Rotherhithe New Road & Southwark Park Schools

June 21st, 2022

Rotherhithe New Road & Southwark Park Schools – October 1988

Rotherhithe New Rd Bermondsey, Southwark, 1988 88-10k-31-Edit_2400
Rotherhithe New Rd Bermondsey, Southwark, 1988 88-10k-31

I’m not entirely sure whether my next pictures, taken on Rotherhithe New Road were a part of the same walk as my previous post in this series, Down the Blue, Spa Road & Old Jamaica Road 1988 or the start of my next visit to the area from roughly where that ended.

This window was somewhere not far from Raymouth Road which I probably walked down to get to Rotherhithe New Road, and I liked the design of the window with its tall thin iron supports, though it was hard so see them through the branches – which perhaps added to their attraction. I can’t find the actual location and it may well have been demolished.

Debnams Rd, Rotherhithe New Rd Bermondsey, Southwark, 1988 88-10k-34-Edit_2400
Debnams Rd, Rotherhithe New Rd, Bermondsey, Southwark, 1988 88-10k-34

This is the corner of Debnams Road with Rotherhithe New Road and it was obviously the ‘5 Star Batteries’ painting on the first floor wall together with the other signage that made me photograph it. 203-5 is now covered with pebbledash and for some years had an advertising hoarding on this side wall, but this is now gone. The premises have changed hands several times, and in recent years have been a glazing firm, an African Food Store and now ‘Posh Hair Salon’.

Rotherhithe New Rd Bermondsey, Southwark, 1988 88-10k-22-Edit_2400
Rotherhithe New Rd, Bermondsey, Southwark, 1988 88-10k-22

Next to the railway arches on the south side of Rotherhithe New Road in what is now called Jarrow Road I couldn’t resist this smiling lorry for ‘Wood Be Good Paint Strippers’.

Rotherhithe New Rd Bermondsey, Southwark, 1988 88-10k-23-Edit_2400
Rotherhithe New Rd Bermondsey, Southwark, 1988 88-10k-23

This obviously dilapidated building was on Rotherhithe New Road close to the railway bridges and I think was demolished to build the Rotherhithe Business Estate at 214 Rotherhithe New Rd. Unfortunately I have no idea what it had been – if anyone knows please tell me in the comments.

Cain Hill Cafe, Rotherhithe New Rd, Bermondsey, Southwark, 1988 88-10k-11-Edit_2400
Cain Hill Cafe, Rotherhithe New Rd, Bermondsey, Southwark, 1988 88-10k-11

The Cain Hill Cafe which offered hot meals served all day, sandwiches and rolls was at the side of this railway bridge on Rotherhithe New Rd. This was demolished to give a wider entrance to the Rotherhithe Business Estate.

Southwark Park Schools, Southwark Park Rd, Bermondsey, Southwark, 1988 88-10k-12-Edit_2400
Southwark Park Schools, Southwark Park Rd, Bermondsey, Southwark, 1988 88-10k-12

Southwark Park Schools on Southwark Park Road, Grade II listed as an early example of a London Board School by E.R.Robson 1873-4. This frontage is a part of the original building which was extended in the 1890’s and 1910, and sensitively comprehensively redeveloped around 2010 retaining the listed buildings.

My photograph shows one of the two ‘2 sculptural reliefs which depict children learning; to each an inscription panel with the words “School Board for London”
and “Southwark Park Schools
“.’

From here I walked down to the River Thames, where the next post on this walk will continue.


FlickrFacebookMy London DiaryHull PhotosLea ValleyParis

London’s Industrial HeritageLondon Photos

All photographs on this page are copyright © Peter Marshall. Contact me to buy prints or licence to reproduce.


People’s Assembly & Class War Against Austerity

June 20th, 2022

People’s Assembly & Class War Against Austerity – Saturday 20th June 2015 saw a massive march through London from Bank to Parliament Square in the People’s Assembly End Austerity march against the savage and destructive cuts to the NHS, the welfare state, education and public services.

People's Assembly & Class War Against Austerity

The march was supported by groups from across the centre and left, and my pictures show Clapton Ultras, CND, the Green Party, Labour MP Dianne Abbott, Focus E15, Left Unity, FRFI, People’s March for the NHS, Netpol, Socialist Worker, Global Women’s Strike, Union branches, and others on the march.

People's Assembly & Class War Against Austerity

Class War was missing. They were calling for an end to A to B marches to rallies and called for direct action, diverting several hundred from the march to support a squatted pub at the Elephant & Castle which Foxtons want to open as an estate agent. Had I heard about it in time I might have followed, but instead I went to photograph a Class War group holding banners on a footway above the march.

People's Assembly & Class War Against Austerity

They showed several banners, including a new version of one that police had seized (and then lost) showing political leaders, as well as another that police were then charging Lisa McKenzie for displaying with rows of graveyard crosses extending to the far distance and the message ‘We have found new homes for the rich‘, along with the Lucy Parsons banner with her message ‘We must devastate the avenues where the wealthy live.’

Two of Class War’s candidates from the previous month’s General Election were also there, Lisa and Adam Clifford, their Westminster candidate, today wearing a top with fake exposed breasts and holding a fairly lifelike looking baby.

Adam invites people to feel his breasts

The protest was massive, filling across the wide street and taking well over an hour to pass Class War, many raising fists and shouting in solidarity, clapping and otherwise showing approval, with just a few shaking their heads or trying hard to ignore it, though this was difficult, especially when they were letting off flares which sent blue smoke across the march. The organisers claimed 250,000 marched though my rough estimate was perhaps a little less than half this. The organisers claimed 250,000 marched though my rough estimate was perhaps a little less than half this.

Global women’s strike

I went down to street level and took many more pictures of the marchers going past, some with Class War visible in the background.

RMT banner with John Reid (left) and Steve Hedley (centre right)

I watched as around 30 police gathered behind Class War and thought they were about to take action. But charging the group on a wall ten foot above the street would have been highly dangerous for both officers and protesters, and after some lengthy discussions between several senior officers the police rapidly moved away.

Class War discuss how to continue their day in the Olde London

Class War joined in at the end of the march before leaving it to search for a pub, but few City pubs open at the weekends when the area is largely deserted. Eventually the found the Olde London on Ludgate Hill, and went inside, with a large group of police waiting for them outside as they relaxed and then planned further action.

Police followed Class War at a discreet distance as they made their way towards Westminster, rushing forward and forming a line to protect the Savoy Hotel as Class War stopped to protest, blocking the entrance road for a few minutes.

Eventually there were some rather heated arguments as police threatened them with arrest and slowly forced them away. They grabbed one man who had tried to stop a taxi entering, and when a taxi driver got out of his cab and threatened to assault the protesters they seemed far more interested in protecting him from the protesters than in taking any action over his illegal threats.

A woman argues with Adam Clifford at Downing St

Eventually the protesters moved away and on to Whitehall, followed by several police vans. Here they met a sound system and stopped to dance in the road for a while before going on to protest outside the gates to Downing St – and to throw a smoke flare over them. Here there was more dancing and a few short speeches and some of the marchers who had made it to the rally in Parliament Square came back to join them. Eventually Class War rolled up their banners and went off to another pub, telling me they would continue their protests later – but I’d had enough and went home.

Much more on the day on My London diary:
End Austerity Now at Bank
Class War and End Austerity Now
Class War at the Savoy
Class War in Whitehall


FlickrFacebookMy London DiaryHull PhotosLea ValleyParis

London’s Industrial HeritageLondon Photos

All photographs on this page are copyright © Peter Marshall. Contact me to buy prints or licence to reproduce.


Rip Down the Ripper Facade!

June 19th, 2022

Rip Down the Ripper Facade! When Mark Palmer-Edgecumbe, a former former head of diversity for Google got his architects to apply for planning permission to turn a building on Cable Street in East London into a ‘Museum of Women’s History’ the application stated it would “recognise and celebrate the women of the East End who have shaped history, telling the story of how they have been instrumental in changing society. It will analyse the social, political and domestic experience from the Victorian period to the present day.” The application his architects submitted was illustrated with pictures of suffragettes and other notable women from the past.

Rip Down the Ripper Facade!

But when the boards around the site came down in 2015, everyone was shocked to see it was instead it had been turned into a ‘Jack the Ripper Museum’, exploiting the unfortunate women who had been the victims of a series of unsolved murders in the East End in 1888. The architect who made the application and others who had been consulted made clear they had been duped into supporting the project and there were protests outside by members of the local community including the Bishop of Stepney, the Rt Rev Adrian Newman, and Tower Hamlets mayor John Biggs.

Rip Down the Ripper Facade!
Class War Womens Death Brigade arrive for the protest

But most of the protests outside the tacky tourist attraction have been by Class War and its supporters along with feminists including London Fourth Wave Feminists who, together with Class War’s Womens Death Brigade organised the protest I photographed on June 19th 2016. These groups continued to protest after others – including Tower Hamlets Council – appear to have given up.

Rip Down the Ripper Facade!
London Fourth Wave Feminists were there waiting

The council in 2016 refused retrospective planning permission for the shop front and ordered changes to the signage and the removal of a metal roller shutter, which the shop had installed after a window was broken by persons unknown in the middle of the night – not during one of the protests outside as Wikipedia (and possibly the shop owner) suggest. I think I was present at all of the various protests except for the first rather tame event which the local council had arranged to calm things down after Class War and others had widely advertised one for the following evening.

Class War women had brought inflatable plastic hammers

The planning decision was appealed by the shop, and even after their appeal failed the council failed to take enforcement action and it was not until 2018 that the shop front was redesigned. Bad publicity from the protests possibly contributed to the commercial failure of the shop, though there were also poor reviews from visitors who felt it not to be value for money.

Black-clad protesters arrived set off some red smoke

Class War did not of course ‘Rip Down the Ripper Facade’ but the action was typical of their street theatre with inflatable plastic hammers and a little coloured smoke, while the Fourth Wave Feminists came with cat masks and posters to make clear why they were opposed to the shop’s glorification and profiting from violence against women. Eggs were thrown at one of the signs the shop had been ordered to remove and the windows were liberally covered with stickers, but there was no permanent damage.

Rip Down the Ripper Facade!
Ian Bone reaches past police to post a sticker on the window

During the roughly hour long protest there were no customers who came to try and enter the shop, and none inside left. Although London was spilling over with tourists on a Sunday afternoon in June, apparently none wanted to visit this particular tourist attraction. It had been hoped it would close after it was put up for sale in April 2021, but appears still to be open.

More on My London Diary: Rip Down the Ripper Facade!


FlickrFacebookMy London DiaryHull PhotosLea ValleyParis

London’s Industrial HeritageLondon Photos

All photographs on this page are copyright © Peter Marshall. Contact me to buy prints or licence to reproduce.


Central Hill, Brian Haw & Al Quds

June 18th, 2022

Central Hill, Brian Haw & Al Quds. 18th June 2017 was a Sunday, and though I now prefer to observe Sunday as a day of rest, five years ago it was for me another working day. Since the lockdown I get tired much more quickly and I’m cutting down a bit on work. Today I’ll probably go for a walk with my wife after lunch, stopping off on the way home to sit and eat an ice cream before picking more strawberries from the garden and relaxing a little before dinner.

But back in 2017 I was making good use of a Travelcard, going first to the Central Hill Estate which looks down over London close to Crystal Palace then travelling to Westminster to remember Brian Haw before taking the tube up to Oxford Circus and walking to the BBC to join marchers gathering for the annual Al Quds march.


Ted Knight speaks for Central Hill – Central Hill Estate

Central Hill, Brian Haw & Al Quds
A woman comes to talk to me about living on the estate since it was built

I deliberately arrived very early at Central Hill so I could take a walk around and make more pictures of one of London’s finest council estates, but almost missed the start of the talk I had come to hear opposing Lambeth Council’s plans for its demolition as I spent some time talking with a woman who had seen me taking pictures who was still living in the home she had moved into when the estate was built and had raised her family here. She told me how good it had been living here in a fine home that was still in good condition and had never needed any major repairs.

Central Hill, Brian Haw & Al Quds

Ted Knight, former leader of Lambeth Council, had come to speak in support of the campaign to save the Estate, passed for demolition by the council despite the almost unanimous vote of residents for plans to refurbish rather than demolish and the plans by Architects for Social Housing which would achieve the increase in density desired without demolition.

Central Hill, Brian Haw & Al Quds

Knight as council leader earned the name ‘Red Ted’ from the gutter press for standing up to the Tory Government’s rate-capping 1984 Rent Act which severely limited the spending of local councils – which eventually led to him and 31 other councillors being surcharged and banned from political office for five years in 1986. He remained an active trade unionist and in the Labour Party and when he spoke was Branch Chair of the Gypsy Hill ward which includes Central Hill. Although his politics and mine were not entirely the same, I was sad to hear of his death in 2020.

As Knight said, under borough architect Ted Hollamby the estate was planned by Rosemary Stjernstedt as a living community and had remained remarkably successful, with a number of original residents from the 1970s still living there and wanting to continue to do so. At that time Labour believed that nothing was too good for the working people and the estate was built to high specifications and is still in sound condition. A deliberate process of managed neglect – like that which had resulted in the Grenfell Tower disaster had – had been carried out by Lambeth Council to legitimise its demolition.

Lambeth council now refuse to allow the community to use the resource centre

Although the meeting was poorly attended, surveys of estate residents have shown a very high proportion of residents want to remain on the estate and oppose the demolition. The council quotes very different figures and its response to feedback from estate residents has been to remove the estate representatives from the consultative body.

Faults in the paving are marked but left without repair

Lambeth Council has also ridiculously inflated the estimate for the refurbishment of the estate and rejected without proper consideration a carefully planned alternative scheme for a much cheaper limited infill of the site rather than demolition which would involve far, far less disruption to the families who live here and also result in the retention of much-needed social housing. The only real problem with the alternative scheme proposed by Architects for Social Housing is that it would not generate excessive profits for the developers.

Ted Knight speaks for Central Hill


Brian Haw remembered – Parliament Square

This was the sixth anniversary of the death of peace campaigner Brian Haw who had made a ten-year political stand against war in Parliament Square despite considerable harassment by police urged on by politicians, laws introduced against his and other protests, Westminster Council officials and almost certainly MI5 agents.

Brian Haw began his camp here on 2 June 2001, and remained in place despite many attempts, legal and otherwise to remove him for almost 10 years, leaving only when arrested, for court appearances and to speak at protests at Trafalgar Square and Downing St until 1 January 2011 when he left England to receive treatment for his lung cancer in Berlin. He died in Germany in the early hours of 18 June 2011.His ten years of protest and the frequent and repeated harassment undoubtedly hastened his decline and death.

His protest in Parliament square was continued by Barbara Tucker who had joined him in 2005 and had been imprisoned twice for her role in the protest and arrested 48 times. The level of harassment increased and she went on hunger strike on 31st December 2012. Late in January 2013 she was taken into hospital close to death, and was treated for frostbite and exposure. Her protests continued on-line.

Brian Haw remembered


Al Quds march – BBC to US Embassy

Several thousands came from around the country for the annual Al Quds (Jerusalem) Day march in London. Organised by a Quds committee with the Islamic Human Rights Commission it was supported by various groups including the Stop the War Coalition, Muslim Association of Britain and Jews for Boycotting Israeli Goods. At the front of the march were a group of Imams and Neturei Karta anti-Zionist Jews.

The march called for ‘Freedom for Palestine’ and for all oppressed peoples across the world. It supports of the BDS campaign for a boycott of Israel Israeli goods, divestment from companies supporting Israel and sanctions against the Israeli state. It demands that Israel ends its breaches of international law and its oppression of the Palestinian people in what is an apartheid system, and ends its siege and attacks on Gaza.

Zionists oppose the march with a protest close to the final rally at the US Embassy, but a small militant group carrying Israeli flags attempted to stop the march on its route, calling those taking part supporters of the banned terrorist group Hezbollah.

A number of the marchers were holding Hezbollah flags, which carried a message indicating they were supporting Hezbollah as a political organisation – it is one of two main parties representing Shia Muslims, Lebanon’s largest religious group – as a part of national unity governments in the Lebanese parliament.

Police seemed very reluctant to move the Zionists off the road in front of the march which was held up for some time, with marchers simply waiting for the police to clear them. After some time the the marchers held their planned minute of silence for the Grenfell Tower victims before getting up and telling police that unless the police cleared the road they would simply push them aside and march through.

The Al Quds day march is very much a family event but with the numbers involved the march stewards would clearly have been able to do so and the statement did galvanise the police into action, and the march was able to move on slowly.

The event organisers make it very clear that this is not an anti-Semitic event, and I think one or two placards which might have suggested this were rapidly removed by stewards. In 2019 Home Secretary Sajid Javid decided to proscribe Hezbollah’s political wing as well as the military wing which had been proscribed in 2008, so showing any support for Hezbollah would be an offence carrying a sentence of up to 10 years in prison.

Al Quds march
Zionists protest Al Quds Day March


FlickrFacebookMy London DiaryHull PhotosLea ValleyParis

London’s Industrial HeritageLondon Photos

All photographs on this page are copyright © Peter Marshall. Contact me to buy prints or licence to reproduce.


Ten Years Ago – Chariots & Custody Deaths

June 17th, 2022

Ten Years Ago – Chariots & Custody Deaths – On Sunday 17th June 2012 I photographed two very different events in London


Hare Krishna Chariot Festival – Hyde Park

Effigy of A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada (1896-1977) the founder of ISKCON (Hare Krishna)

More than a thousand Hare Krishna devotees turned up in Hyde Park on Sunday morning to pull three giant chariots through the streets of London to Trafalgar Square.

People pull the chariots with ropes and others sweep the path for it

The Rathayatra Chariots Festival first took place at the Jagannatha temple at Puri, Orissa on the east coast of India probably at least a thousand years ago. It celebrates the attempt by Krishna’s childhood friends who were cowherds to try and kidnap him after he became a great lord and take him back to their village on a cart.

There are three chariots to carry the three deities worshipped at Puri, e Krishna in the form of Jagannatha, his half-sister Subhadra, and Balarama her brother. Jagannath means ‘Master of the Universe’ and his name and the chariots in the festival give us the word “juggernaut”.

Subhadra’s representation on her chariot

Hare Krishna disciples celebrated the festival in San Francisco in 1967 and it was first celebrated by a small group here in 1969, but only became a large event in London much more recently. It is one of the more colourful annual events in the city. I left as the procession left Hyde Park.

More pictures: Hare Krishna Chariot Festival


Fathers Day Vigil for Custody Deaths – Brixton Police Station

Family members call for Justice for Ricky Bishop, Justice for Sean Rigg

It was Father’s Day and the families of men killed by by police held vigils on outside police stations across the country. At Brixton, the family of Ricky Bishop was joined by the sisters of Sean Rigg and friends.

The inquest into Sean Rigg’s death in Brixton Police Station in August 2008 had begun the previous week. Following his killing police issued an incredible number of false statements, lying to protect the officers involved and the IPCC backed them with further deliberately misleading statements.

Although the police failure to make investigations and properly question officers involved, along with the destruction of evidence made prosecutions of the officers involved impossible the inquest jury delivered a damning and substantial narrative verdict which included a majority view that the improper and unnecessary restraint of Sean Rigg ” more than minimally contributed” to his death.

Although later three officers were arrested for having committed perjury at the inquest the IPCC cleared one of them and the CPS decided to drop the two other cases. The family appealed and one officer was charged with perjury but was acquitted by a jury despite having admitted giving false evidence.

You can read a fuller account of the efforts by the family to get justice on Wikipedia. Although two inquiries have found a long list of failings by the police there have been no successful prosecutions of the officers involved.

Ricky Bishop was arrested by police in Brixton in November 2001 and taken to Brixton Police station. A healthy 25 year old he suffered a heart attack and was restrained by police who only later called for a paramedic. It took several hours for police to take him to hospital where he died.

None of the eight officers involved in this death have been suspended or prosecuted and they remained on active duty.

These were not the first or the last suspicious deaths involving Brixton Police station – and a woman came up during the event to tell us of her relative Colin Bardley who she said was beaten to death there around 30 years ago. And there are similar cases elsewhere. My post on My London Diary quoted from a report published by the Independent Advisory Panel on Deaths in Custody in 2011 which states ‘in total, there were 5,998 deaths recorded for the 11 years from 2000 to 2010. This is an average of 545 deaths per year. Despite the fact there have been 11 unlawful killing verdicts since 1990 there has never been a successful prosecution.

More about the event, on deaths in custody and more pictures at Fathers Day Vigil.


FlickrFacebookMy London DiaryHull PhotosLea ValleyParis

London’s Industrial HeritageLondon Photos

All photographs on this page are copyright © Peter Marshall. Contact me to buy prints or licence to reproduce.


Down the Blue, Spa Road & Old Jamaica Road 1988

June 16th, 2022

R & G Holden, Household & Fancy Goods, Southwark Park Road, Bermondsey, Southwark, 1988 88-10j-31-Edit_2400
R & G Holden, Household & Fancy Goods, Southwark Park Road, Bermondsey, Southwark, 1988 88-10j-31

‘The Blue’, the area around the market on Southwark Park Road and Blue Anchor Lane gets its name from the Blue Anchor Pub at the corner of the lane. The pub is on the site of an ancient hostelry, marked on the earliest maps of the area dating from 1695 as the Blew Anchor. The area belonged to Bermondsey Abbey and attracted many pilgrims, some on their way to Canterbury. The anchor is thought to have not been any reference to the later nautical links of the area but to the many Anchorites, many of them women who were enclosed in religious buildings having withdrawn themselves from secular society to lead a life of prayer. Pilgrims would visit them to join them in prayer and seek advice. It was a practice largely when Henry VIII broke away from the Pope.

The market was along Southwark Park Road until a separate market square was created in 1976, but shops like this still spilled out onto the pavement.

Spa Rd Station, Former Railway Station, S E & C R,  Priter Rd, Bermondsey, Southwark, 1988 88-10j-22-Edit_2400
Spa Rd Station, Former Railway Station, S E & C R, Priter Rd, Bermondsey, Southwark, 1988 88-10j-22

London’s first railway station was a short walk away. The London and Greenwich Railway opened its Spa Road station in 1836 before it had completed the line into London Bridge. Although little more than a temporary halt and at first without platforms it remained open until 1838. A second Spa Road station was opened after the line was widened in 1842 and operated until 1867 when a new station was opened 200 yards to the east with its entrance in the railway arches on what is now Priter Road. This closed as a wartime economy measure in 1915. Some of the buildings of the 1867 station including this can still be seen in the railway arches and I photographed several of them as well as this one. The initials are for the South Eastern and Chatham Railway which was only formed in 1899, and until 1923 ran all the railways in Kent and to the Channel ports.

Spa Rd, Bermondsey, Southwark, 1988 88-10k-62-Edit_2400
Spa Rd, Bermondsey, Southwark, 1988 88-10k-62

On my contact sheet I state that this remains of a former garage was on Spa Road and although I have no reason to doubt this the roads around here were confusing and the rail bridges all have a similar appearance. I took a number of very similar frames, obviously intrigued by both the broken boarding and the branches growing through it was well as the strange tower rising about a very tall brick wall on the other side of the road.

Rouel Rd, Frean St, Bermondsey, Southwark, 1988 88-10k-53-Edit_2400
Rouel Rd, Frean St, Bermondsey, Southwark, 1988 88-10k-53

The tower block in the background of this picture is Lupin Point on Abbey St, a 21 floor 61 m tall bock on Southwark’s Dickens Estate. This was made at the mouth of the bridge on Rouel Road, with Frean Street going off to the right. More recently this part of Rouel Road, was renamed Marine Street which previously had only started north of Jamaica Road (now Old Jamaica Road.)

This area has been redeveloped since I made this picture and the old housing replaced by a nine storey block so you need to go a little way along the road to see Lupin Point.

Old Jamaica Rd, Bermondsey, Southwark, 1988 88-10k-42-Edit_2400
Old Jamaica Rd, Bermondsey, Southwark, 1988 88-10k-42

These buildings on Old Jamaica Road are long gone. In 1988 clearly Robinsons Motorcycles Cycles Mopeds was still in business with a row of machines outside and bike parts in the shop window and curtains on the floors above, but much of the rest of the block was ready for demolition.

Enid Garage, Old Jamaica Rd, Bermondsey, Southwark, 1988 88-10k-43-Edit_2400
Enid Garage, Old Jamaica Rd, Bermondsey, Southwark, 1988 88-10k-43

Enid Garage on the south side of Old Jamaica Road was clearly a very basic concrete structure, its skeleton of beams exposed at the left. Behind are the railway arches and a long gantry across the tracks, still there. Enid Garage has gone and this is now the Old Jamaica Business Estate.

I think my walk continued to Rotherhithe New Road, where I’ll begin the next post in this series.


FlickrFacebookMy London DiaryHull PhotosLea ValleyParis

London’s Industrial HeritageLondon Photos

All photographs on this page are copyright © Peter Marshall. Contact me to buy prints or licence to reproduce.


Grenfell, Idlib, Sudan – 15 June 2019

June 15th, 2022

Grenfell, Idlib, Sudan – 15 June 2019 – Another day I photographed several protests in Central London.


Grenfell Solidarity March – Westminster

The previous evening I’d photographed the silent march from close to Grenfell Tower remembering the victims of the disaster on the second anniversary of the disastrous fire which killed 72 and left survivors traumatised, and came up to London the following day, Saturday 15 June, for a rather noisier solidarity march, starting and finishing at Downing St, organised by Justice4Grenfell.

My journey up to London had been much slower than usual as there were engineering works on the railway and no trains from my station, and I decided to take a bus the five miles or so to my nearest Underground station for a train to London. On the way the bus passed a recently closed fire station, a reminder of the cuts made by Boris Johnson to the fire services which had contributed to the severity of the Grenfell disaster – though this fire station had been closed by Surrey County Council.

Banners from several branches of the Fire Brigade Union were prominent on the march, which was also supported by other trade unionists and housing activists, including the Construction Safety Campaign, the Housing For All campaign, Defend Council Housing and the Global Womens Strike, as well as others from the Grenfell community.

Yvette Williams demands Truth and Justice For Grenfell

From a rally opposite Downing Street the campaigners marched to the Home Office in Marsham St, now also home to he Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government, for more speeches. The Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea is one of the richest bouroughs in the country, but it is dominated by Tory councillors representing the wealthy areas of the borough who seem to have little regard for poorer residents.

They signed off through their housing organisation the penny-pinching use of unsuitable highly flammable cladding, failed to properly oversee its installation, made other changes that threatened the safety of the residents and arranged for inadequate fire safety inspections, and dismissed the warnings of residents who they labelled as trouble-makers.

RBKC’s reaction after the fire was also severely lacking, and often showed little understanding or concern for the survivors, and their record over rehousing them was abysmal – and remains so now.

Among the speakers outside the Ministry of Housing were Moyra Samuels of Justice4Grenfell and Eileen Short of Defend Council Housing. After the speeches the protesters marched back to Downing St where there was to be a further rally, but I left to go elsewhere.

Grenfell Solidarity March


‘We are the Love’ for Idlib – Parliament Square, London

The Black Eyed Peas song ‘Where’s the love?’ was the inspriation for a protest which was part of an international non partisan campaign to raise awareness about the massacre currently unfolding in the province of Idlib in Syria. It called for an end to the violence in Idlib, the opening up a the supply of humanitarian aid to the people of the city and for those responsible for war crimes and crimes against humanity to be brought to justice.

Campaigners stood in a line holding posters which spelt out the message ‘#we are the love’ but this was difficult to photograph, partly because of its length, but also because of the drummer and bagpiper marching in front of it. Bagpipes in my opinion are best heard from the opposite side of the glen and I didn’t stay long.

‘We are the Love’ for Idlib


Hands off Sudan march, Hyde Park Corner

I left Parliament Square to look for a protest march over the massacre of 124 peaceful protesters by Janjaweed militias (Rapid Support Forces) in Khartoum and other cities in Sudan.

They were marching from the United Arab Emirates Embassy in Belgrave Square, and going to protest at the Egyptian and Saudi embassies, as all three countries had been visited by Sudan’s ruling military council and they were thought to be opposing a democratic Sudan and the movement which had led to the removal of corrupt president al-Bashir in April 2019.

From the timings I had for the event I expected them to be at the Egyptian embassy in Mayfair, but when I rushed there from Parliament Square found only a small group of supporters waiting for the protest.

I didn’t know the exact route of the march, but walked back along what seemed to be the its most obvious path, and was very pleased when I got to Hyde Park Corner to see and hear them just emerging from Grosvenor Crescent around a hundred yards away.

They stopped on the pavement just before crossing the road there and there was a lot of loud chanting, mainly led by women at the front of the protests, before crossing the road towards Hyde Park. They stopped again there and there seemed to be some arguments between protests and there was much more loud shouting and chanting, none of which I could understand.

Fortunately many of the posters and placards were in English, and as well the many Sudanese there were also some supporters of English left groups marching with them.

Hands off Sudan march


FlickrFacebookMy London DiaryHull PhotosLea ValleyParis

London’s Industrial HeritageLondon Photos

All photographs on this page are copyright © Peter Marshall. Contact me to buy prints or licence to reproduce.


Remember Grenfell – Demand Justice

June 14th, 2022

Remember Grenfell – Demand Justice -Five years today on from the terrible tragedy at Grenfell Tower, still none of those whose criminal acts led to it has been brought to justice. The inquiry stutters on, filling in some of the details but pushing hopes of any action further and further into the long grass. So far its only result has been to unfairly pillory the London Fire Brigade who faced an unprecedented situation for which they were ill-equipped with heroism.

Remember Grenfell - Demand Justice

On the first anniversary of the disaster I went to the Massive Silent Walk for Grenfell Anniversary that began close to the tower and joined the marchers, taking photographs but also expressing my own shock and sympathy for the victims and disgust at the failure of the local and national government and our legal system both in making the fire almost inevitable and in failing to support the victims.

Remember Grenfell - Demand Justice

I’m sorry I’m not able to attend today’s march in North Kensington, but some months ago I agreed to give a talk tonight, failing at the time to recognise the significance of the date. So I’ll wear my green scarf on Zoom as I talk about rather happier things. But little has changed over the years and what I wrote back in 2018 still holds true, with little real changes and rather than repeat myself I’ll quote it here.

Remember Grenfell - Demand Justice

“The blackened and scarred bulk of Grenfell Tower has now been hidden by white sheeting, at its top a grey panel with a large green Grenfell heart and the message ‘Grenfell – Forever In Our Hearts’. Some felt it should have been left standing uncovered – particularly as the disaster was caused by covering up the building to make it look nicer for the academy at its base. Without that covering the fire would have been a minor incident with no loss of life.”

“The academy in front of the tower was also built without proper regard for access for fire engines to fight the fire when it happened. To make things worse, Boris Johnson had cut the fire service drastically and they no longer had the equipment to fight the fire in the upper stories – it had to come from Surrey – and successive governments had removed regulations and cut safety inspections (they called it ‘red tape) which would have prevented the inferno.”

Remember Grenfell - Demand Justice

“The blackened and scarred bulk of Grenfell Tower has now been hidden by white sheeting, at its top a grey panel with a large green Grenfell heart and the message ‘Grenfell – Forever In Our Hearts’. Some felt it should have been left standing uncovered – particularly as the disaster was caused by covering up the building to make it look nicer for the academy at its base. Without that covering the fire would have been a minor incident with no loss of life.”

Remember Grenfell - Demand Justice

“The academy in front of the tower was also built without proper regard for access for fire engines to fight the fire when it happened. To make things worse, Boris Johnson (as London Mayor) had cut the fire service drastically and they no longer had the equipment to fight the fire in the upper stories – it had to come from Surrey – and successive governments had removed regulations and cut safety inspections (they called it ‘red tape) which would have prevented the inferno.”

Remember Grenfell - Demand Justice

“Firefighters lined both sides of Ladbroke Grove as a guard of honour for the march and were kissed and hugged by many. Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, Shadow Home Secretary Diane Abbott and local Labour MP Emma Dent Coad and some Labour London Assembly members were among those who took part in the silent walk, which ended in a local park. I left the march before it arrived there as it had been made clear the press were not welcome there.”

Remember Grenfell - Demand Justice

“People stop to shake hands and thank the fire-fighters. Some embrace them. While some papers and middle-class commentators try to shift blame onto the firefighters, the community has
no doubt that they are heroes who did far more than could be expected, some going back five times into the burning building. They didn’t clad it with highly combustible material, ignore obvious safety issues pointed out by residents, engage ‘experts’ to avoid proper fire inspections.”

Remember Grenfell - Demand Justice
Jeremy Corbyn and local MP Emma Dent Coad wait their turn to shake the hands of the firefighters

You can read my fuller account of the walk on June 14th, 2018 with many more pictures and captions on My London Diary at Massive Silent Walk for Grenfell Anniversary

Remember Grenfell - Demand Justice

FlickrFacebookMy London DiaryHull PhotosLea ValleyParis

London’s Industrial HeritageLondon Photos

All photographs on this page are copyright © Peter Marshall. Contact me to buy prints or licence to reproduce.


Surrey Docks & North Bermondsey 1988

June 13th, 2022

I can no longer remember whether the short excursion to Greenland Dock from Rotherhithe came at the end of my previous walk or a few days later at the beginning of my walk on 28th October 1988, though of course it doesn’t really matter. The story of my previous walk began at Greenwich and Deptford Creek October 1988 and ended with Deptford to Rotherhithe October 1988.

I’m unsure now whether I took the fist few of these pictures at the end of my previous walk or at the start of my next one, but it hardly matters as they are in the same area and within a few days of each other.

Lifting Bridge, Dockside sheds, Redriff Rd, Rotherhithe, Southwark, 1988 88-10j-03-Edit_2400
Lifting Bridge, Dockside sheds, Redriff Rd, Rotherhithe, Southwark, 1988 88-10j-03

This is one of the two bridges that linked the riverside areas of Rotherhithe and the Surrey Docks to the area around Lower Road and Surrey Quays station, then on the East London which ran between Shoreditch and alternately to New Cross or New Cross Gate, linking to the District line at Whitechapel. Both have been preserved, though not in working order and this one a short distance from it former site.

At the centre of the picture you can see the curved lower end of the bridge and below it the flat rail on which it rolled back to raise the bascule, with a heavy counterweight above so very little power was needed to raise the bridge.

Greenland Dock, Rotherhithe, Southwark, 1988 88-10h-12-Edit_2400
Greenland Dock, Rotherhithe, Southwark, 1988 88-10h-12

Several relics from the working docks, including this capstan are still present at the east end of Greenland Quay.

Greenland Dock, Rotherhithe, Southwark, 1988 88-10h-13-Edit_2400
Greenland Dock, Rotherhithe, Southwark, 1988 88-10h-13

Four people in kayaks link up and stop to talk to each other in Greenland Dock. I was standing at the end of Greenland Quay and looking towards the tower blocks of the Barkantine Estate on the Isle of Dogs across the Thames.

Southwark Park, Rotherhithe, Southwark, 1988 88-10j-62-Edit_2400
Southwark Park, Rotherhithe, Southwark, 1988 88-10j-62

My next picture was made in Southwark Park, which I think I walked through to Jamaica Road. I’m not absolutely sure what the building in the background was, and I think the area it was in has now been re-developed. Somewhere in the north-east corner of the park it was probably a part of the former St Olave’s Hospital which closed in 1984 and was demolished and replaced by Ann Moss Way in the 1990s.

I seem deliberately to have tried to make this picture mysterious, taking three near-identical frames, an unusual number for me at the time when film was relatively expensive.

Major Works, James Jackson and Co, Jamaica Rd, Bermondsey, Southwark, 1988 88-10j-65-Edit_2400
Major Works, James Jackson and Co, Jamaica Rd, Bermondsey, Southwark, 1988 88-10j-51

This works was next to Major Road, though I’m not sure if it took its name from the road or gave its name to it. It was demolished to build Bermondsey Underground Station on the Jubilee Line Extension which opened at the start of 2000. According to the text on its frontage the company was ‘Established 1827’ and made ‘Flooring Adhesives, French Polishes, Wax Polishes, Varnishes, Seals, Staines – Etc.’

Jamaica Rd area, Bermondsey, Southwark, 1988 88-10j-51-2-Edit_2400
Jamaica Rd area, Bermondsey, Southwark, 1988 88-10j-51-2

Relatively few streets in the area aspire to a No 90 and none that I can find that look anything like this now. This was a part of a terrace of 5 similar houses starting at a street corner, with two pairs of doors on the street and one around the corner as another frame (not digitised) shows. It appears to be later Victorian and I suspect has been demolished. The gate was perhaps a 1930s addition.

Lockwood Square, Bermondsey, Southwark, 1988 88-10j-52-Edit_2400
Lockwood Square, Bermondsey, Southwark, 1988 88-10j-52

Lockwood Square was a 1960’s addition to the council’s Southwark Park Estate with flats around a central grass area. There had been a Lockwood Street here and it was probably badly damaged by wartime bombing. The buildings are bounded by Drummond Road, Clements Road and Southwark Park Road. Some of the ground floor is garages and there are a few shop units. To the north is a play area and Saint Crispin with Christ Church Bermondsey and the similar block of New Place Square.

To be continued…


FlickrFacebookMy London DiaryHull PhotosLea ValleyParis

London’s Industrial HeritageLondon Photos

All photographs on this page are copyright © Peter Marshall. Contact me to buy prints or licence to reproduce.


Magna Carta Under Threat

June 12th, 2022

Magna Carta Under Threat – Runnymede Eco Village 12 June 2015

Police question people and refuse to allow them to enter the site

On 15th June 1215, rebel barons forced King John to sign a royal charter of rights at a meeting at Runnymede, just a short bike ride from where I live. According to Wikipedia, “it promised the protection of church rights, protection for the barons from illegal imprisonment, access to swift justice, and limitations on feudal payments to the Crown.” While good news for the church and the barons, it had little to offer the common men, and neither side took much notice of it and was in any case rapidly annulled by the Pope.

Tea and cakes inside the Long House at Runnymede Eco-Village

Two years later after the death of John and a war by the Barons a revised version was part of the peace treaty, and this was then given the name Magna Carta, as there was another smaller Charter of the Forest also agreed between the parties in 2017. This re-established the rights of free men in royal forests which the Normans had largely removed, at the same time making about a third of the land in the south of England into royal forests, giving rights to collect firewood, burn charcoal, graze pigs and other animals and cut turf – all vital activities for keeping alive.

Getting the festival stage ready

Although the legal significance of Magna Carta soon faded away, it re-emerged from the 16th century on as it became seen as the basis for the English constitution, restoring the freedoms that the conquering Normans had removed, and it became widely seen as the basis for “the contemporary powers of Parliament and legal principles such as habeas corpus.” Various British monarchs tried to supress even its discussion but it remained “a powerful, iconic document, even after almost all of its content was repealed from the statute books in the 19th and 20th centuries.” And these discussions had a powerful effect on those writing the US Constitution.

Vinny wears a badge “Who Protects Us Form the Police?”

The only clauses of Magna Catra that remain in force are those protecting the Church and the City of London and Clause 29 which stated “The body of a free man is not to be arrested, or imprisoned, or disseised, or outlawed, or exiled, or in any way ruined, nor is the king to go against him or send forcibly against him, except by judgment of his peers or by the law of the land.” But when Occupy London tried to make use of this to resist eviction their argument was unsuccesful.

The Eco-Village was a friendly, peaceful and welcoming place

More recently Magna Carta “truthers” have unsuccfully tried to use it against various legislation, including the Covid laws, particularly over wearing masks. But without any chance of success. Freedom to flout the law seems mainly to be granted to those in government. And much of the legislation being pushed through the UK parliament now by a large Tory majority does go against our principles of freedom, such as severely restricting our rights to protest and deporting asylum seekers.

The Magna Carta celebration is proposed 3 years earlier – Runnymede, Surrey, Sat 16 Jun 2012

Back in June 2012 I had sat on the grass with ‘Diggers’ camped on Cooper’s Hill close to the US Bar Association Magna Carta memorial (and possibly close to where King John and the Barons met, though that may have been rather closer to Staines.) The original Diggers or ‘True Levellers’ were founded in 1649 after the first English Civil War by Gerard Winstanley who stated “England is not a free people, till the poor that have no land have a free allowance to dig and labour the commons.” His ideas of the sharing of property came from the New Testament.

Luke, trained as a forester, says the woodland had been sadly neglected

This year it is particularly appropriate to recall the Biblical idea of ‘Jubilee’, where after 49 years there would be a ‘Year of Release’ when slaves and prisoners would be freed, and debts would be forgiven. The land would be allowed to lie fallow and all land and other properties (except houses in walled cities) would be returned to the original owners or their heirs.

One home was built around a fallen tree running across the floor

Land ownership in the UK has changed relatively little since the Normans took it away from the inhabitants after 1066, with the same families still owning the great majority of English land. A minute fraction of the UK population – 0.65% – currently own more than two thirds of the UK land area. Land ownership is the foundation of our class system and while a revolution seems unlikely in the near future, any reforming government should be putting a land tax at the centre of its programme.

The Diggers at Runnymede in 2012 had heard a discourse on Magna Carta and the Diggers from a historian at the nearby college of London University, and talked about more recent occupations of disused Land by ‘The Land Is Ours’ at the Wandsworth/Battersea Guinness site in 1996, at the Kew EcoVillage in 2009 and at Grow Heathrow.

A TV Crew set up a picture of one of the residents playing guitar

My post Diggers at Runnymede Call For Freedom gives some detail on the 2012 event as well as the setting up of the Runnymede Eco Village. At the meeting people agreed to hold a celebration of the 2015 anniversary of Magna Carta at the village site.

Police watched me closely as I came out of the gate to take this picture. They were stopping people entering.

Many in the local community welcomed the presence of the Eco-village, and the community work they had done over the three years. What little trouble there had been had been caused by outsiders, thought by some to have been encouraged by landowner and police. And although the celebrations were planned to be entirely peaceful, police, urged on by Surrey County Council and almost certainly some government ministers, laid on a huge and almost certainly illegal exercise to prevent the event taking place.

The festival began – but police stopping people coming & threatening them with arrest

I wrote: “Police surrounded the Runnymede Eco Village as the Magna Carta weekend Festival For Democracy was to start and prevented some people entering, issuing some with exclusion notices covering a wide area.

The police action appeared to be an entirely politically motivated action against the community and its many friends to prevent their long-planned celebrations of Magna Carta, a charter supposed to represent freedom under the law but here at its very source 800 years ago it was being suppressed in an unfair and arbitrary manner by the forces of the Law.”

As well as my account of what I saw on Friday 12th June at Runnymede on My London Diary, Police threaten Runnymede Magna Carta festival, you can also read the post I wrote the following day here on >Re:PHOTO, Celebrating Magna Carta.


FlickrFacebookMy London DiaryHull PhotosLea ValleyParis

London’s Industrial HeritageLondon Photos

All photographs on this page are copyright © Peter Marshall. Contact me to buy prints or licence to reproduce.