Posts Tagged ‘2004’

Nuclear Fools Day & CND at 60

Friday, April 1st, 2022

Nuclear Fools Day & CND at 60 – Twice in the last ten years, on 1st April 2013 and 1st of April 2018 I’ve got on my bike and cycled to Aldermaston to take part in protests by CND around the UK’s Aldermaston nuclear bomb factory, 12 miles west of Reading.

Nuclear Fools Day & CND at 60
Aldermaston, 2013

I wasn’t there for the first big Aldermaston March in 1958, though one of my older brothers went, and I remember him coming back rather tired and muddy but please he had managed the whole 4 day march. CND had then just been formed and supported the march organised by the Direct Action Committee Against Nuclear War and the next year they began a series of annual marches, marching from Aldermaston to a rally in Trafalgar Square.

Nuclear Fools Day & CND at 60
Aldermaston, 2013

The annual marches continued until 1963, and in 1964 there was just a one-day march in London which I think I may have taken part in, though by then I was a student and I don’t recall well which of many demonstrations I took part in during the sixties. I didn’t keep a diary and couldn’t afford to take photographs then. There was a shorter march in 1965 from High Wycombe and the march in the original direction to Aldermaston was revived in 1972 but with fewer marchers taking part. And a number of marches and rallies in London since then which I did photograph.

Nuclear Fools Day & CND at 60
Aldermaston, 2013

The next revival of the march I think took place in 2004, and on that occasion I photographed the rally in Trafalgar Square at the start of the march on Friday 9th April and marched with around 2,300 to Hyde Park but left the around 430 of who set off to spend the night in Reading. I got on my bike on the Sunday to meet them again at Maidenhead, walking with them to their lunch stop at Knowl Hill, from where I walked back into Maidenhead to pick up my bike and ride home.

Kate Hudson, Natalie Bennett and Pat Arrowsmith, Aldermaston, 2013

On the Monday I was up early to catch a train to Reading where the final leg was starting with my wife and elder son. I didn’t feel I could walk the 12 miles with my usual heavy camera bag so took along just my Canon Digital Ixus 400, (aka PowerShot S400), an ultra-compact and light camera with a 36-108mm equivalent lens giving remarkably sharp 3.9Mp images, although the autofocus wasn’t always precise. You can view a large number of pictures from 2004 on My London Diary

The pictures on this post come from two more recent events, the Nuclear Fool’s Day – Scrap Trident rally at Aldermaston on Easter Monday, 1st April 2013 and CND At 60 at Aldermaston on Sunday 1st April 2018. On both occasions I cycled from Reading station the 12 miles there carrying my normal camera equipment. I think I was a little tired when I got there on both occasions, and perhaps not working at my best. The ride back was a little easier as it is downhill much of the way.

Aldermaston, 2018

In 2013 there were protests all around the extensive site and the bike enabled me to get around and take pictures of the protesters at each of half a dozen gates around the over 5 miles of the site perimeter, as well as of people walking around and attaching messages and banners to the tall security fence.

Aldermaston, 2018

The speakers were also travelling from gate to gate, but in a couple of cars and a lorry and among those I heard and photographed were CND Vice-Chairs Jeremy Corbyn MP and Bruce Kent, CND General Secretary Kate Hudson, Green Party Leader Natalie Bennett and South East Green MEP Keith Taylor, Stop the War’s Chris Nineham and CND founding member Pat Arrowsmith and another veteran Walter Wolfgang, as well as US activist Linda Pentz Gunter, the founder of ‘Beyond Nuclear’.

Rebecca Johnson holds up a copy of the UN treaty banning nuclear weapons

The 60th anniversary event in 2018 was easier to cover as it took place mainly in the Atomic Weaopons Establishment Car Park close to the Main Gate and on the fence close by, so I didn’t need to ride around the area, parts of which are rather hilly. As well as 60 years of campaigning by CND it celebrated the UN treaty banning nuclear weapons, finalised last year and signed by 122 nations, for which ICAN, the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons, of which CND is a part was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. Something that went almost unnoticed in the British media.

More at:

2004 on My London Diary
Nuclear Fool’s Day – Scrap Trident
CND At 60 at Aldermaston


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


Fathers 4 Justice

Saturday, December 18th, 2021

Fathers 4 Justice was a group begun in 2001 by marketing consultant Matt O’Connor to “champion the causes of equal parenting, family law reform, and equal contact for divorced parents with children.” The pictures here come from their protest in London’s West End on 18th December 2004

Between 2002 and 2008 members carried out a number of high-profile stunts which hit national headlines to promote their cause, the first of which saw a small group led by O’Connor storming the Lord Chancellor’s Office dressed as Father Christmas in December 2002. They went on to climb cranes and buildings including Tower Bridge and Buckingham Palace dressed as superheroes, to carry out a ‘citizens arrest’ on the Minister for Children, throw bags of purple flour at Tony Blair in the House of Commons during Prime Ministers Questions and more.

Although protests continued after 2008, there was a split in the group with O’Connor officially closing the group and others setting up New Fathers For Justice. And although both groups continued to carry out publicity stunts, these have gained less and less publicity.

The activities of these groups perhaps have had some effect, with increasing attention being turned on the activities of our secretive Family Courts, and some small and continuing moves toward transparency.

However the 2014 Children and Families Bill which it was hoped would improve the situation was watered down by a Lord’s amendment removing a legal presumption of automatic shared contact still failed to prevent obstructive parents who had been granted custody of childen preventing children from any meaningful relationship with absent parents.

Although they were called Fathers 4 Justice, there are also mothers who were separated unjustly from contact with their children. But overwhelming custody of children in the Family Courts goes to the mothers, some of whom make it impossible for fathers to have the access to their children which the court has specified, but fails to enforce.

The protest on 18th December 2004 involved several hundred men, women and children dressed in santa gear (and a couple of individualists, including a young spiderman), a band, and a large and unwieldy balloon and hundreds of smaller ones parading peacefully around the West End. Their placards read ‘Put the Father Back Into Xmas’.

In 2005 I photographed two further protests by the group. In October Wakey Wakey Mr Blair, a ‘pyjama protest’ with those taking part asked to wear their jim jams, slippers and dressing gown, bring their hot water bottles, teddy bears and even their beds calling for overnight stays for children with their dads after separation and then in December 2005 24 Days of Christmas Chaos, when again Santas came to London to protest, this time at the Church of England Offices, Department of Education & Skills and Downing St on their way to the Royal Courts of Justice.

Notting Hill Carnival 2003

Monday, August 30th, 2021

Notting Hill 2003

2003 was the first year I photographed Notting Hill Carnival using a DSLR, a Nikon D100. It was primitive by current standards with a small, dim viewfinder image and on 6.1Mp with a half-frame size sensor. Nikon at the time swore that what they called the APS-C sensor was all that you needed for a professional digital camera, and although they were right, later brought out ‘full-frame’ cameras to keep up with the Canons and others in what was really a marketing rather than technology led decision.

Notting Hill 2003

I’d switched to Nikon for the D100 but was still also using various Leica mount film cameras as well as occasionally my pair of Olympus OM4 cameras for both of which I still had a range of lenses from 15mm to 90mm for Leica and 21 to 200mm for Olympus. But for the Nikon all I had was a 24-80 zoom, bought largely because it was one of the cheapest Nikon lenses available. On the smaller sensor this was equivalent to 36-120mm full-frame, so meant I was working with no really wide lens.

Notting Hill 2003

The colour quality of these images is also rather limited, not by the camera but mainly by the raw processing software then available and also by my relative inexperience in using it. If I have time one day I will find the raw files from my backup disks and reprocess them. But although I think they are a little drab I think they still show the carnival spirit.

Notting Hill 2003
Notting Hill 2003
Notting Hill 2003
Notting Hill 2003

And here’s just one I rather like from the following year – by which time I and the processing software had improved a little.

Notting Hill 2004

More at the bottom of the August 2003 My London Diary Diary page
And for those from August 2004.


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.