London 1978 (9)

Continuing my series of posts of my pictures from 1978 which will eventually include all of the selected photographs I took in London in 1978 and posted recently on Facebook with comments, and a few related images. All of these pictures (and more) are in my London Pictures web site, and eventually I intend to add the comments there too.

Click on any image to go to the web page – with a slightly larger picture for landscape format images.
London 1978 (9)

Crouch End, Hornsey, Haringey, 1978
16s41: shop, reflection, Haringey

Like many images using reflections this one is a little difficult to sort out and recognise, especially as most of the businesses shown have gone out of business since 1978 and some buildings have been altered significantly. It was taken looking into the window of a junk shop opposite the junction of Park Rd and Middle Lane, roughly at the start of The Broadway.

Two buildings have the names of companies; Thames Tyre Co Ltd and Westerns. Thames Tyre have I think sunk without trace, but Westerns was a laundry company with several shops around North London and their laundry was a few years ago converted into an expensive restaurant in Drayton Park near Arsenal’s ground. Westerns Laundries Ltd was founded during the first few years of the 20th century and by the 1960s was a part of the Sunlight group. The shops remained open until the 1980s. A faded sign can still be seen on the wall at the side of this branch, now Black Katz Lettings & Property Management, in Middle Lane. The Thames Tyre Co Ltd is now ‘Monkey Nuts’, a wine bar and steak house.

I was particularly interested in the mirror at the left with its birdcage – I think there are two other mirrors in the image, as well as a further reflection in the Tyre company window. There are five peope in this picture: I’m visible at the left of the picture (and blocking the reflection in the shop window make the mirror and birdcage and a long-haired man stand out. The mirror close to the centre of the picture brings in a woman standing on the pavement to my right; in front of the Tyre company is a woman adjusting the blankets in a pram and at the extreme right above the third mirror another face comes into the frame.

Film was expensive then, and I took only two frames, both with myself, the birdcage in the mirror and the woman and pram and the buildings in almost identical position.

North Middlesex Cricket, Lawn Tennis & Bowls Club, Crouch End, 1978
16s66: playing field, Haringey

These fields to the west of Park Road are still the home of the North Middlesex Cricket Club, and still have their view of Queens Wood behind them, though the sign in this picture is long gone (and there is now no mention of Lawn Tennis & Bowls on its replacement.) The house at right has been extended beyond recognition and the area is much tidier than when I took my picture. The North Middlesex Cricket Club was founded in 1875 and is still going strong.

Back in 1959 in the early days of the anti-Apartheid movement, the North Middlesex Cricket Club was the meeting-place for the ‘Neo-Labour’ group which included a number of anti-Apartheid South Africans, among them Dimitri Tsafendas who spent around a year in London.

Seven years later in 1966, when working as a temporary uniformed parliamentary messenger in the Cape Town parliament, Tsafendas assassinated Prime Minister Dr Hendrik Frensch Verwoerd during a session of the parliament in Cape Town, stabbing him in the neck and chest four times before being dragged off and arrested. He was judged not guilty of murder by reason of insanity and imprisoned indefinitely until his death from pneumonia aged 81 in 1999.

Regents Canal from York Way, 1978
16t64: canal, reflection, works, Islington

The Bartlett works with their tall square chimney with Bartlett in large letters above each other dominated a stretch of the canal to the east of York Way and can be seen upside down and blurred in the reflection at the top left of this image.

This view was I think taken from the bridge over the canal at York Way; the curve at bottom left is the canal widening after the narrow passage under the canal bridge and the slight gap in the bank at right is Battlebridge Basin. The building at near right has since been replaced by Kings Place, and the Bartlett works which was at the end of New Wharf Road is now Ice Wharf Company Ltd, three blocks with 94 appartments in a highly regulated private development with 24 hour concierge service and a private, gated underground parking space where a 2 bed flat overlooking the canal could be yours for only £1,195,000. Battlebridge Basin now appears to be known as Battlebridge Marina.

John Jackson, pub mirrors, location unknown, 1978
17b24: shop, caravan

The address on the caravan is Carshalton, and the telephone number matches this on the old Wallington exchange, but I don’t recall ever going there in 1978, and assume that this was simply parked outside another shop selling pub mirrors, whose name appears to end in T, and probably given the large rodent at first floor level, almost certainly …RAT. The letters before that, of which only the extreme tips are visible seem likely to be ICK.

The name John Jackson is too common to be of much help in locating the building, and it isn’t clear what his business might have been.

Later frames on the same film are somewhere near the British Museum and I think it most likely that this picture was taken somewhere in Camden. There aren’t all that many streets in central London where the numbers go up to 338.

Richmond, 1978
17e52: house, Richmond

This has the look of a former shop converted into a home, with a slightly curious collection of curtains and other fabrics in different styles. The space at the front, apparently open to the street has been colonised by plants, some in pots, with one of these on the doorstep preventing entry, perhaps suggesting that this property has been combined with a neighbour.

Something with a patterned cloth over it occupies the area immediately in front of the window, where perhaps goods for sale would have been displayed, and there are two teapots on the shelf going across higher at the back of the display area. Further back inside are a hanging lamp shade and a mirror inside a large rectangular frame, but we see only darkly, perhaps because of reflections from trees behind the camera.

For me the dimly lit shapes partly glimpse, and another peeping partly out through the curtains gave the building a certain mystery.

My contact sheet simply states Richmond, but the previous frames were taken along Vineyard Passage, which runs from Paradise Road to The Vineyard and this may have been somewhere in that area.

Samuel Stores, Artillery Lane, Spitalfields, 1978
17g46: house, shop, Tower Hamlets

Samuel Stores was one of the remainders of the Jewish East End that I returned to and photographed several times over the years, both in black and white and in colour.

Although in this 1978 picture its shutters are up, the ice cream and cigarette adverts suggested that it was still in business, and only closed because I took this picture on a Saturday.

Many shops in the area still closed on Saturdays, but were open on Sundays. Until 1994, shops were generally not allowed to open on Sundays, but Jewish businesses were allowed to do so if they remained closed for the Sabbath, from sunset on Friday until Saturday evening. Businesses can still apply to the local authorities to declare as Jewish and trade outside the restricted hours allowed by the 1994 Sunday Trading Act so long as they close on the Sabbath. Smaller stores such as this were then and are now allowed longer opening hours.

The shop is still there at 41 Artillery Lane, on the corner of Gun St, now very much smartened up. For a while it was an estate agency and is now a Hair Salon & Barbers.
More to follow….

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My London Diary : London Photos : Hull : River Lea/Lee Valley : London’s Industrial Heritage

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