Posts Tagged ‘Cadogan Square’

Land Justice, Hizb Ut-Tahrir & Grenfell

Thursday, April 14th, 2022

Land Justice, Hizb Ut-Tahrir & Grenfell.
Protests in London on 14th April 2018 calling for Land Justice, against Turkey’s support of Assad in Syria and ten months after the Grenfell fire.

The Landlords’ Game – Mayfair, Belgravia & Brompton

Land Justice, Hizb Ut-Tahrir & Grenfell

I photographed a tour of London’s wealthiest areas led by the Land Justice Network which reminded us that land ownership in Britain is one of the most unequal in the world, both in rural areas and in cities.

Land Justice, Hizb Ut-Tahrir & Grenfell

This unequal ownership of land is the basis of our class system and the aggregation of wealth and inequality that have led to our present crisis levels of homelessness and degradation. Largely beginning with the Norman conquest, the battles over land have continued over the centuries, with the enclosure of common land and the current redevelopment of public land, particularly council estates, as private housing for the wealthy.

Land Justice, Hizb Ut-Tahrir & Grenfell

The tour began in Mayfair, where the land is largely owned by the Duke of Westminster, along with much more of the London borough, although the family’s Grosvenor Group Limited has diversified and according to Wikipedia also owns properties in other parts of Britain and Ireland, Canada, the United States, Australia, the Asia Pacific region and parts of Europe.

Land Justice, Hizb Ut-Tahrir & Grenfell
British Virgin Islands is an offshore tax haven where 23,000 properties in England and Wales are registered as a tax scam

From a rally at its meeting point in Brown Hart Gardens where there were songs and speeches by the Land Justice Network, the Landworkers Alliance, the tour including activists from Class War and the Revolutionary Communist Group marched to Grosvenor Square where we listed to a surprisingly lucid account of the anti-Vietnam war protest there on 27th October 1968. I think I was there too, but other than a vague recollection of wildly charging police horses and panic can remember little – and in those days I didn’t even have a camera that worked.

We moved off, stopping briefly at a house known to have been left empty for around 15 years, one of many such empty properties in a city with a huge housing shortage to call for councils to be able to levy truly punitive council tax or requisition long-term empty properties.

A short distance along the road we stopped at ‘Grouse House’ owned by Odey Asset Management whose owner Crispin Odey formed ‘You Forgot the Birds’ to oppose RSPB who want to stop the killing of birds for what is wrongly called sport.

There was a speech by Private Eye journalist Richard Brooks who with his colleague Christian Eriksson set about untangling the great offshore corporate web that covers the country – and you can download his report Tax Havens – Selling England By The Offshore Pound from the Private Eye web site.

Kat from the RCG (Revolutionary Communist Group) also spoke, reminding us that the CIty of London is a huge3 tax haven and the money laundering capital of the world.

The tour continue to Park Lane, where there was a short protest outside estate agent Foxtons which sells and rents some of the most expensive property in London, and Class War were prominent in pointing out that both the Tory government and the Labour local authorities have relied on estate agents to direct their housing strategies.

The tour stopped again on Park Lane outside the Grosvenor House Hotel, the venue for the notorious annual Property Developers Awards before crossing into Hyde Park, open to the public since 1637, but where we were reminded of the battles to make many other parks public, and how now many have only been saved by the growth of groups of volunteer ‘Friends’. We also heard a plea for more free public toilets. Many were closed in the 1980s because of a ‘gay scare’ and others such as those at Hyde Park Corner now charge for use – 50p a visit here.

Across Knightsbridge we walked along one of the most expensive streets in Britain, Grosvenor Crescent to a statue of the first Marquess of Westminster on the corner of Belgrave Square, which has a plaque stating the family came here with William the Conqueror. He divided out the conquered land and many great estates date from then, though the Grosvenor Estate holdings in London came to them when 3rd Baronet Sir Thomas Grosvenor married Mary Davies, the heiress to the 500 acre Manor of Ebury in 1677. He was 21 at the time, but she was only 12. The estate, then largely swamps later became Mayfair, Park Lane and Belgravia.

A left the tour here for a few minutes to photograph the Hizb Ut-Tahrir protest outside the Turkish Embassy, but rejoined it later at the final rally in Cadogan Square, part of the 93 acres of the Cadogan Estate which includes the wealthiest parts of Kensington & Chelsea. Much of the money which enabled Sir Hans Sloane to buy the Manor of Chelsea came from African slave labour on sugar estates in Jamaica. His daughter Elizabeth Sloane married Charles Cadogan in 1712.

Hizb Ut-Tahrir protest against Turkey – Turkish Embassy, Belgrave Square

Land Justice, Hizb Ut-Tahrir & Grenfell

Hizb Ut-Tahrir Britain, Sunni Muslims who call for the restoration of the Muslim caliphate which whose armies conquered much of the Middle East in 632-661CE, were protesting against Turkish complicity in handing Syria back to Assad in accordance with colonial interests and calling for Muslims to support the brave people of Palestine who “are raising their voices to speak out and protest against the illegal occupation, as they are mercilessly killed by the Zionist regime.”

Women were strictly segregated from men at the protest and some stewards were unhappy for me to photograph them.

Their criticism of Turkey goes back to the 1922 abolition of the Ottoman state and the Turkish recognition of the Zionist occupation of Palestine in 1949, and they accuse President Erdogan of strengthening Turkish military and economic ties with Israel. They claim the Turkish state is a secular state “whose role is to protect the colonialist’s interests in our lands, defending and strengthening our enemies who murder us in Syria and Palestine” and call on “Muslims to join us to STAND, STRUGGLE AND SACRIFICE FOR PALESTINE.”

Grenfell – 10 months on – Kensington Town Hall

Land Justice, Hizb Ut-Tahrir & Grenfell

A large crowd was assembling at Kensington Town Hall for the monthly silent walk marking 10 months since the disaster. They hold Kensington and Chelsea Council responsible for the tragedy and for failing to deal effectively with is aftermath, with many survivors still not properly rehoused.

Five years later a public inquiry is still proceeding at a snail’s pace, and there have been no prosecutions of those responsible for approving and installing the highly dangerous cladding on the tower block, for cutting costs, for failing to install the cladding properly, for governments cutting out essential safety regulations which their friends in the building industry thought were ‘red tape’ hampering profits and it looks unlikely if there will ever be justice. Instead we have seen politicians trying to blame the residents for not leaving the building and almost entirely unjustified criticism of the fire service.

There were some speeches, poetry and music before the silent march began, and then a very noisy protest by bikers from the Ace Cafe including Muslim bikers Deen Riders and others taking part in a United Ride 4 Grenfell, from the Ace Cafe on the North Circular Rd, riding to Parliament and then coming to Kensington Town Hall.

The long silent walk towards Grenfell Tower began immediately after the bikers left, and I followed it for a short distance before turning away and leaving to make my way home.

More at:
Grenfell silent walk – 10 months on
Bikers for Grenfell
Hizb Ut-Tahrir protest against Turkey
The Landlords’ Game

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More Around Belgravia 1988

Saturday, June 26th, 2021

Flats, Ebury St, Belgravia, Westminster, 1988 88-3g-43-positive_2400
Flats, Ebury St, Belgravia, Westminster, 1988 88-3g-43

The Cundy Street flats, architect T P Bennett, were built as low cost housing by the Grosvenor Estate in 1950-52. As Pevsner points out, the blocks have curved balconies typical of the 1930s but with upright columns typical of the 1950s. I think this block is probably Stack House.

Flats, Cundy St, Belgravia, Westminster, 1988  88-3g-55-positive_2400
Flats, Cundy St, Belgravia, Westminster, 1988 88-3g-55

Cundy St gets its name from a family who were for several generations surveryor, builders and architects to the Grosvenor estate, probably from Thomas Cundy (see below). Planning permission has recently been granted for the demolition of Kylestrome House, Lochmore House, Laxford House, Stack House, Walden House and their replacement by a new estate which will include shops and a new playground. It will include affordable homes and care homes and assisted living for the over-65s but looks rather duller. The plans have upset some of the wealthier residents in surrounding areas because of a loss of light.

Coleshill Flats, Peabody Trust, Pimlico Rd,Belgravia, Westminster, 1988  88-3g-45-positive_2400
Coleshill Flats, Peabody Trust, Pimlico Rd,Belgravia, Westminster, 1988 88-3g-45

This Peabody estate close to Sloane Square is made up of two separate blocks, Lumley and Coleshill flats, which were constructed in the 1870s.

National Audit Office, Buckingham Palace Road, Belgravia, Westminster, 1988  88-3g-53-positive_2400
National Audit Office, Buckingham Palace Road, Belgravia, Westminster, 1988 88-3g-53

Built in 1938 as the Empire Air Terminal in a streamlined “moderne” style by architect Albert Lakeman with a sculpture of winged figures above a globe, Wings Over the World by Eric Broadbent. Passengers for Imperial Airways flights could check in here and be taken by special Pullman Trains from a platform on the adjacent Victoria Station to Southampton Water for flying boat services, while those for European destinations were ferried by coach to Croydon Airport. Unfortunately the terminal opened only three months before the war stopped private flights. Imperial Airways became a part of British Overseas Aiways Corportation (BOAC).

National Audit Office, Buckingham Palace Rd, Belgravia, Westminster, 1988 88-3h-55-positive_2400
National Audit Office, Buckingham Palace Rd, Belgravia, Westminster, 1988 88-3h-55

After the war, the building was reasonably placed for coaches along the A4 to Heathrow and was renamed the BOAC Terminal and later the British Airways Terminal. It closed in 1980, but had earlier been made largely redundant by the opening of the West London Air Terminal in a temporary building on the Cromwell Road in 1957, replace by a purpose built building in 1963. Check-ins there ended in 1974 and in 1980 both this and the British Airways Terminal were sold. This was listed in 1981 and became the home of the National Audit Office in 1983, though after extensive restoration in 2009, large parts are now rented out. The West London Air Terminal was demolished and the site became a Sainsbury’s supermarket.

Eaton Square, Belgravia, Westminster, 1988  88-3g-65-positive_2400
Eaton Square, Belgravia, Westminster, 1988 88-3g-65

66 Eaton Square is described in its Grade II listing test as a part of a grand terrace of houses from the mid 19th century, though I’ve chosen to turn away from most of its grander features and look away down the street and across Eaton Gate.

In 1821, Thomas Cundy became surveyor of the Grosvenor Estate and adapted earlier plans for the area before selling building leases from 1825, mainly to Thomas Cubitt (1788-1855). The ground was rather marshy, and Cubitt brought earth he was then digging out at St Katherine’s Dock to raise it. Work began on Eaton Square, named after the Duke of Westminster’s Cheshire Eaton Hall, in 1827, with the planting of the gardens, but it took longer to complete the houses around the square, though these, probably by Cubitt, were apparently completed by 1843. But the whole square was only finished by another builder in the 1850s.

Eaton Square is not a square, but a rather elongated rectangle around 500 metres long. Even including the mews behind the grand houses it is less than 200 m wide.

Cadogan Gate, Knightsbridge, Kensington & Chelsea, 1988 88-3h-22-positive_2400
Cadogan Gate, Knightsbridge, Kensington & Chelsea, 1988 88-3h-22

This house at 6 Cadogan Gate on the corner of Pavilion Rd stands out among the taller red-brick mansions and is more a continuation of the mews buildings in Pavilion Rd, but with a rather less usual architecture, with those circular ground floor windows, rather ecclesiastical tall oval-arched sash window on the first floor and its mansard roof. It probably dates from around 1879.

This is an address mentioned in the Panama Papers, the giant 2016 leak of more than 11.5 million financial and legal records exposing a system that enables crime, corruption and wrongdoing, hidden by secretive offshore companies, though of course the activities with which this address is connected could be entirely legal.

Cadogan Square, Knightsbridge, Kensington & Chelsea, 1988 88-3h-23-positive_2400
Cadogan Square, Knightsbridge, Kensington & Chelsea, 1988 88-3h-23

I think this is 59 Cadogan Square, where a large second floor flat was recently on offer for £7m. Cadogan Square is one of the most expensive residential streets in the United Kingdom, with all but around three houses converted into flats, and these houses are estimated to be worth £25m.

The large tall houses were built between 1877 and 1888 for the Cadogan Estate in Flemish inspired red brick which I find overpowering, but in the centre of the square there is a residents’ only garden where they can sit and, at least in summer the red-brick hell is largely hidden by trees.

More from my Flickr Album 1988 London Photos in later posts.

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.