Posts Tagged ‘Brent’

Nine years ago: 6 Oct 2012

Wednesday, October 6th, 2021

Proposals to close Accident and Emergency services at four of the nine hospitals in North West London provoked fury among local residents and opposition from local councils as they would mean slow journeys over heavily congested roads for those living in much of northwest London. The proposals seemed to be motivated simply by cost savings with no regard to the consequences.

This protest was one of a number that I photographed, particularly about the closure of A&E and some other services at both Charing Cross Hospital (which is in Hammersmith) and Ealing Hospital. The previous month I had photographed a http://mylondondiary.co.uk/2012/09/sep.htm#hospitals large march from Southall Park to Ealing Hospital against the closure plan and there was another march to Central Middlesex Hospital taking place that same day.

These large and widespread protests and legal actions taken by the protesters were almost certainly a major factor behind the decision in March 2019 by then Health Secretary Matt Hancock to finally scrap the plans for what was the biggest hospital closure programme in the history of the NHS. The campaigners welcomed the decision but said it should have come much earlier rather than after seven years of the Dept of Health supporting the plans, which would have involved demolishing Charing Cross Hospital and selling off most the site.

I photographed as people gathered for the march in Shepherds Bush but had to leave as the march was setting off for Hammersmith and a rally in Fulham to go to Westminster.

Britain First, a far-right anti-Muslim movement (it describes itself as “a modern, responsible patriotic political movement”) was protesting at Downing St against what they described as ‘Britain’s secret shame – Muslim Grooming’ and were joined on their protest by members of other extremist groups including the English Defence League. After protesting for around an hour at Downing St they marched the short distance to Parliament Square where they tried to burn an Islamic flag. It proved to be rather fire-resistant.

A few yards away, thousand of Muslims packed Old Palace Yard opposite the Houses of Parliament in a peaceful protest against an Anti-Muslim film made in the USA. They called for laws to protect religious figures.

The film, Innocence of Muslims, a crude video made by https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nakoula_Basseley_Nakoula Egyptian-born American writer Mark Basseley Youssef had already prompted violent anti-American protests in various Muslim countries. Youssef was then in jail in Los Angeles for violations of a probation order which, among other things included making false statements regarding his role in the film, and his use of the alias “Sam Bacile”. He had a previous conviction for in 1997 for intent to manufacture methamphetamine and was under probation following release in June 2011 from being jailed in 2010 for his part in a bank fraud.

Youssef, under his alias Bacile, falsely claimed that the anti-Islamic film had been funded by $5 million from 100 Jewish donors and that he was an Israeli Jew. An Egyptian court tried him and others in absentia and sentenced them to death for defaming Islam in November 2012. He was released from prison in 2013 to serve the remainder of his sentence in a halfway house in Californinia followed by 4 years of probabation.

Finally I travelled to Kilburn for a march and rally demanding Brent council rehouse the Counihan family from South Kilburn. Two years earlier, Anthony Counihan, a London bus driver inherited a few acres of poor land in Galway on the death of his father. Rented out, it brings an income of £18 a week.

He reported this to Brent Council, who responded with an eviction order and a demand for repayment of £70,000 of housing benefit, later telling him he should move back with his family to Ireland where he was born – while continuing to drive a bus from Cricklewood Depot. His wife Isabel and five children were all born in Brent.

The case was complicated by the fact that the family had moved out of a council property to go back to Ireland for a year to look after his sick father, and had signed away their lease as the council had not told them they could sublet for the year, and by their treatment by the council after their return, when they were unable to find accomodation they could afford on a bus-drivers salary. Brent decided they had made themselves “intentionally homeless” and were refusing their statutory duty to rehouse the family.

More on all at:
Rehouse the Counihans
Muslims against Anti-Muslim Film
Britain First – Muslim Grooming
Save Our Hospitals – Shepherds Bush


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More from Brent 1988

Friday, June 11th, 2021

Church of God of Prophecy, High St, Harlesden, Brent, 1988 1988 88-3c-41-positive_2400
Church of God of Prophecy, High St, Harlesden, Brent, 1988 88-3c-41

One of our better selling ‘newpapers’ recently published yet another sensationalist feature about no-go areas in some of our cities, where white men fear to tread. Back in the 1980s it wasn’t Muslim fundamentalists that were alleged to make our sity streets unsafe, but largley Caribbean and African gangs that were supposed to be roaming the streets in certain areas of the city, and one of those that people used to warn me about was Harlesden. But as in other such areas, although I was walking the streets with aroun £10,000 pounds worth of photographic gear in a bag on my shoulder I met with no problems.

High St, Harlesden, Brent, 1988 88-3c-51-positive_2400
High St, Harlesden, Brent, 1988 88-3c-51

Partly of course I had little or no trouble becuase of the time of day I usually worked, seldom in the evenings whe there are more people who might be a threat on many streets. And if I saw people dealing in drugs or other illegal activities I might cross the steer. And I certianly avoided dark alleys. But I can’t recall any such things being necessary in Harlsden. Often people would ask me why I was taking pictures, and I’d make an effort both in general terms and about the specific scene. And while they might not have always appreciated what I was saying it did sometimes make them see the scene at least partly as I did – perhaps with the rather odd game of noughts and cosses iin the picture above.

The Creole Organisation, High St, Harlesden, Brent, 1988 88-3c-52-positive_2400
The Creole Organisation, High St, Harlesden, Brent, 1988 88-3c-52

I don’t know what The Creole Organisation at186 High St Harlesden did, but Harlesden was a leading centre of Creole Music back at this time, and the record label Creole Records used an identical logo on some releases of its ‘Harlesenden Sounds’. It was based at 91-93 High Street, Harlesden. More recently it has been a solicitor’s and estate agents, but I think it is now a private house.

Harlesden Tyres, High St, Harlesden, Brent, 1988 88-3c-53-positive_2400
Harlesden Tyres, High St, Harlesden, Brent, 1988 88-3c-53

Harlesden Tyres on the corner of Nightingale St and the High St caught my attention becuase of its signage, and in particular the two Michelin Men.

Tejal Motors, High St, Harlesden, Brent, 1988 88-3c-54-positive_2400
Tejal Motors, High St, Harlesden, Brent, 1988 88-3c-54

While across Nightingale Rd, Tejal motors had a good selection of arrows in three different styles an a long list of repairs it could do while you wait.

Marshall Bros, Kilburn Lane, West Kilburn, Westminster, 1988 88-3d-02-positive_2400
Marshall Bros, Kilburn Lane, West Kilburn, Westminster, 1988 88-3d-02

Given my name it would have been difficult to walk past Marbro House, home to Marshall Bros, Builders Merchants at 266a Kilburn Lane. It clearly appeared to have been built for some other purpose, and before becoming a Builder’s merchants was a Methodist Chapel. It has now lost these steps and doorway on Kilburn Lane and has been converted into flats with an entrance around the corner in Herries St. I think it is just across the border in the City of Westminster.


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.


West Kilburn 1988

Wednesday, June 2nd, 2021

Droop St, West Kilburn, Westminster, 1988  88-3b-36-positive_2400
Droop St, West Kilburn, Westminster, 1988

William Austin’s first job was apparently as a scarecrow at 1d per day, but he left the farm and came to London to find work as a labourer. Although illiterate, unlike most navvies he prospered and became a drainage contractor at a time when London was rapidly expanding, his success probably in no small part due to his espousal of the temperance movement.

First Ave, West Kilburn, Westminster, 1988  88-3b-41-positive_2400
First Ave, West Kilburn, Westminster, 1988

There is surprisingly little information about Austin on the web other than that he became a philanthropist and founded the Artizans, Labourers and General Dwellings Company in 1867, and that he left the company in 1870. Almost certainly this lack of information reflects his humble origins.

Harrow Rd, West Kilburn, Westminster, 1988  88-3b-42-positive_2400
Harrow Rd, West Kilburn, Westminster, 1988

At first the company built houses in the provinces, but after Austin left turned their attention to London, and between 1872-7 developed the Shaftesbury Park estate in Battersea with around 1,200 working class homes.

Harrow Rd, West Kilburn, Westminster, 1988  88-3b-43-positive_2400
Harrow Rd, West Kilburn, Westminster, 1988

Also in 1973 the company bought 80 acres north of the Grand Union Canal and the Harrow Road in what was then a detached part of the parish of Chelsea. The area was developed on a grid pattern with north-south roads called First Avenue, Second etc up to Sixth Avenue and the east-west streets being simply named with the letters of the alphabet, A-P.

Second Ave, West Kilburn, Westminster, 1988  88-3b-44-positive_2400
Second Ave, West Kilburn, Westminster, 1988

Later these street names were expanded to fuller names starting with these letters, though I have no idea what possessed someone to make D Street into Droop Street, surely one of the more depressing street names in London.

Fourth Ave, West Kilburn, Westminster, 1988  88-3b-45-positive_2400
Fourth Ave, West Kilburn, Westminster, 1988

The architect of the estate with its then fashionable gothic touches was self-taught Robert Austin (perhaps a son of the founder?) with later work by Roland Plumbe. There are 53 properties on the estate which are Grade II listed. During the development in 1877 most of the company managers were charged with mismanagement and corruption, the entire board of directors replaced, the manager and chairman of the board jailed and Austin sacked.

Queens Park Hall, Artizans, Labourers & General Dwellings Company, Harrow Rd, Westminster, 1988 88-3b-54-positive_2400
Queens Park Hall, Artizans, Labourers & General Dwellings Company, Harrow Rd, Westminster, 1988

The company recovered and finished the job, going on to build other estates around London, including Noel Park in Wood Green and Leigham Court in Streatham. The Queen’s Park estate along with most of their other estates was transferred to the respective local authority in 1966. Most is in Westminster with a smaller part in Brent.

Kilburn Spring Co, Kilburn Lane, Kensal Green, Brent, 1988 88-3c-12-positive_2400
Kilburn Spring Co, Kilburn Lane, Kensal Green, Brent, 1988

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.


St Pat’s Day

Wednesday, March 17th, 2021

I don’t think March 17th 2002 was the first time I photographed St Patrick’s Day celebrations in London, but it is the earliest that I have pictures of on My London Diary. It looks as if the picture above was taken outside Westminster Cathedral, and later images are clearly in Trafalgar Square.

In later years the parade went from Hyde Park to Trafalgar Square, and the event, with backing from London Mayor Ken Livingstone and considerable sponsorship grew larger and trickier to photograph. I became more interested in smaller St Patrick’s Day events taking place elsewhere in the capital, and especially in Brent, where there was usually a parade on the actual day itself, with a large local Irish population coming out on their own streets.

The London Borough of Brent for years supported a number of community events including this, but also others that reflected the multicultural nature of its population – until government cuts made this impossible to continue, and funding was withdrawn in 2013. These were events that drew the communities together, with others joining in with their Irish neighbours and local schools getting all their pupils involved. They also celebrated Diwali, Eid, Christmas, Chanukah and Navrati, as well as Holocaust Memorial Day, and had a black history programme, their own ‘Respect’ festival and a world food and music festival.

I think I first photographed the Brent parade in 2007, going there with several photographer friends, including Bronx-born Irish-American John Benton-Harris who has covered St Patrick’s Day celebrations for many years and whose Saint Patrick’s People is available from Cafe Royal books.

I went to Brent again in several years, and it was always a great event to cover. The only problem with it was that once the parade was over the local pubs were far too crowded and we had to go elsewhere to get a drink.

There are far too many pictures to show here – I’ll add some links at the bottom of the piece as usual.

In these later years I did find myself faced with a problem. While the Irish were celebrating their saint, a Romano-British missionary who converted Ireland to Christianity at some time in the early Fifth century – Syrians in the UK were marking the anniversary of their revolution – which was being brutally repressed by the Assad regime. While timings made it possible to cover both stories, it did mean rushing away from one or the other, perhaps missing the end of the events, and I found the necessary switch in mood difficult.

St Patrick’s Day on My London Diary
2002
2004 (scroll down the page)
2005 (scroll down the page)
2006 (scroll down the page)
2007 (scroll down the page – 2 stories)
2008
2009 – London and Brent
2010
2011
2012
2013


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.


Grand Union, Seacole & Wassail

Tuesday, February 2nd, 2021

I like to get away from Central London and wander around some of the less visited areas of London, spaces which are far from the tourist trail and often in some way on the edge. And on Sunday February 2nd 2014 it was a fine day and I decided it would be good to take a walk around the area of Harlesden close to the Grand Union Canal and make some panoramic pictures on my way to Willesden Green where I’d been invited to photograph an event that afternoon.

I’d first walked around this area back in 1981, when I had discovered and begun to photograph the delights of London that could easily be reached by the North London Line from Richmond to Broad St. Since then I’d been back occasionally for various walks and events in the area. Brent is a borough that used to hold festivals celebrating its varied communities – until these had to be abandoned as the coalition and Tories cut local government spending so even the barest bones were tough to maintain.

The line from wealthy Richmond goes up north through Acton to Willesden Junction, which in typical railway fashion is not in Willesden but in Harlesden. I left the train there and began my walk on a footpath back beside the line through an industrial area to the canal.

I’d brought my lunch with me, and sat in the sun in the Mary Seacole memorial garden on the canal bank before continuing my walk. These panoramic images are too small to really appreciate on this blog, but you can see them – and quite a few others a bit larger on My London Diary in Harlesden, Willesden & Mary Seacole.

It was then time to head to Willesden Green, where the Willesden Green Wassail was about to take place, celebrating the many local shopkeepers who give Willesden Green its character and help to create a vibrant community, singing them a traditional wassail song, and with singers and poets performing on the street.

It was good to see a sizeable crowd of local residents had come out to take part in this community festival organised by Rachel Rose Reid, and you can find out more about it and see many more pictures of those taking part.

Back in 2014 I wrote:

As well as celebrating the shopkeepers, this “small free festival run by and for people from Willesden Green” as also a celebration of the work of all who live there and create the neighbourhood and brought together artists and volunteers from the area, including James Mcdonald, Berakah Multi Faith Choir, Poetcurious, Errol Mcglashan and several others, with more performing later after the wassail.

Willesden Wassail

The Wassail ended with several poetry performances opposite the library and then a final wassail at the cherry tree behind it, when everyone let off the party poppers and decorated the tree with ribbons – a reminder of the traditional wassail ceremonies when people made a lot of noise banging pans and firing guns in order to wake up the trees and get them going on producing large yields of apples – particulary for making cider.

We didn’t get cider, but we did get free hot soup at the Bar Gallery in Queens Parade where the festivities were to continue – but I had to leave to get home rather late for dinner.

Willesden Wassail
Harlesden, Willesden & Mary Seacole


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.