SODEM Night

February 14th, 2019

December 12th wasn’t really a day for taking photograph for me, more a day off to go out for a few drinks and a meal with some photographer friends. But as I sually do on such occasions I took a camera with me, just in case I wanted to take some pictures. Not one of the Nikons I usually use for work, but a Fuji X-E3, with the 18-135 lens fitted, and as something of an afterthought I also put the smallish 18mm f2 in my bag too.

The day out started a little late, as when we agreed to meet at the Tate. For some unknown reason (senility?) I had in mind Tate Modern but everyone else got it right and went to Tate Britain, where at my request we were aiming to start at a show by photographer Markéta Luskačová of her Spitalfields pictures. A couple of phone calls later I was on the Jubilee line to Westminster and then hurrying down past the Houses of Parliament, where I saw a bus coming and rushed to just miss it.

Finally arriving at Tate Britain I had to find the show, which wasn’t easy – the gallery does really need to look at its signage. Finally I asked one of the gallery staff who didn’t really know but gave me a map and pointed in roughly the right direction. The show does continue until May 12th 2019, so if you start now there is some chance of finding it by then.

Finally we were all met, and after I’d run around the show (worth seeing though I was familiar with all the work already) we left for the pub, a journey where I at least part redeemed myself by actually knowint the way as it was the same one I’d gone to meet Class War before their visit to the Rees-Moggs a few months earlier. We’d hoped by around 2pm it would be getting a little less busy, but approaching Christmas it was rather full, with several parties about to take place, and after a drink or two we left for the next venue, a theatre bar I’d often walked past but never visited,  which was quieter and cosier.

An hour or so later we’d had enough of expensive beer and got on a bus towards a Wetherspoons where we were also to eat. Not a gourmet location, but almost always edible and good value, with fast service. Spoons do differ despite all being a part of the same empire, and this was the preferred choice of our late colleague-in-arms Townly Cooke, who at one time was a part of their quality control, being paid to eat and drink unannouced at their pubs across London.

We finished early as one of our number had to get back to Oxfordshire for an early start to work the following day and I found myself going across Waterloo Bridge at around 6.30pm and realising I couldn’t use my Super Off-Peak rail ticket until half an hour later.  I remembered there had been quite a lot of Brexit-related activity outside Parliament when I’d run past earlier in the day and decided to return to see if anything was still happening.

I changed the f3.5 maximum aperture zoom for the 18mm f2 fixed lens and set to work photograph SODEM who were still keeping up their vigil, along with a rather impressive Brexit monstrosity on the back of a lorry. The extreme-right who had been noisy and disruptive were long gone, and things were pretty quiet.

I was interested to see how the Fuji would cope under the failry dim conditions, working at f2 and ISO 3200.  Shutter speeds varied, but were generally usable, around 1/50s and the camera usually focussed fairly easily on something, though not always exactly where I had intended, though I suspect this was my fault. As always under such conditions, depth of filed is always a problem, but the smaller sensor compared to full frame does improve this. Working in low light like this not everything works, and I always have to overshoot, but there weren’t that many absoluted failures. I’ve put most of the frames that didn’t have obvious problems on the web site rather than edit more tightly to perhaps half a dozen frames as I might usually have done.

Although I’ve decided the Fuji cameras I’ve tried can’t really replace the Nikons for my work, I’ve been wondering for some time about trying a micro four thirds system. I think my first step will be to evaluated using one with a telephoto zoom alongside the Fuji X-E3  with the wide-angle zoom.

As I walked back into Parliament Square I saw a bus to Waterloo just entering the square and ran towards to stop to catch it. This time I got there in time.

You can see the pictures I took at SODEM vigil against Brexit

There are no adverts on this site and it receives no sponsorship, and I like to keep it that way. But it does take a considerable amount of my time and thought, and if you enjoy reading it, a small donation – perhaps the cost of a beer – would be appreciated.

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

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.

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Human Rights – 70 years

February 13th, 2019

Modern Human Rights law came out of the aftermath of the Second World War as a response to the barbarism of that war, with the UN in 1947 setting up a Human Rights Commission, chaired by Eleanor Roosevelt, which after consderable discussion came up in 1948 with the non-binding  Universal Declaration of Human Rights which was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly at at Palais de Chaillot, Paris on the 10 December 1948, 70 years to the day before this ‘Shut Guantanamo!’ protest at the US Embassy by the London Guantanamo Campaign.

December 10 is celebrated in countries around the world as Human Rights Day or International Human Rights Day, though it is an anniversary that passes almost unnoticed in the UK.


Almost 17 years – since January 11th 2002

When the Council of Europe (not to be confused with the EU) was set up in 1949, it immediately began work, led by Sir David Maxwell-Fyfe, a British MP who had been a prosecutor at the Nuremberg trials, on a European Convention on Human Rights, completed in 1950 and ratifed three years later, with the European Court of Human Rights  established in Strasbourg to oversee it.

The Council of Europe now has 47 member states, including almost all those with any territory in Europe such as Turkey and Russia, along with Iceland, and is thus a much wider body than the EU

In 1998, the UK Human Rights Act was passed, incorporating the European Convention on Human Rights  into domestic British law; it sets out the fundamental rights and freedoms that everyone in the UK is entitled to and means they can be argued in British courts rather than having to go to Strasbourg. It came into force in the UK in October 2000.

The protest was held outside the US embassy in Nine Elms, London because the US has been clearly contrravening the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in its treatment of prisoners held at Guantanamo (as well as in other secret military prisons in countries around the world.)

The US activities are a violation of many of the articles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, but particularly:

Article 5
No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.

and

Article 9
No one shall be subjected to arbitrary arrest, detention or exile.

But the UDHR was a non-binding declaration and its provisions have never been incorporated into US law, although there are some similar provisions in the US Bill of Rights (which were based on those in the 1689 UK Bill of Rights.)

70 years of Human Rights
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My London Diary : London Photos : Hull : River Lea/Lee Valley : London’s Industrial Heritage

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.

To order prints or reproduce images

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Against the ‘Brexit Betrayal’ march

February 12th, 2019

Two groups had planned events in opposition to a march by supporters of Tommy Robinson, advertised as the ‘Great Brexit Betrayal Protest‘ march in London on Dec 9th. One was Unite Against Fascism & Stand Up to Racism, both largely dominated by Socialist Workers Party members and the second was a broad coalition of anti-fascist groups, including Momentum, Plan C, Feminist Anti-Fascist Assembly, Global Justice Now, Women’s Strike Assembly, Brazilian Women Against Fascism, Women’s March London, Feminist Fightback, Fourth Wave: London Feminist Activists, Sister not Cister UK and many others who had managed to bring a previous fascist march through London to a halt, delaying it for several hours until police managed to re-route it, while UAF/SUTR held a separate small and innefectual static protest in Parliament St.

This group has a much broader representation of women’s and ethnic minorities than  UAF/SUTR, and a wider political base including many from Labour, left wing and anarchist groups, but is largely London-based. Outside of London there are fewer groups opposing racism and fascism and I think UAF and SUTR are groups with broader support than in London, often virtually the only game in town.

UAF and SUTR made a big appeal for unity, to stand up to the fascists together, and the anti-fascists agreed, only to find out that on the day of the march it was more or less a takeover by the other group, who with the aid of the police rather hi-jacked the event. The march to Whitehall took place, and it was a fairly large one, with perhaps roughly three times as many as on the Brexit Betrayal march, but they were stopped from presenting any real opposition to the fascists, and the rally at the end of the march close to Downing St was entirely a UAF/SUTR event, with no speakers from the anti-fascists.

For most of the march, the main banner, held by UAF/SUTR supporters with the message ‘No to Tommy Robinson – No to Facism’ was at the front of the march, carried at the head of a group of supporters carrying Stand Up To Racism and Socialist Worker placards. But when police halted the march briefly on Haymarket as there were a small number of fascist who had come to oppose the march in the area, the a hundred or two anti-fascists came to the front to defend the march,

Somehow with the aid of the police the No to Tommy Robinson – No to Facism’ banner was again at the front of the march as it reached Trafalgar Square, but it was the anti-fascist who left the march to tackle the counter-protesters who had gathered there, while the rest of the march moved on towards its end in Whitehall.

I paused briefly to photograph this small group of extreme-right couter-protesters in Trafalgar Square and was threatened with violence by them if I took their picture, as well as being pushed around a little by police who rather seemed to be on their side. But having taken a few pictures I soon moved off, keen not to miss the start of the rally in Whitehall.

As the rally went on and one I became more and more disappointed. Although there were some good speakers –  including Paul Mason – it became obvious that there was to be no representation at all of any of the many groups in the anti-fascist coalition that probably represented considerably over half of the march, and when a musical interlude was introduced I turned to leave.

Most of the marchers seemed to have come to a similar conclusion, and there were relatively few people in left Whitehall. It was a cold day and probably many had decided not to stand around listening to speeches – or had soon drifted away, perhaps to one of the many pubs and coffee shops around. But there was still a largish ‘black bloc’ group towards the Trafalgar Square end of Whitehall who had decided to leave together for security and make their way to Charing Cross station to disperse. I walked through a line of police without being stopped, but more police moved in to stop them leaving.  Evventually the officer in charge decided they could go and arranged for police to escort them to Charing Cross, though they were more than capable of making their own way their in safety.

More about the protest and many more pictures at Marchers oppose Tommy Robinson

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There are no adverts on this site and it receives no sponsorship, and I like to keep it that way. But it does take a considerable amount of my time and thought, and if you enjoy reading it, a small donation – perhaps the cost of a beer – would be appreciated.

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

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.

To order prints or reproduce images

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Stolen Goods in the Museum

February 11th, 2019


Rodney Kelly speaks beside his Gweagul ancestor’s shield

The world’s earliest known musuem was set up in 530 BC in the dying years of one of the oldest known cities of the world, Ur in Babylon (now Iraq) by a woman, Princess Ennigaldi, the daughter of the last King before the citysuffered terminal decline. The first excavations of the city, in 1853-4, were financed by the British Museum, but it was during the major excavations in 1922 to 1934, funded by the British Museum with the University of Pennsylvania, that archaeologist Leonard Woolley, later knighted for his work there, came across the evidence of the world’s first museum, a labelled collection of local antiquities from various ages, including some from the foundation of Ur some 2000 years before its demise.


Part of the crowd listening to Rodney Kelly

Objects from Woolley’s excavations are now a part of the collections of both the British Museum and the University of Pennsylvania, and the Iraqi authorities hope to develop the ancient city with its ruins as a tourist attraction. As a part of this there will doubtless be some kind of museum in which various objects can be displayed, probably including replicas of some at least of those objects in London and Pennsylvania.


Danny Chivers, dressed as a burglar, in front of the Parthenon marbles

The British Museum contains a vast collection of antiquities from around the world, some obtained by rather more dubious means than those from Ur. And it is great that everyone from around the world can visit and see at least those that are on display there – and presumably the much greater number kept hidden in the basement or stored elsewhere are made available to scholars. It’s a great resource and one that is generally free to access, and I’ve dropped in occasionally over the years, though currrent security measures make it considerably less convenient – where you just used to walk in, it can now involve a 20 minute wait to have your bag searched (though there is seldom much of a queue at the north entrance.)


‘Stolen Land, Stolen Culutre, Stolen Climate’ banner in front of the Assyian exhibition

It would be a shame to see this collection broken up, but it seems to me that there are some items in it that should be returned – and perhaps replaced in the collection by carefully made replicas. Probably the best-known of these are of course the Parthenon marbles. We used to call them the Elgin marbles, bought by Lord Elgin from the Turkish occupiers of Greece in a rather doubtful transaction. Certainly the Turks had no moral right to dispose of Greek heritage in this way.

Among much more recent acquisitions are apparently a number of looted items from Iraq which came onto the market as a result of the second Gulf War. I don’t know the details, but clearly there can be no argument for their retention. But not only is the British Museum hanging on to them it was proudly displaying them in the current BP-sponsored Assyrian show. BP of course has a long and unsavoury record of exploitation of oil in the Middle East

While those exhibits from Ur were from an ancient civilisation that was conquered and disappeared many years ago, there are other items which were taken by force or stolen from communities that still exist, and it was one of these that was at the centre of the British Museum Stolen Goods Tour organised by BP or not BP?  on December 8th, led by Indigenous Australian campaigner Rodney Kelly, a 6th generation direct descendant of Cooman, whose Gweagal shield was taken when Captain Cook’s men arriving in Australia fired on him. In a cabinet to his right, you can see the hole close to its centre thought to have been made in it by a musket round.

The shield, along with other stolen objects still have great cultural significance for the Gweagul, and would both form the centre-piece of a new cultural museum and also a springboard for a renaissance of indigenous culture. A similar case can be made for the return of the stolen Moai Head from Easter Island, whose return is demanded by the Rapa Nui Pioneers.

More about the protest against the British Museum and climate criminals BP at British Museum Stolen Goods Tour.
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There are no adverts on this site and it receives no sponsorship, and I like to keep it that way. But it does take a considerable amount of my time and thought, and if you enjoy reading it, a small donation – perhaps the cost of a beer – would be appreciated.

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

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.

To order prints or reproduce images

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London 1979 (1)

February 10th, 2019

In the first six months or so of 2018, I posted around 180 pictures which I had taken in London in to my London Photographs web site, and along with them made a daily post on my Facebook page with some details and comments on a newly added picture. But those comments are now hard to find, and I’ve begun to add them to the web pages. I’ll now also publish the pictures and the comments here on >Re:PHOTO, where they will remain easy to find in a series of posts with around 7 images at a time. On Facebook now, I’m publishing pictures I took in 1981 in the same way.

The pictures in this series of posts are exactly those on London Photographs, where they display slightly larger. Clicking on any picture will go to the page it is on on that web site. I have included the file number and some keywords in the caption; you can order a print of any picture on this site using the file number. Order details and prices


London Photographs 1979 – Peter Marshall

 


St Paul’s from Waterloo Bridge,Lambeth, 1979
18k-62: Lambeth, theatre, church, offices, National Theatre

London’s skyline is rather less clear now, and a picture from the same viewpoint would be dominated by The Shard, I think between the two tall blocks at right.

 


National Theatre from Waterloo Bridge, Lambeth, 1979
18p-26: Lambeth, theatre, night, National Theatre,

I’m not sure why I was wandering around the South Bank at night, but probably after an opening, perhaps at the Hayward or National Theatre, and of course I had a camera with me.

I suspect it was the Leica M2, which is a purely mechanical camera and has no exposure metering. I had an accessory meter for it which slotted in and coupled with the shutter dial, the Leicameter MR, a curious battery-free CDS meter which was generally about as accurate as holding up a wet finger, but failed to give an reading at all in low light, and this, or perhaps a few glasses of white wine, accounts for the considerable underexposure.

Although my caption states ‘National Theatre from Waterloo Bridge’, I think this is taken from the walkway at a lower level.

A second image taken around the same time shows part of the South Bank complex


Southbank, Lambeth, 1979
18p-53: lambeth, concert hall, hall, theatre

 


River Thames flooding at Twickenham, Richmond, 1979
18r-14: richmond, river thames, flood, pub, pub sign, White Swan

The Beer Garden of the White Swan is a pleasant place to sit with a beer or two in Summer, but in January we had both snow and a little flooding. It isn’t unusual for the Thames to overflow its banks at high Spring tides onto Twickenham Riverside. The boats at right are moored by the downstream end of Eel Pie Island, with a rowing eight just making its way along the main stream beyond.

Across the river at left is the road leading to Ham Street Car Park by the river, which helpfully has a notice warning motorists that it is liable to flooding, though not everyone bothers to read it – or to consult their tide tables.


River Thames flooding at Twickenham, Richmond, 1979
18r-15: richmond, river thames, flood, pub, pub sign, White Swan, dog

Another picture of the flooded beer garden with a woman walking her dog.

Cyclists in snow, Marble Hill House, Twickenham, Richmond, 1979
18s-35: richmond, snow, mansion, house, snow, boys, bicycles

We  had a lot of snow in December 1978 and January 1979, enough on at least one day, together with icy roads to stop me getting to work, and some days when I and my colleague did struggle in it was to find few pupils had struggled into school with the day starting later than usual and finishing earlier to enable them to journey home while it was still light.

I had extra time on my hands an spent quite a lot of it photographing snow, mainly in walking distance from where I lived, but also up in Derbyshire around Paul Hill’s Bradbourne Photographers’ Place and on a trip from there to Alton Towers. Unfortunately when I got home and developed those films I found my Leica M2 had developed a shutter fault, sticking slightly three quarters of the way across the frame, probably brought on by the cold weather, ruining most of my pictures and making a large hole in my pocket for the expensive repair needed. Though to be fair, it hasn’t needed another repair since I got it back later in January 1979.

Fortunately I was also taking some pictures on my Olympus OM-1, which were fine. It wasn’t a weather-sealed camera, but didn’t seem to mind getting cold or wet, and on at least one occasion I’d removed the lens after being out in driving rain and literally (and I do mean literally) poured the water out.

But I’ve never found snow appealing as a photographic subject. It covers everything with its overall gloop, removing subtlety. This is one of the few snow pictures I’ve ever shown or sold, taken on a walk from Twickenham to Richmond along the riverside. The snow forms as useful rather blank background for the three boys on bikes, who I’d stopped to photograph. In the first frame they were together in a group and there was another riding away near the right edge of the frame; it wasn’t a bad picture, but my second frame caught them just as the three were moving apart, those on each side of the group in opposite directions, their six wheel just still linked.

This was made with the revived Leica, which is perhaps why I’ve never cropped the image though I think it would improve it to do so a little, though there is something attractive about the huge expanse of white nothing with that small group in near-silhouette at its centre.

 


Figure on gate, Orleans House, Twickenham, Richmond, 1979
18s-51: richmond, mansion, house, graffiti, drawing

Taken on the same walk, this is a figure I photographed on several occasions, of which I think this is the best. Crudely drawn, something between a ghost and a human, it appeared to me as someone’s scary phobia emerging from this locked gate.

Behind is the elegance of Orleans House, where I helped organise and took part in several exhibitions of our small photographic group.

1979 continues in a later post

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There are no adverts on this site and it receives no sponsorship, and I like to keep it that way. But it does take a considerable amount of my time and thought, and if you enjoy reading it, a small donation – perhaps the cost of a beer – would be appreciated.

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

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.

To order prints or reproduce images

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A Divided Countryside

February 9th, 2019

I don’t get out into the country much. Most of the posts I make on My London Diary are, not surprisingly about London and things happening in London, but there are parts of my life that don’t feature in that on-line diary, or for that matter on Facebook. Things that I want to keep private don’t feature on either, where I assume, whatever the privacy settings, anything may become public.

Although my first web site back in 1995 was called ‘Family Pictures‘ (and is still on-line with minor code updates and on a different host) I’ve put very few family pictures onto the web, instead sharing some with named individuals via Dropbox or e-mail. That first site too was written with help from two of the main people featured. And although I have published elsewhere a few pictures of my family, particularly when young, I never got them to pose for the kind of stock photos that many photographers produce. Not that there is anything wrong in that, but I’ve always used my photography to follow my own ideas and projects and only worked for others where this overlapped with these interests.

Even photographing protests. Though I’ve occasionally accepted commissions and almost always made some attempt to sell my work, that has never been the reason for me taking pictures. When I began it was because so many went either unrecorded or were poorly recorded and I felt that like other events I was busy recording they were an important part of our society and I wanted to say something about them and provide some historical record.

I don’t always post pictures of my family walks, and when I do so you seldom see pictures of those members of the family I’m walking with. Most of these walks are around the western edge of London, as was this one, not far from where I once worked in Bracknell.

Again and again on this walk I was reminded of the differences between rich and poor and between town and country. Of course there is plenty of rural poverty, even in the Home Counties, but it is largely well hidden.

This region was not long ago important farming land, but much of it now produces little we can eat, though some hugely expensive livestock that occasionally races around nearby Ascot. For around five years I drove past the racecourse in a Ford Cortina driven by a colleague and we would share our plan, come the revolution, to turn it into allotments. Occasionally we’d take a longer route home, along roads including those on the walk route.

This is now prime commuting counry, not just for the wealthy from the CIty, but internationally, just a short drive from Heathrow. Large estates owned by millionaires and billionaires, often foreign and largely resident abroad. I stepped onto the verge for Rolls-Rooyces and Range Rovers as well as more humble vehicles.

Of course it’s not all like this, and the pictures show it. Unusually we went into two pubs, both nice places with decent beer, but in the first the fish and chips we finally ate had a much fancier description on the menu (‘Punter battered haddock with hand cut chips, tartare sauce and peas’) and cost about twice as much, though I doubt they would have tasted better.

More pictures: Winkfield Walk

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There are no adverts on this site and it receives no sponsorship, and I like to keep it that way. But it does take a considerable amount of my time and thought, and if you enjoy reading it, a small donation – perhaps the cost of a beer – would be appreciated.

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

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.

To order prints or reproduce images

________________________________________________________

Alternative Housing Awards

February 8th, 2019

I wasn’t sure, as I made my way to SHAC’s Alternative Housing Awards 2018, due to take place outside the annual National Housing Awards on the edge of the Broadgate development whether it would be possible for the Social Housing Action Campaign to stage the protest there, or if I would be able to photograph it.

Broadgate is one of the increasing number of areas in London which, although open to the public, are privately owned, and where photography and many other activities are strictly controlled. Over the years I’ve been stopped from photographing a number of times, sometimes politely, other times less so. It’s often affected me less than many other photographers, partly because I almost never use a tripod and partly because I generally work fairly rapidly – and have often made the picture I want before security notice.

But although the security had insisted the protesters move down a little away from where they had wanted to stage their protest, they did allow it to happen, only insisting that the protesters remove banners they had taped to the walls, fearing they might cause damage. There was considerable argument over this, but eventually as security told them they would call the police unless they took the banners down, they were removed and held instead.

I’m pleased to say security completely ignored me, though the head of security did request a videographer not to film him talking with the protesters, and I was able to cover the event unhindered. I was very pleased the protest had not been forced onto the pavement outside, both because it was considerably darker, but also because it was raining rather steadily and we would have got very cold and wet.

The Alternative Awards Ceremony wasn’t the most interesting event for a still photographer, though I think it will have made a better video. After an introduction for each award to a housing association made by someone from Unite Housing Branch who had organised the event together with SHAC, there was an invitation for them to come up and accept a small cup, but not surprisingly none of them had turned up to collect their awards. Instead residents or former residents or workers came to take them and spoke about their own experiences.

Although we still think of housing associations as being organisations set up to provide low cost social housing, having taken over much of the role of local councils, along with many of their council estates as a part of Thatcher’s policy of marginalising local government, they have changed over the years to become in many cases virtually indistinguishable from private developers and landlords, producing new developments often largely for sale or rent at market prices, usually with fewer properties at high cost affordable rents or shared ownership schemes, and virtually none at true social rents.

The awards were made as follows:

As Landlords

Sanctuary Housing for Most Rotten Repairs,
London & Quadrant for Soaring Service Charges,
Peabody Trust for Senseless Social Cleansing and Dodgy Development, with a special mention for The Old Tidemill Garden in Deptford,
Notting Hill Genesis for Rocketing Rents,
Optivo for Secrecy, Unaccountability & Spin,
Tower Hamlets Community Housing for Blundering Board and Management.

Clarion Housing Group was awarded as Overall Lousy Landlord.

As Employers

Catalyst for Poverty Pay,
St Mungo’s for Punitive Performance Management,
Peabody Trust for its Relentless Restructures.

Catalyst was awarded as Overall Bullying Bosses.

More at SHAC Alternative Housing Awards 2018.

______________________________________________________

There are no adverts on this site and it receives no sponsorship, and I like to keep it that way. But it does take a considerable amount of my time and thought, and if you enjoy reading it, a small donation – perhaps the cost of a beer – would be appreciated.

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

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.

To order prints or reproduce images

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Hull Streets

February 7th, 2019

Another publication by me is now available from Café Royal books. The Streets of Hull has 20 of my pictures taken between 1979 and 1985 as I walked around Hull working on my larger project which was shown and published as ‘Still Occupied: A view of Hull‘. You can see the whole new work on the Café Royal site.

Here’s the text I wrote for publication of that larger book:

‘Still Occupied’ was my first serious attempt to photograph the urban landscape. An extended study of the city of Kingston upon Hull, it was exhibited in the Ferens Art Gallery there in 1983.

When I started this project in 1977, Hull was in the throes of a massive redevelopment, with many inner city areas being bulldozed and instant slums being created on its outskirts. It seemed to have learnt nothing from the mistakes I had fought against during the previous decade in inner-city Manchester, and to be a city that had turned its back on its heritage, which as I hope these pictures show, I had come to cherish.

Circa 120 pages & 270 black and white photographs. First published 2011, reprinted with minor corrections for 2017 Hull UK City of Culture.’

‘Still Occupied’ is still available, though expensive in print, but there is a good PDF of it you can download immediatley for £4.50 and the web page also has a good preview.

After the show at the Ferens I continued to work on the project for several years and am still occasionally going back to Hull and taking pictures there most years, most recently last July and in February 2017.

You can also still see my early pictures of Hull on my Hull Photos web site, which currently has black and white pictures I made from 1973 to 1986, though when I find time I hope to add some colour work as well as pictures from later years. Almost all of the pictures in the Café Royal book are on the site.

The pictures have aged well in content if not always physically under the less than ideal storage conditions of my home. When I first made them there were some from Hull who felt they were showing an unfortunate aspect of the city which they wanted to dismiss and move away from. Now I think they are seen differently, reflecting a vital and under-recorded part of its heritage.

I decided against putting any text with the images. Some from Hull may recognise where they were taken, though much has disappeared. But I think the pictures speak for themselves.

The Streets of Hull‘ 1979–85 by Peter Marshall. Cafe Royal Books, 2019 36pp 20 black and white images £6.00 + p/p

______________________________________________________

There are no adverts on this site and it receives no sponsorship, and I like to keep it that way. But it does take a considerable amount of my time and thought, and if you enjoy reading it, a small donation – perhaps the cost of a beer – would be appreciated.

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

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.

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Universal Credit & Eurovision Boycott

February 6th, 2019

As well as the Climate Justice march there were other protests in London on 1st December, and I managed to photograph a couple of them, the first vaguely on my way to the Climate protest. I took the tube a little further north to Camden Town, one of several London locations in a country-wide day of actions against Universal Credit.

It appears to be universally recognised – except among a few die-hards in the DWP and the ministers concerned – that Universal Credit has been very much a Universal Disaster. Part of the reason for this has certainly been that it was for years led by that universal disaster of a politician Iain Duncan Smith, an outstanding example of Tory incompetence, reaching levels only surpassed by his confidence in his own abilities.

While the aim of UC to simplify the benefits system was certainly laudable, it carried with it the aim to cut benefit payments, and is being implemented with a complete failure to understand the way that people in poverty actually live. There would have been few problems had this scheme designed by middle class people been for middle class people with their bank accounts, savings, friends and familiesto support them and tide them over the introduction, but applied to those living in poverty its results have been brutal;  evictions, homelessness, destitution and even death by starvation.

Although the main problems have been over the transition from previous benefits and for new claimants, with some being left for several months without any payments – and even when the system has worked as intended for around five weeks, various large categories of claimants have found themselves getting significant less after the transition.

There is of course one area of success; food banks. Although the government has proved itself callous and hard-heated, people across the country have responded with warmth and generosity, making donations and working as volunteers.  But it should never have been necessary, and the sight of Conservative MPs in a concerted Tory party campaign around the time of this protest posing for photo-opportunities at their local foodbanks was sickening and angered many of us.

Stop Universal Credit day of action


After the rally at the end of the Climate Justice march, I made my way more or less back to where it had started, to the BBC, where a protest was taking place calling on the BBC to boycott Eurovision 2019 because it is being held in Israel.

It’s hard to think of a less compelling regular TV event than Eurovision, which must mainly appeal to tone-deaf masochists. But clearly it is something that the Israeli government is using in an attempt to heighten its reputation as they increasingly turn Israel into an apartheid state – most recently with the passing of the Jewish nation state law – and the continuation of its aggresive polices towards Palestinians, particularly in Gaza. There should be a peaceful solution in the area that fully recognises the Palestinian rights in the area as well as those of Israel – as indeed Balfour stated back in 1917.

I supported the boycott of the apartheid South Africa regime for many years, applying pressure on South Africa through economic and cultural boycott – at a time when many, including almost all the Conservative Party was opposed to it – and labelled people like Nelson Mandela as terrorists. Back then I often thought nothing would ever change, or at least not in my lifetime, but it came, and things changed more rapidly than we ever imagined. It gives me hope that the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign will eventually lead to a similar reconciliation and change in the Middle East.

Some idea of the hate that will have to be overcome was provided by a small group of vociferous zionists who had come to try and shout down the protest. Hate is never an attractive sight.

BBC Boycott Eurovision Israel 2019

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

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.

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Campaign Against Climate Change

February 5th, 2019


March 2002

The first protestI photographed organised by the Campaign against Climate Change (CaCC) took place in March 2002, though I had come across the organisation and its founder Phil Thornhill the previous year at a climate protest at the US Embassy organised by the Green Party. The US was then and remains the chief villain in our fight to save the planet from extinction, and it was then Preseident Bush who was in bed with the fossil fuel companies, notably Esso, whose advertising campaigns claimed to ‘put a tiger in your tank‘.

So CaCC literally put a very attractive female ‘tiger’ on a bed with an activist with a George Bush mask and began pushing it towards Parliament from the gardens of the Imperial War Museum, with the tiger holding a placard showing Bush ‘Wanted For Crimes Against The Planet’.

The bed was on castors, and to begin with rolled along smoothly, but as we got to Westminster Bridge, disaster struck. The castors were designed to make it easy to move the bed around in a room, not for long distance, and certainly not to take the weight of a single bed loaded with two people, and one fell off, ripping out the screws from the wooden base, and there was no way it could be replaced.


Dec 2005

There were more protests in London by CaCC I photographed over the years, particularly the annual march they have organised at the start of December, and 2018 was no exception.

This year’s march began at the Polish Embassy, and we practised slogans in Polish as well as listening to speeches before the march set off, and you can see some of them on placards. UN climate talks were due to begin in a couple of days in Katowice, Poland, and it was very worrying that they were being sponsored by Polish fossil-fuel companies, producing some of the dirtiest fuel currently in use.


Face paint calls for planet-centred decisions

One campaigner came dressed as a ‘gilet jaune’ and with a placard ‘Brulons la Planete pour notre diesel!!’, presumably meant as an ironic comment on the French protesters whose protests were first ignited by increases in the cost of fuel, particulary diesel. But as the protests across French cities continue it has become clear that they are not about the price of oil but reflect a deep disatifaction with the way society is run by elites with little regard for the majority of the population.

I don’t know what it will take to get the British public to wake up to the seriousness of the situation over climate change. It was good to see people from Extinction Rebellion taking part in the march and speaking; but the high-profile actions by XR have only so far touched a minute fraction of the people. It’s a start, but I’m unsure it can really take off, or that its strategy will work.

It is certainly an uphill struggle, against the complacency of our political parties, who listen far more to the highly paid lobbyists working for coal and oil interests than to scientific evidence or protests such as these. Uphill against the dominance of the media controlled by a handful of billionaires pursuing short-term interests in dirty energy and polluting products. And a national character that grumbles in private rather than gets out on the street in protest.

At some point there will be a series of disasters that will finally prompt politicians into action, though the lesson from Grenfell is that one huge disaster won’t be enough – but will just be subject to the usual cover up and long grass.  By then I fear it will be too late. But while there is still some hope we need to battle on.

Together for Climate Justice

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There are no adverts on this site and it receives no sponsorship, and I like to keep it that way. But it does take a considerable amount of my time and thought, and if you enjoy reading it, a small donation – perhaps the cost of a beer – would be appreciated.

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

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.

To order prints or reproduce images

________________________________________________________