Posts Tagged ‘Battersea’

More from Battersea & Clapham, 1988

Wednesday, April 7th, 2021

I often went to Battersea in the 1980s though more often to look at and discuss photographs at the Photo Co-op which was based in Webbs Road than to take pictures. I wasn’t deeply involved but became a regular attender when they set up a ‘Men’s Group’ to look at issues around gender from a male perspective, though I don’t think I contributed much to it.

Altenburg Gardens,  Battersea, Wandsworth, 1988 88-2e-32-positive_2400
Altenburg Gardens, Battersea, Wandsworth, 1988

I was a little put out when the Photo Co-op changed its name to Photofusion and moved to more extensive premises in Brixton, though I did usually attend openings there and contributed quite a few pictures to its photo library.

With its new name and much improved premises it became a larger and less intimate organisation – and it’s location was also less convenient for me, with a half hour bus journey rather than a ten minute walk from Clapham Junction. And although London buses are generally very frequent (and in most respects now much improved) I spent too much time waiting at a draughty bus stop in Brixton on my way home after openings.

Gardens,  Battersea, Wandsworth, 1988 88-2e-33-positive_2400
Battersea Library, Altenburg Gardens, Battersea, Wandsworth, 1988
Battersea Library, Altenburg Gardens,  Battersea, Wandsworth, 1988 88-2e-34-positive_2400
Battersea Library, Altenburg Gardens, Battersea, Wandsworth, 1988

This charming Arts & Crafts style reference library by Henry Hyams was built in 1924 for the Metropolitan Borough of Battersea, adjoining the older library building and was Grade II listed in 1983.

Lavender Hill, Battersea, Wandsworth, 1988 88-2e-23-positive_2400
Lavender Hill, Battersea, Wandsworth, 1988

Although several properties in this picture were for sale, there is no estate agents on this stretch of street and I think it is hard to find one in my pictures of the area. Walking up Lavender Hill more recently it seemed hard to find a shop that wasn’t an estate agents, which seem to be about the only profitable businesses left in London. Huge rises in property prices and increased mobility due to gentrification have created an enormous expansion in this area.

Wandsworth Rd, Newby St, Lambeth, 1988 88-2e-13-positive_2400
Wandsworth Rd, Newby St, Lambeth, 1988

Unless you ride a bike it’s easy to forget that parts of London are quite hilly as this slope down towards the River Thames from Wandsworth Rd in Clapham demonstrates.

Bingo, Wandsworth Rd Snooker Centre, Clapham, Lambeth, 1988 88-2e-12-positive_2400
Bingo, Wandsworth Rd Snooker Centre, Clapham, Lambeth, 1988

Built in 1909 it was one of at least 24 Temperance Billiard Halls in South London built for the Temperance Billiard Hall Co. Ltd, founded in Pendelton Lancashire. Like most or all of those in the early years it was designed by Norman Evans, and there are other examples nearby in Clapham High St and Battersea. Despite this alcohol-free start, the building later became a bar and even a night club.

Until a few years ago it was Rileys, offering a Bar with Pool and Snooker tables. In 2015 the building was gutted, retaining its facade with a rather ugly plain block replacing the rear of the building, now a hotel. It’s something of a mystery how planning permission was obtained, although unlike several others, this hall was not listed. Probably the panels across its frontage shown in my picture were part of the reason for this, and at least the conversion to a hotel has revealed or provided an unencumbered aspect, even if it is only a brick or two thick.

Thomas Memorial, Church of the Nazarene, Temperance Billiard Hall, Battersea Rise, Battersea, Wandsworth, 1988 88-2d-25-positive_2400
Thomas Memorial, Church of the Nazarene, Temperance Billiard Hall, Battersea Rise, Battersea, Wandsworth, 1988

Another Temperance Billiard Hall in Battersea, also unlisted. Again it is no longer a Billiard Hall and is now a pub, with a rather large new building behind. It remained in use as a busy snooker hall until the mid 1990s, open – and usually busy – 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Converted as the Faraday and Firkin, a brew-pub, which opened in 1997, it later became O’Neills and is now The Goat.

The front of the church at left partly dates from 1823 when the building was owned and lived in by local merchant William Mellersh who enlarged it from a cottage dating from the 1750s. In 1858 it became the home of the Wandsworth District Board of Works who extended and embellished it, naming it Mellish House, there were further additions behind but it still became too small after Battersea gained its independence from Wandsworth in 1888 and they built a new town hall on Lavender Hill.

Still owned by Battersea, it served various purposes including being home to the Boy’s Brigade and the YMCA from 1890 until 1915. It was then bought by the International Holiness Mission founded in 1906 by Battersea drapers and pentecostalists John and David Thomas and was renamed the Thomas Memorial Church after David Thomas died in 1938. The IHM joined the Church of the Nazarenes in 1953. A major internal refurbishment was begun in 2011 with the church closing and reopening, still as a Nazarene church but known as Fresh Ground London.

More in 1988 London Photos.

Battersea 1988

Monday, April 5th, 2021

Tool shop, Northcote Rd, Battersea, Wandsworth, 1988 88-2e-63-positive_2400
Northcote Rd, Battersea, Wandsworth, 1988

Clapham Junction is claimed to be Europe’s busiest station with over 2000 trains a day passing through and around 60% of them stopping, including all of those I take into London. And like many others, I’ve often changed there to trains for destinations across the south of London and further afield, and less often exited to take buses.

Service Centre, Northcote Rd, Battersea, Wandsworth, 1988 88-2e-65-positive_2400
Service Centre, Northcote Rd, Battersea, Wandsworth, 1988

But in February 1988 I left the train with the intention of taking photographs of the area around the station – which is not in Clapham which is a 10 minute bus ride away, but in Battersea. Over the years the area has also become referred to as Clapham Junction, and parts are also called by the names of some of the major streets, such as Lavender Hill and Northcote Road, but I’ve simply called it Battersea in the captions to my images, which also include the name of its London Borough, Wandsworth, the area a mile or so to its west.

Tool shop, Northcote Rd, Battersea, Wandsworth, 1988 88-2e-63-positive_2400
Tool shop, Northcote Rd, Battersea, Wandsworth, 1988

In the short days of February I tended to photograph more in the areas that were within easy reach of my home so as to make the most of the light; I could leave home and be standing on the street at Clapham Junction in around 35 minutes.

Northcote Rd, Battersea, Wandsworth, 1988 88-2e-55-positive_2400
Northcote Rd, Battersea, Wandsworth, 1988

The area to the south of the station, particularly down St John’s Road is a major shopping centre for this area of London, so it is perhaps not surprising that many of my pictures were of shops.

Belleville Rd, Northcote Rd, Battersea, Wandsworth, 1988 88-2e-51-positive_2400
Belleville Rd, Northcote Rd, Battersea, Wandsworth, 1988

It was also a time when I was finding an increasing interest in how shop interiors, particularly those of small businesses with low set-up costs, reflection the areas and customers they served. Hair-dressers, shoe repairs and other independent small businesses very much came from the communities they served.

Northcote Rd, Battersea, Wandsworth, 1988 88-2e-53-positive_2400
Northcote Rd, Battersea, Wandsworth, 1988

Many of these businesses are now gone. Few people now get their shoes repaired – and like some other areas they are now largely served by franchises. Tastes in various areas have changed, often dramatically, and of course in recent years shops have been hit by a move to on-line in many areas.

St John's Rd, Battersea, Wandsworth, 1988 88-2e-43-positive_2400
St John’s Rd, Battersea, Wandsworth, 1988

My apologies for some technical deficiencies in some of these images, most noticeable in some of the skies. Unfortunately this is a result of considerable under-development, probably resulting from an exhausted or incorrectly replenished developer. Digital retouching could improve them, though probably not entirely eliminate the effect and it very time-consuming. But the blemishes, though annoying, don’t prevent you seeing the subject, so I’ve published these here and on the web despite the blemishes, though I have never shown prints from them.

St John's Rd, Battersea, Wandsworth, 1988 88-2e-42-positive_2400
St John’s Rd, Battersea, Wandsworth, 1988

If you walk down these streets today – or when the ‘non-essential’ shops re-open, expected to be on 12 April you will see the differences from 1988. The streets around Clapham Junction now look rather more like those in any main street around the country and the area has been considerably more gentrified.

All from my album https://www.flickr.com/photos/petermarshall/albums/72157715589148871/with/50254685063/ 1988 London Photos – and clicking on any of the images here should take you to larger versions there from which you can browse the album.

Class War v. Qatari Royals

Monday, February 8th, 2021

Three years ago today, on 8 Feb 2018, Class War had planned a protest outside London’s tallest building, the Shard, to point out the housing crisis, which is currently affecting many in London. They chose to protest at the Shard, because there are ten £50m apartments there which have remained empty since the building was completed.

We don’t actually have a housing shortage as there are more than enough properties for everyone to have a decent home. The problem is that current policies allow property to be left empty and encourage developers to build high priced flats which either remain unsold or are bought as investments and largely left empty for all or most of the time. There were then plans to build a further 26,000 flats in London costing more than a million pounds each, many on former council estates where social housing has been demolished at a time when London has a huge housing crisis with thousands sleeping on the street, and over 100 families from Grenfell were still in temporary accommodation.

The owners of The Shard, the Qatari royal family, went to court to seek an injunction against the Class War protest, seeking an injunction against Ian Bone and “persons unknown” and, despite their fortune estimated at over £250 million pounds, seeking legal costs of over £500 from the 70 year-old south London pensioner.

Fortunately barrister Ian Brownhill offered to conduct Bone’s defence pro bono and in the High Court hearing the Qatari royals were forced to drop the attempt to ban protests and the demand for fees but Bone accepted a legal restriction on him going inside the Shard and its immediate vicinity. But that meant the planned protest that evening could still go ahead, and Bone and his team emerged from the court victorious. His health issues meant that he was himself in any case unable to attend the protest.

At the protest there were large numbers of police and security, along with many in plain clothes and two officers with search dogs. The protest was always intended to be a peaceful one and the protesters were careful to remain outside the boundary of The Shard, marked with a metal line in the pavement. The police nonetheless harassed them, making a patently spurious claim that they were causing an obstruction to commuters attempting to enter London Bridge station and trying to move them further away from The Shard. Although the protest clearly wasn’t causing any serious problems to those entering or leaving the station, the larger numbers of police and security were.

Three years on, London still has a huge problem, with huge numbers of unaffordable flats still being built, particularly in the huge development area in Vauxhall and Nine Elms, including the developments around the US Embassy and the former Battersea Power Station. Some developments here include small areas of social housing, with ‘poor door’ entrances hidden away around the backs of some of the towers, the residents or which are excluded from the many facilities which are provided for the wealthy.

While blocks have large and well-furnished foyers with a concierge service for the rich, as well as some recreational facilities, social housing tenants typically enter a narrow bleak corridor with no space even for parcel deliveries. Just like the block in Aldgate where Class War’s long series of protests put the issue of ‘poor doors’, where poorer tenants are segregated from their wealthy neighbours on the national agenda back in 2014.

In July 2019, Communities Secretary James Brokenshire was “appalled” by the examples of segregation he had seen and promised to put an end to the use of “poor doors” in housing developments in England. It appears to have been a Broken promise, and Class War are thinking it is time for more action.

Class War protest at Shard
Class War victory against Qatari Royals


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