Posts Tagged ‘cafe’

South of Bow Locks – the 1980s

Saturday, February 6th, 2021

Bow Creek, Bow Locks, Hackney, Tower Hamlets, 1983 36v-52_2400

Back in the 1980s it wasn’t possible to walk beside Bow Creek from Bow Locks south to the East India Dock road, as the banks were occupied by various industrial and commercial sites, including two gas works and West Ham power station. And although there have been plans by the councils for many years, even today you can only walk down on the Newham bank as far as Cody Dock, on a path opened to the public some years ago with the ridiculous name of the Fatwalk, but since renamed. There is a tantalising walkway visible continuing past the dock along the former power station bank, but this is still closed to the public.

Clinic, Bromley-by-Bow, Tower Hamlets, 1983 35v-35_2400

While this was a limitation, it was also an opportunity to explore the two areas where roads ran close (or not too close) to Bow Creek to both the east in West Ham and west in Bromley and Poplar, and I was rewarded by some images I found interesting, though parts of my walks were along fume laden streets with heavy traffic.

Blackwall Tunnel Northern Approach, Tweed House, view, Bromley-by-Bow, Tower Hamlets, 1983 35v-3pan_2400

Tweed House, a tall block of council flats on the Blackwall Tunnel Approach Road next to the Limehouse Cut enabled me to take some pictures which I more recently stitched together to create two panoramas of the area – the individual pictures are also in the Flickr album. Click to see the larger versions on Flickr.

Blackwall Tunnel Northern Approach, Tweed House, view, Bromley-by-Bow, Tower Hamlets, 1983 35v-4-pan_2400

From various places both on to the east and west of Bow Creek I found rather satisfyingly bleak views of the distant power station, including one with a young mother with a small baby in a pram.

Lochnagar St, Bromley-by-Bow, Tower Hamlets, 1983 36v-42_2400

Others were emptier still, like this

Lorry Park, Gillender St, Bromley-by-Bow, Tower Hamlets, 1982 32e-42_2400

or more minimal and just occasionally rather threatening; some streets around here featured in crime films and TV dramas of the era, gangster London.

Lochnager St, Poplar, Tower Hamlets, 1982 32e-34_2400

But there was also a little chance for fun, with a cafeteria with two giant cooling towers to take away the cooking fumes and the unlikely name of Oasis.

Oasis, Cafeteria, Cafe, Bidder St, West Ham, Newham, 1983 36v-12_2400

Poplar Gas Works was on a rather smaller scale to Bromley-by-Bow, but its gas holders still dominated the working class housing around it. Two young girls playing on the grass came to see what I was doing and insisted on being photographed, though I perhaps should have stepped back a foot or two to avoid cropping their feet to get the gasholder in the frame.

Girls, Gasholder, Poplar Gas Works, Rutland Terrace, Oban St, Poplar, Tower Hamlets, 1983 35v-55_2400

At East India Dock Road I was able to return to Bow Creek – and things got even more interesting (and although very different they still are) as I hope to show you in the next installment of my work from the Flick album River Lea – Lea Navigation – 1981-92 – the pictures above are all on Page 4.

Clicking on any of the images above should take you to a larger version on Flickr, and you can also go on to explore the album from there.


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.


Around High St Stratford

Tuesday, January 19th, 2021

St Thomas's Creek, Cook's Road, Stratford, Newham, 1983 35q-34_2400
St Thomas’s Creek, Cook’s Road, Stratford, Newham, 1983

There is and long seems to have been some confusion about the naming of this part of the canal system that links the main line of the Lea Navigation at Bow Bridge to the City Mill River and City Mill Lock. On some maps (including Google’s) it is simply referred to as ‘Bow Back Rivers’ but I find it less confusing to give it the more local name, St Thomas’s Creek, sometimes written as St Thomas Creek. The creek got its name from St. Thomas’s Mill, sometimes called ‘Pudding Mill’, I think because of its shape, which also gave its name to the small stream the Pudding Mill River and was actually on that stream on Pudding Mill Lane. For those interested there is a good map of the area before the flood relief works of 1931-5 on British History Online.

Yardley's Box Factory, Stratford High St, Stratford, Newham, 198336m-63-positive_2400
Warton House, former Yardley’s Box Factory, High St, Stratford, 1983

The earliest connection of the Yardley name to soap-making was in the first half of the 17th century, when a Yardley was given the concession to produce soap for the whole of London, but the company dated its founding as ‘Clever Brothers’ to 1770. This company making soaps and perfumes was taken over by William Yardley in 1823 and passed on to his son Charles when he died the following year. The company moved from Bloomsbury to a large factory on Carpenters Road Stratford in 1904 and bought land on Stratford High St in 1918. In 1913 they had trade-marked a picture by Francis Wheatley from his 1793 series, the ‘Cries of London’ to use in their advertising, replacing the primroses in his picture by lavender, and when they built a new art deco box factory in 1938 this was installed at a large scale on the building. Yardleys moved to Basildon in 1966, needing large premises, but in 1967 were taken over by British American Tobacco who sold the business to Beecham in 1985, who again sold it on after they merged to be SmithKlein Beecham. The company went into receivership in 1998. Parts of the box factory – including this section on the High St next to the Northern Outfall Sewer and the Waterworks River are still there, all that is left of Yardley’s in Stratford.

Stratford High St area, Stratford, Newham, 1983 36m-14_2400
Stratford High St area, 1982

I cannot remember exactly where I took this or the next picture, though from other exposures on the same films both are clearly somewhere not far from Stratford High St. I think the canal seen at right here is probably St Thomas’s Creek.

Timber yard, Stratford, Newham, 1982 32v-22_2400
Timber yard, Stratford High St area, 1982

Timber was the main product carried on the Lea Navigation in the later years of its use, and I think this timber yard was probably close to the main stream of the navigation. My attempts to find it again in later years were unsuccesful.

Cafe, Stratford market, Stratford, Newham, 1983 36p-35_2400
Cafe, Stratford market, Stratford, Newham, 1983

The notices on the door offer not just ‘Jellied Eels’ but ‘Best Jellied Eels’, along with ‘Loch Fine Kippers’. My contact sheet puts its location as Stratford Market in Burford Road, just off High St to the south.

Barge, Lea Navigation, Bow Bridge, Bow Flyover, Tower Hamlets, Newham, 1981 29t-26p_2400
Barges, Bow Bridge, October 1981

These last two pictures were some of the first I took in the area after I heard on a radio interview that commercial traffic on the Lea Navigation was to come to an end in a few weeks time.

I think it was the same day that I picked up my camera bag and got on the train to come to look for and photograph any remaining activity. It was a slow journey to Bromley-by-Bow from where I spent an hour or so walking along beside the navigation between Bow Locks and Bow Bridge, where I found three barges loaded with cut timber, photographing all three from the bridge and going down onto the wharf for another picture.

Barge, Lea Navigation, Bow Bridge, Tower Hamlets, Newham, 1981 29t-25_2400
Barges, Bow Bridge, October 1981

I find it hard now to understand why I took so few pictures – only around 30 exposures on the entire visit, and just these two where I found evidence of any remaining commercial traffic.

More pictures from the area on page 3 of my Flickr album River Lea – Lea Navigation 1981-1992.


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.


Stratford Marsh & Carpenter’s Road

Tuesday, January 12th, 2021

Pudding Mill River and Railway, Stratford Marsh, Stratford, Newham, 1990 90-9h66_2400
Pudding Mill River, Stratford Marsh, 1990

Continuing with pictures from my walks in the 1980s and early 1990s around the area destroyed for the London 2012 Olympics on Stratford Marsh. Although there was then considerable industry of various kinds across the area, many of the factories had closed, and some were derelict, partly as a result of Thatcher’s de-industrialisation policies, but also because of competition from more efficient industry abroad as well as from lower wage economies.

Pauls Cafe, Stratford Marsh, Stratford, Newham, 1990 90-9h63_2400
Paul’s Cafe served the many workers in the area

A few of the empty properties and sites were occupied by smaller local businesses such as car breakers and repair shops, and a few were transformed into artists studios – and I remember going to a great party in one of them off Marshgate Lane, though missing most such events as I lived thirty miles away on the other side of London.

City Mill River, Stratford Marsh, Newham, 1983 33x-34_2400
This path beside the City Mill River was well trodden during the fishing season. 1983

This was clearly a liminal area, on the edge of London and in some respects on the edge of society, even though it was surrounded on all sides by the city which now sprawls out much further east. In it there were also areas of wilderness, with paths beside the various streams of the River Lea across the area often overgrown and some largish areas of now disused land.

Caravan, Marshgate Lane, Stratford Marsh, Newham, 1982 32w-45_2400
Behind the caravan was the Queen Mary College nuclear engineering dept building. 1982

One large building next to the Pudding Mill River was the nuclear engineering department of Queen Mary College, which in 1966 had the first nuclear reactor of any UK university. This very small reactor was decommissioned about the time I made the picture which shows it behind a caravan and lorries parked beside the road.

Jerome Engineering Ltd, Johnson-Progress Ltd, Carpenters Rd, Stratford, Newham, 1983 92-8e23_2400
Jerome Engineering Ltd, Johnson-Progress Ltd, Carpenters Rd, Stratford, Newham, 1983

Although there was clearly considerable industry in the area, quite a few of the properties were empty. You can find more pictures from Carpenters Rd on page 3 of the Flickr album River Lea- Lea Navigation.

Asteroid Ltd, Carpenters Rd, Stratford, Newham, 1983 92-8e62_2400
Asteroid Ltd, Carpenters Rd, Stratford, Newham, 1983
Carpenters Rd, Stratford, Newham, 1983 35p-53_2400
Carpenters Rd, Stratford, Newham, 1983
Carpenters Rd, Stratford, Newham, 1983 35q-26_2400
Carpenters Rd, Stratford, Newham, 1983

The area now is unrecognisable – part of the largely still rather arid space of the new park. And although Carpenters Road still runs through the area, its sides are bare and bleak apart from the Aquatics Centre.


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.


More from Southwark

Monday, June 29th, 2020

I recently added these pictures (and many others) to my Flickr album TQ32 – London Cross-section.

Church, Councillor St, Camberwell,1989 TQ3277-014
Church, Councillor St, Camberwell,1989

Enter In To His Gates With Thanksgiving‘, the sentiment over a church door in Camberwell had two missing letters. It perhaps wasn’t surprising that the door was firmly closed and the gate locked, as I took this picture on a Friday, May 5th 1989. Nothing much special happened that day, but the previous day had been the 10th anniversary of Margaret Thatcher becoming prime minister, whose policies had a great effect on my photography, causing much of the dereliction and empty factories I was recording.

I was still a full-time teacher, but at a sixth-form and community college which then offered a wide range of evening as well as daytime courses. As a union rep I’d won a local agreement on timetabling which limited the number of sessions within which staff could be required to work, as well as national agreements to the number of contact hours. For me that meant my teaching finished at noon, and if I rushed to the station I could be in London taking pictures around an hour later.

Cafe, Southwark Bridge Rd,The Borough, 1991 TQ3279-012
Cafe, Southwark Bridge Rd,The Borough, 1991

I photographed this cafe on several occasions from 1986 to 1992, and though it never looked very open, I think it must still have been in business in the earlier years. In 1991, the street number 108 is painted large, and this was 108 Great Guildford Street, in a little tangle of streets on the edge of Southwark Bridge Road. It was once the Fox and Hounds public house, re-built in 1884 – and according to ‘Pubwiki’, its address over the years has over the years before its current one variously been ‘Little Bandy Leg Walk’, 118 Southwark Bridge Rd and 19 Little Guildford Street.

The building is still there, but the ground floor frontage is much changed. As well as these colour details I find photographed the entire building from across the street in 1992 (and possibly in earlier years.) I think few of the buildings which can be seen reflected in its windows have gone.

Bankside, 1986, Southwark TQ3280-017
The Jones-Wilcox Patent Wire-Bound Hose Co Ltd 47-48 Bankside, 1986

Walter Henry Wilcox established his company in 1876-8 selling engineering supplies and lubricating oils and moved from Uppper Thames St across the river to 36 Southwark St in 1880, and first advertised his wire-bound hose, the first of its type in 1888. The wholly-owned subsidiary, the Jones-Willcox Patent Wire Bound Hose Co, was set up in 1897 and was in business on Bankside until 1976 when it moved to Peacock Street. Their Bankside works was demolished around 1986 for the building of the replica Globe Theatre.

Grace’s Guide has condiserable information about the company, including reproductions of many advertisements and a long quotation about the widespread use “thoughout the Empire” of these hoses for petrol and other oils “constructed in an extensive Factory … from specially prepared canvas”. Their hoses contained no rubber which petrol and oils rapidly destroy. https://www.gracesguide.co.uk/1930_Industrial_Britain:_W._H._Willcox_and_Co

Mural, Porlock St, The Borough, 1992 TQ3279-021
Mural, Porlock St, The Borough, 1992

“… and he ascended into heaven” says the text at the bottom of this mural, the words I think coming from the head to their left. It may well have been a representation of the priest of St Hugh’s Church, part of a settlement founded in 1885 by former pupils of Charterhouse School to bring education and enlightenment to the deprived communities of Bermondsey and built in 1896. Probably the other figures represented local residents. The mural was I think on the tall wall of the building, part of the settlement premises that then stood on the corner of Porlock St and Crosby Row.

This later became known as the ‘Rainbow Building’ from a later mural on it, a rather primitive representation of a mis-coloured rainbow on a bed of grass with two trees and in the blue sky above a large yellow sun and a larger crude representation of the earth, presumably based on a child’s painting.

Church and ‘Rainbow Building’ were demolished in 2011 and replaced by flats with a new St Hugh’s Church in the basement which opened in 2013.

Park St, Southwark, 1992 TQ3280-042
Granary, Park St, 1992

This corner of Park St next to the railway bridge is still entirely recognisable. This image shows some of the problems of reproducing from a poor quality enprint and at some point I will try to find the negative to make a clearer image. But its defects give it a particular patina.

Painted signs, faded, label 15 Park St as a Granary, and it was apparently in use around 1900 for agricultural produce from Kent farms. There is more largely illegible signage around the right hand door. Some time after I made this picture the carefully faded text ‘PEROT EXPORTATEUR’ was painted over the doorway – presumably for some film – and Banksy and other graffitists later added contributions, including the text ‘BANKSY WOULD BE NOBODY WITHOUT BLEU LE RAT’ to the right-hand side.

Among the films which this building has appeared is as the gang hideout in Guy Ritchie’s 1998 crime comedy film ‘Lock Stock And Two Smoking Barrels’. The street also puts in an appearance in quite a few other films, including Howards End, 102 Dalmations, Keep the Aspidistra Flying, Entrapment


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.


South of the River

Sunday, June 28th, 2020
Cafe, Norwood Rd, Herne Hill, 1991 TQ3274-001
Café, Norwood Rd, Herne Hill, 1991

I think I only took my first pictures on colour negative film in 1985. When I began in photography at the start of the 1970s it was quite clear that colour neg was just for amateur snaps and social photography, but real photographers – if they stooped to colour – did it on transparency film.

Cafe, Loughborough Junction, 1989, TQ3275-001
Café, Loughborough Junction, 1989

Most publications – books, magazines, newspapers etc – . still used only – or mainly – black and white, and when colour was used it was almost invariably from colour transparency. Images taken on colour neg were only used at a last resort, and usually then duped onto transparency for repro, or occasionally printed onto black and white paper to be used. You could get special panchromatic black and white paper which gave some chance of normal tonality, but it was a pain to use as normal darkroom safelights fogged it, and often normal black and white paper was used despite the often very poor tonality it gave.

Shops, Flaxman Rd, Loughborough Junction, 1987 TQ3276-002
Shops, Flaxman Rd, Loughborough Junction, 1987

Though colour transparency was great for repro, making prints from it had its limitations – as did using transparency film. I found myself too often having images with empty black shadow areas or unusably blown highlights as it the film had a limited exposure range. You could get great punchy saturated colour prints, fine for advertising (which was never my scene) but it was difficult to achieve subtlety. Fed up with telling printers what I wanted and being told it wasn’t possible I began making my own prints, working at times with complicated unsharp masking for Cibachromes. My German project I deliberately printed on outdated Agfa direct reversal paper.

Shops, Denmark Hill, Camberwell, 1989 TQ3276-004
Shops, Denmark Hill, Camberwell, 1989

In the 1980s, Fuji shook up colour negative (and, to a lesser extent transparency film), producing new film and print materials that gave greater fidelity, longer print life and greater flexibility in the darkroom. Seeing the prints that other photographers were making (and the fact I wasn’t actually selling my slides professionally) was a conversion experience. Since then I don’t think I’ve ever taken pictures on slide film.

Hairdresser, Coldharbour Lane, Camberwell, 1989, TQ3276-007
Gee P. Johnson, The People’s Salon, Coldharbour Lane, Camberwell, 1989,

At the same time I was beginning a major black and white project to photograph the fabric of London, and saw my colour work as separate to that, but dependent on it. I don’t think I ever went out to visit a place or area to take colour pictures, but simply did so when opportunities arose as I visited various areas.

I didn’t have a particular interest in cafes or hairdressers, but saw these and other shops and offices as example of small businesses with relatively low start-up costs which reflected both the aesthetic of their owners and of the people of the area which they served. Gee P Johnson’s unisex ‘The People’s Salon’ for me expressed that sense well.

TQ3276-013
Daneville Rd, Camberwell, 1989, Southwark,

Filing selected trade prints in albums according to their grid references was a way to explore the differences between different areas across London – and I chose to do so in these 1km wide south-north strips. It was also a kind of cataloguing system for my work, though not always as well documented on the prints it should have been.

Garage, Camberwell Station Rd, Camberwell, 1989 TQ3276-017
Garage, Camberwell Station Rd, Camberwell,

These examples come from the first thirty or so images in my Flickr album TQ32 London Cross-section, which contains a little over 300 pictures. I’ll perhaps look again at some more shortly.


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.


More from TQ31

Tuesday, June 16th, 2020

A few pictures recently posted to my Flickr album TQ31 London Cross-section from colour pictures taken in 1979-85. These come from National Grid squares TQ3176 – TQ3181, part of the 1km wide south-north strip TQ31 through London.

Church & Mural, Angell Rd, Angell Park Gdns, Angell Town, 1989 TQ3176-008

Angell town got its name from the family who owned it in the 18th century, and in particular John Angell who died in 1550 and whose self-made will and various litigious claims due to his eccentricity and inflexible obstinacy resulted in years of legal argument after his death, and more after the death of John Angell, junior, in 1784. There were few houses on the land until it was fully developed in the 1850s by the redundantly named Benedict John Angell Angell, mainly with substantial semi-detached properties for middle-class families. St. John’s Church, Angell Town was consecrated in 1853.

Most of the estate around it was demolished and replaced by a council estate built by Lambeth Council in 1974-78. A combination of unfortunate design, typical of the time, and poor maintenance quickly led to the estate becoming a haven for drug dealers and other criminals. A comprehensive redevelopment in the mid-1990s led to some improvement but the estate later deteriorated, partly because of lack of support from Lambeth Council, and became the home turf of one of London’s most notorious teenage street gangs.

Ideal, Cafe, London Rd Newington, 1987 TQ3179-014

This café, the “IDEAL” was on the west side of London Road, north of the Elephant and Castle and just south of St George’s Circus. In the reflection you can just see a part of the Duke of Clarence pub, still there though now the Clarence Centre for Enterprise and Innovation of London South Bank University. The row of shops containing the café is still there but the shop fronts have changed and I can’t positively identify exactly which has replaced this.

When I put this project together, beginning around when I took this image in 1987, I was interested in the way that colour negative film and the cheap en-prints that were the normal way most of its users experienced it presented reality and distorted it. I liked the way images were often printed with strong colour casts and sometimes slightly out of focus, though this batch was one of the better in terms of print quality. Some processors also put little stickers on prints giving advice where they thought there were technical problems, one of which I’ve failed to remove entirely from this image at bottom left. I’m sorry I didn’t leave it on, as I can now only imagine what it said. I think either a warning about reflections or possibly against double-exposures – which of course this isn’t.

Bridge Piers, River Thames, Blackfriars,1987 TQ3180-002

Joseph Cubitt who designed Blackfriars Bridge also designed the railway bridge which until a few years before I took this picture ran across the top of these piers, and had to make both bridges with the matching spans and piers, though those on the road bridge have a very different finish. His rail bridge for the London, Chatham and Dover Railway was opened in 1864 and the road bridge five years later.

The railway bridge to the east, on the left of the picture was opened some years later in 1886 and is still in use. But the station (originally called St Paul’s Station, but since 1937, Blackfriars) became less important when the Southern Railway was formed in 1924, with its main-line services being moved to Waterloo and the older bridge was no longer much used. In 1985 the superstructure was removed as it had become too weak to support modern trains, but these massive pillars were left, with some being used to support an extension of the station platforms across the Thames.

The Blackfriar,  Queen Victoria St, 1992TQ3180-014

The Blackfriar is a remarkable example of a Victorian pub, Grade II* listed, on Queen Victoria St. Originally built in 1875 on the site of a medieval Dominican friary it was extensively remodelled in several stages beginning in 1903 in a jolly arts and crafts manner by Herbert Fuller-Clark, with sculptures by Nathaniel Hitch, Frederick Callcott, Henry Poole, and Farmer and Brindley. Their work was completed by 1925, but the large figure of a black monk over the corner door was only added a year or two before I took these pictures.

The pub was saved from demolition in the 1960s by a public campaign led by Sir John Betjeman.

Wig & Pen Club, Strand, 1991 TQ3181-053

The Wig and Pen club at 229 Strand was in a building from 1625, built on Roman ruins which claimed to have been the only building in the Strand to escape burning in the Great Fire of London in 1666.

Opposite the Royal Courts of Justice in its early years it was occupied by the Gatekeeper from Temple Bar, just along the street on whose spikes severed heads of traitors were displayed, and began to sell food and drink to the crowds who came to view them.

The club was formed as a meeting place for lawyers and journalists probably around the start of the twentieth century, and closed around ninety-five years later in 2003. Business dropped drastically as the newspapers moved out of Fleet St, but there were also changes in social behaviour making the lengthy and very liquid lunchtimes that were once the norm largely a thing of the past. It tried to keep going by making the lower floor restaurant open to the public, but even this failed to generate enough to keep the club going. Eventually after being vacant for several years it was sold by the landlords to a restaurant chain with the upper floor of this and the adjacent building being converted into a house.

The George, Strand, 1991, TQ3181-063

The George Hotel, 213 Strand, was George’s Coffee House from up 1723 to the 1820s, becoming the George Hotel in the following decade. The building was on the site of an older building and was I think rebuilt in the Victorian era as a handsome stone-faced block on four floors with a balustrade across the front of the roof.

That building was ‘tarted up’ in 1930, with various additions to the woodwork of the ground floor, a half-timbered frontage and a pitched roof. I suspect that most of the antique internals also date from that facelift.

As a coffee house it claims many great historical writers as regulars, including Horace Walpole, Oliver Goldsmith and Samuel Johnson, and its basement is said to be haunted by a “Laughing Cavalier” or “Roundhead”, according to some accounts headless.

No-one seems to know why the additions to its frontage include an apparently naked man chasing half a dozen pigs or the monk with cat and barrel, though they are possibly copies from some older pub in what was something of a movement to recreate the old inns of England.

More pictures 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.