Posts Tagged ‘BP’

More City colour

Thursday, July 2nd, 2020

Some more pictures from my Flickr album made from en-prints of pictures taken in 1986-92 in the 1km wide strip of London in defined by the National G id reference TQ32, TQ32 London Cross-section.

IBM, Basinghall St, City, 1986 TQ3281-026
IBM, Basinghall St, City, 1986

Standing on Basinghall St and looking into the doorway to the large office tower housing IBM I was intrigued by a neon display., which seemed to be rather similar to a scaffolding tower on the opposite side of the street, visible in the reflection. You can see part of me taking the picture at its centre, my shoulder, arm and camera bag, leg and top of my shoe visible.

I was puzzled slightly at first as I appeared to be carrying my bag to the right of me, something I’ve never done since back in the mid 1970s, after I suffered badly with back pain. Although the specialist I saw never really managed to find a reason or cure, we did eventually discover that I could avoid the crippling pain by carrying my bag on the left shoulder rather than my right. But of course this is a reflection, so what appears to be right is actually left.

Britannic House, Moor Lane, Ropemaker St, City, 1992 TQ3281-100
Brittanic Tower, Moor Lane, City

Britannic House, Moor Lane (now 1 Ropemaker St), City was built as a prestige City HQ for British Petroleum (later BP) in 1967. The name Britannic House had been used for its nearby HQ in Finsbury Circus, designed for the company by the UK’s leading architect Lutyens when it was still the Anglo-Persian Oil Company. That rather lower but much more impressive building from 1921-5 required special permission from the LCC because of its height of at 38 metres and also presented building problems because it was partly above the underground Moorgate station.

The name Britannic House passed back to the Lutyens building when BP returned to it in 1991, and the Moor Lane building, a 35 storey 122m tall slab, was renamed Britannic Tower. When built it was the first City building taller than St Paul’s Cathedral, which was 111m (365 ft.)

Brittanic Tower was refurbished in 2000 with a fancy top adding another 5 metres and renamed Citypoint and is now the tenth tallest building in the City according to Wikipedia and the 54th tallest in Greater London. I think this particularly pointless piece of decorative sculpture at its base was lost in the refurbishment.

Carters, Umbrella Repairs, Royal Exchange, City, 1986 TQ3281-052
Carters, Umbrella Repairs, Royal Exchange, City, 1986

The case is still there outside 30 Threadneedle St on the north side of the Royal Exchange but is now empty and the shop is no longer Carters, but Pretty Ballerinas, a “fun and fashionable outlet store” offering a “wide range of colourful ballet flat shoes” as well as other styles, all with commendably low heels if rather high prices.

The rolled umbrella was once a part of the uniform of the City gent, but there are rather few of them around now. And umbrellas have become cheap and disposable, probably impossible to repair.

Simpsons, Ball Court, City, 1992 TQ3281-077
Simpsons, Ball Court, City, 1992

Simpsons is still there in Ball Court, one of a maze of alleys south of Cornhill, and still offering – at least after the current closure “traditional food served in ample portions with the 250 year old custom of set Daily Specials“. Although not cheap, it isn’t an expensive place by London standards. I’ve never eaten there but perhaps I might treat myself one day if I go to London again.

Bank of England, Bank, CIty, 1987 TQ3281-047
Bank of England, Bank, City, 1987

The London Troops War Memorial and beyond it, the Bank of England, which Google tells me is temporarily closed, and is certainly no longer a safe place to put your gold if you are a left wing South American country. Over the past years I’ve photographed several protests calling on the bank to let Venezuela have it gold kept here, which the Bank is refusing to release due to US sanctions.

Venezuela’s central bank, controlled by President Nicolas Maduro, is currently seeking an order in the English High Court to force the Bank of England to hand over the over $1 billion of Venezuelan gold reserve in its vaults which the country need to fight the coronavirus pandemic.

More from the City in a later post. You can see more pictures now in TQ32 London Cross-section.


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.


Climate Rally for the Imagination

Wednesday, March 11th, 2020

Climate Rally for the Imagination was organised for artists, designers, musicians, cultural workers and leaders to propose creative individual and collective responses to the climate emergency.

There were some heavy showers before the event began, with water on the paving giving reflections, which was good, but also getting on cameras and lenses which wasn’t.

But fortunately it stopped for a while as the event got going, as some of those taking part did look a little wet and bedraggled, probably including this photographer.

There were some interesting performances, including from folk singer Sam Lee, and some interesting presentations from people working with arts-based projects as well as at least one that seemed to me to be away with the fairies. But Extinction Rebellion has a very wide range of supporters.

Several people read from their contributions to the book ‘Letters to the Earth’ and perhaps the event became a little too much like a book promotion. But there were a number of contributions from others, about the protests over BP sponsorship of museums and culture, with a student involved speaking about the letter threatening a boycott of the Royal Shakespeare Company by school climate strikers which got the company to drop BP in days.

Another speaker had written to the Arts Council over its failure to recognise the vital importance of combating climate change through the activities it sponsors, while architect Michael Pawlyn gave a challenging analysis of current architectural practices and their contribution to climate change, spressing the newd for a new ‘regenerative architecture’.

Among those contributing to the book was environmental lawyer Farhana Yamin, arrested for protesting against Shell with Extinction Rebellion in April.

Climate Rally for the Imagination

XR Carmen says cut Carbon

Saturday, November 23rd, 2019

On the day that BP were sponsoring a Royal Opera House performance of Carmen to be relayed to 13 BP big screens in UK cities, including Trafalgar Square in London, Extinction Rebellion put on their ‘Carbon Procession’.

This procession, led by a woman dressed as carbon with a long black train to resemble an oil slick and followed by people with XR flags and a samba band made its way around the London offices of oil companies in the Oil and Gas Climate Initiative (OGCI) urging them to abandon the pretence they can combat global warming without a huge cut in oil production.

Although the Carmen leading the procession only spoke rather than sang, the protesters were joined by a woman with an incredible voice who performed some of the arias, accompanied by an unusual but effective orchestra of bassoon and piano accordian at the stops in front of the company offices.

The protesters also delivered copies of the XR handbook published by Penguin, ‘This Is Not A Drill’ to the offices, although they were not allowed to go inside to present it. Some of the activists also used bright yellow ‘Crime Tape’ with the message ‘Crime Scene – Do Not Cross’ to make the hour-glass X from the middle of the XR symbol on the pavement outside each of the offices.

The procession had obviously taken a great deal of preparation and attracted some attention. The lengthy walk was soon well behind schedule and after performances outside multinational oil and gas company ENI, on a street corner near Victoria and the China National Petroleum Corporation took a long rest in Hyde Park, which though necessary for some, didn’t help. It missed the next planned stop, I think walking past by accident, and by the time it had protested outside Saudi Aramco it was time for me to leave. The protesters still had two more oil companies to visit and were ending the procession at BP head office in St James’s Square before going on to protest at the screening in Trafalgar Square.

More at XR Carmen’s Carbon Procession


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.


Dinner of HOPE

Wednesday, November 6th, 2019

One of Extinction Rebellion’s slightly odder events was a picnic billed as the ‘Extinction Rebellion Dinner of HOPE‘ outside the Natural History Museum in South Kensington, which preceded a protest as guests arrived for the annual dinner of the Petroleum Group of the Geological Society.

As XR pointed out, there was a “grotesque irony of this cosy industry dinner taking place surrounded by extinct species” under the blue whale skeleton in the main hall, celebrating an industry that more than any other is contributing to the continuing extinction of species, possibly including our own.

I’d met Elsie Luna back in October 2018, at a #Fridays For the Future protest in Parliament Square, the first in London as a part of #FridaysForFuture taking place in many cities and towns across the world, inspired by the action of the then 15-year old Greta Thunberg, who instead of going back to school at the end of the Summer break in August protested outside the Swedish Parliament, breaking the law to start the School Strike For Climate.

Elsie Luna stood out at that small protest, not just as one of two or three school age children taking part, but also because of the card hanging in a plastic holder around her neck with a picture of the Houses of Parliament and the message “Elsie Luna – Journalist – Hear! Hear! – The political podcast for young people in the UK”. The 8 podcasts are still on line.

Elsie Luna, now 10, opened the party. She had tried to get the museum to cancel the event, calling on the museum to take positive action over the climate and ecological emergency rather than hosting those who are most responsible for creating global extinction. But the Museum failed to listen and the event was taking place.

Extinction Rebellion were not the only group to have issues with the dinner and the oil companies who are the main groups taking part and sponsoring the event. They were joined by protesters against BP’s exploitation of Senegal who came with banners and drums, and whose drummers joined together with XR’s.

More pictures at Extinction Rebellion Dinner of HOPE.

BP out of the BM

Saturday, May 25th, 2019

‘BP or not BP’ is a bunch of activists who stage performances of one sort or another at various cultural institutions and events to protest at the way the arts are being used to promote and sanitise companies guitly of destroying the planet and other crimes, ‘greenwashing’ to hide their mucky stains.

BP are a prime example of such a company, responsible for many murky political dealings in countries around the world in search of oil, Extracting oil has destroyed valuable ecosystems though pollution, with huge oil spills threatening large areas of ocean life. Its oil feeds the plastics and artificial fabrics industries, while the use of oil products in heating, air conditioning and transport etc is the cause of the huge increase in grrenhouse gases which is causing disastrous global warming.

BP gives a relatively small financial contribution to the British Museum, for which it gets a incredible return in good publicity, its logo on posters and on labels in the museum.

The protest took place on the 16th anniversary of the invasion of Iraq, conducted as is now clear from documents from many sources largely to ensure access by US companies to Iraqi oil resources rather than anything to do with the WMDs which all knew did not exist. It also took place while the BP-sponsored show I am Ashurbanipal: King of the World, King of Assyria‘ was nearing the end of its run. It’s a show which includes a number of looted objects from the area (which stretched from Egypt to the Persian Gulf), both from historical times when the BM was itself sending archealogists to the area and apparently some more recent acquisitions sold to dealers after Iraq was left in chaos and during the current conflict in Syria, bought with the aid of BP money.

While several hundred protesters gathered at the front of the Great Court, a small performance took place in the Assyrian galleries, and was then repeated in front of the entrance to the Assyrian exhibition. Meanwhile the main protest got under way, amd after an introductory rally people were lead to from a ring all around the Great Court, with posters all round.

The Great Court is a large area around the old former BM Reading Room (where my wife once worked) and is said to be the largest covered public square in Euripe, with an area of 3,692.5 square metres. I think the chain around it holding the banners must have been around 600 feet long, though only relatively small sections were visible from any one point.

This was something of a challenge to still photographers, and I walked around it several times taking pictures. Long banners are always a challenge in terms of the aspect ratio. Even if you frame the people holdina banner from head to toe working in landscape format, this only results in a horizontal field of view of around ten foot. To frame longer banners results in the people and the banner shrinking to a narrower strip across the image.

You can improve matters by photographing the banner from one side, filling the frame height with the nearest person or going in even closer, and this is often my approach. But as the make the viewpoint more oblique, the banner text becomes less and less legible. And legible text is important with banners.

My friend taking video had a simpler task and did it well, filming as he walked around the whole circle. A similar approach using still photography would have resulted in a print with a roughly 100:1 aspect ratio, and while it might have been possible to join up the banner, as you moved from exposure to exposure the backgrounds would change.

I did take a series of pictures from the top of the stairs overlooking the area in front of the Assyrian exhibition, where the banners were brought and people sat on the ground. Possibly taken together they would show the whole string of banners (though I think some were folded before they reached the display), but more than the two on My London Diary make rather tedious viewing.

End BP sponsorship at British Museum

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