XR defies illegal police ban

October 16th, 2020

On 6th November 2019 the High Court ruled that the ban on all protests by Extinction Rebellion in London that the Metropolitan Police had imposed on 14 October 2019 after a week of protests in XR’s ‘Autumn Uprising’ was unlawful. It was a misuse of the Public Order Act which was intended to allow police to manage protests but not to ban them, and the ‘Autumn Uprising’ was not a ‘public assembly’ as defined by the Act.

As seems often to be the case, the police had deliberately misused the law – and presumably would have taken legal advice that would have told them so. Doubtless they acted under strong political pressure from the highest levels of our government, and this can be seen as yet another case where the government has been found to be deliberately breaking the law.

XR continued to protest calling for urgent action by the government over climate breakdown, species loss and the risk of social and ecological collapse leading to mass extinction, while the government continued to fail to make any response in the Queen’s Speech outlining their programme for the year on Monday 14th October.

There had been arrests by the police when protests took place against the ban on the 14th, and the following day I photographed police warning XR activists who were gathering for the ‘No Food No Future’ protest opposite the MI5 HQ on Millbank before leaving to photograph a protest against the ban led by the Green Party which was taking place in Trafalgar Square. As well as several Green MEPs and party co-leader Sian Berry, those speaking included XR’s Rupert Read and an Irish and German MEP, and around a hundred XR campaigners came to join them. There were no arrests while I was there.

XR’s main protest against the ban came on the Wednesday, also in Trafalgar Square. While the police had ruled that even two people standing anywhere in London advocating action on climate change was an illegal assembly, several thousands had come to protest. There were a long series of speeches before XR held a general meeting in the square.

Many, including George Monbiot, had come to the event with the deliberate intention of being arrested, and after police seemed reluctant to act in Trafalgar Square they went to sit down and block traffic in Whitehall, where police made arrests for breach of the illegal ban.

In the early evening, XR held another protest outside at Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp HQ at London Bridge demanding that his papers tell the truth about the climate crisis. Rather to their surprise they found that this protest was legal as the area outside the offices is private land and the illegal ban only applied to public places.

The Murdoch press has a particularly bad record of climate denial, but most of our other media are also guilty. Most of our newspapers are owned by a handful of billionaires who also have interests in fossil fuels, and even the BBC has given completely undue prominence to unqualified climate deniers and politicians in a misguided interpretation of ‘balance’ rather than reporting the overwhelming evidence of experts.

More about these protests and many more pictures on My London Diary:

XR demands Murdoch tell the truth
XR defies protest ban
Protest defends freedom of speech
XR No Food No Future protest


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

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


1987: Paddington & Maida Vale

October 15th, 2020
Paddington Arm, Grand Union Canal, Paddington Station, Bishop's Bridge Rd, Paddington, Westminster, 1987 87-7l-32-positive_2400

The view from the bridge on Bishop’s Bridge Road is now rather different with the building over the canal having been replaced by a footbridge and an new entrance to Paddington station now obscuring the front of the station. You can still see the GWR Hotel and the canal, but the empty towpath has been much tidied and is now often thronged by people.

Paddington Basin and the area around the canal leading to it has been fairly dramatically redeveloped with tall blocks and leisure activities. There were few boats moving back when I took this picture and I think the rescue one in this picture was the only one I saw, though there may have been a few kayaks. Now the canal is rather busier, with small electric boats a popular but not cheap hire.

The bridge I was standing on was replaced by a wider modern bridge in 2006; shortly before it had been discovered that Brunel’s original 1839 iron bridge was still in place hidden under the 1906 structure – though its cast iron beams were clearly visible below. It was Brunel’s first iron bridge and of important historical and engineering interest but English Heritage agreed not to list it as it would have considerably affected the replacement plans; instead it was carefully dismantled and put into store on the understading it would be rebuilt for use as a footbridge across the canal around a hundred yards to the north.

Although planning permission was granted for this it never happened and the parts remain in a rather messy heap at English Heritage’s store at Fort Cumberland in Portsmouth, probably because the developers of the area preferred a nice modern and probably much cheaper design. Other former canalside artifacts removed at the same time with similar promises appear to have simply been lost, but the bridge was perhaps too large for that to happen.

Bishop’s Bridge Road only got its name after the Second World War, before which it had been simply Bishop’s Road, developed around the time the railway was built in 1836, replacing an earlier footpath. The Bishop was rather earlier, the manor of Paddington being given to Nicholas Ridley, Bishop of London by Edward VI around 1550.

Pentecost, Assembly of God, Harrow Rd, Maida Vale, Westminster, 1987 87-7l-33-positive_2400
Assembly of God Pentecostal Church, Harrow Rd, Maida Vale, Westminster, 1987

The Assembly of God Central Pentecostal Church on Harrow Road survived until 2015 on the edge of a huge area of high-rise development in North Paddington, but has now gone. It had moved to the ground floor of this building from the Edgware Road in 1946, and was relocated at a temporary site in Tresham Crescent in 2015 while Westminster Council built Dudley House, completed in November 2019. This provides 197 homes at ‘intermediate rent’ as well as new premises for the church, a secondary boy’s school and shops.

North Wharf Rd, Paddington, Westminster, 1987 87-7l-34-positive_2400
North Wharf Rd, Paddington, Westminster, 1987

You can see the curiously ugly QEQM (Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother) building of Paddington’s Queen Mary’s Hospital towering above these simple but rather elegant buildings on North Wharf Road. That is still there but these buildings are long gone, replaced by towering glass fronted structures which now line Paddington Basin.

The redevelopment of this area, part of ‘Paddington Waterside’ began in the late 1990s and is now more or less complete, filled with high rise buildings. You can now stroll along beside the canal on both banks, while back in 1987 access was very limited. But the whole atmosphere of the area has changed. Although open to the public I think most or all of the open space is privately owned and some photographers, myself included, have been stopped taking pictures by security officers around Paddington Basin.

Warwick Avenue, Maida Vale, Westminster, 1987 87-7l-43-positive_2400
Warwick Avenue, Maida Vale, Westminster, 1987

Green Lane was named Warwick Rd on a plan made in 1827 and later became Warwick Avenue. There were some houses on it by 1840 and most of the rest were built shortly after, all rather grand and in an Italian style and covered in stucco. Many like this one which overlooks the canal basin at Little Venice are listed. The name ‘Warwick’ came from Jane Warwick of Warwick Hall, in Warwick-on-Eden in Cumbria, who in 1778 married the great-grandson of Sir John Frederick who had leased the land from the Bishop of London.

Just a few yards from the more industrial area around the canal at Paddington, this is at the southern edge of Maida Vale, an area which attracted many of the wealthier members of London’s Jewish population in the late nineteenth century.

Clifton Gardens, Maida Vale, Westminster, 1987 87-7l-51-positive_2400
Clifton Gardens, Maida Vale, Westminster, 1987

In the twentieth century parts of Maida Vale became one of London’s more respectable red-light areas. Large houses which were too expensive went into multi-occupation, let out as single rooms, usually sharing kitchens and bathrooms, and often became very run-down. Disruption of families by war and high levels of unemployment forced some women onto the streets where they would walk along keys dangling from their hands and invite passing gentlemen to take tea with them, though tea was apparently seldom served. But more recently the area has gone up in the world considerably again, and semidetached houses in the area sell for £5m or more.

Blomfield Rd, Maida Vale, Westminster, 1987 87-7l-55-positive_2400
Blomfield Rd, Maida Vale, Westminster, 1987

In 1805 Napoleon had defeated both Austrian and Russian armies at Austerlitz and forced Austria to sign a peace treaty and he had also made peace with Prussia. This left him free to try to conquer more of Italy and in particular the Kingdom of Naples, which despite a treaty of neutrality with France had allowed both Russian and British troops to land. Napoleon rapidly advanced and conquered much of that kingdom, with the King and government fleeing to Sicily along with the British troops. A British expeditionary force returned at the end of June to Calabria where there was an insurrection against the French occupation and on 4th July engaged with French forces at Maida.

Warrington Crescent, Maida Vale, Westminster, 1987 87-7l-63-positive_2400
Warrington Crescent, Maida Vale, Westminster, 1987

The battle was was on a relatively small scale with around 5,000 troops on each side and only lasted a few hours before the French who had suffered heavy losses during a cavalry charge against superior British guns and muskets were forces to retreat in considerable disarray. The British commander, John Stuart, was given the title Count of Maida by the Italians and a pension of £1000 a year by the UK parliament as well as being made a Knight of the Bath.

Clifton Gardens, Maida Vale, Westminster, 1987 87-7l-65-positive_2400
Clifton Gardens, Maida Vale, Westminster, 1987

The victory on land against Napoleon’s forces who had been so successful elsewhere gave Britain a much-needed boost in morale, and gave both Maida Vale and Maida Hill their names.

There is now a pub in Shirland Rd named for Stuart, The Hero of Maida, but it was not built until 1878 and was then The Shirland Hotel, later becoming Idlewild and in 2014 the Truscott Arms. Opened under new owners in 2018 it was re-named ‘The Hero of Maida’.

You can see more of my pictures of London in 1987 on Flickr.


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

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


Japanese hand colour

October 14th, 2020

Although I knew something about the history of Japan and of photography in the country in the nineteenth century, and had written a little about it and in particular the work of European photographers such as Felice Beato, the video in ‘How colorized photos helped introduce Japan to the world‘ from VOX which was featureed on Digital Photography Review with a useful introduction showed me much that I hadn’t previously known. It was particularly interesting to see the comparisons between some of the photographs and Ukiyo-e woodblock prints and paintings.

The introduction of photography led to redundancies among Ukiyo-e artists (as it did to miniature painters in Europe) and some found new employment using their skills in photographic studios hand colouring prints in a much more subtle manner than in other countries. Soon some of them were becoming photographers too and setting up their own studios. I haven’t read Photography in Japan 1853-1912 by Terry Bennett which the video credits, but it looks an interesting volume.

Japanese art was in the same period being taken back to the west and had a strong influence on many western artists, and I think largely through them on photography around the end of the nineteenth and beginning of the 20th century which can clearly be seen for example in some of the work exhibited by members of the Photo-Secession some of the best of whose work was published by Alfred Stieglitz in his fine magazine Camera Work.

Recent years have seen a new interest in hand-colouring of old pictures, now made much easier by digital means. It’s something that while it may add some life and a greater sense of reality to old photographs I find rather upsetting when applied to many well-known images. As a photographer I feel that there is a disrespect in changing what was a carefully considered black and white image into one in colour and I imagine the photographers turning in their graves at how their work is being done to their pictures.

It also bothers me because the digital recolouring is creating a false reality – as hand colouring could also do. For a long time we had on a mantelpiece a hand coloured picture of my wife sitting in a Manchester park wearing a red jumper; it had been hand-coloured and although the grass had been coloured in a fair approximation to its actual colour, her green jumper was not. It’s a trivial example, but what the colouring produces is false colour and fake reality. For most subjects it probably isn’t a great problem but it seems to me to undermine one of the fundamental aspects of photography, the physical link between subject and depiction. The camera with our help lies but it doesn’t invent.


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


Rojava, Bolivia & Ecuador

October 13th, 2020

One of the things that makes it hard to leave London is the diversity of the communities that have made their homes here, making this an exciting place. Throughout its history Britain’s population has been enriched by immigration and although immigrants have not always been made welcome they have made a very positive contribution to our society. Among them have been many religious and political refugees and asylum seekers, and many continue to support the causes in their home countries while in London.

While our media generally give little attention to protests – except for those rare occasions involving individual violent acts or anti-establishment acts such involving insults against national heroes such as the writing of graffiti on the plinth of the Churchill statue or attacking statues of slave traders, the protests by ethnic communities against events in their home countries are almost entirely dismissed as what one newsroom at least refers to as “tribal matters”.

Of course they are wrong, as well as being xenophobic. We live in a world that is increasingly interconnected and globalised, and Brexit, taking us out from under the wing of Europe will give even more importance to events happening around the rest of the world, including Rojava, Ecuador and Bolivia.

Rojava is important not just to those who live in this Kurdish-controlled part of Syria and to Kurds in general but the rest of us around the world. It was the Syrian Kurds who with US air support who were able to defeat ISIS but as a model of a democratic system dedicated to equality, the liberation of women and ecological justice that could serve to provide the system change we need to overcome climate disaster and to resolve the problems of the middle east and elsewhere.

After ISIS were defeated, Trump brought US forces out of the area, leaving it open for Turkey to advance into Syria – with the aid of Islamist forces and the aim of destroying the Kurds. Through NATO we give Turkey support and doubtless supply arms while Russia, backing President Assad are happy to see Syrians who don’t support him exterminated. The Turks have huge superiority in weapons and seem very likely to acheive their aims, but are then likely to establish an Islamic state in the area rather than withdraw back to Turkish territory and we could well then see a war between Russia and NATO forces.

If you rely on the BBC for your news you will know probably know very little about what is going on in northern Syria and the protesters, mainly Kurds but with some support from the British left, gathered outside Broadcasting House a year ago today on Sunday October 13th 2019 to condemn the poor BBC coverage and hope to persuade them to do more. I met them there and marched with them as far as Trafalgar Square; they went on towards Parliament but I stopped to cover two other protests over events abroad.

Ecuadorians living in the UK had come to call for the resignation of President Lenin Moreno who they say is their worst president ever. Many there were from indigenous groups who have been hardest hit by public service cuts, particularly the ending of fuel subsidies. Protests had been causing chaos in the capital Quito since these were announced two weeks earlier. The austerity measures had been demanded by the International Monetary Fund in order for the country to get a £3.4bn loan. After Brexit we could well see Britain having to meet similar IMF demands whose aim is to protect and promote international capital and corporations at the expense of the poor.

As the Ecuadorians left they were replace by Bolivians who held a lively rally with music and dancers in support of President Evo Morales, who was seeking a fourth term in elections a week later on 20 October.

Morales, the first Indigenous president, and his Movement for Socialism (MAS) greatly reduced poverty, cut the influence of the USA and multinational companies and made Bolivia a model of economic growth. Although popular among the poorer citizens, his policies had not endeared him to the wealthy or to the United States.

Although the election results made Morales a clear winner, with just enough votes to win on the first round, it was followed by violent insurrection amid claims of electoral fraud. Morales fled the country and resigned as President claiming there had been a coup after armed intruders broke into his home. He was offered political asylum first in Mexico and later moved from there to asylum in Argentina.

Although an Organization of American States investigation found there had been voting fraud, later studies by US political scientists and experts on Latin American politics concluded there was no statistical evidence of fraud. Despite being voted in by the Bolivian people, a warrant was issued in December for the arrest of Morales on charges of sedition and terrorism.

More about the three protests on My London Diary:

Rally supports Bolivia’s Evo Morales
Against Ecuadorian President Moreno
Solidarity with Rojava – Kurdish Syria


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

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


October 12th 2019

October 12th, 2020
Ian Hodson, National President of the Baker’s Union BFAWU speaking

I was back with Extinction Rebellion on Saturday 12th October 2019, beginning in a rather wet Trafalgar Square, where Trade unionists were holding a rally in driving rain to show their solidarity with Extinction Rebellion and the school climate strikers. It was raining hard enough to make it difficult to take pictures, with rain drops settling immediately on my lens filters as soon as I wiped them off with my chamois leather held in my left hand.

It’s hard to hold an umbrella and take photographs, though I did for some pictures, and sheltered under other people’s for others. But umbrellas both greatly restrict movement and also other people’s view and I don’t like to use one.

But Global Extinction was the only issue that campaigners were protesting about in Trafalgar Square, there were also a hundred or two campaigners from the 3 million organisation, EU residents living in the UK who were protesting against the promise broken by Vote Leave that “There will be no change for EU citizens already lawfully resident in the UK. EU citizens will automatically be granted indefinite leave to remain in the UK and will be treated no less favourably than they are at present.” They had dressed for their protest in blue and yellow rain ponchos, highly suitable for the weather.

From Trafalgar Square I got on a bus to take me to Marble Arch. Although police had cleared XR from their road blocks and got the buses running, rain in London always results in slow-moving traffic, but the journey did give me time both to dry off a little myself and more importantly to clear most of the interior condensation which was misting up my lenses.

Extinction Rebellion’s main event was their ‘Strength in Grief ‘ procession on the Day of Indigenous Resistance marking the anniversary of Colombus’s landing in the Americas. It began with a number of speakers representing various communities across the world as well as others reflecting on both injustice and grief and the effects of global climate change already causing deaths and suffering across the Global South.

Fortunately the rain had eased off considerably, and had almost stopped by the time the rally ended and the march moved off down Oxford St, going to another rally outside the BBC who are largely failing in their duty to inform us about the threat of global extinction and the failures of our political systems to respond to it.

The campaigners marched on, but I’d had enough. I’d been working with my jacket open at the top so I could put my camera under it, but that meant the rain could get in around my neck, and after several hours I was rather cold and wet, and my lenses were steaming up again. I stopped close to Bond Street station and photographed the rest of the march – several thousand, many in interesting costumes – as it went along Oxford Street until the last marchers had passed me, then made my way down to the station.

Many more pictures from the three events on My London Diary:

XR Strength in Grief Procession
Brexit unfair for EU citizens
Trade Unionists join the Rebellion


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

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


Panoramic Carnival 1992

October 11th, 2020
Panorama, Notting Hill Carnival 1992

Although I’d been making the occasional panoramic image over the years, taking a series of pictures and painstakingly cutting and pasting several prints to produce a seldom quite convincing join, it was only late in 1991 that I finally bought a camera capable of taking true panoramic images.

Panorama, Notting Hill Carnival 1992 nh92001_2400

It’s hard now to imagine how difficult it was to produce panoramic images back in those pre-digital days – unless you could afford an expensive panoramic camera. Nowadays many cheaper digital cameras come with a ‘panoramic’ mode (though I’ve never managed to use one to produce an image that survived close scrutiny) and both specialised “stitching” software and more general programs such as Photoshop make joining several frames just a matter of a few clicks.

Panorama, Notting Hill Carnival 1992 nh92004_2400

It was the Soviet Union, and Krasnogorsky Mechanicheskiy Zavod  (KMZ) that first introduced a reasonably priced panoramic camera to a wider audience, with the Horizont, available from 1966-73, but at the time I wasn’t interested in panoramic photography. Like their Zenith SLR cameras which I started serious photography with this was pretty basic and had a possibly undeserved reputation as being something of a problem to use.

Panorama, Notting Hill Carnival 1992 nh92011_2400

When I bought my first panoramic camera in 1991 it was a Japanese model, a Widelux F8, a similar swing lens camera to the Horizont but with a wider 140 degree angle of view and rather smoother operation. It was also considerably more expensive and I think cost me almost a month’s salary.

Panorama, Notting Hill Carnival 1992 nh92020_2400


Although the camera worked smoothly, its viewfinder was abysmal, and I made landscape pictures with the camera on a tripod and using two arrows showing the field of view on the top of the camera body, with a spirit level in the accessory shoe to level the camera. But for the carnival and similar images of events I used it handheld.

Panorama, Notting Hill Carnival 1992 nh92022_2400

In later years I bought the revised version of the Russian camera, now with a similar mechanism encased in a plastic body and called Horizon (there were several slightly different models.) The viewfinder was so much better than than Widelux and thankfully incorporated a spirit bubble – and the cameras were less than a tenth of the price (I used at least two over the years, one ridiculously cheap from a clearly illegal operation in the Ukraine, evading any customs duties.)

Panorama, Notting Hill Carnival 1992 nh92024_2400

The only colour images I can find from Notting Hill Carnival in 1992 were taken with the Widelux, and appear to have been taken in two relatively short periods, one on Ladbroke Grove and the other on Elkstone Rd. There are some more, some rather similar to those in this post, in my Flickr album Notting Hill Panoramas -1992.


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

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


The New York School

October 10th, 2020

Another exhibition I would like to be able to see opened in Montpellier on 7th October (until 10th Jan 2021), at the Pavillon Populaire, the Espace d’art photographique de la Ville de Montpellier, a venue whose very existence screams a very different regard for photography (and culture in general) in France compared to the UK. I’ve never been to Montpellier, a large city on the Mediterranean coast with a long history and considerable historic remains, but it would certainly seem worth an extended visit in other times.

The show, featured in The Eye of Photography, is The New York School Show. New York School Photographers, 1935-1965, “presenting, for the first time in Europe, a project specifically dedicated to this movement considered to be a true visual revolution” and the ‘Eye’ features an introduction by Howard Greenberg, Exhibition Curator and Director of the Howard Greenberg Gallery in New York, which you can also read in French on the Pavillon Populaire web site (a section of the municipal web site). From there you can download the exhibition booklet in English (or French) which contains, after an introduction by the Mayor a longer text by Gilles Mora, former artistic director of the the Rencontres d’Arles and since 2010 exhibition curator of the Pavillon Populaire and biographies of the 22 photographers included in the show. It’s an interesting selection including both very well-known figures and just a few previously not known to me – I think I have written at least a little about 18 or 19 of them.

Although Jane Livingston coined the name ‘New York Photographic School’ in her 1992 book (The New York School: Photographs, 1936-1963), when I was writing ten years later about the Photo League it was still not widely known, and I received considerably email from people about the articles, including from a number of photographers who had been involved, some of whom I had as yet failed to mention, but mainly from those previously unaware of the huge body of work from this era. I republished one of 2001 articles on the Photo League in general on this site in 2015.

Livingston included in her book The photographers included in the publication were Sid Grossman, Alexey Brodovitch, Lisette Model, Helen Levitt, Robert Frank, Louis Faurer, William Klein, Weegee, Ted Croner, Saul Leiter, Leon Levinstein , David Vestal, Bruce Davidson, Don Donaghy, Diane Arbus, and Richard Avedon, with shows based on her work adding Roy DeCarava and Ed Feingersh; 13 of them appear in the Montpellier show.

Many of them were of course included in the wider show  ‘American Images – Photography 1945 – 1980‘ at the Barbican in 1985, thanks largely to the personal knowledge of New York photography by one of the three curators of that show, John Benton-Harris, born in the Bronx and had became an active part of New York’s photographic culture before coming the the UK after serving in the US Army as a photographer in 1965. Although not dedicated the ‘New York School’ it introduced many of us to some of the main figures in it, and the catalogue, ISBN 9780140079883, available secondhand for under a tenner, remains worth buying.


XR Rebellion – Day 3

October 9th, 2020

On 9th October 2019 I was with Extinction Rebellion outside the Royal Courts of Justice. Perhaps not surprisingly, this protest organised by Lawyers for XR had a rather different feel to most other XR events. The ‘All Rise for Climate Justice’ event stressed the need for a law against ecocide to protect the planet.

Rather a lot of people, many of them lawyers and including some distinguished name, were crammed into the relatively small area of pavement in front of the courts. This made it a difficult event to cover as it was hard to move around much without being obtrusive.

The event launched the ‘Lawyers Declaration of Rebellion’ and copies of it were handed out rolled up an tied with pink ribbon in the traditional manner used for the bundles of papers taken into court by defence barristers. Pink ribbons are now used to distinguish briefs from private citizens from those from the Crown which are tied with white ribbon.

As the event at the Royal Courts of Justice ended I left quickly and rushed down to Victoria St where Axe Drax were protesting outside the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) calling for an end to the subsidies given to fossil fuels and biomass which produce climate destroying carbon dioxide. They called for the closure of Drax power station which burns wood pellets and coal, pointing out the absurdity of paying them £2 million a day in ‘renewable’ subsidies taken from our electricity bills as thepower station is the greatest single producer of carbon dioxide in the UK.

Usually I would have taken a bus for the journey, but the centre of London was still blocked to traffic and I had to walk – with a little running now and then – covering the mile and a half in 15 minutes. Even so I arrived halfway through the protest, but was pleased to be in time to hear Mayer Hillman, 88 year old Senior Fellow Emeritus at the Policy Studies Institute and a leading Green campaigner for many years speaking.

After that protest ended I walked around the other sites still occupied by XR. Although police were continuing to force them off some locations, trashing some tents and making more arrests, there was still no traffic in key locations and workshops and other events continued, with protesters still in fine spirits and something of a festival atmosphere. It isn’t every day that you get your beard pulled (gently) by a giant wallaby.

XR were not the only protesters in Trafalgar Square, and I was also able to cover a protest by Bangladeshi students demanding an end to violence on campus in Bangladesh universities after the beating to death of student Abrar Fahad by leaders of the Bangladesh Chhatra League, the student wing of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s Awami League, at the Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology on 7 Oct 2019.

It was another long day for me as I then went on to meet friends at the launch of Paul Trevor’s book Once Upon a Time in Brick Lane‘, before wandering down Brick Lane and taking a few photographs on my way to the tube. It was around 2am before I finished processing and filing my pictures for the day, and I needed to take the next day off to have a rest.

Many more pictures on My London Diary:

Brick Lane Night
Bangladeshi students protest campus violence
Extinction Rebellion Day 3
Biofuel Watch – Axe Drax at BEIS
All Rise For Climate Justice


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

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


XR October 2019

October 8th, 2020

A year ago in October I was having a busy few days covering Extinction Rebellion’s International Rebellion in London. The event had started early on the 7th October when XR supporters occupied eleven locations at government ministries, outside Downing St, on The Mall, and blocking both Westminster and Lambeth bridges, bringing traffic in that area of central London to a halt. Outside the actual areas blocked, traffic was also largely gridlocked over a much wider area.

For the next couple of days the only ways to get around in the area was by tube and on foot. Police were initially overwhelmed by the sheer number of campaigners and the area covered by the protests, and added to the chaos by themselves closing off some routes to traffic and pedestrians.

The protests of course got considerable coverage in the press and broadcasting media, mainly around the disruption the protest was causing with rather less attention to the reasons why XR felt their actions were necessary to try and get our government to take the actions we need to avoid disaster and possible extinction of human life.

Probably few who only followed the media reports would have become aware of XR’s three demands, that the government tell the truth about the climate and ecological emergency, act to halt biodiversity loss, reduced emissions to net zero and create and set up a Citizens Assembly to ensure that proper action is taken. Our democracy is failing because politicians serve the sectional interests of the powerful few rather than the needs of us all.

I didn’t quite manage to get to all eleven of the occupied sites on Monday, though I did visist and photograph most of them. The highlight of the day for me was the wedding in the centre of Westminster Bridge between two campaigners, Tamsin and Melissa. I’d first photographed Tamsin when Climate Rush re-enacted the 1908 Suffragette storming of Parliament on its 100th anniversary and had got to know her better during later protests including those against the third runway at Heathrow, but hadn’t seen her for five years.

A year ago today, October 8th, was the second day of XR’s protests. By now the police were beginning to take back parts of the area, having made many arrests overnight.

I think many of the protesters were shocked as I was at the deliberate violence and destruction of property when occupied areas were trashed by police, and for some it perhaps made them question the XR policy of non-violence. Standing and shouting ‘Shame on You’ as police assaulted protesters and trashed tents and food stalls turned out not to be very effective.

The day turned out to be a long one for me, as after spending my time with XR I made my way to Camden for a protest by Architects for Social Housing (ASH) outside the champagne reception at the Royal Institute of British Architects awards ceremony for the Stirling Prize. Architects, like our politicians, are largely the servants of the rich and the awards reflect this. ASH were particularly angered by the new Neave Brown Award, supposedly honouring the recently deceased champion and architect of council housing at the Dunboyne Road Estate (formerly known as Fleet Road) and Alexandra Road Estate both in Camden, being awarded to a scheme for a commercial company owned by Norwich Council which demolished council housing to build properties which will not be offering secure council tenancies, with nothing to stop the company raising the service charges or converting the few social rent homes in it to so-called ‘affordable’ rents in the future.

The images here are a small and fairly random selection from the many that I took, and you can see more of them and read more about the protests on My London Diary:

Extinction Rebellion continues
XR Rebels marry on Westminster Bridge
Extinction Rebellion occupy Westminster

Stirling Prize for Architecture


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

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


Carnival 1991 in colour

October 7th, 2020

In 1991 I photographed Carnival in both black and white and in colour. I went on both days, but I think it was only on Sunday, the Children’s Day, that I took any colour pictures. Nearly all were taken on Ladbroke Grove as the floats and groups went down, often stopping for quite long periods.

I’ll post a few pictures here, but there are quite a few in the album, Notting Hill Carnival – the 1990s, starting at this one if you want to see more.

Notting Hill Carnival, Notting Hill, London, 1991 91c8-nh-036-positive_2400
Notting Hill Carnival, Notting Hill, London, 1991 91c8-nh-070-positive_2400
Notting Hill Carnival, Notting Hill, London, 1991 91c8-nh-073-positive_2400
Notting Hill Carnival, Notting Hill, London, 1991 91c8-nh-083-positive_2400
Notting Hill Carnival, Notting Hill, London, 1991 91c8-nh-099-positive_2400
Notting Hill Carnival, Notting Hill, London, 1991 91c8-nh-120-positive_2400
Notting Hill Carnival, Notting Hill, London, 1991 91c8-nh-152-positive_2400

The picture above is the last colour image from 1991 in the album.


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

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