Posts Tagged ‘church’

Maryland My Maryland, Stratford 1989

Wednesday, June 5th, 2024

Maryland My Maryland, Stratford 1989: It was not until the beginning of September 1989 that I found time to return to London, starting my walks there again on Sunday 3rd September at Stratford in East London and walking from the station towards Maryland.

Tom Allen Centre, Grove Crescent Rd, Stratford, Newham, 1989 89-8p-21
Tom Allen Centre, Grove Crescent Rd, Stratford, Newham, 1989 89-8p-21

Nobody is absolutely sure why Stratford has an area called Maryland but it could be that this is an unusually named after Maryland Point on the Potomac River in Virginia. Richard Lee (1617-1664) emigrated to the then colony around 1640, making a fortune as “a tobacco planter, trader, an owner and trader of slaves, and an employer and importer of English indentured servants.” Returning to England in 1658 he bought land in Stratford and owned a large house there. The name Maryland Point is first known to have appeared on a map in 1696.

Trinity College Oxford set up a College Mission “in connexion with the Great Eastern Railway Works at Stratford le Bow” around 1890 and it continued there until destroyed by a German air-raid in 1941.

Tom Allen came to work at their mission in Bermondsey while still studying at Trinity in 1909 where he obtained a “Fourth in History” and a Rugby Blue. From 1911 to 1914 he was Warden of the Stratford mission but when the war broke out enlisted as a private in the Grenadier Guards, but was soon offered a commission in the Irish Guards. The following February he went to France “where less than one month later, in the firing trenches near La Bassée he was killed instantaneously by a shell.” He was only 27. The centre named for him was built in 1957.

It is now The Sanctuary, home to The Redeemed Christian Church of God.

Maryland Works, Grove Crescent Rd, Stratford, Newham, 1989 89-8p-22
Maryland Works, Grove Crescent Rd, Stratford, Newham, 1989 89-8p-22

I can’t make out the name of the company once engraved on the building of the Maryland Works at 20/22 Grove Crescent Road as it is partly covered by the later sign board for ( I think) ‘MTM ties around the world of B J Bass & Co Ltd.’ It and the offices beyond are long gone, replaced by blocks of flats, backing on to the railway.

The Grove Picture Theatre, The Grove, Maryland, Stratford, Newham, 1989 89-8p-23
The Grove Picture Theatre, The Grove, Maryland, Stratford, Newham, 1989 89-8p-23

Built in 1910 by Frazzi Fireproof Construction Ltd of Whitechapel the Grove Picture Palace later became a billiards hall. Although unused and in a rather poor stage it still retained its original decoration and railings in 1989, though its signage above the ground floor had gone. The sign ‘READ GOD’S WORD THE BIBLE’ was on the wall belonging to the Central Baptist Church next door,

The Grove Picture Theatre, The Grove, Maryland, Stratford, Newham, 1989 89-8p-24
The Grove Picture Theatre, The Grove, Maryland, Stratford, Newham, 1989 89-8p-24

You can see pictures of it as built and as a surgery on Arthur Lloyd’s Theatres in Stratford East page.

The Grove Picture Theatre, The Grove, Maryland, Stratford, Newham, 1989 89-8p-25
The Grove Picture Theatre, The Grove, Maryland, Stratford, Newham, 1989 89-8p-25

Another image of the former cinema. It appears now to have been restored very much to its original state despite not even being locally listed.

Bacchus's Bin, Leytonstone Rd, Maryland, Stratford, Newham, 1989 89-8p-11
Bacchus’s Bin, Leytonstone Rd, Maryland, Stratford, Newham, 1989 89-8p-11

Leytonstone Road starts at the north end of The Grove after it crosses the railway and runs parallel to the tracks to Maryland Station before turning north.

These buildings at 7-13 Leytonstone Road are still there but a little altered with the roof of Bacchus’s Bin (now BAR ONE and Thailander Restaurant) having had its gables and the half barrels and sign at first floor level removed. The Chevy Chase pub at No 11 closed in 2010, was until 2014 a restaurant and after being empty for a couple of years is now a solicitors.

Church, Francis St, Maryland, Stratford, Newham, 1989 89-8p-12
Church, Francis St, Maryland, Stratford, Newham, 1989 89-8p-12

This is Emmanuel Hall and is now the Without Borders Church. It has lost its large cross and most of the row of windows along its side since I made this picture.

Maryland Video, Maryland, Stratford, Newham, 1989 89-8p-15
Maryland Video, Maryland, Stratford, Newham, 1989 89-8p-15

This picture on the corner looking north where Leytonstone Road turns north with the tower block of Henniker Point in the distance was the first image in the body of my Blurb book, ‘1989’, ISBN: 978-1-909363-01-4, published in 2012 and still available both as softcover or PDF. I had previoiusly published the work on the web in 2006 and it was exhibited in the 2010 London International Documentary Festival – I think the first occasion on which this festival featured still photography.

This is one of only two books of mine which are image/text pieces, though others have some separate texts. For the text I misappropriated the name ‘Upton Sinclair’, an American write and political activist who died in 1968, but I was thinking of nearby Upton Park and the well-known psychogeographic writer Iain Sinclair whose works on London I had long admired. After all there are hundreds if not thousands of us ‘Peter Marshalls’ so why not one more Upton Sinclair?

The blurb on Blurb about ‘1989’ states: ” ‘1989′ claims to be Chapter 1 of a book based on the notes made by the photographer on a walk through the streets of north-east London with a well-known author of ‘psycho-geographical’ works.

But the author is entirely fictional, and the notes, written in 2005, after his death and sixteen years after the pictures were taken are in part a gentle spoof on psycho-geography but more importantly a reflection on photography and the documentary process.”

Parts of it I still find quite funny and it really is one of my favourites among my books.

More from this walk on a later post.


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Charterhouse, A Diary, School, Church & Houses

Thursday, February 29th, 2024

Charterhouse, A Diary, School, Church & Houses continues my walk on Friday 4th August 1989 in Battersea from the previous post, St Peter & St Paul, Candles, A Pub & Distillery. My walk began with Council flats, Piles of Bricks, A House Hospital and Brasserie.

Charterhouse Works, Eltringham St, Battersea, Wandsworth, 1989 89-8c-65
Charterhouse Works, Eltringham St, Battersea, Wandsworth, 1989 89-8c-65

I turned south from York Road into Petergate and turned int Eltringham Street where I think I took this picture of the Charterhouse Works. It’s hard to read the peeling paint of the notice on the side, but I think these were once the works of Sandle Brothers, Manufacturing Stationers, Wholesale & Export with City Offices & Showroom at 4 Snow Hill EC4. You can see more about them on Spitalfields Life.

There appears to be a very long list of current occupants on the front of the building and on the full size image I can make out some of the names of what appear to be small businesses with workshops or offices in the building.

I think this is now the site of Charterhouse Appartments at 21 Eltringham St, a large modern block.

Nicholson & Co, 115, 119, Plough Rd, Battersea, Wandsworth, 1989 89-8c-52
Nicholson & Co, 115, 119, Plough Rd, Battersea, Wandsworth, 1989 89-8c-52

I made my way through the back streets to Plough Road, probably going along the footpath beside the railway line, Tours Passage. On the way I passed a heap of black sacks of rubbish with horse that had come from a fair roundabout, which I photographed but have not yet digitised.

Going under a railway bridge and walking down the road took me opposite the works of Nicholson & Co Ltd at 115-7 Plough Road, Heating – Ventilating – Air Conditioning Engineers established in 1904. Next door at 119 is a rather more ornate building with the date 1902 in its gable. The 2013 Survey of London tells me this was a former diary “designed by William Clinch Poole for the Dairy Supply Company Ltd.”

Plough Road School, Plough Terrace, Battersea, Wandsworth, 1989 89-8c-53
Plough Road School, Plough Terrace, Battersea, Wandsworth, 1989 89-8c-53

Plough Road School is Grade II listed as Highview Primary School and was built in 1889-90 (the date 1890 appears on it though not in my picture) designed for the London School Board by its architect T J Bailey who was proud of his work and exbibted the designs at the Royal Academy in 1891.

My view is of the back of the building, probably because much of the rest was covered by scaffolding when I made it, but perhaps becuase I thought the architectural influence was more evident. At the right of my picture is a little of the schoolkeeper’s house built at the same time.

St Pauls, Church, Community Centre, Vardens Rd, St John's Hill, Wandsworth, 1989 89-8c-54
St Pauls, Church, Community Centre, Vardens Rd, St John’s Hill, Wandsworth, 1989 89-8c-54

At the bottom of Plough Road I turned right into St John’s Hill and took this picture of St Paul’s Church from the corner of Vardens Road, I think to contrast the slender spire with the pillars of the corner doorway of 129 St John’s Hill. This block, shops with flats above has a rather more delicate entrance to the flats, Harvard Mansions, on Vardens Road. Those pillars seemed unusual in that they clearly were not supporting anything – with a top looking like a chimney. The block was built in the late 1890s in an Arts and Crafts style.

Although this is on St John’s Hill it was built in 1868 as St Paul’s church, as a part of the parish of St John’s Battersea which was on Usk Road. It was needed to accommodate the growing number of worshippers in the area which was beginning to expand rapidly. Later numbers fell and St John’s closed in 1950. This church became part of the parish of St. Peter & St Paul Battersea. Chad Varah who founded the Samaritans was its vicar from 1949-53.

Designed by H E Coe this Victorian Gothic church was build in a Decorated style using Kentish ragstone. Despite some on-line statements it appears to be only locally listed. When I made this picture it was in use as a community centre for the local residents association and as a nursery and it seems only to have been formally de-consecrated in 2013 to allow parts to be converted to flats.

Houses, 13-17, Spencer Rd, Wandsworth, 1989 89-8c-55
Houses, 13-17, Spencer Rd, Wandsworth, 1989 89-8c-55

I walked west to the next turning on St John’s Hill and went down Spencer Road where a short distance down I found these splendid Victorian villas. Much of the housing in the road is interesting but I was particularly interested in these for their combination of Victorian Gothic and Dutch gables.

Spencer Road presumably gets its name from the various Spencers who were Lords of the Manor in this area. The street was laid out before 1871 but was developed piecemeal and these houses are I think probably a little later.

This walk will conclude in a later post.


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St Peter & St Paul, Candles, A Pub & Distillery

Monday, February 26th, 2024

St Peter & St Paul, Candles, A Pub & Distillery continues my walk on Friday 4th August 1989 in Battersea from the previous post, River Thames, St Mary’s, Church Rd, Chelsea Harbour & A Bridge. The walk began with Council flats, Piles of Bricks, A House Hospital and Brasserie.

St Peter & St Paul, Church, l21, Plough Road, Battersea, Wandsworth, 1989 89-8c-74
St Peter & St Paul, Church, 121, Plough Road, Battersea, Wandsworth, 1989 89-8c-74

I left the riverside and walked down Lombard Road and crossed York Road into York Gardens probably to find a pleasant spot to rest a while and eat my sandwiches before going through the gardens to exit on Plough Road close to the church.

St Peter’s Church is still very much alive now on Plough Road, but SPB looks very different to my picture in 1989. The first St Peter’s Battersea was built in 1875 but was seriously damaged by fire in 1970 and the church moved into the building in my picture which had been its church and school hall.

According to ‘Clapham Junction Insider’ Cyril Ritchert, the demolition of this Grade II listed building, “an accomplished example of the free gothic style“, was opposed by the Ancient Monuments Society, English Heritage, the Battersea Society and the Wandsworth Society but was approved by Wandsworth Council in 2010. The developers made a second application in 2015 before any building on the site had started. Google Street View shows the church still in use in 2012.

To finance the new church the developers had been granted permission for an 8 storey block of flats also on the site. Local residents were angered that the developers managed to game the planning system to eventually build a 10 storey block of housing with minimal affordable housing on the site.

Shop, St Peter & St Paul, Church, Flats, Holgate Ave, Plough Rd, Battersea, Wandsworth, 1989

The view of the church from Holgate Avenue shows clearly the position of the church on the edge of the Winstanley Estate to the north of Clapham Junction station. The view of the tower block Sporle Court is now blocked by the new 10 storey block on the church site. The trees at left are in York Gardens.

There is still a billboard and a shop on the corner of Holgate Avenue, but what was then BRITCHOICE is now SUNRISER EXPRESS POLSKI SKLEP. Holgate Avenue was until 1931 known as Brittania Place or Brittania Street and took its name from the Brittania beer house which was possibly in this shop, part of a group of two buildings at 38-40 Plough Lane which are the only remnants of the original 1860s development of the area.

Apparently the Revd Chad Varah, the founder of The Samaritans, was vicar at Saint Peter’s during the 1950’s. St Peter’s was amalgamated with St Paul’s at some time after 1969 – and St Paul’s had been amalgamated with St John in Usk Road in 1938.

Houses, Holgate Avenue, Battersea, Wandsworth, 1989 89-8c-75
Houses, Holgate Avenue, Battersea, Wandsworth, 1989 89-8c-75

According to the Survey of London, “Holgate Avenue, started in the 1920s, was Battersea’s first
successful slum-clearance scheme
.” Poorly built Victorian houses from the 1860s were replaced by these three-storey tenements built by Battersea’s Labour Council in 1924-37 to high standards with some impressive brickwork and detailing. Probably more importantly for the residents they were provided with electric cooking, heating and lighting facilities, unusual luxury for the time.

There was little land in Battersea for building and while the council would have liked to build single family homes it had to compromise with these. But at least tenants at most had only to walk up three flights of stairs, while most new council building by the LCC in the interwar period was in five-storey tenement walk-up blocks.

Price's Candles, York Rd, Battersea, Wandsworth, 1989 89-8c-62
Price’s Candles, York Rd, Battersea, Wandsworth, 1989 89-8c-62

I walked back up Plough Road to York Road, and continued my walk towards Wandsworth Bridge. There was no access to the River Thames on this stretch before the bridge, as the area was still occupied by industrial premises.

Price’s Candles on York Rd was built on part of the site of York House, the London residence of the Archbishop of York from which York Road got its name. You can read more than you will ever want to know about York House in All about Battersea, by Henry S Simmonds published in 1882 and now on Project Gutenberg, which also has a long section on the Belmont Works or Price’s Patent Candle Factory.

Price’s Candles was begun in 1830 by William Wilson and Benjamin Lancaster who had purchased a patent for the separation of coconut fats. They chose the name Price for the business to remain anonymous as candle-making was not at the time a respectable occupation.

They moved to this site in 1847 setting up a large factory and workforce, making candles, soap and other products with stearine wax for the candles and the by products of glycerine and light oils coming cocunuts grown on a plantation they bought in Ceylon. In 1854 they began to import large quantities of crude petroleum from Burma and developed paraffin wax candles. Later they developed processes to work with other industrial wastes, animal fats and fish oils. By 1900 they were the largest candle manufacturer in the world.

The company was taken over by Unilever in 1919, and became owned by other oil companies including BP, who sold part of the site which opened in 1959 as the Battersea Heliport. A few of Price’s buildings remain, though most with added floors, and the rest of the site is mostly new blocks of flats.

York Tavern, pub, 347, York Rd, Battersea, Wandsworth, 1989 89-8c-63
York Tavern, pub, 347, York Rd, Battersea, Wandsworth, 1989 89-8c-63

The York Tavern was on the corner of York Road and Usk Road in the late 1850s but was given a makeover later in the century in the typical 1890s Queen Anne style with fake gable facades. I can’t find a date for the closing of this pub but it was clearly very shut when I made this picture. The building was demolished in 2003.

John Watney & Co Ltd, Wandsworth Distillery, York Rd, Battersea, Wandsworth, 1989 89-8c-64
John Watney & Co Ltd, Wandsworth Distillery, York Rd, Battersea, Wandsworth, 1989 89-8c-64

Wandsworth Distillery on York Rd was founded by Richard Bush at Gargoyle Wharf around 1780. By 1874 it was owned by John and Daniel Watney. Gin was produced here, having become popular after heavy taxes were imposed on French brandy, and later particularly in the colonies to counteract the unpleasantly bitter taste of the anti-malarial quinine.

Acquired by Guinness, the distillery was demolished in 1992, and I photographed its occupation as the ‘Pure Genius Eco Village‘ by The Land is Ours in 1996. It was redeveloped as Battersea Reach housing from 2002 on.

More from this walk in another post.


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Light & Life, Pinter and Stockwell Breweries

Tuesday, August 22nd, 2023

Light & Life, Pinter and Stockwell Breweries: A week after my previous walk I returned to South London to take more pictures on Sunday 4th June 1989. I began my walk from Clapham High Street.

Landor Rd, Clapham, Lambeth, 1989 89-6b-61
Landor Rd, Clapham, Lambeth, 1989 89-6b-61

Landor Road, originally named ‘Stockwell Private Road’ but changed at some date before 1912, possibly after the well-known English writer Walter Savage Landor (1775-1864) runs from close to Clapham North Station to Stockwell Green. I made my first picture roughly halfway between the two at the corner with Hubert Grove. A group of five men standing around a car on the opposite side of the road had probably attracted my attention but I clearly did not want to attract theirs.

Many of the shops here have since been converted to residential use.

Light & Life Full Gospel Fellowship, 105-11 Landor Rd, Stockwell, Lambeth, 1989 89-6b-62
Light & Life Full Gospel Fellowship, 105-11 Landor Rd, Stockwell, Lambeth, 1989 89-6b-62

A row of four terrace houses here had been converted into the General HQ of the Light & Life Full Gospel Fellowship, and notices gave a full list of activities including Sunday Schools, Divine Worship, Gospel Meeting, Bible Study and Prayer but also Sewing, Cooking, Baking, Musical Rehearsals, Table Tennis , Darts and Snooker. The centre also housed a play group on Monday to Fridays and a Youth Club on Thursday evenings.

A message says ‘COME AND ENJOY YOURSELF – THIS IS NOT A BLACK CHURCH. WE DO NOT PREACH A BLACK GOSPEL – JESUS IS LORD’.

The Fellowship is still continuing its mission there, though with new noticeboards, blinds replacing curtains and a new coat of paint.

Kimberley Rd, Landor Rd, Stockwell, Lambeth, 1989 89-6b-63
Kimberley Rd, Landor Rd, Stockwell, Lambeth, 1989 89-6b-63

I can’t read the notices in the shop window of 127 Landor Road, but I think they might have indicated that the shop had closed. It was perhaps about to be converted to its current residential use.

Looking down Kimberley Road there are two tall blocks of flats, but from my camera position only one is visible, I think Pinter House on Rhodesia Road, one of three blocks in the Grantham Road Estate. 1890s terraced houses there were destroyed by wartime bombing and the site was used for prefabs. Planning for these towers began in the early 1960s under the Metropolitan Borough of Lambeth, but by the time they were completed in 1968-9 they were a part of the London Borough of Lambeth Council.

The three blocks were all named after modern play writers – in this case Harold Pinter. The block was designed by the deputy borough architect George Finch and system built; this 62m high block contains around 92 flats and maisonettes. The flats were refurbished in 2000-2001 after they became managed by Hyde Southbank Homes and now look rather different.

St Andrew's, Church, CofE, Landor Rd, Stockwell, Lambeth, 1989 89-6b-64
St Andrew’s, Church, CofE, Landor Rd, Stockwell, Lambeth, 1989 89-6b-64

St Andrew’s Stockwell Green in Landor Rd was built as a chapel in 1767 but there were later additions and the exterior was rebuilt by H E Roe in this Romanesque style in 1867. Vestries and the Lady Chapel were then added in the 1890s.

The building beyond the church was a large post-war bottle store which was replaced in 2010 by the perhaps deliberately rather bland Oak Square development. This had been a brewery site since 1730 and had been taken over as Hammertons Stockwell Brewery in 1868. It was sold to Watneys in 1951 and they used it as bottling stores.

Two Boys, Landor Rd, Stockwell, Lambeth, 1989 89-6b-65
Two Boys, Landor Rd, Stockwell, Lambeth, 1989 89-6b-65

I find it hard to positively identify this street corner though I think it must be than of Dalyell Road, where Landor Road meets Stockwell Green. The building at left is the now-demolished bottle store, and on it you can read the name THE QUADRANT. The corner is occupied by a giant billboard, and shop appears to have fruit in its window, a sack of potting compost on the ground outside and to sell ice cream.

House, 21, Combermere Rd, Stockwell, Lambeth, 1989 89-6b-66
House, 21, Combermere Rd, Stockwell, Lambeth, 1989 89-6b-66

This is a rather unusual detached house on Combermere Road and I think from my picture that it may have been built or later used as a shop. This is a very mixed street and there was nothing like this anywhere along its length.

It is still there, though the windows have been replaced with something looking rather sturdier and the door has a wrought iron grille.

Stockwell Depot, Combermere Rd, Stockwell, Lambeth, 1989 89-6b-56
Stockwell Depot, Combermere Rd, Stockwell, Lambeth, 1989 89-6b-56

Rhodes’ Brewery – Stockwell’s other brewery – took water from an artesian well on this site and was bought by Edward Waltham in 1851. His British Brewery or Half Guinea Ale Brewery in Stockwell Green produced Half Guinea Ale and London Brown Stout at 2/6d per dozen bottles; you paid an extra 6d for the mysteriously named ‘S N’ Stout. It many have stood for ‘Nourishing Stout’, something they also sold as Butler Brand Nourishing Stout.

Back in the 1940s or 50s, my mother, then languishing in hospital, was prescribed a daily bottle of Guinness. As a lifelong total abstainer she refused to drink the demon alcohol, but her Irish nurse had no such qualms.

The buildings probably dated from before 1851. The Lion Brewery bought the company in 1906 and for many years this site was a council depot. It has now been replaced by housing.

To be continued…


Cold Harbour & Myatt’s Fields

Wednesday, May 31st, 2023

My walk on Sunday 9th April 1989 continues in this post, Cold Harbour & Myatt’s Fields. The previous post was Camberwell & Myatt’s Fields.

Church, Shop, Coldharbour Lane, Camberwell, Lambeth, 1989 89-4j-61
Church, Shop, Coldharbour Lane, Camberwell, Lambeth, 1989 89-4j-61

Back in 1989 I was still pretty pressed for cash, still buying film in bulk 100 ft lengths and loading it into cassettes myself in total darkness.

Over the years I’d perfected my method. Two nails on the back of my darkroom door, hang one of the sprocket holes at the end of the roll of film on the top one, unroll it down to the second, cut across, replace film in can. Pick up first spool from a waiting row on the bench, already with a short length of masking tape on it, attach to the bottom end of the hanging length of film, carefully roll it up to the top, remove from nail, pick up cassette body, insert spool with film end though velvet light trap, pick up end cap and pinch cassette to push it into place. Repeat another 18 times until the film roll is finished. Turn on light, trim film ends to fit cameras and put into plastic pots to go into camera bag.

Slow, tedious but then less than half the cost of buying film in 26 exposure cassettes, though I did ocasoinally treat myself – and if I bought Ilford film rather than Kodak I could reuse the cassettes with bulk film. Kodak had crimped on ends which had to be removed with a bottle cap remover destroying them.

I had learnt to be very careful with film in this project to photograph London, working with 35mm cameras much as I would have done with large format camera, carefully considering various viewpoints before deciding on an exposure. But when working with people I had to respond rather more quickly, and seeing these two men in front of the white church door my response was immediate.

Shops, Coldharbour Lane, Camberwell, Lambeth, 1989 89-4j-62
Shops, Coldharbour Lane, Camberwell, Lambeth, 1989 89-4j-62

After that rather snatched image I continued with photographing the two shops which had attracted my interest here, making first a vertical image and then moving back across the road for a wider view. In this (below) you can see the notice for the Celestial Church of Christ and the alley leading to this.

Shops, Coldharbour Lane, Camberwell, Lambeth, 1989 89-4j-63
Shops, Coldharbour Lane, Camberwell, Lambeth, 1989 89-4j-63

As well as these black and white images I also took a couple in colour which you can see in another album. I had two Olympus OM bodies with me and only brought the one with colour negative film out of my bag occasionally, while the black and white camera was usually on a strap around my neck. When I was intending to photograph people rather than buildings I usually went out with a Leica M2 instead.

Coldharbour Lane leads from Camberwell to Brixton and got a very bad reputation after the 1981 clashes between police and locals in Brixton. In 2003 it was called in an article in the London Evening Standard the most dangerous street in the most dangerous borough in London, but that was lagely rabid tabloid journalism. Wikipedia gives several theories about its name none of which seem entirely convincing, but the name seems often to have been associated with the ruins of Roman or Romano-British settlements, The area we know usually call Loughborough Junction around the station on early maps was called Cold Harbour. Coldharbour Lane was then known as Camberwell Lane.

Cafe,  Hinton Rd, Camberwell, Lambeth, 1989 89-4j-65
Café, Hinton Rd, Camberwell, Lambeth, 1989 89-4j-65

The S&J Corner Café was on the corner with Wellfit Street, close to Loughborough Junction station. The railway line here is just south of the station. A second bridge can be seen going above this and the cafe which is the line from Brixton to Denmark Hill, now used by London Overground services.

Cyclist, HInton Rd, Camberwell, Lambeth, 1989 89-4j-51
Cyclist, Hinton Rd, Camberwell, Lambeth, 1989 89-4j-51

Another picture I took on the spur of the moment as I saw a cyclist coming towards me under the bridges on Hinton Road. I was standing on the pavement beside the cafe in the previous image, and the cyclist is on the pavement, rather safer than roads like this in London. At the end of the row of shops on the left are the traffic lights and Coldharbour Lane whch I had just begun to walk towards.

Hinton Rd, Camberwell, Lambeth, 1989 89-4j-52
Hinton Rd, Camberwell, Lambeth, 1989 89-4j-52

The pub at right of this picture is The Green Man on the corner with Coldharbour Lane. According to a post on the Brixton Buzz, this had been on the site since 1881, but that is the date of the current building which replaced an earlier pub on the site important enough to be marked on Stanford’s 1862 map. The Buzz says it was closed in 2003 because of drug dealing and crime, and it quotes from the Urban75 blog that it was “was frequented by dealers (crack, heroin you name it), prosi’s and general madhatters.

The buildings at the left date from around the same time as the area was developed around the railways, and number 6 at left has a barely legible road name ‘Hinton Terrace‘ and I think at the top the illegible name of a builder and decorator whose sign presumably once hung on the bracket beside the street name.

House, Lilford Rd, Camberwell, Lambeth, 1989 89-4j-53
Houses, Lilford Rd, Camberwell, Lambeth, 1989 89-4j-53

I walked up past Loughborough Junction and made my next picture on Lilford Road at the corner of Minet Road, returning to the area I had been earlier on this walk, the Minet Estate around Myatt’s Fields. This is on the corner of a terrace with basement flats with an entrance here under the steps which extends along both streets and this grand entrance is actually for two adjoining houses above the flats, one on each street. The Grade II listing calls these “Early-mid C19″ and describes this a “double prostyle composite porch with fluted composite columns.”

Longfield Hall, Knatchbull Rd, Myatts Fields, Camberwell, Lambeth, 1989 89-4j-54
Longfield Hall, Knatchbull Rd, Camberwell, Lambeth, 1989

William Minet founded this Grade II listed community hall, architect George Hubbard, which opened in 1889, as well as the Minet library opposite which was destroyed by bombing and rebuilt in 1956 in what Pevsner described as ‘a meek replacement’. The Library was a memorial for his late wife. The Hall is still in use for various community activities including three church congregations and from 1969 -1975 was the base of Britain’s first Black Theatre Company, ‘Dark And Light’, recently marked by a Blue Plaque. It was Grade II listed in 1979 and is now run by a charity, The Longfield Hall Trust.

My walk made on on Sunday 9th April 1989 will finish in a later post. The first part from it is at Peckham and East Dulwich 1989.


No Third Runway at Heathrow – 2016

Tuesday, May 30th, 2023

No Third Runway at Heathrow

No Third Runway at Heathrow: Heathrow Airport celebrated its 70th anniversary on Monday 30th May 2016. and local residents marked the occasion with a protest on the village green at Harmondsworth against the plans to build a third runway which would destroy over 750 local homes.

No Third Runway at Heathrow

I grew up under the flightpath a couple of miles from touchdown on the main runway used for incoming flights, standing in my back garden and crossing off the registration letters of the planes passing rather close overhead in my spotters book. Those early planes – like the Douglas DC3 and the Vickers Viscount – were small and relatively quiet and gave young boys like me hours of interest with little disruption of normal life, but the generations that followed were very different, larger and ear-shattering. The complaints against their noise grew rapidly – and those easy to read letters on the underside of the wings disappeared so it was harder to identify flights in our complaints.

No Third Runway at Heathrow

Heathrow had been planted on the edge of London’s built up area by deception, beginning as a ‘military’ airport towards the end of the Second World War when it was known it would never be used as such, by people who were determined to make it London’s major civil airport. They did it to get around the objecteons there would have been later to a civil airport here.

No Third Runway at Heathrow
A huge mis-cake’ Heathrow Airport: Celebrating 70 years of unrelenting Aircraft Noise for local communities’

Over the years Heathrow continued to grow and grow. More flights and more terminals. More local traffic and more pollution. Every new development was made with promises that were later broken. T4 was promised to be the last new terminal – but then came the application to build T5. With this came the promise that Heathrow would never ask for another runway – but this was broken even before T5 had opened.

The enquiry into the third runway was said to be final – but while the local community were still celebrating their victory – and David Cameron was saying ” No Ifs, No Buts, No Third Runway”, Heathrow Airport was already plotting the setting up of a new inquiry that would somehow against all the evidence come up with the result they wanted – the Davies Commission.

John Stewart – HACAN – Heathrow want taxpayers to pay for the new roads, tunnels etc needed

In 2016 the threat of the new ‘third runway’ loomed dangerously over the area again, with the Conservative Government backing the proposals. Many of those who came to the event at Harmondsworth feared they would soon lose their homes – and property in the area was blighted as it had been for many years. Others outside the actual development would find their lives made impossible by aircraft noise, with people from almost the whole of West London suffering, particularly from flights in the early morning, with plane after plane passing overhead.

The Heathrow Adobe Hat, with portable air purifier and environmentally biodiverse suitcase

Heathrow’s noise and pollution affect a surprisingly large area of London. Twenty years ago I was in a hospital bed in Tooting in south London, around 12 miles away as the jet flies, awake early in the morning partly by their noise, watching and hearing a whole line of plane after plane in line for touchdown.

Neil Keveren, Chair of Stop Heathrow Expansion (SHE)

In our local area we get the pollution from the planes, both from running their engines on the ground and also from takeoff and landing. But more importantly the airport generates huge amounts of road traffic, both on local roads and the motorways serving the area – M3, M4 and M25.

Seven years on it seems increasingly unlikely that there will ever be a third runway built. Even the most jet-headed politicians are beginning to see that we cannot continue with airport expansion and meet the need to cut carbon emissions. Financial constraints increasingly make it less likely too.

My post on My London Diary has the details about the event on Monday 30th May 2016 and of course more pictures, including some of the village itself, including its pubs, church and remarkable Grade I listed tithe barn, said to be the largest wooden structure in the country, dating from 1426. Local campaigners saved that a few years ago and it was bought by English Heritage in 2012 and has been much restored. It lies just outside the area the airport would take over for the new runway and would be at serous danger from vibration – and would almost certainly need to be re-sited.

A church window remembers Ann & Bryan Sobey who led the ‘Right to Sleep’ campaign for restrictions on night flights into Heathrow

Though on the edge of London Harmondsworth still has a village atmosphere, and still seems much like the village I cycled through in my youth. I hope it remains that way.

More at No 3rd Runway Heathrow 70th Birthday.


St Omer & Arques 1993

Sunday, May 7th, 2023

Mostly I’ve photographed London over the past 50 or so years, with just a few earlier pictures that I think I have lost, including the first film I ever had processed, of ancient oak trees in Richmond Park back in 1962. It cost me 17s 6d to get it processed and it was years before I could afford to do more. I think all of the pictures are now lost. But I have also photographed elsewhere, particularly in Hull and Paris, and also on a number of holidays, some where I’ve perhaps taken photography more seriously than others. But I’ve always had a camera with me.

Cyclists, France

A few of those holidays have been cycling holidays, including a ride up the Loire valley and a couple of others in northern France. France is a better place to cycle than the UK for various reasons. It still has mile after mile of largely empty rural roads and French drivers have a much more positive attitude towards cyclists. More of them are cyclists themselves or have been.

le Marais Audomarois, St Omer, France

One such holiday was in late August 1993, when I went with my wife and two sons, aged 14 and 17 to northern France. Our rides were fairly leisurely with not the slightest whiff of Lycra and frequent stops for me to repair the punctures of the others or carry out other running repairs. My own bike, a 1956 Cinelli bought secondhand for me by my eldest borther for my 13th birthday performed without any such problems. I’ve recently scanned and put the pictures from our holiday into a Flickr album.

Water Tower, near Cassel, France

Two things made that difficult. One was the poor trade processing of the colour negative film I used, with one film having two large gouges across most frames along with some other damage which required extensive digital retouching. I tried out Photshops new AI filter which removed them perfectly – but also took out some other parts of the image, so I went back to doing the job manually.

Tower, Hauts-de-France, France, 1993, 93c08-01-71

But what took as much or rather more time was trying to identify the locations for many of the images. I’ve done my best, but some are still rather vague and others may be wrong. I’m hoping that some viewers on Flickr will help and tell me more. If you know the area around Calais, Ardres, St Omer, Arques and Cassel please do take a look. The pictures are rather mixed up in order, and I was using two cameras, both with colour negative film, for reasons I can not now understand.

Canal, Rue des Faiseurs de Bateaux, Saint-Omer, Hauts-de-France, France, 1993, 93c08-01-41

On 23 August 1993 we made an early morning start on a train to Clapham Junction and rode from there to Victoria. The train to Dover and the crossing to Calais for the four of us cost £42 for a fivee-day return ticket and our bikes travelled free. We arrived in mid-afternoon and an easy ride took us to the hotel we had booked in Ardres.

Bridge, Canal, Hauts-de-France, France, 1993, 93c08-01-43

The following day was a more difficult ride, and we had a nasty few minutes when Joseph’s chain came off and jammed between sprockets and hub far from any town or village, close to the high speed line then being built for Eurostar, work on which had involved us in a number of detours, and for years I’d look out of the window a few minutes after we came out of the tunnel and recognise the short uphill stretch were it happened.

Blockhaus d'Éperlecques, Éperlecques, France

Eventually after much sweating I managed to free it and we could proceed. For some reason we had decided to visit the Blockhaus d’Eperlecques, built in 1943 as a base to launch V2 rockets at Britain, but destroyed by bombing and now a French National Monument with some very large holes in its concrete roof.

Bridge, near St Omer, France

Our route to it involved a rather large hill but we were able to rest a bit and look around the site before continuing on our journey to St Omer. Here we found another slight problem with our French map, which showed what looked like a nice quiet route on to Arques. It turned out to be an abandoned railway track, complete with sleepers and impossible to ride. After struggling for a while we turned back and took the N42 instead and soon reached Arques.

L'Ascenseur à Bateaux des Fontinettes, Arques, France

At Arques we were just in time for the last guided tour of the day of the 1888 boat lift, L’Ascenseur à Bateaux des Fontinettes, modelled on the Anderton lift in Cheshire, replacing 5 locks and taking 22 minutes to transfer boats up and down by 13.13 metres – 43 ft. It was closed in 1967 as traffic had grown considerably and replaced by a single modern lock.

A la Grande Ste Catherine, Hotel, Hauts-de-France, France, 1993, 93c08-01-52

At Arques we had booked a three night stay at ‘A la Grande Ste-Catherine’ . Including breakfasts for us all and a couple of dinners for the two of us (our two sons wouldn’t eat proper French food) this cost 1832 Francs, then a little over £200. They ate frites and burgers from a street stall, though one night we did all manage to find food for all of us at a supermarket restaurant.

le Marais Audomarois,, St Omer, France

The next day we returned to look around St Omer, and then rode to Tilques, abandoning saddles for a boat trip around le Marais Audomarois, one of the more interesting parts of our visit.

Rooftops, Cassel, France

And for our last full day in France we took a ride to Cassel, a town on a hill that rises to the highest point on the Plain of Flanders, surrounded by flat lands in all directions, taking an indirect route via the Forêt Domaniale de Rihoult (Clairmarais), rather disappointing as it was full of noisy schoolkids from their colonies de vacances.

Radio Uylenspiegel, Cassel, France

It was a struggle up the hill to Cassel, and we were glad to rest for a while at the cafe inside the grim fortress of a Flemish language radio station – former a casino and I think the local Gestapo headquarters. Our ride back to Arques was by the direct route and began with a long downhill stretch where no pedalling was needed for a very long way.

A Cathelain,  Bavinchove, France

Finally came our last day, and I planned an easy route back to Calais, mainly beside canals. But the others objected and demanded a visit to the Eurotunnel exhibition on the way, which held us up considerably, not least because most of the roads had been diverted to build the high speed line and our map was fairly useless. We finally managed to catch the 19.15 ferry, a few hours before our ticket expired.

Many more pictures in the Flickr album Northern France – St Omer.



Bird in Bush, Wood Dene, Asylum and a School

Saturday, February 18th, 2023

Continuing my walks in Peckham in March 1989. The previous post was Costa, A Corner & Our Lady of Sorrows.

Bird in Bush Park, Bird in Bush Rd, Naylor Rd, Peckham, Southwark, 1989 89-3b-45
Bird in Bush Park, Bird in Bush Rd, Naylor Rd, Peckham, Southwark, 1989 89-3b-45

This park was formed by wholesale housing clearances by Southwark Council in the 1970s. The triangular area between Bird in Bush Road, Naylor Road and Commercial Way which had around 35 houses built from around 1870 until the end of the century with back gardens was flattened, leaving only a couple of buildings on the northern corners of the area.

The houses in this picture are on the other side of Commercial Way and I was standing on or close to Naylor Road. I spent quite a long time taking dozen pictures of these semi-embedded tyres which made a BMX track, all fairly similar to this.

Flats, Meeting House Lane, Queen's Rd, Peckham, Southwark, 1989 89-3b-11
Flats, Meeting House Lane, Queen’s Rd, Peckham, Southwark, 1989 89-3b-11

I walked west from the park and down the route of the former Surrey Canal back to Peckham High Street, turning along this to the east to the junction with Meeting House Lane.

Southwark Council decided to demolish Wood Dene (part of the Acorn Estate) in 2000, later selling it off on the cheap for £7million to Notting Hill Housing Trust who redeveloped it as Peckham Place. It was demolished in 2007. When built Wood Dene was home to 323 families as council tenants. The replacement was only completed in 2019, has no real social housing with just 54 homes at so-called ‘affordable’ rent of up to 80% market rent.

As I was preparing to take this picture a woman walked across and I waited until she was in a suitable position to include in the picture. I think her presence emphasises the massive scale of the 1960’s block.

St John Chrysostom, Church, Meeting House Lane, Queen's Rd, Peckham, Southwark, 1989 89-3b-14
St John Chrysostom, Church, Meeting House Lane, Queen’s Rd, Peckham, Southwark, 1989 89-3b-14

Some way up Meeting House Lane on the corner of Springhall Street was the Anglican Church and Parish Centre of St John, Peckham, built in 1965 to replace the bombed St Jude and St Chrysostom, whose two parishes were amalgamated. The architect David Bush worked on a “truly theological and quite unique brief, following on from a weekend building conference at Sevenoaks” resulting in a building suitable for varied religious and secular use.

The building now lookks a little different, with the large brick side on Springhall Street now entirely covered by a colourful mural painted in 2017.

Licensed Victuallers’ Benevolent Institution Asylum Rd, Peckham, Southwark, 1989 89-3c61
Licensed Victuallers’ Benevolent Institution, Asylum Rd, Peckham, Southwark, 1989 89-3c61

The Edwardian Baroque building here seems to go under several addresses in Asylum Rd, and although it now clearly calls itself 12b is Grade II listed as 12a Asylum Rd, a former annexe to offices of the almshouses, built 1913-1914, architect F.E Harford. Other sources refer to it as 10 Asylum Rd.

Licensed Victuallers’ Benevolent Institution, Asylum Rd, Peckham, Southwark, 1989 89-3c-62
Licensed Victuallers’ Benevolent Institution, Asylum Rd, Peckham, Southwark, 1989 89-3c-62

The Licensed Victuallers’ Benevolent Institution Asylum was founded in 1827 on a large site on what became Asylum Road, a short distance from the Old Kent Road (which its Grade II listing gives as its address.)

The asylum was simply housing for retired publicans and was not a ‘lunatic asylum’ though many of its elderly residents might have been a little fuddled from years of alcohol fumes and consumption. The earliest buildings date from 1827 and the architect was Henry Rose, but there were later additions in similar style in the 1840s, 1850s and finally in 1866. It became the largest almshouses in London with over 200 residents in 176 homes.

Most if not all of the buildings are Grade II listed. In 1959 the Licensed Victuallers moved to new almshouses in Denham, Bucks and in 1960 Camberwell Borough Council bought the property for council housing, apparently naming it Caroline Gardens after a former resident.

Leo Street School, Asylum Rd, Peckham, Southwark, 1989 89-3c-63
Leo Street School, Asylum Rd, Peckham, Southwark, 1989 89-3c-63

This 1900 building on Asylum Rd is at the back of the Leo Street School and opened in 1900, a year after the main school, architect T J Bailey. In my picture the board states it is part of ILEA’s Southwark College. It was converted to residential use in the 1990s.

The next instalment on this walk will begin with some more pictures of Caroline Gardens from my walk in March 1989. The first post about this walk was Shops, Removals, Housing and the Pioneer Health Centre.


Costa, A Corner & Our Lady of Sorrows

Thursday, February 16th, 2023

Costa, A Corner & Our Lady of Sorrows continues my walks in Peckham in March 1989. The previous post was A Laundry, Crescent, Shops, Mission & Settlement.

G Costa & Co, Marlborough Works, Staffordshire St, Peckham, Southwark, 1989 89-3b-54
G Costa & Co, Marlborough Works, Staffordshire St, Peckham, Southwark, 1989 89-3b-54

G Costa, importers and distributors of fine foods was founded in 1879 and incorporated in 1913. The company moved out of Peckham to another of its sites in Aylesford Kent in 1994, and was bought by Associated British Foods in 2003.

Among its products is the Blue Dragon range of sauces and ingredients for Chinese, Japanese and S E Asian meals. The factory site has since been developed as housing.

Staffordshire St area, Peckham, Southwark, 1989 89-3b-55
Staffordshire St, Peckham, Southwark, 1989 89-3b-55

Although this building has been replaced by a new block, these is still a slight bend here at the south end of Staffordshire Street just before it ends on Peckham High St. There are still some posts along the side of the pavement, but no longer needed to protect pedestrians from lorries from the factory, but three hoops to lock a bike to outside the entrance to Gaumont House.

This block was the site of the first Gaumont Palace Theatre to be built in London in 1932, on the site of the 1898 Peckham Hippodrome Theatre on Peckham High St between Marmont Road and Staffordshire Street. Later it became simply The Gaumont and was damaged by bombing in 1941 and a V1 flying bomb in 1944, managing to re-open after both a few months later. Refurbished in 1948 it closed in 1961 and was converted into a Top Rank Bingo club with boxing matches once a week. It was sadly modernised in the 1970s, closed in 1998 and was demolished in 2002.

I was attracted by the odd pattern of rectangles, including one one the pavement in the foreground and others along the wall, with those each side of the leaning lamp post formed by shadows rather than the actual doorways and subtly subverting the impression of space in the picture.

Marmont Rd, Peckham High St, Peckham, Southwark, 1989 89-3b-56
Marmont Rd, Peckham High St, Peckham, Southwark, 1989 89-3b-56

I took two pictures on this street corner, the first on an impulse when a man walked in front of me as I was getting ready to take a picture, his shadow falling on the tiles of the doorway.

Marmont Rd, Peckham High St, Peckham, Southwark, 1989 89-3b-41
Marmont Rd, Peckham High St, Peckham, Southwark, 1989 89-3b-41

But this is the picture I had stopped to take, and rather more carefully composed. If you look carefully from this corner now you can see that the five windows in my picture have all been bricked up, with just a small window left at the top of the lowest one. The block of flats further down Marmont Road is still there though now rather hidden by trees.

At right the curve with lights is above the tiled entrance to the foyer of the Top Rank Bingo Club, built in1932 as the Gaumont Palace Theatre, though later modernised. The large foyer extended out into the street corner in a single storey curve from the massive brick block of the cinema.

There is still a curved corner at the right, but to a newer and rather anonymous building on the site, Gaumont House.

Houses, Friary Rd, Peckham, Southwark, 1989 89-3b-42
Houses, Friary Rd, Peckham, Southwark, 1989 89-3b-42

This terrace of splendid double-fronted Victorian houses, continued at the left by some slightly less grand without a first floor window over the central door is still there on Friary Road.

The road was developed in the 1840s as Lower Park Road, when Peckham Park, also known as Peckham New Town was a very desirable middle class suburb. Like many other London roads it was renamed in the 1930s and became Friary Road, named for the Friary on the corner of this road and Bird in Bush Road.

Our Lady of Sorrows, Catholic, Church, Bird in Bush Rd, Peckham, Southwark, 1989 89-3b-43
Our Lady of Sorrows, Catholic, Church, Bird in Bush Rd, Peckham, Southwark, 1989 89-3b-43

For some reason the church here is listed as the Church of Our Lady of Seven Dolours on the Old Kent Road, Southwark, London, SE15, a quarter of a mile away, although the listing does include the correct address of Bird in Bush Road where my picture was taken showing the side of the Grade II listed church.

This very large church was designed by the prominent Victorian church architect E W Pugin and built from 1859 to 1866, delayed by lack of funds, for the Capuchin Friars. They built a Friary next door (designed by James O’Byrne) on what is now Friary Road in the 1884s and served the church there until 2000 when the Friary buildings were handed to the archdiocese and are now home to a Vincentian community.

Our Lady of Sorrows, Catholic, Church, Mission House, Friary Rd, Peckham, Southwark, 1989 89-3b-44
Peckham Friary, Catholic, Church, Mission House, Friary Rd, Peckham, Southwark, 1989 89-3b-44

These are the 1884 buildings for the Capuchin Friars from where they served the church and community until 2000.

More on this walk in March 1989 to follow. The first post about this walk was Shops, Removals, Housing and the Pioneer Health Centre.


Knives, Afrin and Vedanta

Thursday, May 26th, 2022

Knives, Afrin and Vedanta: Two of the four events I photographed on 26th May 2018 were connected with knife and gun crime in London, the other two about international events – the invasion of Afrin by Turkey and the fatal shooting by Indian police of protesters against the polluting activites of the Sterlite copper plant owned by Vedenta in Tamil Nadu.


‘Be the Change’ Knife and Gun Crime – Windrush Square, Brixton

London’s murder rate has increased by over a third in the last three years, and last year saw a 22% increase in recorded knife crime and 11% in gun crime. Of the 39 children and teenagers killed in the UK by knives last year over half were in London. The victims of knife crime are disproportionately young black men. Many attribute the rise in these crimes to the cuts in youth clubs, community projects, counselling and other services for young people, cuts in police and PCSO numbers and changes in illegal drug dealing.

Lambeth is an area that has suffered greatly from the cuts, and with a Labour council that often seems particularly insensitive to local needs, particular over housing where it has been colluding with developers over profiting from the destruction of social housing. It has also been subjected to some of the most discriminatory policing which has led to several riots or uprisings in Brixton over the years.

Brixton Seventh Day Adventist Church is in the centre of Brixton, worshipping a short walk from Windrush Square, where they had come on Saturday morning when normally they would be in church to protest and witness their concerns over the deaths. I’d missed photographing their march to the Square as they had taken a different route to that I’d expected but was able to spend some time photographing them speaking and singing the gospel. But it did seem to me that despite being hugely concerned and convinced in their beliefs that they were preaching only to the converted, with few of those walking past stopping to listen.

More pictures at ‘Be the Change’ Knife and Gun Crime.


Youth Peace Walk by Korean-based cult – Langham Place

I left Brixton and was making my way to the BBC when I was surprised by the Korean-based IYPG (International Peace Youth Group) making their way down Langham Place and stopped to photograph them. I knew nothing about them but saw they were marching with a posted about knife crime in London.

Back home later in the day I did my research on the web, finding the IYPG had held annual peace walks in countries around the world on or around May 25th since 2013, commemorating the ‘Declaration of World Peace’. The group was founded in South Korea by Mr Man Hee Lee, a war veteran and peacemaker who claims to have had a personal revelation linked to the biblical Book of Revelations. He is the leader of a strange heretical Christian cult in Korea called ShinChonji and a linked organisation Mannam. Critics say that although the IPYG hosts events such as these peace walks, they do nothing to promote peace but are a part of a recruiting drive for ShinConji whose followers are obliged to give large donations to the cult.

More pictures at Youth Peace Walk by Korean-based cult.


March Against Turkish Occupation of Afrin – BBC to Westminster

Kurds and supporters held a short rally outside the BBC before marching to Downing St and Parliament Square to call for an end to the Turkish occupation of Afrin.

Among those speaking was the aunt of British volunteer Anna Campbell, killed defending Afrin. The invasion of Afrin began in January, and was carried out by Turkish forces together with former ISIS fighters. The Kurdish forces withdrew in March when they were in danger of being encircled and have vowed to continue the fight to regain Afrin through a guerilla war.

Erdogan would like to completely eliminate the Kurds who have been persecuted for many years in Turkey and to end the autonomous Kurdish led areas in both Syria and Iraq. Afrin was a part of Rojava, the Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria which has a liberal socialist constitution based on direct democracy which enshrines ethnic and gender equality and other fundamental human rights including freedom of religion – a huge contrast with Turkey’s increasingly Islamic autocracy.

I left the march after a short distance at Oxford Circus to make my way to the Indian High Commission in Aldwych.

More at March Against Turkish Occupation of Afrin.


India complicit in Thoothukudi killings – India House, Aldwych

Hundreds had come to protest outside the Indian High Commission protest at the Indian government complicity in the brutal repression of protests against pollution from the Sterlite copper plant at Thoothukudi, in the Southern State of Tamil Nadu. The protest was organised by Foil Vedanta, Tamil People in UK and PARAI – Voice of Freedom and supported by South Asia Solidarity Group and others including the Socialist Party.

On May 22nd, four days earlier, Indian police had fired into a crowd of protesters, killing 12 and wounding more than 60. Protests had been continuing for 100 days demanding that the plant, owned by a subsidiary of British company Vedanta Resources be closed down. Vedanta is said to be the largest donor to the Indian BJP party of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Vedanta, set up by British Indian billionaire Anil Agarwal with UK government help in 2003 is notorious for its polluting activities in India, Goa, Zambia and elsewhere as well as unsafe working practices and tax evasion. Sterlite, which has a long record of dumping toxic waste and operating without proper licences is expanding and opening a second plant in the town. The London Mining Network say the Vedanta operates “like a house without a toilet” and “consistently dump waste next to their smelters and captive thermal power plants.”

Protesters called for an end to Vedanta’s polluting activities around the world, and an end for support for the company by both UK and Indian governments. They called for the Stock Exchange to delist the company – and the company delisted itself a few months later probably to avoid facing more public interest litigation in the UK.

More pictures at India complicit in Thoothukudi killings.