicles also contribute massively to the global rise in temperature.

People also die early from a lack of exercise, and estimates suggest that proper provision for cycling in cities and elsewhere could have cut these deaths by 168,000 over the period of Tory rule. As well as deaths, more people cycling and cleaner air would also greatly reduce the stress on the NHS from respiratory and related illnesses. A report by the Royal College of Physicians in 2016 estimated that currently treatment for transport pollution related conditions costs the NHS £20 billion a year, around a sixth of the total NHS budget.

Many people are put off from cycling as they do not feel safe in the heavy traffic on many city roads and the protest called for an increase in providing safe routes including separate protected cycle routes. The point out that Holland spend £24 per head on cycling, twelve times as much as the UK. The UN has called for an increase to spend 20% of the transport budget by 2025, which would be roughly £3 billion per year.

Spending on cycling infrastructure benefits everyone across the country whether or not they cycle, and would reduce pollution on city streets to greatly improve life for all who live and work here. It would particularly be of benefit for child health, giving them more exercise but also in reducing the dangerous effects of pollution. Children are less tall and pollution levels are higher the closer you are to road level.

Cyclists Tory HQ die-in against pollution

Camberwell & Myatt’s Fields

Thursday, May 25th, 2023

My walk on Sunday 9th April 1989 continued. The previous post was Hairdressers, Mansions, Baptists, Tiles and Greeks.

Escort Parts Centre, Camberwell Station Rd, Camberwell, Southwark, 1989 89-4i-43
Escort Parts Centre, Camberwell Station Rd, Camberwell, Southwark, 1989 89-4i-43

Camberwell Station Road runs south from Camberwell New Road alongside the railway line, and along its west side are a number of small businesses in the railway arches, almost all garages of some kind.

The Escort Parts Centre was on the corner with Camberwell New Road and remained in business here until around 2010. The premises are now covered with graffiti and look derelict. The number 344 does not appear to be for either street and I think is some numbering for the arches in the viaduct.

Sacred Heart of Jesus, RC Church, Camberwell, Southwark, 1989 89-4i-32
Sacred Heart of Jesus, RC Church, Camberwell, Southwark, 1989 89-4i-32

The Roman Catholic Church of the Sacred Heart is in Knatchbull Road, just past the railway bridge and is on a dramatic scale, towering above the railway viaduct.

The Grade II listing text states it was built in 1952-8 from designs by D Plaskett Marshall in a moderne style, reminiscent of the inter-war churches of Cachemaille-Day. According to Wikipedia, “Nugent Francis Cachemaille-Day (1896–1976), often referred to as NF Cachemaille-Day, was an English architect who designed some of the most “revolutionary” 20th-century churches in the country.

Again according to Wikipedia he designed his first church in Northenden in 1936-7 and by 1963 had been responsible for at least 61, many Grade II listed. Because of its location it is difficult to get a picture of this one which provides a good overall impression.

Tyre Fitting Bay, Camberwell Station Rd, Camberwell, Lambeth, 1989 89-4i-36
Tyre Fitting Bay, Camberwell Station Rd, Camberwell, Lambeth, 1989 89-4i-36

This was little further down Camberwell Station Rd which hasn’t had a passenger station since 1916 , though if you go down far enough you can still see the former station building, now occupied by a motorbike repair shop.

Camberwell station opened in 1862 on the London, Chatham and Dover Railway’s line into Blackfriars from Herne Hill. After the closure for passengers it remained in use for goods until 1964. The goods yard is now a housing estate.

Various schemes this century have looked at the reopening of the station but all so far have been abandoned.

Houses, Myatts Fields area, Camberwell, Lambeth, 1989 89-4i-25
Houses, 22-24, Flodden Rd, Myatts Fields, Camberwell, Lambeth, 1989 89-4i-25

I walked back up to Camberwell New Road and took three pictures of terraces there ( not on-line) before going down County Grove. These houses are 22 and 24 Flodden Road. On my map the Southwark-Lambeth boundary runs down the middle of the road, making these in Lambeth.

The Survey of London states that this area was bought from Sir Edward Knatchbull in 1770 by Hughes Minet, the grandson of a French Hugenot refugee, but it was only after the railway was opened in 1863 that it was developed to meet the demand this generated for small suburban houses. Builders obtained leases from the Minet family who were public-spririted landlords and provided a church and the Minet library and also closely controlled the building ensuring a mix of house sizes. In 1889 William Minet gave the 14.5 acres to the London County Council for a permanent open space, Myatt’s fields.

Houses, Myatts Fields area, Camberwell, Lambeth, 1989 89-4i-11
Upstall St, Myatts Fields, Camberwell, Lambeth, 1989 89-4i-11

The Metropolitan Public Gardens Association spent around £10,000 to lay it out as a park to the designs of Fanny Wilkinson, a suffragette and one of the first women to be a professional landscape designer. The new park was named for Joseph Myatt, a well-known market gardener who produced a number of then famous strawberry varieties including Eliza, British Queen and Deptford Vine at his nursery in Deptford. His son James Myatt brought the business to the fields here.

Joseph also experimented with various varieties of rhubarb, hoping that he could get people to eat this together with strawberries, but this proved rather less successful, though rhubarb did become popular later.

Lambeth Council became the freeholder of the Minet estate in 1968.

Paulet Rd, Camberwell, Lambeth, 1989 89-4i-12
Paulet Rd, Camberwell, Lambeth, 1989 89-4i-12

Lambeth Council redeveloped a large stretch along the west side of Paulet Road in the early 1970s. Although the long terrace blocks of the Paulet Road Estate are in a modern style they have a similar scale to the Victorian terraces opposite and were built using yellow stock bricks and slates like them. But they still look like monolithic slabs rather than the repeating units of the earlier houses.

Paulet Rd, Camberwell, Lambeth, 1989 89-4i-13
Paulet Rd, Camberwell, Lambeth, 1989 89-4i-13

The side and rear of one of the blocks on the Paulet Road Estate. I think that these stairs lead up to the front doors of the upper level flats. These buildings are some of relatively few modern buildings in the Minet Conservation Area designated in 1980.

Provision Shop, Lilford Rd, Camberwell, Lambeth, 1989 89-4i-15
Provision Shop, Lilford Rd, Camberwell, Lambeth, 1989 89-4i-15

The south end of Paulet Road ends at Lilford Road and I turned east along it, going under the railway again. I think this shop just a little to the east of the railway bridge was at No 106 and has been converted into a private residence and is no longer recognisable. There are many fewer small corner shops now.

My walk will continue in a later post. The first part my walk on Sunday 9th April 1989 is at Peckham and East Dulwich 1989.

National Day of Action against Universal Credit 2018

Wednesday, May 24th, 2023

National Day of Action against Universal Credit 2018
Campaigners spell out ‘stopuniversalcredit’ in the Tate Modern Turbine Hall; the ‘#’ was delaying security

Thursday 24th May 2018 was the Unite National Day of Action against Universal Credit and I photographed two of the events in London for this, a protest by a group of campaigners from Camden Unite Community at Tate Modern and a rally outside Parliament which was followed by a march to protest outside the Department of Work and Pensions. The pictures come from these events.

National Day of Action against Universal Credit 2018

Back in 2010 when the idea of Universal Credit was announced by Iain Duncan Smith it was true that the UK’s benefits system was something of a muddle, and the aim of producing a simpler system which brought six existing benefits together was probably laudable. But its implementation has been a disaster for many.

National Day of Action against Universal Credit 2018

Those six benefits had each been introduced to deal with particular needs, and though not perfect they more or less worked. Trying to fit everything into a single system has proved to be far more difficult, and many of the decisions made about how the system might work failed to take into account the circumstances in which those on low incomes actually live and the lack of supporting resources the wealthier take for granted, such as friends and family with money and bank accounts with savings.

National Day of Action against Universal Credit 2018

When announced, Iain Duncan Smith promised it would make the social security system fairer to claimants and taxpayers, but as it came into being it became clear that the main objective was to cut the cost to taxpayers and to provide what is effectively a handout to companies and organisations which employ workers on low rates of pay.

The plans for introducing UC hugely underestimated the complexities of the system, particularly as it applies to the the most precarious of workers, many of whom are now employed on zero hours contracts with no guaranteed weekly hours of work. There were huge problems with computer systems partly because of the complexity but also because of a failure to understand the problems and to properly specify what was needed.

The real motivation behind UC was made clear in 2015 when George Osborne announced a future £3.2 billion a year cut to the overall Universal Credit budget, reducing work allowances and reducing and limiting the per-child element of support. These cuts were later partly reversed by Philip Hammond.

The transition from the legacy benefits to UC has been extremely hard for many, particularly as some have had a period of up to 13 weeks before receiving their first payment under UC. Food banks have been put under great strain because of this and benefit sanctions. 60% of tenants put onto UC have been forced into arrears on their rents and many have faced eviction.Some have become desperate enough to take their own lives.

Wikipedia quotes a report that in 2018 a million working “homeowners now getting tax credits will have less with the new system and lose on average £43 a week. 600,000 working single parents will lose on average £16 per week and roughly 750,000 households on disability benefits will lose on average £75 per week. Nearly 2 in 5 households receiving benefits will be on average worse off by £52 per week.”

Universal Credit has become a mess and various small changes the successive governments have been forced into making have hardly improved it. There are some measures which could be taken to improve the situation. Large increases in the minimum wage with the aim of moving to a situation where those in work would be adequately paid and not need UC would help. Changes in employment law including the replacement of zero hours contracts by a fair flexible contract system would also make a contribution. But almost certainly the best solution would be to move to a universal basic wage.

Thursday 24th May was the Unite National Day of Action against Universal Credit and I photographed two of the events in London for this, a protest by a group of campaigners from Camden Unite Community at Tate Modern and a rally outside Parliament which was followed by a march to protest outside the Department of Work and Pensions.

More details on the protests on Thursday 24th May 2018 by campaigners at Tate Modern, the rally outside Parliament and march to protest outside the DWP on My London Diary.

Universal Credit rally & march
Universal Credit protest at Tate Modern

Jobs, Services & Education, Police Violence & More

Tuesday, May 23rd, 2023

Jobs, Services & Education, Police Violence & More: My work on Saturday May 23rd 2009 began with a march in North London before coming down to a couple of protests at Downing Street and then a march from Trafalgar Square to New Scotland Yard against police violence.

March to Defend Jobs, Services and Education – Highbury Fields to Archway

Jobs, Services & Education, Police Violence & More

Around 1500 jobs had been lost recently in North London, including around 550 mainly support workers from London Metropolitan University, 500 civil servants from Archway tower and more at City University, where adult education is under threat.

Jobs, Services & Education, Police Violence & More

Trade unionists from the Islington National Union of Teachers, the Public & Commercial Services Union, London Metropolitan University Unison and the University and College Union and other local groups including GiK-DER Refugee Workers Cultural Association were marching from Highbury Fields to a rally at Archway in protest against these job cuts.

Jobs, Services & Education, Police Violence & More

The cuts in education threaten courses and also the provisions including nurseries that enable many mature students who missed out on education to study and get qualifications later in life.

Jobs, Services & Education, Police Violence & More

Speakers at the rally after the march included those from the UCU, CWU, London Metropolitan University, PCS, Islington Trades Council and local Labour MP Jeremy Corbyn.

More at March to Defend Jobs, Services & Education.

Southern Yemenis Demonstrate For a Separate State – Downing St

The state of Yemen has a long and complex history dating back to ancient times which is dealt with at some length on Wikipedia.

In the 19th century Britain attacked and occupied Aden and the surrounding region with the rest of the country being under the Ottoman Empire. In the 1960s a civil war in the north and a revolt against British rule in the south led to the foundation of two independent states, the Yemen Arab Republic in the north and the People’s Democractic Republic of Yemen in the south, who went to war with each other in 1972. After a ceasefire brokered by the Arab League and a further civil war the two countries were merged in 1990.

This London protest followed protests in Aden a week earlier on the 15th anniversary of an unsuccessful attempt by the southern Yemen leader Ali Salem al-Beidh to end the union with the north, which led to the 1994 civil war, lost by the South.

The protest was organised by Southern Yemenis from the Southern Democratic Assembly (TAJ), based in London who want an end to the union and accuse the Yemeni government of grabbing land and property and human rights abuses. They called for an end to the union with the north.

More at Southern Yemenis Demonstrate.

Rev Billy Performs at Downing St – Downing St

The Reverend Billy and his ‘Life After Shopping’ Gospel choir from New York were in London on their 2009 UK Shopocalypse Tour and gave a brief performance in front of the gates of Downing St.

Police were not impressed and obviously had no idea of who the Reverend was as in response to his questions the officer concerned was diagnosed by Billy as having a “shopping problem.”

The Church of Life After Shopping believes that we need to “back away from the product” and resist the way that advertising and the media persuade us to live only thorough consuming corporate products, and get down to experiencing life directly.

Excessive consumption is clearly at the root of climate change and the demand for incessant economic growth is clearly a long term impossibility in a finite planet. We need to be planning for a fairer sharing of resources between rich and majority worlds and an economy based on sustainability rather than growth – which will clearly mean lower levels of wasteful consumption and a concentration on necessities rather than luxuries.

As Billy made clear, following the G20 summit and the pathetic waste and greed shown in the continuing parliamentary allowances scandal, our government and MPs are clearly in need of the Life After Shopping Gospel.

Rev Billy Performs at Downing St

National Demonstration against Police Violence – Trafalgar Square to New Scotland Yard.

The United Campaign Against Police Violence was set up following the G20 demonstration in London when Ian Tomlinson, a man not taking part in the demonstration, was assaulted by police and died. Many protesters and some press were also attacked by police during the protest.

It brought together trade unionists and activists involved in organising the G20 Meltdown demonstration as well as campaigners against deaths in police custody particularly those in the United Families & Friends Campaign, UFFC, including the families of two men who died in Brixton Police Station, Ricky Bishop and Sean Rigg.

The protest was led by a coffin with a brass plate “FOR ALL OUR LOVED ONES WHO DIED IN POLICE CUSTODY”, and included a giant red figure representing one of the four Horsemen of the Apocalypse – who led the four marches that converged on the Bank of England in the G20 demonstration. Prominent in the march and rally were Professor Chris Knight and Sean Rigg’s two sisters, Marcia and Samantha and the Rev Billy added his voice through a giant megaphone.

At the rally outside New Scotland Yard on Victoria Street there were speeches and a minute of silence for those who had died before the release of black balloons to represent the dead.

The police had until almost the end of the event acted on their best behaviour, arranging for the safe movement of the protest and joking with press and talking calmly with the protesters. The protesters were clearly angry about police violence but the protest was restrained and orderly

But as the rally was about to draw to a close in front of the police headquarters a police van drove up and a woman officer interrupted proceedings to read a statement telling everyone their presence was illegal. It seemed inexplicable other than as a deliberate attempt to try to provoke a violent reaction from the peaceful crowd, but the organisers managed to quieten things down and the rally continued.

More at Demonstration against Police Violence.

In Jiro World

Monday, May 22nd, 2023

Jiro Osuga
Flowers Gallery
82 Kingsland Rd, London E2 8DP
19 May – 1 July 2023

Last Thursday I was delighted to attend the opening of the latest show by Jiro Osuga, Departures at the Flowers Gallery in Hoxton, London.

I’ve known Jiro for many years and have long admired his work in previous shows at Flowers, including in 2009 when I wrote here about his transformation of their Mayfair gallery into Café Jiro, (more pictures on My London Diary) later shown in the real Queen’s Terrace Café run for a few years by london and art historian Mirelle Galinou.

The work from ‘Café Jiro’ also featured in ‘Pub Jiro‘, his takeover aided by Mireille of the upper floor of the Horse & Groom in Streatham, part of the 2017 Streatham Festival and celebrating the publication of her The Streatham Sketchbook.

Jiro has also been a great help in the hanging of several of exhibitions I’ve worked on over the years, I think the first of which was Cities of Walls, Cities of People in 2001, which I curated for now long missed London Arts Café.

I don’t often review art shows, though I used to write much more about photography exhibitions, and I won’t say a great deal about this one, which I think is Jiro Osuga’s most ambitious and impressive to date, transforming the large space of the Kingsland Road gallery into an airport departure lounge, covering the walls with giant paintings which, according to the gallery cover more than 160 square metres.

The gallery web site shows the works but to really appreciate them you have to go there and stand in the space, where they are far more vibrant and enveloping. Or perhaps you really need to sit and contemplate them, enjoying the wealth of objects and characters from painting, film and real life they include. As the gallery states, the paintings creat “an unfolding state for individual and often unexpected narratives to occur“. There is an immense wit and imagination in this and other work by Jiro.

Actual airport departure lounges are some kind of hell of consumerism, to be avoided at all costs (and part of an industry that is costing the earth.) But don’t miss spending some time with this work, on show until 1st July 2023.

There are more pictures from the opening in my album Jiro Osuga – Departures Opening. I haven’t named those shown in the pictures, though some may tag themselves, but you may recognise two fine photographers as well as others among them.