Posts Tagged ‘Bermondsey’

Southwark & City – 1986 page 9

Monday, June 8th, 2020
Tower Bridge, River Thames, pier, Hays Wharf, Southwark 86-8z-21-Edit_2400


Page 9 of my album London 1986, black and white pictures taken of the city that year, begins briefly on familiar ground in Southwark, close to the OXO tower, before going on to Clerkenwell and Finsbury. Because of my rather odd filing system the two areas interweave before I return to Southwark and Bermondsey.

Laystall Street, Clerkenwell, Camden 86-8x-32-Edit_2400
A plaque above a hairdresser’s shop commemorates Guiseppe Mazzini, founder of Young Italy, a secret society formed to promote Italian unification. He lived in London at various times between 1840 and his death in 1872 to escape arrest on the continent.
Tower Bridge, River Thames, Hays Wharf, Southwark 86-8z-22-Edit_2400

I crossed Tower Bridge briefly and returned south of the river. The riverfront between Tower Bridge and Southwark Crown Court , opened in 1983, has changed completely since I took these pictures, though many of the pictures away from the river have altered relatively little – the George Inn was last rebuilt in after a fire in 1677.

Hays Wharf, Pickle Herring St, Southwark 86-8z-41-Edit_2400
Pickle Herring St, Southwark  86-8z-55-Edit_2400

Later I went to the City, wandering the area around Bank and towards the Tower with page 9 ending with a second picture of Pepys on Seething Lane.

Lombard St, City  86-8aa-21-Edit_2400

The City is also an area where many older buildings have been preserved, despite some notable losses, though most date from the nineteenth or early twentieth centuries, and most that I photographed are still recognisable. But the environment has been altered and many are now somewhat overwhelmed by gigantic towers.


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

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


1986 Page 8

Thursday, June 4th, 2020

Page 8 of my album 1986 London Photographs begins with pictures from Wapping in August 1986.

Wapping High St, Wapping, Tower Hamlets  86-8t-55-Edit_2400

I photographed some slogans in Russian on fences – left I understand from the making of a film, supposedly set in Russia, but actually filmed here.

Wapping High St, Wapping, Tower Hamlets 86-8t-54-Edit_2400

Wapping High Street never failed to interest me back then, though it has now lost a great deal of the old atmosphere. The doorway at the right of this picture now leads to the Captain Kidd pub, converted from an old warehouse which used to store various goods including coffee, edible gums, dried fruit and wool from Australia. Sam Smith’s have done some excellent conversions of a number of historic properties and this is now a pleasant place to sit on a terrace overlooking the river and enjoy a pint of Old Brewery Bitter in a pub blessedly without TV or canned music.

Hays Wharf, Tower Bridge, Bermondsey, Southwark 86-8u-61-Edit_2400

After making some pictures there I walked back to Tower Bridge and crossed it to wander around a little of Bermondsey and Southwark as I made my way back to Waterloo station. The view towards Guy’s Hospital from Tower Bridge is rather different now, with City Hall and More London almost hiding the hospital tower and a wide walkway along the river bank.

Gainsford St, Bermondsey, Southwark 86-8u-54-Edit_2400

As in Wapping, many of these pictures south of the river show evidence of the great deal of building work then taking place, with many buildings being reduced to street-facing facades. For many buildings keeping the facades is probably the only possible way – if done sympathetically – of retaining some of the atmosphere of the areas, though when done badly a complete modern replacement would be preferable; not all buildings deserve to be kept. Mostly I avoided people in making these pictures, but some were desperate to be photographed.

Southern 777, Steam Engine, Cannon St Station, City 86-8v-65-Edit_2400

Another day in August I went with my two young sons, both keen railway enthusiasts and members of a British Rail kids group ‘Railriders’ to an event taking place at Cannon St station, with vintage Southern Railway electric trains and a steam engine.

Skin Market Place, Southwark 86-8w-01-Edit_2400

The trains didn’t greatly interest me, but I took a few pictures before we left and went over Southwark Bridge for a walk around Southwark, again on our way to Waterloo. Bankside Power Station is now Tate Modern, but I think Skin Market Place and its council depot has disappeared without trace.

100 pictures at 1986 London Photographs Page 8


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

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


A Slice of London

Friday, April 3rd, 2020

What do the following have in common?

Crystal Palace
Peckham Rye
Bermondsey
Wapping
Whitechapel
Bethnal Green
Hackney

ANSWER

They all fall on the National Grid in the vertical column TQ34, and there are more pictures from all of them in the albums of colour enprints I put together from 1986 to 1992 as a project with the rather tentative title ‘Cross-section’. TQ34 is just one km wide and I have a row of A4 files covering around 20 such columns across the city, though those at the outer edges have fewer images.

The roughly A4 album pages could each hold four 6″ x 4″ enprints. I started by gluing the prints in place on scrap cartridge paper (unused from A level Art exams and cut down to size) but though that worked well it became tedious, and I moved on to purpose-designed plastic filing sheets, at first transparent and later black.

I tried at first to keep all four prints on any page either landscape or portrait format and from the same kilometre grid square, but as you will see on Flickr there are a few exceptions. The album TQ34 includes just over 70 pages and is shown on Flickr as in the album with most images having four prints.

These enprints were all trade processed and I sent the films off to various cheap consumer labs. The different colour casts they produced for each roll of 35mm film I felt added to the project, and I accepted some packets of pictures where I really should have demanded a reprint. A few of the worst I have done a little colour correction before posting online.

I finished – or rather abandoned – this project around 1992 when I installed a print processing line in my own darkroom and going over to bulk loading and home processing of my colour negative film. Producing enprints was too slow and fiddly, but I was able to make larger prints, and a small selection of these images where exhibited and sold over the years.

We are all stuck inside but you can take a virtual walk through London with me on Flickr.

London 1986 on Flickr

Monday, March 23rd, 2020

I’ve just uploaded the first tranche of 112 of my black and white pictures from 1986 on to Flickr. These are some of the pictures I took in the first four months of the year.

In 1986 I made around 5500 exposures on black and white film, the great majority of them being photographs taken on the streets of London, concentrating on the fabric of the city – the buildings and shop fronts in particular. At the same time I was also taking colour film, with a greater focus on shops and window displays.

A few of those black and white exposures were taken outside London on holidays and visits to family and friends, and rather more on a project in the industrial areas beside the Thames in Kent from Dartford to Cliffe.

Most motifs were taken with a single frame, carefully thought out and executed much as if I was using a large format camera, rather than the 35mmm Olympus fitted with a shift lens which I used for most of these images. A few received a second exposure, perhaps to concentrate on detail or where I could see an alternative approach and even more rarely I became excited enough to take more.

The almost a thousand images which will eventually be in this album represent about a quarter or a third of this work – the images I now find more interesting. Some of the scans have minor technical problems that annoy me but are probably not apparent to most viewers. Most were made while I was learning to use a DSLR to photograph negatives.

Although I had been walking around London with a camera since 1973 it was really in 1986 that I made a serious start on photographing the city as a whole, much as I had previously concentrated on various areas of docklands. Photographically I was inspired by the work of Eugène Atget in Paris, recording the old city he saw disappearing, but also by the encyclopedic work of Pevsner and his co-workers in ‘The Buildings of England‘, the original series of which were published between 1951-74. These both inspired and infuriated me by their omissions and the sometimes crass judgements and in particular what seemed to be a disdain for the vernacular, the commercial and the industrial. I decided my own view would be more comprehensive and I would photograph any building I found significant or interesting as well as exemplars of the typical.

Later I would often go into the library at the National Building Record, then in Saville Row, and while waiting for my appointment pull one of their London files from the shelves and leaf through its contents. For most areas it was church after church after church, occasionally enlivened by some ancient house or stately home. Perhaps the odd old pub, but little else to reflect where the ordinary people of London lived, worked or shopped. A few of my images helped to widen their collection, much of the older work in which I was told was donated by Church of England clergy with time on their hands and the money to indulge in photography as a hobby.

I had of course set myself an impossible task, and I realised this from the start, but made it even more so by widening my view in later years to take in the whole of Greater London. I kept at work for almost 15 years, by which time I had covered most of those areas that particularly interested me. But it had also become clear to me that times had changed and in particular that technology was changing.

I had already made use of the web to put some of my work online – in my Buildings of London website first put online in 1996 (with later revisions but never brought up to date as I decided it was impossible to scale it up) and this continued with London’s Industrial Heritage in 1999. The images on these sites reflect the But by 2000 it was clear to me that the impact of digital photography would lead to the city becoming on-line as a whole in a new way that made the continuance of my project redundant.

Google brought this to fruition with the launch of Street View in 2007, though I think it only came to London in 2008. When you view an area on this now, you can probably see it as it was some time in the last year, but, if you are fortunate, can also go back to various other views taken as far back as 2008. But for those relatively few areas and buildings in my pictures you may be able to go back to 1986. Much of London has changed dramatically since then.

Richmond Ave, Islington 86-2d-42_2400

You can watch them here, but its better to go to Flickr and watch them at a larger size.


Train windows and London’s best view

Sunday, January 26th, 2020

Back in the old days of British Rail (and at times after privatisation) I often used to enjoy taking pictures out of train windows. Then many carriages on suburban routes had doors between every pair of seats, and the doors had windows that you could slide down to around waist level and so take pictures unobstructed, though it might make it rather draughty for your fellow passengers. There were stern warnings about not leaning out of windows, and unless you braced yourself against the door frame it might have been possible to fall out, but you could photograph in any direction.

Some of the older rolling stock you needed to open the window to actually open the door at stations, as the doors only had handles on the outside, a useful safety precuation which made the carriages childproof and avoided any accidental opening, but sometimes meant infrequent travellers were trapped inside, unable to work out how to open them. Older readers too may remember the thick leather straps with holes to fit around a pin to hold the windows open at various levels.

Slightly more recent carriages came with a stiff handle you had to move sideways, protected by a raised surround, which only trapped mainly elderly ladies whose hands were no longer strong enough to move them and relied on other passengers to allow them to alight.

Now we have automatic opening doors and fixed windows with air conditioning on almost all services (though some still have narrow windows that don’t open enough to be useful) and can be sweat boxes when the air conditioning fails in summer or chill you if it can’t be switched off in winter. But more importantly for photographers, they have windows that are often scratched inside by bored travellers and almost always filthy outside. I have at times travelled with a cloth so when joining a train at the start of its journey I could select my seat and then step off the train to clean the window I was going to sit at so as to get a clearer view.

But either the train I joined at Charing Cross was new (and it did have that toxic smell of plasticiser) or had been recently cleaned, and for once I had a clear view. I hadn’t got onto the train to take pictures, just to get me to Blackheath, but it seemed to be too good a chance to miss, so I made a number of exposures.

The problem with photographing through glass is of course reflections. You can cut these down by removing any lens hood that would interfere and holding the front of the lens (or lens filter) directly against the glass. However this can cause vibration, so a small gap is a good idea, particularly while the train is in motion. Modern train windows are double glazed and while this close approach can avoid reflections from the pane you are in contact with, you still get them from the outer pane.

It also only works when the edge of the lens is in contact with the window all around, meaning you are restricted to views directly opposite the window and cannot aim the camera to left or right.

There is a solution to these problems, and it is in the form of a giant floppy lens hood with a hole at the centre which stretches to fit on the body of any lens. It’s called ‘The Ultimate Lens Hood‘ and is around 25cm across, and I have one sitting on my desk. The main problem with it (apart from looking rather eccentric) is that although it is a silicone rubbery thing that can squeeze down considerably, it is still too large to easily fit in my normal camera bag, at least without leaving out something essential like my sandwiches. So it was sitting there on my desk while I made these pictures 25 miles away. Slightly smaller versions are available and I think I might get one. Even a normal cheap rubber hood as I’ve used in the past can help a lot.

I was on my way to Blackheath to photograph an event that ended at the Royal Observatory at Greenwich, and my final pictures in this set were taken without benefit of any windows of the incredible view from the terrace in Greenwich Park north across the River Thames. It’s a view I first saw and photographed many years ago, and though rather changed since the building of Canary Wharf remains London’s most splendid.

I did try to take more pictures from the train on my return from Maze Hill to Waterloo, but the windows were not so clean, and only a few were usable – and then required considerable retouching.

More pictures at Charing Cross to Greenwich


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

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


GLIAS 50

Wednesday, December 11th, 2019

I think I joined the Greater London Industrial Archaelogy Society (GLIAS) in around 1979, forty years ago, but it had then been going for 10 years. I’ve not been the most active of members, particularly in recent years when I’ve been too busy with other things, but over the years I’ve been on numerous walks, several outings, attended talks and lectures and even made some tiny contributions. I still enjoy reading the newsletters and occasional publications of the group.

The various walks usually took me back to areas of London I’d already explored when taking photographs, and they often made me much better informed about buildings I had already photographed. I’ve not been on any lately as they almost always take place when I’m now working. But in previous years, the walks were often followed by the publication of small walk leaflets giving the route and pointing out the IA features.

The first of these walk leaflets was for Tower Hill to Rotherhithe and this anniversary event more or less retraced its steps, led by one of the two original authors, Prof David Perrett, now Chairman and Vice-President of GLIAS. It was a walk I’d first taken – without the aid of the leaflet – in the opposite direction back in 1983 (though I’d photographed parts of the area previously) and quite a few pictures from that are now online on my London Photographs site.

This area on Bermondsey Wall has changed considerably since then, though the riverside of Wapping seen at the top of the image still looks much the same. Of course you can’t see it from this same point, which I think is now occupied by expensive flats.

Inspired by these walk leaflets I went on to produce one of my own, a folded A4 sheet printed on thin card by my laser printer, largely as an exercise in Desktop Publishing which I was then teaching a course on.

Over the next few years I made and sold over well over 500 copies, charging I think 20p for each of them, though I never got the cash for some that were sold locally in Bermondsey (it rankled though the money was insignificant.) My best paying customer was a local historian who used them for several years for the guided walks he did on the local area. I think it is now seriously out of date, but ‘West Bermondsey – The Leather Area‘ has for a long time been available as a free download. (PDF)

The first time I put images from the area on line was in a site called ‘London’s Industrial Heritage‘, designed for me by my elder son, and you can see some pictures from this area from the links on the Southwark page.

I haven’t put many of the pictures from the walk on My London Diary, but there are a few more at GLIAS 50th anniversary walk. If you live in or around London and have any interest in industrial archaeology you would find GLIAS worth joining – and it has a very reasonable annual subscription of £14 (£17 for family membership.)


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

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

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, please share on social media.
And small donations via Paypal – perhaps the cost of a beer – would be appreciated.


GLIAS 50

Friday, July 19th, 2019

Last Wednesday evening I went on a short walk with members of GLIAS, the Greater London Industrial Archaeology Society, from City Hall to Rotherhithe, one of a number of events marking 50 years of the society.

I’ve been a member of GLIAS for much of that time, first coming across it in 1977 when I visited Kew Bridge Engines, ostensibly for the benefit of my one-year-old son, and picking up a leaflet about it there. I’m not sure whether I joined it then, or after a second visit, when we took a party of slightly older boys on an outing for one of his birthdays.

Later that same son wrote a web site for me 20 years ago as a birthday present, London’s Industrial Heritage, a rather more professional site than my own various offerings, on which the black and white pictures here can be found, along with a couple of hundred others, dating from 1973-1986. Its a nice design which creates the site from templates, a database file and of course the images using a batch file which runs a Perl script, but in some respects it is now a little dated. Back then, 550 pixels seemed a sensible size for web images.

Although I have an interest in industrial archaelogy, I lack to engineering knowledge to be a true GLIAS member, and my one real attempt at site recording as a part of the organisation was frustrating. But then I’m not always very impressed by the standards of photography in many of their communications. ‘Record photography’ is sometimes used as a perjorative term, but the best record phography has a power and resonance that is undeniable, for example some of the work of Walker Evans.

St Saviour’s Creek, 2014. We walked around its landward end this week

Our walk the other night was a reprise of one made earlier by two leading GLIAS member back in the 1970s and published in a GLIAS walk leaflet. One is now longer with us, but Professor David Perrett, now Chairman and Vice-President was there to lead us. These published walks, sent free to members also sold well for a few pence at a number of tourist sites in the area. They prompted me to produce a similar leaflet, partly as an example for a desk-top publishing course I was then teaching, on West Bermondsey
in 1992, in part based on a walk led by Tim Smith for the GLIAS Recording Group :

“a downloadable illustrated leaflet for a walk that concentrates on the industrial archaeology of the former leather area of Bermondsey in South East London. I wrote this in 1992 largely to show how simple, cheap and easy it was to produce such things with Pagemaker and a laser printer. I sold around five hundred copies over the next five years, gave some to the church in Bermondsey St to sell, and gave away many more, before deciding to put it on the web rather than bother to print any more. Although the area has changed considerably, it it still an interesting walk to follow. “

The area has changed even more since I wrote this, but you can still download and follow the walk and find much of what was there in 1992.

West Bermondsey walk leaflet (PDF)


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, please share on social media.
And small donations via Paypal – perhaps the cost of a beer – would be appreciated.


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

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

To order prints or reproduce images