Posts Tagged ‘Brixton’

One Year Ago – Sep 20th 2019

Sunday, September 20th, 2020

Friday 20 Sep 2019 was a busy day for me, and certainly one without any social distancing. It was the day of the Earth Day Global Climate Strike inspired by Greta Thunberg, and schoolchildren, teachers, parents and supporters from all over London were taking part in several events across the capital, as well as in other towns and cities across the world.

A large rally filled much of Millbank, from outside the Houses of Parliament down almost to Horseferry Road where there were speakers and performers on a lorry, with loudspeakers at intervals along the road to relay the sounds. The crowd was so dense near the bus that I gave up trying to get through and went along sidestreets to make my way to the front.

I made my way out slowly back through the crowd taking pictures, and found that more people were still streaming into Parliament Square as I walked into Westminster station to take the tube to the Elephant.

There was a poster display and short rally outside the University of the Arts there as people gathered to march to join workers at Southwark Council who were also protesting.

Instead I took the tube to Brixton, where teachers had brought children from local schools for a lunchtime rally before going to join the protest in Westminster. I left to avoid the crowd as the rally came to an end and went back to Parliament Square, where as well as the climate protest there were also a group of Kurds protesting about the Turkish invasion of Rojava.

Campaigners, mainly school students, were now also sitting down and blocking Whitehall and police were beginning to make arrests. Eventually the school students decided to march, and turned into Whitehall Court, where police blocked them and they sat down again.

It’s a road the has very little traffic, and I couldn’t understand why police continued to harass them and try to get them to move, as a protest there would inconvenience very few if any. But eventually the students got fed up with the police threats and got up to march again, only to sit back down and block Whitehall again.

Eventually they decided to get up and march back to Parliament Square to join the other protesters there, but I left them to go to Carnaby St, still a Mecca for tourists sixty years on from the so-called ‘Swinging Sixties’. It’s now a rather dull shopping experience with relatively high prices for the same kind of stuff as almost every high street worldwide, including Puma sports shoes.

This afternoon it was a little livelier and noisier than usual, with the Inminds Islamic human rights group which generally includes both Palestinian and Jewish campaigners outside their store after 215 Palestinian sports clubs have asked Puma to respect human rights and end its sponsorship of the Israel Football Association which includes clubs from illegal settlements built on stolen Palestinian land. Inminds provide some loud and enchanting Palestinian music to enjoy as well as the speeches at their peaceful and well-organised protests, many of which I’ve photographed along with many others in London over human rights issues in this country and others around the world.

At a previous protest outside this store, protesters were physically attacked by a small group of Zionists, but this time I saw just one man who came and screamed abuse for a minute or two, while many other people stopped to talk, read the banners and take leaflets, shocked by the facts they displayed. There is little coverage in the mass media but the campaigners say the Israeli government on average imprisons two Palestinian children every day, kills one every 60 hours and destroys one Palestinian home every nine hours.

COVID-19 has dominated our news for months, and recently the media are full of reports of our governments failures to set up effective testing and tracing and possible new restrictions on us. But the issues these protests a year ago remain vital. And unless we take urgent action to cut our impact on the environment through climate change and environmental damage the consequences for human life will be disatrous, threatening us all. This year the Fridays For Future global climate action day is September 25.

You can see more pictures from the various protests on the day last year on My London Diary:
Carnaby St Puma Boycott
Global Climate Strike Protest continues
Elephant & Brixton Global Climate Strike
Global Climate Strike Rally


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.


Brixton Feb 1987

Monday, August 3rd, 2020
Celestial Church of Christ, Coldharbour Lane, Loughborough Junction, Lambeth, 1987 87-2p-11-positive_2400
Celestial Church of Christ, Coldharbour Lane, Brixton, Lambeth, 1987

Friends and others I showed pictures to at the time or talked about my work with often expressed surprise at some of the areas of London I went to when taking photographs. They saw places like Brixton as crime-ridden and dangerous and wondered that I felt safe, particularly as I was walking around the streets carrying a bag with expensive equipment worth thousands of pounds on my shoulder.

Beds, Coldharbour Lane, Loughborough Junction, Lambeth, 1987 87-2p-23-positive_2400
Beds, Coldharbour Lane, Loughborough Junction, Brixton, Lambeth, 1987

I did think a little about it myself and even once attended a training session – the only man in a group of women – about keeping safe on city streets. But the only times I ever really felt threatened were not in the kind of areas that some reacted with horror to, but in lonelier parts of the plusher suburbs.

Furniture, Coldharbour Lane, Loughborough Junction, Lambeth, 1987 87-2p-25-positive_2400
Furniture, Coldharbour Lane, Loughborough Junction, Brixton Lambeth, 1987

I felt more at home in the many working-class areas of London than in the West End or City, and certainly dressed in a way that fitted in more there. I tried hard to be aware of my surroundings and not to behave in ways that drew attention to myself. And I think I was reasonably street-wise, keeping calm and confident, looking as if I knew what I was doing and where I was going and being aware of others. There were a few times when I decided against going down a particular street or alley, or crossed the street to avoid possible trouble. Because I needed the light I always worked during the day time, when all areas are safer.

White goods, Coldharbour Lane, Loughborough Junction, Lambeth, 1987 87-2p-36-positive_2400
White goods, Coldharbour Lane, Loughborough Junction, Brixton, Lambeth, 1987

Of course taking photographs does make you stand out, but mostly people just ignored me. A few would stop and talk, and I tried to explain why I was taking a picture, though I think they mostly thought I was mad but harmless. Some people thought I must be from the council – or the newspapers, and occasionally people – particularly children – would insist I took there picture. Of course I did.

Flats, Coldharbour Lane, Brixton, Lambeth, 1987 87-2p-41-positive_2400
Flats, Coldharbour Lane, Brixton, Lambeth, 1987
Burroughs, Coldharbour Lane, Brixton, Lambeth, 1987 87-2p-64-positive_2400
Burroughs, Coldharbour Lane, Brixton, Lambeth, 1987

‘Burroughs’ closed as an Eel and Pie shop in the 1990s, but remains as a restaurant. Its shop-front had been replaced by something flat and bland but was recreated a few years ago, and it now serves Japanese soul food rather than cockney.

There are a few more pictures from this area in February 1987 in the album 1987 London Photos.

Brixton Feb 1987

Wednesday, July 29th, 2020
Shops, Electric Ave, Brixton, Lambeth, 1987 87-2o-46-positive_2400
Shops, Electric Ave, Brixton, Lambeth, 1987

I visited Brixton fairly often in the 1980s and 1990s as it was one of the places you could buy cheap photographic paper, often outdated or cut up from larger sheets and re-packaged and sold by A.W.Young Photographic in Altantic Rd. Mostly I used this to make contact sheets of my black and white films, though at various times I also made small, often postcard-size enlargements of the more promising negatives as ‘file prints’, from which I would then make a choice to make as exhibition quality prints, usually on considerably more expensive papers.

Sanders, Jeweller, Brixton Rd, Brixton, Lambeth, 1987 87-2o-44-positive_2400
Sanders, Jeweller, Brixton Rd, Brixton, Lambeth, 1987

Cheap papers weren’t always poor quality. When Agfa stopped importing Portriga Rapid to the UK, remaining stocks went to the bargain dealers, and a similar situation happened with some papers from Kodak and Ilford, and some of my best prints were made on these.

Effra Rd, Brixton, Lambeth, 1987 87-2o-36-positive_2400
Effra Rd, Brixton, Lambeth, 1987

I’d begun attending events and workshops at the Photo Co-op in Battersea more or less as soon as it opened its Webb’s Road premises in 1984. It was an easy journey for me, just a short walk from Clapham Junction, and although I was pleased they got more funding in 1991, the move to Brixton as Photofusion almost doubled my journey time. But it did mean more frequent trips to Brixton in the 1990s, particularly as I began to put black and white photographs into the Photofusion Picture Library.

Mural, Coldharbour Lane, Brixton, Lambeth, 1987 87-2o-35-positive_2400
Mural, Coldharbour Lane, Brixton, Lambeth, 1987

More recently most of my visits to Brixton have been to photograph protest marches and rallies; at Brixton Police station, Lambeth Town Hall, in Windrush Square and around the area. Brixton has changed and lost a little of its character to gentrification, but remains a vibrant area.

Brixton Village, Brixton, Lambeth, 1987 87-2o-34-positive_2400
Brixton Village, Brixton, Lambeth, 1987
Tate Library, Brixton Oval, Brixton, Lambeth, 1987 87-2o-26-positive_2400
Tate Library, Brixton Oval, Brixton, Lambeth, 1987
Mural, Coldharbour Lane, Brixton, Lambeth, 1987 87-2o-15-positive_2400
Mural, Coldharbour Lane, Brixton, Lambeth, 1987

The pictures here were I think all taken on the same day, most likely before a visit to pick up some photo paper, and you can see a few more from that visit to Brixton in the Flickr album ‘1987 London Photos‘ . I also took around a dozen colour images, and some of these are in the album TQ31 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.


Brixton TQ31

Sunday, June 14th, 2020
Van, Rushcroft Rd, Brixton, 1987 TQ3175-001

There must be a reason for this van, parked at the junction of Rushcroft Rd and Vining St behind the large Foodstation building to have a horse on its cab roof, and I’d love someone to enlighten me. I think this is a classic Citroen H van, which were often adapted for use as catering or camping vans, and some are still in use and sell for high prices. There was even a special horse-box version.

Fishmongers, Shop, Atlantic Rd, Brixton, 1987 TQ3175-004

The much-loved fishmonger in the railway arches, one of a number of businesses recently lost to the relentless gentrification of Brixton, despite a long and hard-fought campaign.

Sculpture, Flats, Barrington Rd, Brixton, 1989 TQ3175-014

This sculpture and the mosaic panels were on Kemble House in Barrington Rd, and the pillar still has the mosaic, though the sculpture is long gone. I think both were added to the building in the mid-80s by Freeform Arts. The Loughborough estate was built by the LCC from 1954-70 to the designs of their architects department under Sir Leslie Martin, and provided 1,031 dwellings, including maisonettes in nine 11-storey blocks such as Kemble House. Since 1995 the estate has been run by the Loughbourough Estate Management Board.

Coldharbour Lane, Loughborough Junction, Brixton, 1989 TQ3175-018

An alley between shops on Coldharbour Lane still leads the Celestial Church of Christ at Loughborough Junction, and that strange post is still there in the middle of the pavement. The church “came into the world from heaven by DIVINE ORDER on the 29th of September 1947 in Porto Novo, Republic of Benin through the founder of the Church, the Late Reverend, Pastor, Prophet, Founder Samuel Bilehou Joseph Oshoffa. The Church is well known with Parishes, Dioceses all over the world with its International Headquarters in Nigeria.” More here.

Graffiti, Stockwell Ave, Brixton, 1989 TQ3175-026

I think this graffiti on Stockwell Avenue was on the side wall of 8 Bellefields Rd though it has long disappeared. A number of more official-looking murals had been painted in the area at the time, and one is still present on the facing wall, but this seemed to me to be more ‘Brixton’. The mural opposite was painted in 1987 by Sonia Martin of London Wall Public Art after consultations with local residents and was one of a series of Brixton murals painted after the 1981 Brixton riots with funding from Lambeth Council and the GLC.

More pictures from Brixton in TQ31 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.


Norwood to Brixton: TQ31

Saturday, June 13th, 2020
House, Norwood Grove, Norwood,  1991 TQ3170-001

My pictures from TQ31, a 1km wide strip of London begin at Norwood Grove with a picture of the ‘White House’ there, a fine building dating from the early 19th century on the edge of Croydon. It’s a total mystery to me what I was doing there in 1991, but I did photograph this house again in 1996 but on a dull, overcast day. Possibly I was on a family walk and we had gone to look at its gardens which are listed with the house.

Barber, Norwood Rd, Tulse Hill, 1991 TQ3172-003

Hairdressers are a good example of businesses that can be set up with relatively little capital expenditure, and are often quite individual in the furnishing of their shops and window displays. I don’t think there are any real chains or franchises in the trade, either for barbers, unisex or ladies salons. And given the nature of the business the windows often include representations of heads – drawn and photographed (as in this case) or even three-dimensional, making them of great interest to me. Something that the differential fading of the colour image at the right only added to.

Tailor, Dulwich Rd, Herne Hill, 1991, Lambeth Tailor, Dulwich Rd, Herne Hill, 1991 TQ3174-020

It was definitely the colour that attracted me to this cafe on the Dulwich Rd at Herne Hill, set off by the white porcelain ashtray. Getting the colour right in the darkroom (it wasn’t on the enprint) proved a little difficult, but the ashtray and the CocaCola box were good reference points and this was one of the pictures I exhibited in the 1990s

Repairs, Railton Rd, Brixton, 1991 TQ3174-005

Brixton was a place I loved to visit for its colour and vibrancy. Back in the early days I went there quite frequently to buy cheap outdated photographic paper from A.W.Young Photographic in Altantic Rd. Later I used to go to Photofusion in Electric Lane to go to exhibition openings and take in pictures for their photo-library. This was Sherlock Electrical Repairs in Railton Rd, and they seemed to specialise in vacuum cleaners.

121 Centre, Railton Rd, Brixton, 1991 TQ3174-019

I bought some pamphlets and magazines from the 121 Centre in Railton Rd, on the corner of Chaucer Rd. It was a squatted anarchist social centre, and later in 1999 I went to at least one party in the street outside when it was threatened with eviction.

The centre had been squatted in 1973 by Olive Morris and became and anarchist social centre around the time of the 1981 Brixton riots, when Railton Rd was the “front line!, later gaining an international reputation for the groups and events it hosted. Set on fire by right-wing thugs in 1993, it recovered but was evicted by Lambeth Council in 1999 despite a determined and well-organised campaign of resistance. Property values in the area had risen dramatically and Lambeth who perhaps hadn’t been worried when Brixton property was almost worthless decided to take the property back.

More from Brixton in a later post. You can see these and other pictures in the Flickr album TQ31 London Cross-section. As I write there are still more pictures to add of TQ31 north of Stockwell.


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.


TQ30

Tuesday, June 2nd, 2020
Shop, Brixton Hill, Brixton, 1991TQ3074-001

Back in 1986 I began a serious attempt to photograph London. Serious but not entirely credible I set out the photograph the whole of the city. Of course I never thought I could photograph everything, but set out a number of principles or themes that would govern my project, or rather a series of projects that I continued to work on for the next ten or 15 years.

Streatham High Rd, 1990 TQ3071-002

The larger part of this work was in black and white, and concentrated on buildings and streets, the physical infrastructure of London, with the goal of photographing every built structure I thought significant, as well as representatives of the typical across the city. You can see a little of this on Flickr in the album 1986 London Photographs, which contains over 1300 photographs, perhaps a third of those I took in the first six or seven months of the project.

Heads & Dummy, Shop,Streatham High Rd, Streatham, 1990TQ3072-010

In colour I was largely concerned with a more intimate level, or how individuals arranged their surroundings and how this reflected their differing social and cultural values. Some of the more obvious reflections of this came in small businesses with the face they displayed toward the public, particularly in shop windows and interiors, which feature strongly in this work.

Bedford Rd, Clapham, 1992 TQ3075-025

The previous year I had abandoned colour transparency and moved to working with colour negative film which provided much greater flexibility. For some years this was entirely trade-processed, and to cut costs (I had a young family to support) I used cheap processing companies aimed for the amateur market. Technically these were rather variable (even from the same company) and the prints I received back, usually 6×4″ ‘enprints’, were extremely variable in quality.

Shop, South Lambeth Rd, South Lambeth, 1989 TQ3077-005

As the stack of fat envelopes containing the negative strips and prints grew I wondered how to make some order of them, and came up with the idea of a traverse of the city with pictures filed together representing a number of ‘vertical’ north-south 1km wide strips of London based around the National Grid.

Cafe, Plato Rd, Brixton, 1989 TQ3077-009

Prints from negatives that interested me were then filed in a series of A4 files, labelled with the first 4 digits of the six figure grid reference which I had begun to mark on the prints. The pictures in this post are all from ‘TQ30’, and the 1km wide strip starts at Streatham and goes north from there. I started scrap book style, pasting the prints onto cartridge paper, but soon moved to using plastic file pages which held four prints on each side, arranging the prints roughly in order of their ‘northings’ in kilometre squares.

From these albums – a longish row of A4 files on my shelves – I was able to select images that were worth printing larger, keeping costs down by printing and processing in my own home darkroom. I’d discovered that Fuji colour paper not only gave cleaner looking prints but enabled the kind of dodging and burning that I’d become used to in black and white without the unwelcome colour shifts of other papers. I’ve had one set of prints from a show in the mid-80s framed on the wall beside the stairs since that show. They are out of direct sun and 35 years later show little of no sign of fading.

Bicycle, Shop, Kennington Lane, Vauxhall, 1989 TQ3078-005

I began putting images from this project on Flickr several months ago, and at the start tried to replicate the layout of the albums – and the vagaries of the prints in terms of colour balance, exposure, saturation etc. Having done several 1km strips like this I’ve decided it doesn’t really work to well, and although I’m still scanning the prints in their sheets of four have separated them into individual images – still roughly in the same order – for TQ30. And while some of the defects of those trade-processed prints are still evident (and occasionally rather a lot of dust on the plastic sleeves) I’ve tried to improve the colour balance etc where necessary. But they are still showing enprints enlarged on screen and this makes some problems more visible.

So far I’ve put just over 100 prints into the album TQ30, from Streatham to Westminster, with another 250 or more to follow, taking the ‘slice’ north to Hornsey. You can view them on Flickr.


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.


Elephant & Brixton Global Climate Strike

Saturday, February 22nd, 2020

Groups were meeting around London on Earth Day to take part in the Global Climate Strike, and I went to two of them which I could travel to reasonably quickly by tube.

People were gathering outside the London College of Communication, part of the University of the Arts London, where a group had obviously been busy making Climate Strike posters.

A group left to march to Southwark Council offices on Tooley St to join up with workers there and were then planning to go on to join protesters in Westminster. I left the marchers as they went past the tube station to make my way to a rally in Windrush Square, Brixton.

Teachers had brought pupils and parents to a rally in Windrush Square and I arrived in time for the last quarter hour of so, including a short address by one of the local MPs as well as by some of the children and others.

I left as the rally ended and the organisers began to get everyone ready to take the tube to Westminster and join the protests there, making my own way to central London ahead of them.

More pictures at Elephant & Brixton Global Climate Strike.


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.


Brixton march against government racism

Tuesday, February 18th, 2020

Brixton in south London has a special place in the history of our country, as it was in this area that the first wave of post-war Black migrants found homes and jobs, with those who had arrived on the Empire Windrush being given temporary accomodation a short distance away in an underground bunker on Clapham Common.

Brixton had the nearest government Labour Exchange where they went in search of jobs, and many found them in local businesses and found cheap lodgings in the area, and in time brought their families to the area. Soon this working class area of London was developing the more vibrant and colourful culture that now, together with its location close to central London and good transport links makes it a prime target for gentrification.

Brixton has also been a flashpoint for social unrest, with riots (or uprisings) in 1981, 1985 and 1991 after heavy-handed and racist policing as well as in the London riots of 2011. The 1981 riots came at a time of high unemployment, particularly among the local African-Caribbean community who felt under attack by excessive policing and also by lurid press stereotyping of them, their culture and the area.

I began going to Brixton regularly in 1991, when a photography collective I had links with moved from near Clapham Junction in Battersea to the heart of the area on the edge of Brixton market and reconstituted itself as Photofusion. For years I went to most of their exhibition openings as well as visiting to take prints in to their picture library, which was then an important source for images of British social life. Photofusion is now in new premises but just a short distance away, though I think all the people I knew there are gone and it’s a year or two since I last visited the gallery.

But I have continued going to Brixton, mainly to photograph protests and events, particularly at Windrush Square, outside Lambeth Town Hall and at Brixton Police Station. And on September 14th I found myself again in Brixton, beginning at Windrush Square. This is a rather bleak and windswept area in front of the Ritzy Cinema, the Tate Library and the Black Cultural Archives, with a busy road along its west edge, ‘landscaped‘ a few years back by Lambeth Council apparently with the aim of making it a less attractive place for people to gather.

Here’s what I wrote about the protest on My London Diary:

Movement for Justice and Lambeth Unison Black Workers’ Group protest in Brixton against the continuing persecution of Windrush family members and other migrants, calling for freedom of movement, the closure of immigration detention prisons, and an end to Brexit which is being used to whip up immigrant-bashing and nationalism to establish a Trump-style regime in Britain under Boris Johnson.

After speeches in Windrush Square they moved to Brixton Market where wide support was shown by the public for speeches. Before they left Green MEP for London Scott Ainslie spoke about his LDNlovesEU campaign. They then marched up to Atlantic Road and back along the main street, Brixton Road for a final short rally in Windrush Square.

More pictures at Brixton anti-racist march.


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.


London life

Tuesday, February 11th, 2020

Possibly the only real weather pictures I took in 2019 were a couple during a short but torrential downpour in central London. I was travelling between protests and had stopped to change buses, and was fortunately standing under a bus shelter when what had been the occasional drop of rain suddenly went rogue. When a woman walked past under a pink umbrella I saw there was a picture and manged a couple of frames with a short telephoto before she walked out of frame and, more or less at the same time my bus arrived.

By the time the bus had gone along most of the Strand the rain had stopped and the pavements were beginning to dry. I looked down from the top deck of the bus and saw this group of three men sheltering in front of a print shop with bedding and belongings beside them. It’s a sight that is unfortunately far too common in London now, though virtually unknown in my younger days when I started taking pictures.

Under both New Labour, Tory Lib-Dem coalition and Tory governments we have seen increasing inequalities and a change in government policies, increasingly moving away from an attitude of care for the welfare of the poorest and towards a criminalisation of poverty, with councils bringing in bylaws that regard people living on the streets simply as an incovenient eyesore, fining people who feed those on the streets and also those sleeping rough. We used to say that Britain was a Christian country, but it’s hard to see that in practice now.

I was in Brixton for a protest against the continuing persecution of Windrush family members and other migrants and the increasing levels of hate crime encouraged by government policies and actions. Places like this are suffering from the Home Office’s ‘hostile environment’ and immigration removal squads. But I’m always impressed by the colour and vibrancy of the place – and so are all those wealthy young people who are moving in and leading its gentrification.

One of those things that you obviously see when travelling by bus – at least if you have the energy to climb the stairs to the upper deck of London’s many double-deckers is the roofs of the cars. I’m always rather disappointed if the bus I’m taking turns out only to be a single decker, as the views from the top deck are so much more interesting.

This month the various traffic jams around Trafalgar Square gave me plenty of time to contemplate the reflections in car roofs and to photogrpah a few of them. It’s rather tricky angling the camera down at an angle and often the glass is too dirty to make it worthwhile; reflections also often spoil the images, though I use my arms and coat to try to cut them out. I do have the solution to this in a giant floppy lens hood, but that sits protecting a little dust on my desk at home whenever I need it.

The line of hexagons at the bottom of this image rather adds to it, and is on the window of the bus. I think this is the full frame as I made the picture and would perhaps benefit from a slight crop at top and right. Although the sun was out, you can see a sky pretty full of clouds reflected in the roof.

See more pictures from my September travels around London on My London Diary at London Images .


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.


Afrikans demand reparations

Monday, January 6th, 2020

Time for a little more colour on >Re:PHOTO, and looking back to warmer and sunnier weather at the start of August last year.

The Afrikan Emancipation Day Reparations March has been an annual event in London http://mylondondiary.co.uk/2014/08/aug.htm#rastafari since 2014, which was the centenary of the foundation by Marcus Garvey of the Universal Negro Improvement Association in Jamaica. Garvey had spent the previous two years working as a journalist and studying in London and founded the UNIA as as a means of uniting all of Africa and its diaspora into “one grand racial hierarchy.” The organisers of that first march intended it as a one-off event, but others took over insisting it should be annual. This was the first time I’d managed to cover it since 2014.

Garvey chose the date as 1 August 1834 was Emancipation day, following the Slavery Abolition Act 1833, when slavery was ended in the British Empire. Claims for reparations for descendants of those enslaved by the Atlantic Slave Trade came to the fore in 1999 when the African World Reparations and Repatriation Truth Commission called for a payment of $777 trillion to Africa within 5 years, and in 2004 a case was brought and lost against Lloyds of London and Jamaican Rastafarians made a claim for £72,5bn for Europe to resettle of 500,000 Jamaicans back in Africa which was rejected. Other claims have been lodged on behalf of Guyana, Antigua, Barbuda and Barbados.

I felt a little apprehensive at photographing this event, and just a few people have shown a little hostility towards me, though many more have been welcoming. Anyone who has grown up white in the UK has obviously benefited from the historic proceeds of slavery (as so do those of any other origin living here) but I’m fairly sure that my ancestors were not among those carrying out and profiting from the trade. They will have been being exploited by that same class that was enslaving Africans; some thrown off their lands by the Highland Clearances to make way for sheep. Others will I think have been at the heart of the emancipation movement. They will have received nothing of the huge financial compensation that was paid to the enslaving class, which created a debt which members of the British public were paying off through taxation until 2015.

This year the march was divided into 9 blocs, although in practice there was a great deal of overlap. One of these was the Ubuntu – Non-Afrikan Allies Bloc which included Extinction Rebellion XR Connecting Communities.

While I think there is a firm moral case for reparations, I think the demands are unlikely to impress European or American governments, certainly not on the scale being claimed. And I wonder if the demand actually deflects from a more important need for decolonisation of Africa and the Caribbean as well as other areas of the majority world, reclaiming national assets from the various multi-nationals that are now continuing the exploitation of the continent.

I left the march as it made its way through Brixton towards Parliament where there was to be another protest rally in Parliament Square.

Afrikans demand reparations


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.