Posts Tagged ‘Blackfriars’

Five Bridges: XR – 17 Nov 2018

Wednesday, November 17th, 2021

COP26 was in some respects a great disappointment, or rather would have been had we expected very much to arise out of it. But there were some advances, and just a slight glimmer of hope that it may prompt a little more progress in our efforts to save our future on the planet. But that it happened at all and in the way it did is very much down to the efforts of people on the street to raise awareness of the realities of climate change.

Without groups that have been campaigning for years we would have no hope at all, and whatever people think about some of the policies of Extinction Rebellion, it has been one of the more effective movements in bringing the message to the attention of the media, politicians and the public.

Even in the unfortunately toned down words of the COP26 final resolution, the message from the banner in the assembly at the top of this post is now clear: ‘FOSSIL FUEL ERA OVER’ though it still remains to be seen if it can be brought to an end fast enough for us to survive.

On Saturday 17th November 2018, Extinction Rebellion rebels managed to block five of the bridges in central London: Lambeth, Westminster, Waterloo, Blackfriars and Southwark. It was an ambitious project that brought much of London’s traffic to a standstill and gauranteed extensive media coverage. You can march 50,000 through London and it won’t merit a mention on the BBC unless windows are broken or police injured – but this was something that could not be ignored, and despite the interests of the billionaire media owners, at least some journalists began asking the right questions and writing the right answers.

I tried to photograph events on as many of the bridges as possible, though with no buses able to run in central London this involved rather a lot of walking. In the end I failed to make it to Lambeth Bridge, where some of the more robust actions by police against the protesters took place.

Here’s my description of XR from one of the three posts I made about them that day:

Extinction Rebellion is a non-violent rebellion against the British government for its criminal inaction in the face of the climate change catastrophe and ecological collapse which is currently on course to make human life extinct. They demand the government tell the truth about the climate emergency, reverse their inconsistent policies and work to communicate and educate everyone, that they bring in legally binding policies to reduce carbon emissions to net zero by 2025 and reduce our consumption of all resources, with a national Citizen’s Assembly to oversee the changes and create a real democracy.

http://mylondondiary.co.uk/2018/11/nov.htm#westminster

More protests will be needed around the world to make politicians do what needs to be done – and I was photographing Extinction Rebellion in London last Saturday when they protested in the annual Lord Mayor’s Show.


My day was made busier as there was another unrelated event taking place that I also wanted to photograph, a Unity against Fascism and Racism march from the BBC to a rally in Whitehall calling for unity against the rising threat of Islamophobia and Antisemitism by far-right groups in the UK, with a level of support for fascism not seen since the 1930s. I missed the start but spent around half an hour taking pictures as it came down Regent St.


More on all these and more pictures on My London Diary:

Extinction Rebellion Bridge blockade starts
Extinction Rebellion: Southwark, Blackfriars, Waterloo
Extinction Rebellion form Citizens’ Assembly

Unity Against Fascism and Racism


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


London Protests: 17 November 2018

Tuesday, November 17th, 2020

Saturday November 17th 2018 saw the start of Extinction Rebellion’s beidge blocade in central London, bringing the city to a standstill by blocking Lambeth, Westminster, Waterloo, Blackfriars and Southwark bridges. I joined them for the first couple of hours on Westminster Bridge.

From there I went to pay brief visits to three of the other four bridges that XR had blocked, choosing those downstream which were relatively easy to reach on foot.

I didn’t go to Lambeth Bridge, upstream from Westminster, as I ran out of time before another event I wanted to cover. It would have meant too long a walk as the nearest tube station is some distance away and there were no buses able to run. Later I found that it was at Lambeth that the police had been more active in making arrests and attempting to clear the bridge.

I arrived too late for the start of the march organised by Stand Up To Racism, co-sponsored by Unite Against Fascism and Love Music Hate Racism, and supported by many other groups and individuals including Diane Abbott MP and John McDonnell MP against the against the rising threat of Islamophobia and Antisemitism by far-right groups in the UK.

It was a large march and had gathered outside the BBC in Portland Place because the organisers wanted to point to the failure of the BBC to recognise the threat of these extremist groups with a level of support for fascism not seen since the 1930s.

The BBC does appear to have a policy limiting reporting on issues such as this, and of ignoring or minimising protests in the UK against failures of government. When they have reported, they have often talked of ‘hundreds’ of protesters when a more objective view would have said ‘thousands’ or perhaps even ‘tens of thousands.’ They do a far better job in reporting protests in foreign cities than in London.

Half an hour after I began taking pictures the marchers were still walking past me, but I thought that it was nearing the end and I left, not to go to the rally in Whitehall but to return to Westminster Bridge for the Exctinction Rebellion protest where there were speakers from around the country and around the world, some of whom travelled to speak on several of the five blocked bridges. After the speeches there was a Citizen’s Assembly but by then I was tired and left to go home, edit and file my pictures – more hours of work.

Protests by XR have done a little to shake the complacency of our government and others around the world and move them to action to avoid the rapidly approaching climate disaster, but it remains a case of too little, too late. Certainly so for many countries in the global South already suffering dire consequences, but probably also for us in the wealthier countries. Covid-19 has shown that governments can take drastic actions, (if ours cost many thousands of lives by making decisions too late and avoiding basic precautions) but it will need a similar upending of priorities and changes in our way of life to avoid the worst effects of climate change – and there can be no vaccine to end climate change.

More about the events and more pictures on My London Diary:

Extinction Rebellion Bridge blockade starts
Extinction Rebellion: Southwark, Blackfriars, Waterloo
Unity Against Fascism and Racism
Extinction Rebellion form Citizens’ Assembly


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.


More from TQ31

Tuesday, June 16th, 2020

A few pictures recently posted to my Flickr album TQ31 London Cross-section from colour pictures taken in 1979-85. These come from National Grid squares TQ3176 – TQ3181, part of the 1km wide south-north strip TQ31 through London.

Church & Mural, Angell Rd, Angell Park Gdns, Angell Town, 1989 TQ3176-008

Angell town got its name from the family who owned it in the 18th century, and in particular John Angell who died in 1550 and whose self-made will and various litigious claims due to his eccentricity and inflexible obstinacy resulted in years of legal argument after his death, and more after the death of John Angell, junior, in 1784. There were few houses on the land until it was fully developed in the 1850s by the redundantly named Benedict John Angell Angell, mainly with substantial semi-detached properties for middle-class families. St. John’s Church, Angell Town was consecrated in 1853.

Most of the estate around it was demolished and replaced by a council estate built by Lambeth Council in 1974-78. A combination of unfortunate design, typical of the time, and poor maintenance quickly led to the estate becoming a haven for drug dealers and other criminals. A comprehensive redevelopment in the mid-1990s led to some improvement but the estate later deteriorated, partly because of lack of support from Lambeth Council, and became the home turf of one of London’s most notorious teenage street gangs.

Ideal, Cafe, London Rd Newington, 1987 TQ3179-014

This café, the “IDEAL” was on the west side of London Road, north of the Elephant and Castle and just south of St George’s Circus. In the reflection you can just see a part of the Duke of Clarence pub, still there though now the Clarence Centre for Enterprise and Innovation of London South Bank University. The row of shops containing the café is still there but the shop fronts have changed and I can’t positively identify exactly which has replaced this.

When I put this project together, beginning around when I took this image in 1987, I was interested in the way that colour negative film and the cheap en-prints that were the normal way most of its users experienced it presented reality and distorted it. I liked the way images were often printed with strong colour casts and sometimes slightly out of focus, though this batch was one of the better in terms of print quality. Some processors also put little stickers on prints giving advice where they thought there were technical problems, one of which I’ve failed to remove entirely from this image at bottom left. I’m sorry I didn’t leave it on, as I can now only imagine what it said. I think either a warning about reflections or possibly against double-exposures – which of course this isn’t.

Bridge Piers, River Thames, Blackfriars,1987 TQ3180-002

Joseph Cubitt who designed Blackfriars Bridge also designed the railway bridge which until a few years before I took this picture ran across the top of these piers, and had to make both bridges with the matching spans and piers, though those on the road bridge have a very different finish. His rail bridge for the London, Chatham and Dover Railway was opened in 1864 and the road bridge five years later.

The railway bridge to the east, on the left of the picture was opened some years later in 1886 and is still in use. But the station (originally called St Paul’s Station, but since 1937, Blackfriars) became less important when the Southern Railway was formed in 1924, with its main-line services being moved to Waterloo and the older bridge was no longer much used. In 1985 the superstructure was removed as it had become too weak to support modern trains, but these massive pillars were left, with some being used to support an extension of the station platforms across the Thames.

The Blackfriar,  Queen Victoria St, 1992TQ3180-014

The Blackfriar is a remarkable example of a Victorian pub, Grade II* listed, on Queen Victoria St. Originally built in 1875 on the site of a medieval Dominican friary it was extensively remodelled in several stages beginning in 1903 in a jolly arts and crafts manner by Herbert Fuller-Clark, with sculptures by Nathaniel Hitch, Frederick Callcott, Henry Poole, and Farmer and Brindley. Their work was completed by 1925, but the large figure of a black monk over the corner door was only added a year or two before I took these pictures.

The pub was saved from demolition in the 1960s by a public campaign led by Sir John Betjeman.

Wig & Pen Club, Strand, 1991 TQ3181-053

The Wig and Pen club at 229 Strand was in a building from 1625, built on Roman ruins which claimed to have been the only building in the Strand to escape burning in the Great Fire of London in 1666.

Opposite the Royal Courts of Justice in its early years it was occupied by the Gatekeeper from Temple Bar, just along the street on whose spikes severed heads of traitors were displayed, and began to sell food and drink to the crowds who came to view them.

The club was formed as a meeting place for lawyers and journalists probably around the start of the twentieth century, and closed around ninety-five years later in 2003. Business dropped drastically as the newspapers moved out of Fleet St, but there were also changes in social behaviour making the lengthy and very liquid lunchtimes that were once the norm largely a thing of the past. It tried to keep going by making the lower floor restaurant open to the public, but even this failed to generate enough to keep the club going. Eventually after being vacant for several years it was sold by the landlords to a restaurant chain with the upper floor of this and the adjacent building being converted into a house.

The George, Strand, 1991, TQ3181-063

The George Hotel, 213 Strand, was George’s Coffee House from up 1723 to the 1820s, becoming the George Hotel in the following decade. The building was on the site of an older building and was I think rebuilt in the Victorian era as a handsome stone-faced block on four floors with a balustrade across the front of the roof.

That building was ‘tarted up’ in 1930, with various additions to the woodwork of the ground floor, a half-timbered frontage and a pitched roof. I suspect that most of the antique internals also date from that facelift.

As a coffee house it claims many great historical writers as regulars, including Horace Walpole, Oliver Goldsmith and Samuel Johnson, and its basement is said to be haunted by a “Laughing Cavalier” or “Roundhead”, according to some accounts headless.

No-one seems to know why the additions to its frontage include an apparently naked man chasing half a dozen pigs or the monk with cat and barrel, though they are possibly copies from some older pub in what was something of a movement to recreate the old inns of England.

More pictures in TQ31 London Cross-Section.


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.