Waterloo Carnival

© 2010, Peter Marshall

There is a certain chaos and madness about this picture that I like and is perhaps why I like to photograph the event it comes from, a relatively recent annual carnival held close to Waterloo station, in an area centred about a street called Lower Marsh.

© 2010, Peter Marshall

The carnival itself is a symbol of a changing area, not long ago a down at heel and solidly working class area which came to life a little on weekday mornings with a street market, but after than packed up in the early afternoon was pretty dead.

Lower Marsh is the remnant of a much larger market through the centre of Lambeth from Vauxhall to Blackfrars which was notorious in the nineteenth century for the depravity of those who traded there and frequented it. Building Waterloo Station cut it off from the area to the north in 1848, and in the 2oth century road building, wartime bomb damage and slum clearance continued its decline. The end of the GLC came as a blow too, as workers there would come through Leake St under the station to shop and eat.  Also in the 1980s property developers brought up much of the area hoping for a windfall from redevelopment around the Paris-London Eurostar train service to Waterloo but it didn’t happen and many buildings were more or less left to rot.

But over the last ten or so years it has begun to pick up, with new offices around and it’s become a much trendier area, with various specialist shops, cafés that have moved beyond the full English breakfast (though I love a good ‘greasy spoon’ even though my diet forbids it) and a pub called the Camel And Artichoke which despite the name serves a decent pint.

© 2010, Peter Marshall
The samba group from Christian Aid whose offices are in the street

The population is also considerably more mixed with the selling off of both council housing and formerly cheap private rented accommodation to people who see the advantage of living within walking distance of Westminster and central London.

As usual at the moment I was working with the D700 with the 16-35mm f4 Nikon lens and the D300 mainly with the Nikon 18-105mm, with just a few pictures on the 10.5mm fisheye. And for once everything worked as it should.

More pictures on My London Diary.

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