Posts Tagged ‘Brunel’

Kick Boris out of Uxbridge – 2019

Thursday, November 16th, 2023

Kick Boris out of Uxbridge – When Boris Johnson was coming to the end of his wrecking spell as Mayor of London he decided he wanted to confer the same benefit on the country and the first step in that was to become an MP again. So in the 2015 election he was elected as the member for Uxbridge and South Ruislip, a safe Tory seat on the edge of West London.

Anarchists came to join the FCKBoris protest on Saturday 16th November 2019

He got roughly the same percentage of votes – just over 50% – there in 2017, but the Labour candidate managed to cut his majority considerably, and there were hopes in 2019 that this trend might continue. Unfortunately it didn’t and Johnson increased his percentage of the vote by 1.8% while the Labour vote went down by a little more.

Kick Boris out of Uxbridge

After Johnson’s resignation the by election there in 2023 was a close run thing, with the Tory vote down 7.5% and Labour’s up by 5.6% and the Tory candidate just scraping in with a majority of 495. Most commentators saw the result as being caused by the unpopularity of London Mayor Sadiq Khan’s ULEZ low emission zone extension which was to include the area later in the year overcoming the incredible unpopularity of the Tory government.

Kick Boris out of Uxbridge

But in 2019, many felt Labour had a chance in what had for many years been a safe Tory seat with a solid blue vote of around 50%. And among them were a group who called themselves FCKBoris who came to campaign there against him on Saturday 16th November 2019.

Kick Boris out of Uxbridge

I went there to photograph them and others went to protest with them. Uxbridge is only around 7 miles from where I live, but it isn’t a place I often visit, not least because public transport on the edges of London isn’t too hot. There are no direct links and my fastest route is on a bicycle. But I was feeling lazy and instead took three buses, with waits at each change. Two years later we now have a sightly faster service, at least in theory.

Arriving in Uxbridge I came across a fairly small group of people wearing orange woolly hats and handing out fliers with the message ‘Boris Doesn’t Want You to Vote…’ and telling people who were not registered how to get themselves on the electoral roll.

A few of London’s anarchists had travelled out from London to join them, bringing posters encouraging people not to vote but instead to revolt and some with photographs of the Bullingdon Club and the message ‘FUCK OFF BACK TO ETON’ – Johnson’s old school only a few miles away.

There were just a few other placards and banners, and also an open-top bus wth a large banner with the message #KICKBORISOUT from which a hefty sound system pumped out a rhythm that kept many of the campaigners dancing both on the street and on the top of the bus where I joined them briefly.

But the effectiveness of the bus was greatly reduced by the pedestrianisation of much of the town centre with an impenetrable one-way system and soon a police officer came along to tell the driver very politely that he couldn’t park where he was. And soon the bus and protesters set off slowly to march to Brunel University, accompanied by a handful of police.

And it was perhaps the university and its students which was the main focus of the campaign with the message directed more at them. Although students can register to vote both at home and where they live during the universtiy term, relativley few generally bother to do so. So much of the messages of this protest were aime at them, though there were some posters which might have had a more general appeal, such as one describing Johnson as “UNFAITHFUL, LIAR, SELF-SERVING, WIFE BEATER? DRUNK?” and saying ‘Don’t trust Boris Johnson. Don’t give him your vote‘.

They were joined at Brunel by a few more protesters with posters including one wearing a rainbow flag and carrying a ‘Queers Against Boris’ poster and with FUCK BORIS written on her forehead,

But otherwise once on the campus it seemed pretty deserted and people didn’t know what to do. Finally they formed up again behind the bus which drove off back towards the centre of the town. But I decided I’d walked enough and sat down at a bus stop for a long wait for a bus to Heathrow where I could wait again for a bus home.

Probably the campaign had very little influence on the result of the election on 12th December, where the Tory campaign was almost entirely on their promise to “Get Brexit Done”. Johnson’s majority here was 7,210 and he went on to make the worst of all possible deals we are now suffering from, largely because of a Tory conviction that bluster and intransigence is the best form of negotiation.

More at Kick Boris out of Uxbridge.

Sudbury to Brentford – 31st December 2016

Saturday, December 31st, 2022

Sudbury to Brentford

Six years ago on New Year’s Eve we walked with a couple of family members from Sudbury to Brentford. This year because of rail and health problems none of our family are staying with us and “South Western Railway services between 18 December and 8 January are subject to change and may not operate”, so if the weather is fine we will probably do a rather shorter walk from home.

Sudbury to Brentford

The trip in 2016 to Sudbury Hill station was reasonably fast; a short train journey then a bus and a couple of short hops on the Piccadilly line got us there in a little under an hour and a half, and within a few minutes we were walking along suburban streets to Horsenden Wood, where we walked to the top of the hill.

Sudbury to Brentford

Unfortunately it was a dull and damp day, and we could only see the extensive views this part of the walk would have given us had the air been clear dully through the murk, but the path up through the wood was enhanced by the slight mist. We walked down the hill to cross the Grand Union Canal.

Soon we reached the highpoint of the walk for some of us, the 1930s trading estate leading to the Art Deco Tesco on Western Avenue, designed by Wallis, Gilbert and Partners and built in 1933 for Hoover, along with the 1930s moderne canteen, now an Asian restaurant. We chose the Tesco both for a tiny bit of shopping and the toilets, then walked west to the footbridge to cross the busy road.

Almost immediately on the path the other side of Western Avenue we came to St Mary the Virgin Perivale, now used for concerts, with just an occasional service.

This Grade I listed redundant church dates in part from the 13th century and was the smallest church in Middlesex (outside London.) We explored its graveyard and sat down on a rather damp seat there to eat our sandwiches in what was either heavy drizzle or light rain.

The next section of the walk took us beside the River Brent, another of London’s minor rivers and like the rest of our walk going to Brentford, though we had to make some deviations to follow roads and footpaths. This was a relatively quiet and sometimes boring section of the walk, though its always good to walk beside the river, and there was a rather dumpy viaduct for a doomed railway, a council estate and a long foot path to a Cuckoo Lane where no cuckoos were to be heard except for our ludicrous imitations.

Things got more interesting again when we reached Hanworth Church, and early work of George Gilbert Scott who later called it ‘a mass of horrors’ and Brent Lodge Park, where I ignored the pleas of some of my cfo-walkers and led us firmly away from a tea-room – we were already and hour or so behind schedule if we were to finish the walk during daylight.

Brunel really knew how to build a viaduct, and here was the first major engineering work on the new Great Western Railway in 1836-7, with 8 semi-elliptical arches each of 70 ft span and rising 19 ft supported on hollow brick piers – the first time these were used in a railway viaduct. 886 ft long, the height to the parapet is 81 ft, and when built it was 30 ft wide to carry two broad gauge lines. Later it was widened to 55ft with a third pier added to each existing pair, and it could then take four standard gauge tracks, which were laid in 1892. We walked under this impressive structure beside the River Brent to the south side which is the earlier part and carries the arms of Lord Wharncliffe, chair of the committee that gave permission for the GWR.

We continued by the Brent to join the Grand Union Canal, another earlier great engineering acheivement along with the rest of the canal system, at the Hanwell flight of locks. Our route now ran along the towpath, so navigation was simple, all the way to the Great West Road.

There was still just enough light to take a few photographs, but my companions were flagging and our walk was getting slower and slower.

By the time we reached the road for the short walk to Brentford Station it was truly dark and they had slowed to a snails pace, and despite my urging them to catch the next train we arrived there to see it just departing, for once dead on time, though we were an hour and a minute later then planned. It had been a good walk but would have been better without the 29 minutes wait there for the next train.

You can see many more pictures from the walk on My London Diary at New Years Eve Walk.

Westferry Station, Brunel and Bow Common

Wednesday, February 2nd, 2022

Westferry Station, Brunel and Bow Common, July 1988

Westferry Rd, , from Westferry Station, Limehouse, Tower Hamlets, 1988 88-7q-23-positive_2400
Westferry Rd, , from Westferry Station, Limehouse, Tower Hamlets, 1988 88-7q-23

My previous walk came to an end close to Westferry Station, from where I took the Docklands Light Railway to make my way home, but before the train came I made several views from the west-bound platform. The DLR runs through Limehouse on the old viaduct first planned in 1835 by the Commercial Railway Company to take the railway from the City to the West India and East India Docks. The viaduct was a cheap way to take the railway through the built-up area, and won out against a rival scheme involving cuttings. The two companies merged to build the London and Blackwall Railway in 1838-40, though it was later widened.

It was the world’s second elevated railway, opening shortly after the London and Greenwich on the other side of the Thames. The 20 ft high viaduct now gives good views of the surrounding area both from the trains and from the stations. At the left of this view you can see the rear of the West India Dock warehouses on Hertsmere Road, and at right the low structures, now replaced, of Heron Quays.

Isle of Dogs, River Thames, from Westferry Station, Limehouse, Tower Hamlets, 1988 88-7q-25-positive_2400
Isle of Dogs, River Thames, from Westferry Station, Limehouse, Tower Hamlets, 1988 88-7q-25

Turning a little the view from the southern platform shows Westferry Road and the River Thames, with in the distance a view of two of the Barkantine Estate towers at left, closer to the centre a side view of the Cascades Tower and towards the right two towers on the Pepys Estate in Deptford and more distant blocks.

Isambard Kingdom Brunel, statue, Temple Place, Victoria Embankment, Westminster, 1988 88-7q-11-positive_2400
Isambard Kingdom Brunel, statue, Temple Place, Victoria Embankment, Westminster, 1988 88-7q-11

A couple of days later I returned to the area, stopping off in central London on my way and taking a picture of the statue of Isambard Kingdom Brunel by Carlo Marochetti, (1805-1867). The statue was commissioned in 1861 by the Institute of Civil Engineers but was only installed here in 1874 on a Portland stone pedestal by Richard Norman Shaw (1831-1912). Its inscription reads ISAMBARD KINGDOM BRUNEL/ CIVIL ENGINEER/ BORN 1806 DIED 1859″.

The ICE had hoped to install this statue together with that of two other prominent engineers, Robert Stephenson and Joseph Locke who had died within a few months of Brunel, in Parliament Square, close to their offices at 1 Great George St. Permission was initially granted, but then withdrawn when the Office of Works decided only politicians should have statues in Parliament Square. Brunel’s was erected on Temple Place, Stephenson’s outside Euston Station and poor Locke’s was sent to Barnsley, where he had grown up.

Lazdan, Builders Merchants, Bow Common Lane, Bow, Tower Hamlets  88-7q-12-positive_2400
Lazdan, Builders Merchants, Bow Common Lane, Bow, Tower Hamlets 88-7q-12

281 Bow Common Lane was until recently Lazan Builders Merchants but they have now moved to Sebert Road, Forest Gate. The house had a facelift in 2020.

Bow Common Lane, Bow, Tower Hamlets  88-7q-14-positive_2400
Bow Common Lane, Bow, Tower Hamlets 88-7q-14

I think this is somewhere in the Joseph St area, but new building makes it hard to identify the exact position.

S P Brown, Builders Merchants, Lockhart St, Bow, Tower Hamlets, 1988 88-7r-01-positive_2400
S P Brown, Builders Merchants, Lockhart St, Bow, Tower Hamlets, 1988 88-7r-01

This house, 31 Lockhart St, is still there at the corner of Lockhart St and Ropery St, but the large gate now has letter boxes for 33,35 and 37 and the lettering has gone.

Cantrell Rd, Bow Common, Tower Hamlets, 1988 88-7r-46-positive_2400
Cantrell Rd, Bow Common, Tower Hamlets, 1988 88-7r-46

Bow Common Gas works were to the west of Knapp Road, the continuation of Cantrell Road south of the railway line which runs across the center of the image. The gasworks were built here in 1850 and at one time there were seven gasholders. Most of the site was demolished in 1982 and the last two gasholders shown here in 2016-7.

The scrapyard is now the Scrapyard Meadow, part of Tower Hamlets Cemetery Park.

Cantrell Rd, Bow Common, Tower Hamlets, 1988 88-7r-34-positive_2400
Cantrell Rd, Bow Common, Tower Hamlets, 1988 88-7r-34

The tower block between the gasholders is Sleaford House on Fern St, 19 storeys and 183ft tall, part of the Lincoln Estate completed in 1964.

This walk will continue in a later post.

Clicking on any of the pictures will take you to a larger version in my album 1988 London Photos from where you can browse the album.