Posts Tagged ‘black and white’

London 1980 (8)

Tuesday, December 31st, 2019

Continuing the series of post about the black and white pictures I made in 1980, with the pictures and the comments I posted more recently daily on Facebook.


Pedley St, Bethnal Green, Tower Hamlets. 1980
24l-51 wall, sign, graffitti

http://londonphotographs.co.uk/london/1980/24l-51.htm

The sign for the Car-Breakers was on the steps on the south side of the footbridge from Cheshire St to Pedley St (or rather to Fleet St Hill at the end of Pedley St.)

What attracted my attention was clearly the word ‘ENGLISH’ painted on the wall, though I’m not sure why I cropped out all of the word below – you can I think make out the tops of the letters ‘OUT’.


Brick Lane, Spitalfields, Tower Hamlets. 1980
24l-61: children, shop

http://londonphotographs.co.uk/london/1980/24l-61.htm

Childrens Corner, which may have once sold sweets but was no longer in business, was just off Brick Lane to the west, I think at 24 Bacon St.

Obviously I took the picture for the two Bangladeshi children who were walking past it, viewing me quizzically as I photographed them. The shopfront also has a crudely drawn swastika and the National Front initials, and was not far from where they would sell their papers at the weekend. The chalking at right for fireworks with prices was probably for a street stall on market day rather than the shop.


Brick Lane, Spitalfields, Tower Hamlets. 1980
24l-62: children, shop

After I took the first picture, the young boy came back and posed in the former shop doorway for me to take his picture. The NF graffiti is more obvious in this picture.

http://londonphotographs.co.uk/london/1980/24l-62.htm


J U Fashions, Brick Lane, Spitalfields, Tower Hamlets. 1980
24l-63: shop, fashion, derelict,

http://londonphotographs.co.uk/london/1980/24l-63.htm

I think this shop was at 129 Brick Lane, not least as few other streets in the area aspire to a number as high as that, though 129 is now a part of a larger shop. The street numbering may of course have changed since 1980, but I think more likely the shopfronts have been rebuilt.

J U Fashions, ‘Manf.rs. of good quality leather garments – ladies – gents – wholesale – retail’ was I think one of the many Jewish businesses in the area in earlier years, and it claimed in a notice falling off the window of the left hand door “OUR PRICES …UNBEATABLE … E YOURSELF IN ONE”.


Brick Lane area, Spitalfields, Tower Hamlets. 1980
24l-64: derelict buildings,

http://londonphotographs.co.uk/london/1980/24l-64.htm

This could be almost anywhere in the Brick Lane area where there were plenty of derelict buildings, but I think is most likely to have been on Buxton St.


Pedley St, Spitalfields, Tower Hamlets. 1980
24l-66: street, flats

http://londonphotographs.co.uk/london/1980/24l-66.htm

Weaver House on Pedley St was built by the Metropolitan Borough of Bethnal Green in 1929 with 16 flats. The road here used to be called Weaver Street, and the name reflected the area’s weaving industry which began with the Huguenots. It was part of the council’s third estate; the second built while the council was under joint Communist/Socialist control was named the ‘Lenin Estate’ but by 1929 the council was Liberal-Progressive and renamed that Cambridge Heath.

Weaver House was a part of the Hare Marsh council estate. Hare Marsh was the old name for large land estate south of Bacon St, once called Hare St and east of Brick Lane, most of which was covered by buildings in the 17th and 18th century. There there is still a short dead end street called Hare Marsh leading south from Cheshire St opposite the William Davis Primary School, which though outside the old Hare Marsh estate may have led there before the railway got in the way.

The wall at the end of this road is now longer there, and the road continues. ‘Try Living Here’ seemed an apt comment (I’m not sure if the Jones was a part of this) and at right I think it said ‘Our Kids Need Space’. Clearly this was Arsenal territory though close to the centre are clearly painted the stumps for a kids game of cricket.


River Thames and Surrey bank from Tower Bridge, Southwark. 1980
24m-14: river, tug, barge, warehouse, wharf

http://londonphotographs.co.uk/london/1980/24m-14.htm

Several things now strike me about this picture from Tower Bridge. Firstly the lighters are carrying real goods and not rubbish – about the only thing that gets towed along this part of the Thames now – and secondly the different look of the riverside then.

When Butler’s Wharf, a large area of Victorian warehouses dating largely from 1871-3 closed for business in 1971, much of it was bought up cheaply by property speculators, but little if any development had started by 1980. Some of the buildings were in use as artists’ studios, but after a disastrous fire in 1979 they were given notice to quit, and I think most of the buildings were empty when I took this picture.

Rather surprisingly these buildings appear not to have been listed until 1982 – and even now industrial buildings such as these seem often to be neglected by English Heritage.

Around 1984, Conran Roche began the redevelopment of Butlers Wharf into luxury flats, with restaurants and shops on the ground floor, though it was some years before the project was complete.


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.

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.


London 1980 (6)

Sunday, December 29th, 2019

The sixth set of black and white pictures I took in London in 1980 together with the stories about them first published on Facebook.


Disused Wharf and gas holder, North Greenwich, Greenwich. 1980
24j-23: wharf, derelict,

http://londonphotographs.co.uk/london/1980/24j-23.htm

Looking from the inside of the derelict shed you can see the two gas holders through the windows.


Machinery, Enderby’s Wharf, North Greenwich, Greenwich. 1980
24j-25: wharf, machinery

http://londonphotographs.co.uk/london/1980/24j-25.htm

Enderby’s Wharf was where the cables that provided worldwide communication long before the age of radio and the satellites were made. The Telegraph Cable Works was established here in 1854 by Glass Elliott and William Henley, though Henley moved to North Woolwich. The company later merged with Siemens and were taken over by Submarine Telephones and Cables Ltd in 1979, later becoming part of Nortel and then Alcatel. The first transatlantic cables were made here and laid in the mid 1860s by the SS Great Eastern. Manufacture of cables here ceased shortly before I took this picture. There is a short length of cable by the riverside path and this piece of cable loading gear is still by the riverside.

Enderby House was built in 1830 for a member of the Enderby family, who were coopers in London and later moved into shipping and set up a patent rope, twine and canvas factory here, beofre losing their fortunes in the Antartic whaling industry. Grade II listed, it was deliberately allowed to deteriorate. As a condition of planning permission the developer were required to restore it to a decent condition and it is now incorporated into a larger building, though not I think as it originally was.


Disused Wharf, North Greenwich, Greenwich. 1980
24j-34: wharf, derelict, graffiti,

http://londonphotographs.co.uk/london/1980/24j-34.htm

Another picture inside the derelict shed at Bay Wharf. Among the scrawlings on the wall was a rather better than averagely drawn chalked reclining nude, apparently signed by the artist, ‘John 25.5.80’, almost certainly the day before I took this picture on the Spring Bank Holiday, which that year was on May 26th. The view also shows some details of the building and its vaulted roof.


Sand and gravel wharf, North Greenwich, Greenwich. 1980
24j-41: wharf, sand, gravel,

http://londonphotographs.co.uk/london/1980/24j-41.htm

Sand and Gravel at Granite Wharf. The site is now occupied by new and expensive flats. The whole area, including Greenwich Wharf, Lovells Wharf, Granite Wharf, Providence Wharf, Badcock’s Wharf, Pipers wharf and Cadet (or Paddock) Place is now known as Greenwich Wharf.


Sand and gravel wharf, North Greenwich, Greenwich. 1980
24j-42: wharf, sand, gravel,

http://londonphotographs.co.uk/london/1980/24j-42.htm

More sand, aggregate and gravel at Granite Wharf, which remained in use by Tarmac until mid-2001. It was first let by Morden College to Victorian road builder John Mowlem in the 1840s.


Riverside path, River Thames & Sand and gravel wharf, North Greenwich, Greenwich. 1980
24j-43: wharf, sand, gravel, footpath, river

http://londonphotographs.co.uk/london/1980/24j-43.htm

I think the massive concrete blocks were bases for cranes at the wharf. The inlet here where Cadet Place left the riverside path was known locally as Dead Dog Bay, Mary Mills suggests possibly because animals which escaped the Foreign Cattle Market at Deptford and were drowned washed up here.

THe whole area is no covered by recently built flats, The River Gardens, where a 2-bed flat will cost you a little over £600,000, and Cadet Place no longer exists. A walkway, River Gardens Walk, with steps up from Banning St opposite Derwent St occupies roughly the same position.


Pier, River Thames and view of Millwall, North Greenwich, Greenwich. 1980
24j-44: children, pier, river,

http://londonphotographs.co.uk/london/1980/24j-44.htm

One of several piers on the riverside path, this may be at Primrose Wharf, but if so had been considerably modified since I took this picture. I don’t think the pier was officially open to the public at the time I made this picture.

Primrose Pier belonged to Amylum and was later opened by them to the public but in 1998 it was resurfaced and part-rebuilt by the Groundwork team, with reed beds being added on either side and disabled access provided.


More to follow…

London 1980 (5)

Saturday, December 28th, 2019

The fifth set of black and white pictures I took in London in 1980 together with the stories about them first published on Facebook.


River Thames and Millwall from Greenwich Riverside path, Greenwich. 1980
24h-64: river, rigging

http://londonphotographs.co.uk/london/1980/24h-64.htm

This was I think taken from Ballast Quay or Lovell’s Wharf, and some of the buildings which can be seen across the river are easily identified.

One, a white building is clearly the Great Eastern (though then it was the Watermans Arms) part of the Cubitt Town development built by William Cubitt it opened as the Newcastle Arms. It is a few yards from the Newcastle Draw Dock

It was writer and broadcaster Dan Farson who changed its name to the Watermen’s Arms when he became landlord in 1962 (though he hired a couple who had worked at Streatham Conservative Club to actually run it for him) featuring it in a TV programme about music halls. He did the place up and got a number of well-known entertainers to visit and sing at the place – including Judy Garland and Shirley Bassey – and other celebrities to come and listen and recorded a few episodes of his ITV series ‘The Entertainers’ there, but the audience proved too rowdy and later shows were made in a recreation of the pub in the studio.

Farson’s tenure only lasted a couple of years and after he left the pub quickly began to run down (perhaps partly because of high costs of ‘protection’ for businesses in the area), becoming a venue for striptease and drag artists, though still occasionally being used for TV and films, and it closed in 2011.

New management converted it into a pub and backpacker’s hostel – and renamed it to The Great Eastern. I walked past on a very hot day last year, hoping to take a rest there and have a pint, but as I approached a fight was taking place between two police officers and a man outside the door, and I decided to walk on.

And just to the right you can see the spire of Christ Church sticking up above the spar.


River Thames and Millwall from Greenwich Riverside path, Greenwich. 1980
24h-66: river, ship,rigging

http://londonphotographs.co.uk/london/1980/24h-66.htm

Another view from the same place shows a similar riverside vista, but this time extending to the tower block on the Samuda estate at the right. Apart from some housing not far from the Watermans Arms the rest of the buildings have I think been replaced by more recent developments.

River Thames and Millwall from Riverside path, North Greenwich, Greenwich. 1980
24j-15: river, rigging

http://londonphotographs.co.uk/london/1980/24j-15.htm

And a third view, with a longer lens (probably a 50mm standard lens) which shows the buildings on the bank opposite more clearly


Disused wharf and River Thames, North Greenwich, Greenwich. 1980
24j-35: wharf, river, crane

http://londonphotographs.co.uk/london/1980/24i-35.htm

For once I know exactly where this picture was taken, at Bay Wharf, and it is now the premises of a dry dock company, formerly at Pipers Wharf (now part of the site of the Greenwich Wharf development) immediately south of the former Victoria Deep Water Terminal, though I think all the buildings on the site have been demolished.

The man looking into the river had come with me along the riverside walk, and had wandered into the shed while I was taking other pictures.

Bay Wharf appears to have been the site of the Great Breach or Horsehoe Breach of the sea wall at some time before 1622. The area was owned by Morden College and in the mid 19th century Bay Wharf was leased to various industries, including American boat builder Nathan Thompson,and his company, The National Company for Boat Building by Machinery, which went bankrupt more or less immediately and the lease taken over by Maudslay Son and Field in or before 1864, and they used the site to set up a shipbuilding operation, mainly concentrating on screw powered steam ships, and including an experimental ship for Henry Bessemer whose small steel works were at what later became the Victoria Deep Water Terminal.

But they became better known for two iron hulled sailing clippers, Blackadder in 1870 and Halloween in 1871. Blackadder had a very chequered career, leading to a number of court cases, but both boats were record breakers – with Halloween making passage from Shanghai to London in 91 days, knocking 19 days from Cutty Sark’s best. Maudsleay didn’t remain for long as ship builders, but continued to make marine boilers for some years before going bankrupt in 1902.

The site was then leased to Segar Emery, an American mahogany importer, and around 1945 became home to Humphrey & Grey (Lighterage) Ltd, part of Hays Wharf. These derelict buildings were their barge repair slips.

As always much of this information comes from Mary Mill’s encyclopedic Greenwich Peninsula History web site


Disused Wharf and Gas holders, North Greenwich, Greenwich. 1980
24j-11: wharf, gas holders,

http://londonphotographs.co.uk/london/1980/24j-11.htm

Taken from within a few feet of the previous image at Bay Wharf, but with my back to the river, looking towards the gas works.

No 1 gasholder, 180ft tall and 250 ft diameter was the first ever built with four lifts, rather than three and was completed in 1888. It was in use until recently despite some minor damage by the IRA in 1980, It could hold 8.2 million cubic feet. No 2 holder, at left in the picture, wider at 303ft diameter, was built in 1890 and was the ultimate in frame guiding gas holders, with 6 lifts, two of them ‘flying’ above the guide frame and could hold 12 million cubic feet. The two flying lifts were damaged by the 1917 Silvertown explosion and removed, and the whole holder demolished in 1985.

No. 1 gasholder is currently still standing, though currently threatened with demolition. Only a few gasholders around the country were selected for listing and preservation, and presumably despite its novelty when constructed this was not judged of sufficient interest, though it is a decision hard to understand except on commercial grounds.


Disused Wharf, North Greenwich, Greenwich. 1980
24j-12: jetty, sheds, works, wharf

http://londonphotographs.co.uk/london/1980/24j-12.htm

Another view of Bay Wharf, this time from the south of the breach, with the large shed on the site of the Maudsley shipbuilding works, though the building is much later, built as barge repair slips for Humphrey and Grey. The shed at left is I think a part of the Victoria Deep Water Terminal.

Mary Mills on her Greenwich Peninsula History web site mentions a jetty erected at Morden Wharf in 1859, which she says “it seems likely that this was in fact part of the area described under Bay Wharf” and I think this may be the jetty shown here.

As mentioned in a previous comment, Bay Wharf is now now the premises of a dry dock company, formerly around half a mile upstream, moved to facilitate the exploitation of the riverside there for expensive flats.


Disused Wharf, North Greenwich, Greenwich. 1980
24j-21: wharf, derelict,

A detail inside the derelict shed at Bay Wharf

http://londonphotographs.co.uk/london/1980/24j-21.htm


The series continues…


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.

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.


London 1980 (4)

Thursday, December 26th, 2019

The fourth set of black and white pictures I took in London in 1980 together with the stories about them first published on Facebook.


Brixton Astoria (Brixton Academy), Brixton, Lambeth. 1980
24g-45: venue, cinema,

http://londonphotographs.co.uk/london/1980/24g-45.htm

Brixton Astoria looks in fairly poor shape in this picture, with a notice warning there is a 24 hour dog patrol.

The building opened as a cinema and theatre in 1929, closing in 1972, becoming briefly a rock venue but closing in months. The Rank organisation wanted to demolish it to replace it with a garage and car showroom, but it is Grade II listed. They were using it as a store when I took this picture.

It reopened as a rock venue in 1981, but went bust, was bought for £1 and re-opened it as the Brixton Academy in 1983, becoming a success. Refurbishment in 1995 restored much of its original Art Deco features.


Footpath, Oil storage tanks and gas holders, North Greenwich, Greenwich. 1980
24h-31: footpath, fence, storage tank, gas holder

http://londonphotographs.co.uk/london/1980/24h-31.htm

The riverside footpath leads away from the river here, winding slightly around the oil storage tanks on its way to a bridge across the Blackwall tunnel approach. The northern area of the Greenwich Peninsula was at the time occupied by the Greenwich power station and gas works, as well as several wharves, including the Victoria Deep Water Terminal, where the footpath was marked out by yellow lines under the travelling cranes. You could walk through there by the river before the path led you between buildings to Tunnel Avenue, close to the brick tunnel entrance, always polluted and dusty. There was then no riverside path around the north of the peninsula, and the path only rejoined the river on Bugsby’s Reach having gone past The Pilot on River Way (a few yards south from where Pilot Walk now is.)

Only one of Greenwich’s gasholders remains, and that is currently threatened with demolition. Most of the storage tanks have now also gone. The riverside footpath which has been closed for some time while riverside flats were being built and work carried out on the river wall is now open, and you can now walk all the way from Drawdock Rd near North Greenwich station into Greenwich, as I did with friends a couple of weeks ago. Although the walk lacks much of the interest it had back in 1980, it still makes a pleasant walk – and you might see a seal, though we only saw some good pictures of one taken earlier by one of the building workers.


Disused Wharf, North Greenwich, Greenwich. 1980
24h-33: dock, cranes,

http://londonphotographs.co.uk/london/1980/24h-33.htm

The tower block across the river is Kelson House on the Samuda Estate, 25 stories and 87m high and completed in 1967 with 144 flats for the LCC/GLC. Tower Hamlets Council privatised the estate in 2005 to a resident-led housing association which was taken over by One Housing Group in 2007. The estate takes its name from the shipbuilding company which was on the site from 1852 to the 1890s. Owned by Joseph d’Aguilar Samuda, it was the largest London shipbuilder in the 1860s. Later the site was used by various other industries until badly damaged by bombing in 1941. It was then used for storage until purchased by the LCC to build the estate.

I find it hard to identify now exactly where this picture was made on the riverside path, but I think it must have been on Bay Wharf and the cranes right of centre were those on the corner of the Victoria Deep Water Terminal.


Riverside path, North Greenwich, Greenwich. 1980
24h-43: works, path, fence,

http://londonphotographs.co.uk/london/1980/24h-43.htm

It was hard to see why there should be three separate fences (or the remains of them) with a narrow stretch of grass and weeds between them at the side of the riverside path. The most serious was at the back, with heavy concrete lengths between the concrete posts, with angled tops to support half a dozen runs of barbed wire. Clearly the lower rusted iron fence posts in front of this once supported something else from the bolts every few inches along the length of the horizontal members, while the foreground structure along the top of the wall must once have supported some chain-link fencing.

The picture was I think taken somewhere along by Morden Wharf or Enderby’s Wharf, but I can’t place it more precisely, though others may recognise the building in the background. Like almost everything else along this stretch of the river it will have been demolished and either already has been or soon will be replaced by expensive flats.


Lovell’s Wharf, Riverside Path, North Greenwich. 1980
24h-52: footpath, wharf,

Though I deliberately cut it down to ‘LOVE’ the writing on this wall was rather longer, reading I think ‘C. SHAW LOVELL’S LTD WHARF, with a second ‘LOVELL’S WHARF’ a few yards upstream. The signs were repainted a few years after I took this picture.

I’ve written earlier about this wharf, so here it is again (with minor corrections):

“The wharf remained in business until the early 1980s, when the increasing size of ships required a deeper berth. Until the 1840s this area of land was ‘The Great Meadow’ and belonged to Morden College. In 1838 they leased the land to William Coles Child who then ran his family’s coal trade business from Belvedere Wharf where the Royal Festival Hall now stands. They brought in coal to Greenwich from the north-east – Newcastle, Blyth, South Shields, Seaham – to the new ‘Greenwich Wharf’ and leased more land from Morden College, setting up coke ovens and a limekiln.

Coles also developed the streets close to the wharf, naming them after colleries in Durham. Pelton Rd got its name from Pelton Main and West Pelton collieries at Chester-le-Street in County Durham.

Greenwich Wharf became run by other companies, changing its name and in the 1920s the lease was bought by Shaw Lovell (now Bristol ICO Ltd) a family business from Bristol dating from 1869 who had been using the wharf since before the First World War. The renamed it Lovell’s Wharf, painting the name in giant letters on the wall beside the riverside path.

The two cranes are actually Scotch derricks. They were removed by Morden College in 2000, one of a number of of controversial aspects over the development of the site into “a contemporary riverside development” by bptw architecture for London and Regional Properties.”

The whole area was renamed by the developers as Greenwich Wharf and the riverside path, once open again, is much wider, but far less enticing.

Mary Mills has written in detail about Lovell’s wharf (and many other aspects of Greenwich’s Industrial History), and most of the information here comes from her Greenwich Industrial History blog.


Gravel wharf, North Greenwich, Greenwich. 1980
24h-54: wharf, gravel, fork

http://londonphotographs.co.uk/london/1980/24h-54.htm

Gravel Wharf was on the riverside just to the north of Lovell’s Wharf, with Piper’s Wharf just to the north of it, extending out over the riverside path. An alley, Cadet Place ran between Lovell’s and Granite Wharf, roughly where River Gardens Walk now is.

Looking at the mast and rigging behind the gravel heaps at left of picture, I think this must have been taken from Cadet Place.

I looked at that small hand form on the huge pile of stones and thought of the Augean stables; this must surely be one of the Labours of Hercules, though I doubt if even he would have cleared the pile in a day.


Riverside path, Greenwich, 1980
24h-63: footpath, scrapyard

http://londonphotographs.co.uk/london/1980/24h-63.htm

‘WARNING – OVERHEAD CRANE’ says the notice, and although the roof over the path was there to protect you from large chunks of scrap metal falling from the crane it was always wise to wait if it was operating overhead.

Through the arch, the path leads on to the houses still there on Ballast Quay and beyond them the side wall of the Cutty Sark pub (renamed when the Cutty Sark was brought to Greenwich, but a genuinely old pub, formerly called the Union Tavern’. It isn’t a bad place but gets rather crowded with tourists, and if you want to drink beer it is probably worth the short walk down Pelton St to the Pelton Arms, which also at times has live music (which may not be to your taste.)

The former scrap metal yard at Anchor Iron Wharf, Robinson’s Scrap Metal, was developed as luxury flats in 2003, with an area in front which Berkley Homes and Royal Borough of Greenwich agreed would be deemed public land and includes a seating wall and a few trees. However planning applications were made last year which would take part of this back as outdoor restaurant seating.


To be continued…


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.

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.


London 1980 (3)

Tuesday, December 24th, 2019

The third set of black and white pictures I took in London in 1980 together with the stories about them first published on Facebook.


Basement religion, Brixton, Lambeth. 1980
23u-41: house, notices, Christian, basement,

http://londonphotographs.co.uk/london/1980/23u-41.htm

Taken, again on the Minox, on a family outing to Brixton to an Open Day at the windmill which was then being restored. I didn’t take any black and white pictures of the windmill, but I think I may have taken a camera with colour film and made some family pictures with that, though I can’t at the moment find them.

We’d walked around Brixton in a slightly indirect way to get to the windmill, and on the way home I suggested another diversion, coming out from Blenheim Gardens and going across Brixton Hill to one of the roads opposite, perhaps Josephine Avenue.

A few years later I tried to go back and find this basement, but could not locate any properties in the area with similar short steps from the pavement up to the front door and down to a basement below. It may still be there somewhere, perhaps a little further away than I remember, or it may have been demolished.

I’d hoped to find it again, and perhaps to have stepped over the wall and gone down the steps to the door at the right and rung on the bell and found out more about the person who painstakingly created all of these signs with their curious mis-spelling such as ‘THE OLD WRAGGID CROSS’


Playground, Brixton, Lambeth. 1980
23u-53: children, swings, dog,

http://londonphotographs.co.uk/london/1980/23u-53.htm

Playground, Brixton, Lambeth. 1980
23u-54: children, swings, dog,

http://londonphotographs.co.uk/london/1980/23u-54.htm

I think this playground was close to Brixton Windmill in Blenheim Gardens. I had come with my family to visit the Windmill. My two young boys were too young to go on these swings even had they not been in used, and the dog didn’t seem too friendly.

It is a typical old-fashioned playground made when kids were made of tougher stuff and minor injuries from falling on tarmac and concrete were taken for granted.


Playground, Stockwell Park, Brixton, Lambeth. 1980
24a-34: children, BMX, track, flats, Stockwell,

http://londonphotographs.co.uk/london/1980/24a-34.htm

Playground, Stockwell Park, Brixton, Lambeth. 1980
24g-42: children, BMX, bikes, track, flats,

http://londonphotographs.co.uk/london/1980/24g-42.htm

Stockwell Concrete Bowl Skatepark is still there at the corner of Stockwell Rd and Stockwell Park Walk, along with the flats behind on Benedict Rd, Barrett House, part of the Stockwell Park Estate, which was completed in 1976.

The estate got a bad reputation, particularly following the 1981 Brixton riots, though it was one which, despite some crimes which got wide coverage in the scandal sheets, it never really deserved.

These flats were pretty new when I took this and several other pictures, as was the skatepark. The skatepark is now an “Asset of Community Value”, and street art from it was featured on the reverse of a Brixton Pound note commemorating Lenford (Len) Kwesi Garrison (1943 – 2003), co-founder of the Black Cultural Archives. The flats were refurbished in 2014 and considerable attempts have been made to improve the estate, including a very expensive CCTV system and much gardening.


Freedom With Anarchy, Aristotle Rd, Clapham, Lambeth. 1980
24g-14:

http://londonphotographs.co.uk/london/1980/24g-14.htm

Who could resist going to photograph Aristotle Road – and finding there this graffiti ‘Freedom With Anarchy’?

Anarchism has but one infallible, unchangeable motto, “Freedom. Freedom to discover any truth, freedom to develop, to live naturally and fully” according to US anarchist, writer, labour organiser and IWW founder Lucy E Parsons (1853-1942), a remarkable woman who was probably born a slave, though she claimed only Native American and Mexican descent. Chicago police described her as “more dangerous than a thousand rioters…”

Books have been written about Aristotle’s concept of freedom, and according to the Oxford Handbook of Freedom he thought that “a person is free to the extent that he is able to live a life of politics and philosophy, and a polis is free to the extent that its institutions promote such a life for each and every citizen by removing the impediments to its realization“.

You can still recognise the location, just off Clapham High St, at the rear of Pearl Pharmacy though the balustrade, roof and stained glass have gone, the road name with its old S.W. is still on the wall. The car parked there back in 1980 was a little unusual, and is I think a T-Series Bentley. I thought at the time it looked a suitable motor for gangsters.


Voltaire Motors, Voltaire Rd, Clapham, Lambeth. 1980
24g-21: railway arch, garage,

http://londonphotographs.co.uk/london/1980/24g-21.htm

Not far from Aristotle Rd is Voltaire Rd, which runs from Clapham High St alongside the railway line and includes Clapham High Street station. Railway arches used to be cheap business properties including many garages such as Voltaire Motors but times are changing. These arches were refurbished around ten years ago and seem now to be largely Artisan Coffee Bars, bars and eateries. I think the arch which used to house this garage became The Bridge Cafe.

Voltaire Motors actually looked considerably better than any of the small row of businesses that now occupy these arches; although the interiors may have been improved by refurbishment the outside has certainly deteriorated since 1980.


Clapham, Lambeth. 1980
24g-23: houses, terrace, car, military,

From the fairly distinctive decorations above the upper floor windows and doors I think this picture was taken in Lendal Terrace, off Clapham High St, alongside the railway on the other side of road and railway from Voltaire Road.

Experts in military vehicles will probably recognise the vehicle parked here, with a high wheelbase for going off-road. It looks American to me, and vaguely like a Humvee, but I’m almost certainly wrong.


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.

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.


To be continued…

London 1980 (2)

Monday, December 23rd, 2019

More black and white images I made in 1980 and which I posted day by day on Facebook a year or so ago, along with comments and stories


Mural, Vauxhall, Lambeth. 1980
23j-33: mural

http://londonphotographs.co.uk/london/1980/23j-33.htm

The mural announcing the presence of Vauxhall City Farm has I think long gone, and there has been considerable development of the buildings there. It now seems to me obviously to be a picture I should have taken in colour, and possibly I did, though quite likely I had only a single camera with me loaded with black and white film.

This picture was taken on a Minox EL, a tiny 35mm camera hardly large enough to take the film cassette, with plastic case whose front folded down pulling out the lens into position. Said to be the smallest 35mm camera in the world, it had a 35mm f2.8 lens, weighed only 200g and fitted into even a shirt pocket. For over 20 years one of these cameras (I got through 3 or four) went with me more or less everywhere.

They weren’t cheap (they were distributed by Leica in the UK) and were tricky to use, and the auto-exposure was often unreliable – later I found it worked better if you held the camera upside-down. The first one I bought just couldn’t take sharp pictures, and I sent it back to Leica, who wrote a rather snooty letter saying there were no performance specifications for the lens, but did exchange it for one that was tack-sharp. A few years later, that stopped working after it jumped out of my pocket when I was cycling to work and I got it replaced on insurance (and a hefty jump in premiums the following year.) When I had to send that one back to Leitz they said it was beyond economic repair but sold me a replacement at cost.

The Russians liked the Minox 35mm cameras so much they produced their own exact copy, the Kiev 35A, and I expect their spies still carry one on their visits to English cathedrals.


Duck pond, Vauxhall City Farm, Vauxhall, Lambeth. 1980
23j-33: ducks, pond, farm,

http://londonphotographs.co.uk/london/1980/23j-46.htm

Rather more buildings along the riverside are now visible across Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens from Tyers St than when I took this picture, but the backs of the houses on Kennington Lane are still recognisable, and the shops along their front have changed only a little to reflect the increasing gentrification of the area – at had at least last time I walked along there from the station to take a camera in to Fixation. The buildings on the green have also been replaced by a newer block along Glyn St.

The area in the distance, where only two blocks of buildings appear has become one of the fastest growing areas in London. I think the block right of centre might be the Nine Elms Cold Store, closed in 1979 but not demolished until the late 1990s, but cannot identify the block at left. There are now high rise buildings covering almost the whole of Nine Elms with more still being built. Along with expensive flats for foreign investors there is also expensive student housing built to lower standards but equally tall.

I think the duck pond with its duck house (presumably less ornate than MPs can afford on their expenses) has also gone, with new building on the City Farm site and an expansion of the farm estate.


Jesus, Mornington Crescent, Camden, 1980
23l-65: graffiti, horse trough,

http://londonphotographs.co.uk/london/1980/23l-65.htm

Another picture of the faded message on a horse trough which I wrote about in an earlier post.


Lillieshall Rd, Clapham, Wandsworth. 1980
23q-56: house,

http://londonphotographs.co.uk/london/1980/23q-56.htm

The house here was clearly a corner shop in use as an off-licence and it can still be seen on the corner with North St, though now simply housing. The adverts, including that covering the window at right, are long gone.

It was that faded upper sign advertising ‘RADIO REPAIRS’, and under it what I think must have once been the word ‘EXPERTS’ above the blanked out doorway that attracted me to take the picture of what was otherwise a very ordinary Victorian working-class building, typical of the area.

I’m surprised I didn’t take a picture of the whole side of the building, which actually has three such doors in a row, only the central one in use, each with a window above. But probably only the window in my picture was covered by advertising, and I suspect that the lens on my Leica simply did not have a wide enough view to show all three.

I also failed to photograph the now listed former “Tim Bobbin” pub, just down Lillieshall road, named after the Lancastrian schoolmaster, caricaturist and dialect poet who called himself the Lancashire Hogarth, and was a schoolmaster and notorious drinker born in Urmston who lived and died in Milnrow on the edges of Rochdale, where he is buried in St Chad’s Churchyard, his gravestone carrying the epitaph “Jack of all trades…left to lie i’th dark” he wrote for himself minutes before his death.

I don’t know why he should be celebrated by a pub in Clapham (there is one in Burnley too) nor why the owners should have decided around ten years ago to change the name to ‘The Bobbin’ and replace his rather pleasant portrait on the pub sign to a rather less interesting silhouette.


Death to Fascism, Bus Shelter, Battersea, Wandsworth. 1980
23t-32: house, graffiti,

http://londonphotographs.co.uk/london/1980/23t-32.htm

I can’t at this remove remember why I was wandering around South London taking pictures with the Minox on a day in April 1980, but I’m fairly sure I had not gone out with the main intention of taking pictures, otherwise I would have picked up the Leica or possibly my Olympus OM-1.

There must have been some other reason for my being there, and obviously having some time to spare. One possibility is that I had gone early and decided to walk from Queen’s Road Battersea to a meeting or exhibition at the Photo Co-op in Webbs Road in Clapham, which had started the previous year, rather than take the shorter walk from Clapham Junction.

As usual at the time I have no record of exactly where I was, and this street is fairly typical of many of the wider streets in the area, with its late Victorian housing. Only the main roads are this wide and have a pavement where I could get back far enough to make a picture like this with the 35mm lens.

I suspect I will have waited some time, not for the bus, but for people at the bus stop to arrange themselves rather better in the frames provided, but with little luck, and I think made this exposure as the bus the bus was about to arrive, knowing they would board.

Obviously it was the graffiti that attracted my attention. The large white letters of ‘DEATH TO FASCISM’ are easy to read in this small image but the smaller black ‘Kill A BLACK TODAY’ is perhaps harder to read.


House, Battersea, Wandsworth. 1980
23t-51: house,

http://londonphotographs.co.uk/london/1980/23t-51.htm

This is a section of a terrace somewhere in the Park Town estate in Battersea, around Queenstown Road, built up from the 1860s by James Knowles junior, one of London’s early organised and managed estates. Though well conceived it was not a great financial success, as the middle-classes for whom it was intended rather looked down on the pollution from the adjoining railways to north and east, and the estate was then re-purposed towards more working class artisan tenants.

Probably this property – a ‘six-roomed’ house – with external decoration to make it look rather grander than it was – was built as the three flats the doorbells now indicate, one on each floor. Much has been written about the estate, which led down to the rather grander buildings of Cedars Road and the North Side of Clapham Common.


Broughton St, Battersea, Wandsworth. 1980
23t-53: house, pub, church, hall

http://londonphotographs.co.uk/london/1980/23t-53.htm

This corner of Broughton St and St Philip St, looking towards Queenstown Road is still recognisable, though the Market House pub is now a private house and the RIdley Hall at the right of the picture has been rebuilt as Ridley Hall Evangelical Church, though in a similar design.

I took two frames with the Minox, with a fairly similar composition, but while the other was a little more upright, this is sharper. They were obviously taken within a few seconds, though the film wind on the camera was rather difficult to do at any speed, as neither the two men on the street corner or the group further down the street appear to have moved, but the cars are a few yards further down the road in the other image.

The ladders on the handcart reminded me of my father who often used a similar conveyance to take his ladders, paint, tools and occasionally beehives around Hounslow (and sometimes further afield) until his retirement in the late 1960s. By 1979 this was becoming rather less common, though one still saw window cleaners and others who had not yet acquired vans.


To be continued…

Colour or B/W?

Wednesday, June 12th, 2019

I’m trying hard to remember when I last took a black and white picture, and I think it must be more than ten years ago, though I do still have a few rolls waiting to be processed.

I spent around thirty years taking most of my pictures in black and white (though I often also worked in colour) . Many if not most of my favourite images, both my own work and that of other photographers is in black and white, but somehow I no longer feel any urge to work in black and white.

It would of course be easy to do so. A simple click of a mouse would convert the images taken in any of my digital cameras from colour to monochrome, but it’s something I dislike doing. Occasionally I’ve carried out this conversion, in the past using specialised Photoshop plugins (though now Lightroom has some good monochrome profiles built in) but generally only when my colour pictures are going to be reproduced in black and white – when I prefer to make my own conversions rather than leave it to others.

When I made the mistake of buying a Leica M8, there were some occasions where the colour was simply so wrong as to be unusable (though I spent hours trying to put it right with various software programs) and the only way to use pictures were as black and white. And while it was a lousy colour camera, it was actually pretty good as a black and white camera and perhaps I should have kept it for that. Later of course Leica did produce a monochrome model.

With mirrorless cameras you can even view the world in black and white, which might be an interesting way to work, though I’ve yet to try it for more than one or two test exposures. But generally I’m rather averse to converting images taken in colour into black and white and think most people who do so produce work that is unconvincing. You have to think differently to make good monochrome images, try to think tone instead of colour, and pay greater attention to shape, line and form.

I just spent ten minutes or so looking through some of the more interesting pictures I took earlier this year, looking for images that might possibly have worked in black and white, and coming to the conclusion that colour was essential for almost all. For this post I’ve picked a couple that I thought might work as well or better in black and white and made the conversion. I’ll let you judge – and please feel free to comment if you have a strong preference.

I was prompted to write this post by reading one on PetaPixel, What Shooting Film Taught Me About Black-and-White Photos by Ellie Cotton – I think it looks better on her own web site. I actually think all of the pictures in that article look better in colour, though a couple convert reasonably to black and white.


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

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