Posts Tagged ‘City’

High in the City

Friday, July 3rd, 2020
The Podium, Alphage Highwalk, City, 1992TQ3281-064
The Podium pub, St Alphage Highwalk, City, 1992

When architects and planners looked at how the city should be rebuilt after the considerable bomb damage in the war, they dreamt of a city where people and traffic would be separated, with pedestrians circulating at an upper level on what were called ‘highwalks’, and these were incorporated into the parts of the city which were being rebuilt.

Britannic Tower, Moor St, Moorgate, City, 1992 TQ3281-099
Highwalk entrance, Britannic Tower, Moor St, Moorgate, City, 1992

The largest of these areas was of course the Barbican, which was linked to the more central areas of the city by highwalks along and across London Wall, but there were also smaller sections of highwalks around Upper Thames St and around the Nat West Tower, Bishopsgate and Wormwood St.

Barbican, City, 1992TQ3281-094
Escalator, Highwalk, London Wall, Wood St

The planners were young, fit and idealistic and perhaps failed to appreciate the ways people actually moved around the city using buses, tube and taxis and their reluctance to climb stairs unnecessarily to get to buildings most of which still had their entrances at street level. There were escalators, but too few and these were expensive and needed maintenance. The planners perhaps also failed to see how much many older buildings from the Victorian and Edwardian eras would as the years progressed be seen as making a positive contribution to our cityscape – and often but not always be protected from demolition (or at least their facades protected) by listing.

Bassishaw Highwalk, City, 1987 TQ3281-043
Bassishaw Highwalk, City, 1987

Most of the city continues to exist at street level, and much of the highwalks outside of the Barbican that was built has now been altered or demolished – with the IRA beginning the process in some areas. They also were responsible for the first real controls on road traffic through the city, with the police ‘ring of steel’ introduced in the early 1990s as a response to bombings at the Baltic Exchange and Bishopsgate.

St Alphage Highwalk,, London Wall, City, 1992 TQ3281-103
St Alphage Highwalk,, London Wall, City, 1992 TQ3281-103

More recently there have been some minor road and junction closures and the ‘Bank on Safety’ scheme has limited traffic at Bank junction to buses and cyclists between 7am and 7pm Monday to Friday; further controls seem inevitable with some city streets being pedestrianised and others being made ‘no through roads’.

St Alphage Highwalk,, London Wall, City, 1992TQ3281-105
St Alphage Highwalk,, London Wall, City, 1992

Long overdue is an overhaul of the private hire systems and in particular of ‘black cabs’ which are responsible for much of the congestion in the city. They will be changing to electric vehicles, but we need to see a move to a smartphone app based system with an end to the current discrimination against mini-cabs over the congestion charge and an end to wasteful ‘cruising for hire’.

You can see more pictures from the City of London taken in 1986-92, including some more from the highwalks, in page 3 of my album TQ32 London Cross-Section. These are scans made from cheap trade processed en-prints at the time I took the pictures which were sometimes rather poor quality.

More City colour

Thursday, July 2nd, 2020

Some more pictures from my Flickr album made from en-prints of pictures taken in 1986-92 in the 1km wide strip of London in defined by the National G id reference TQ32, TQ32 London Cross-section.

IBM, Basinghall St, City, 1986 TQ3281-026
IBM, Basinghall St, City, 1986

Standing on Basinghall St and looking into the doorway to the large office tower housing IBM I was intrigued by a neon display., which seemed to be rather similar to a scaffolding tower on the opposite side of the street, visible in the reflection. You can see part of me taking the picture at its centre, my shoulder, arm and camera bag, leg and top of my shoe visible.

I was puzzled slightly at first as I appeared to be carrying my bag to the right of me, something I’ve never done since back in the mid 1970s, after I suffered badly with back pain. Although the specialist I saw never really managed to find a reason or cure, we did eventually discover that I could avoid the crippling pain by carrying my bag on the left shoulder rather than my right. But of course this is a reflection, so what appears to be right is actually left.

Britannic House, Moor Lane, Ropemaker St, City, 1992 TQ3281-100
Brittanic Tower, Moor Lane, City

Britannic House, Moor Lane (now 1 Ropemaker St), City was built as a prestige City HQ for British Petroleum (later BP) in 1967. The name Britannic House had been used for its nearby HQ in Finsbury Circus, designed for the company by the UK’s leading architect Lutyens when it was still the Anglo-Persian Oil Company. That rather lower but much more impressive building from 1921-5 required special permission from the LCC because of its height of at 38 metres and also presented building problems because it was partly above the underground Moorgate station.

The name Britannic House passed back to the Lutyens building when BP returned to it in 1991, and the Moor Lane building, a 35 storey 122m tall slab, was renamed Britannic Tower. When built it was the first City building taller than St Paul’s Cathedral, which was 111m (365 ft.)

Brittanic Tower was refurbished in 2000 with a fancy top adding another 5 metres and renamed Citypoint and is now the tenth tallest building in the City according to Wikipedia and the 54th tallest in Greater London. I think this particularly pointless piece of decorative sculpture at its base was lost in the refurbishment.

Carters, Umbrella Repairs, Royal Exchange, City, 1986 TQ3281-052
Carters, Umbrella Repairs, Royal Exchange, City, 1986

The case is still there outside 30 Threadneedle St on the north side of the Royal Exchange but is now empty and the shop is no longer Carters, but Pretty Ballerinas, a “fun and fashionable outlet store” offering a “wide range of colourful ballet flat shoes” as well as other styles, all with commendably low heels if rather high prices.

The rolled umbrella was once a part of the uniform of the City gent, but there are rather few of them around now. And umbrellas have become cheap and disposable, probably impossible to repair.

Simpsons, Ball Court, City, 1992 TQ3281-077
Simpsons, Ball Court, City, 1992

Simpsons is still there in Ball Court, one of a maze of alleys south of Cornhill, and still offering – at least after the current closure “traditional food served in ample portions with the 250 year old custom of set Daily Specials“. Although not cheap, it isn’t an expensive place by London standards. I’ve never eaten there but perhaps I might treat myself one day if I go to London again.

Bank of England, Bank, CIty, 1987 TQ3281-047
Bank of England, Bank, City, 1987

The London Troops War Memorial and beyond it, the Bank of England, which Google tells me is temporarily closed, and is certainly no longer a safe place to put your gold if you are a left wing South American country. Over the past years I’ve photographed several protests calling on the bank to let Venezuela have it gold kept here, which the Bank is refusing to release due to US sanctions.

Venezuela’s central bank, controlled by President Nicolas Maduro, is currently seeking an order in the English High Court to force the Bank of England to hand over the over $1 billion of Venezuelan gold reserve in its vaults which the country need to fight the coronavirus pandemic.

More from the City in a later post. You can see more pictures now in TQ32 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.


City colour

Tuesday, June 30th, 2020

The 1km wide strip of TQ32 in our National Grid includes a section of the City of London, from a little to the west of St Paul’s Cathedral to a few yards east of the Monument, with the Thames at its south and the Barbican and Moorgate at its north, a little over a square kilometre of “the square mile”, perhaps two fifths of the city. So its not surprising that I took quite a few pictures in the City during the period I was putting colour prints into the albums that make up my ‘London Cross-section’, from roughly 1986-92. Though as you will see if you look at the album TQ32 – London Cross-section, they are mainly from just a few small areas that I found of most interest. Here is just a small initial selection of them with some comments.

Pig, Office, Lower Thames St, City, 1991 TQ3280-031
Pig, Office, Lower Thames St, City, 1991

Walking around the City now you often find yourself going past the windows of large offices filled with people staring into screens, but back in the late 1980s and early 90s this was more of a novelty. Also something of a novelty was this pink inflatable pig on a windowsill. The real watershed for the City came in 1986, with the ‘Big Bang’, on a Monday in October that year when the City of London was deregulated, with face-to-face share dealing replaced by electronic trading. I don’t know what business this office was dealing with but the idea of pigs seemed appropriate to the getting of snouts in the trough as so many in the City found themselves in clover.

Doorway, Little Britain, City, 1986 TQ3281-001
Doorway, Little Britain, City, 1986

Lawrence & Co. (Estd. 1897) Ltd. were once blouse manufacturers at 7 Little Britain, a street (and area) at the edge of Smithfield, but the peeling paint and corrugated iron on this doorway seemed to me to symbolise something about the state of the nation, the larger Britain, and their was the City of London Recorder and myself also a recorder.

You can still walk along Little Britain and indentify a few of the doorways I photographed, though what is left are simply facades, and the atmosphere is largely but not entirely lost.

Heroes Memorial, Postmans Park, City, 1986 TQ3281-116
Heroes Memorial, Postmans Park, City, 1986

In 1887 prominent painter and sculptor George Frederic Watts (1817-1904) proposed the erection of a memorial to commemorate the heroic self-sacrifice of ordinary people who had died saving the lives of others as a part of the commemorations of the Golden Jubilee of Queen Victoria, but it was not taken up.

Some years later in 1898, the vicar of St Botolph’s Aldersgate suggested to Watts that the memorial could be built in Postman’s Park, the former churchyard adjoining the church and a wooden loggia was built to shelter a wall with space for 120 ceramic memorial tiles to be made by William De Morgan, though only 4 were in place when this was opened in 1900.

De Morgan gave up ceramics in 1906 after making only 24 tiles, and Watt’s widow, Mary Watts was unhappy with new tiles made by Royal Doulton, and rather lost interest. Only 53 tiles had been added by 1931 when work ceased. When I photographed it the display was in fairly poor condition, but has since been repaired and in 2009 the first new tablet was added.

Roman Wall, Barbican, City, 1992TQ3281-068
Roman Wall, Barbican, City, 1992

I walked through the Barbican quite often and occasionally took photographs as I was involved in a group called ‘London Documentary Photographers’ which had been founded by Mike Seaborne, then curator of photographs at the Museum of London and which regularly met there, as well as organising several photography shows at the Barbican Library.

I like this picture because it encompasses so much of the history of the city of London, with a section of its Roman Wall, the tower of St Giles-without-Cripplegate, one of the few medieval churches to survive the 1666 Great Fire (though the tower dates from 1682 and the church was reconstructed after being gutted by bombing in the Blitz of 1940) as well as the taller tower from the Barbican Estate, built between 1965 and 1976 on an area devastated in the war.

Shakespeare, Garden, Aldermanbury, Love Lane, City, 1986TQ3281-019
Shakespeare, Garden, Aldermanbury, Love Lane, City,

Shakespeare, on this plinth in St Mary Aldermanbury Garden, Love Lane is another reminder of the city’s history – as is the garden. The church here was destroyed in the Great Fire and rebuilt shortly after to the plans of Sir Christopher Wren. It was gutted again during the Blitz in 1940, leaving only the walls standing. In 1966 these were shipped to Fulton, Missour and restored as a memorial to Winston Churchill’s ‘Iron Curtain’ speech in that town in 1946.

The area was laid out as a public garden after it was acquired by the City of London in 1970 and is often quite full at lunchtime with city workers eating their sandwiches.

Shakespeare’s bust, by Charles Allen (1862 – 1956), is part of a memorial from 1896 to John Heminge and Henry Condell, fellow actors of Shakespeare who after his death in 1616 collected his works and published them at their own expense in 1623, thus making them available to later generations. Without them his work would have lost.

TQ32 – 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.


1986 Page 12

Thursday, June 25th, 2020
Leeke St, Pentonville, Camden 86-10c-44_2400
Leeke St, Pentonville, Camden

Page 12 of 1986 London Photographs

1986 was the year I began seriously to photograph the fabric of London, and the number of photographs on Flickr, 1,370 reflects this, although I took several times this number, mainly in a series of planned walks exploring different areas of the capital.

76-78, Caledonian Rd, Kings Cross, Islington 86-10g-11_2400
Caledonian Rd, Kings Cross, Islington

A few of those I’ve not digitised are near duplicates, though usually I only took a single image of each subject, often taking some time to consider the best viewpoint and sometimes waiting for people or traffic to leave me a clearer view. Although I was working on 35mm and almost always hand-held, my approach was generally like that of a photographer using a larger camera – and the 35mm Olympus shift lens gave me much of the flexibility of large-format camera movements.

Nat West Tower, Old Broad St, City 86-10e-61_2400
Nat West Tower, Old Broad St, City

I had tried using 4×5″ cameras, a first with a monorail and then with an MPP, but found them too restrictive. Heavy to carry any distance, slow to set up and even with several magazines and a small pile of dark slides I was very limited in how many exposures I could make in a session. The movements on the MPP were also fairly limited, and the Olympus shift lens was more useful for this. While I admired the quality of large format results – and tried at times to emulate it by using Kodak Technical Pan – it wasn’t practical (or affordable) for the kind of large-scale project I had embarked on.

Venus, Canonbury Rd, Islington 86-10k-64_2400-2
Venus, Canonbury Rd, Islington

Most of these walks in October 1986 were in Islington, where I walked around areas including Clerkenwell, Pentonville, Canonbury, Barnsbury, Highbury and Islington itself, though I think I occasionally strayed across the borough border into the City of London and Camden.

Bartlett Export Packers, Regent's Canal, Islington 86-10t-31_2400
Bartlett Export Packers, Regent’s Canal, Islington

I travelled on public transport, using either the North London Line or the Underground, and it was sometimes easier (or cheaper) to travel to stations outside the borough – such as Bank (then still ‘City’), still a ‘London Terminus’ of British Rail Southern Region until 1994. I didn’t often use buses, partly because it was still rather harder than now to find out where they might go.

St Agnes Place, Kennington, Lambeth 86-10c-66_2400
St Agnes Place, Kennington, Lambeth

There are also a few pictures from south of the river, around Walworth and Kennington, where we used to go to a monthly meeting with friends, arriving for Sunday lunch. I’d often leave early in the morning for a few hours of walking and photography before these meetings.

The pictures here are just a few of those I now find more interesting from the page, but there are many others worth seeing in the hundred that make up Page 12 of 1986 London Photographs.


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.


City to Finsbury

Thursday, June 18th, 2020
Blades, Hairdresser, New Bridge St, Blackfriars 1992 TQ3181-065

I found this head in a barber’s window on New Bridge St fascinating if rather revolting and made several pictures of it and a similar head in another of the shop’s windows. At £11.95 for Mens Shampoo Cut and Finish back then (£25 at today’s prices) this was an establishment catering for the relatively wealthy, though women may think it still a bargain compared with what they pay. The company which had a number of shops is still in business but not at this address.

The Queen's Head, Ludgate Broadway, 1992 TQ3181-070

Curiously this little area of central London remained largely as it had been left after the war when I photographed here in 1992. The Queen’s Head was left alone after bombing in 1940 destroyed its neighbours, the Blue Last pub, the Ventura Restaurant and a stamp dealer in Ludgate Broadway. Fifty two years later their empty spaces only in use for car parks. Although I’ve labelled it on the enprint as Ludgate Broadway, a sign on the boarding around the bomb site reads Blackfriars Lane, but the view continues down f Ludgate Broadway to Pilgrim St. The size of the tree in the bomb site gives some indication of how long this site has been empty, though I think the ground level was some way down on the other side of the fence. The red building in Pilgrim St is still there, the 1891 City Bank with a frontage on Ludgate Hill, and had recently been restored at the time of the picture. A year later Ludgate Court on its west side was renamed  Pageantmaster Court. The ugly block to the left of the City Bank has since been replaced by an even uglier one, but both this and the Old Bailey are no longer visible from where I was standing after the bomb site was redeveloped, I think around 2000.

B W Bellgrove, Meat, Eagle Court, Farringdon, 1986 TQ3181-010

Apart from the colour which seemed appropriate for the trade, I was certainly attracted by the painted brickwork around the door and the signs, both for ‘B. W. Bellgrove (Meat) Limited – Wholesale. Retail & Catering Butcher’ which seemed unusually explicit, and also for the street name, Eagle Court, which made the location clear. Eagle Court is a short distance to the north of Smithfield Market, and runs between Britton St and St John’s Lane.

Wells House, Spa Green Estate, Rosebery Ave, Finsbury, 1992 TQ3182-017

Designed by Berthold Lubetkin in 1938, the foundation stone was laid in 1946 and the scheme completed in 1949, the Spa Green Estate between Rosebery Avenue and St John St in Clerkenwell is perhaps the most complete realisation of the modernist approach to social housing and a power expression of the new welfare state. It’s special status, confirmed by Grade II* listing in 1998 has enabled the estate, which had begun to deteriorate as government policies turned against council housing and made it difficult for local authorities to properly maintain it, has enable the TMO now responsible to carry out internal refurbishments to modern standards (and in many ways the original was well ahead of its times) and to restore the exterior to reflect Lubetkin’s original vision.

Wigton House, Agdon St, Finsbury, 1992 TQ3182-019

Wigton House on Agdon St in Finsbury. The street used to be called Wood’s Close, but at the start of the 20th century was renamed Northampton St, and then in 1939 the Marquess of Northampton (whose Compton family were the local landowners) was asked to suggest a new name for it and suggested Agdon St after property his family owned in Warwickshire. Back in the middle of the eighteenth century people apparently used to gather here to travel with an armed escort into London because of the danger of being robbed.

This was the rear entrance to Wigton House, whose frontage was on St John St. It was built by John Laing & Son Ltd in 1936-8 as a speculative development and named after Wigton in Cumbria, the area where the company came from. The building was converted into flats shortly after I took this picture in 1992 and renamed Paramount House. The frontage on St John St was altered but this side remains clearly identifiable.

The album TQ31 London Cross-section contains many more pictures from the City and Finsbury as well as areas both to the south and north, all made in the 1km wide strip with Grid reference beginning TQ31, all made between 1986 and 1992.


Southwark & City – 1986 page 9

Monday, June 8th, 2020
Tower Bridge, River Thames, pier, Hays Wharf, Southwark 86-8z-21-Edit_2400


Page 9 of my album London 1986, black and white pictures taken of the city that year, begins briefly on familiar ground in Southwark, close to the OXO tower, before going on to Clerkenwell and Finsbury. Because of my rather odd filing system the two areas interweave before I return to Southwark and Bermondsey.

Laystall Street, Clerkenwell, Camden 86-8x-32-Edit_2400
A plaque above a hairdresser’s shop commemorates Guiseppe Mazzini, founder of Young Italy, a secret society formed to promote Italian unification. He lived in London at various times between 1840 and his death in 1872 to escape arrest on the continent.
Tower Bridge, River Thames, Hays Wharf, Southwark 86-8z-22-Edit_2400

I crossed Tower Bridge briefly and returned south of the river. The riverfront between Tower Bridge and Southwark Crown Court , opened in 1983, has changed completely since I took these pictures, though many of the pictures away from the river have altered relatively little – the George Inn was last rebuilt in after a fire in 1677.

Hays Wharf, Pickle Herring St, Southwark 86-8z-41-Edit_2400
Pickle Herring St, Southwark  86-8z-55-Edit_2400

Later I went to the City, wandering the area around Bank and towards the Tower with page 9 ending with a second picture of Pepys on Seething Lane.

Lombard St, City  86-8aa-21-Edit_2400

The City is also an area where many older buildings have been preserved, despite some notable losses, though most date from the nineteenth or early twentieth centuries, and most that I photographed are still recognisable. But the environment has been altered and many are now somewhat overwhelmed by gigantic towers.


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.


City, Whitechapel and Wapping 1986

Sunday, May 31st, 2020

Page 7 of my black and white work in 1986 London Photos begins in the City but then gravitates east to Aldgate, Whitechapel and Wapping.

Holborn Viaduct, Farringdon St, West Smithfield, City  86-7v-12_2400

Holborn Viaduct which carries the road over the Fleet valley – Farringdon St – is a remarkable piece of Victoriana, and a considerable feat of engineering at the time as well as well as a remarkable example of city planning. The scheme, which included the buildings at the four corners of the bridge as well as roads around including Holborn Circus, streets leading to Smithfield Market, as well as provision for gas, water, sewage and other services cost around £2 million in 1863-69 and has been described as “the most ambitious and costly improvement scheme of the [nineteenth] century” and as the world’s first flyover. You can read a detailed account of it at The Victorian Web.

What interested me most were the sculptures which adorn the bridge and I’ve photographed them on various occasions over the years. In 1986 I could only bring myself to stop taking pictures when I came to the end of a cassette of film and also photographed the bridge from below and the corner buildings. I’ve only put two of the 18 frames I took onto Flickr.

Smithfield Market, City 86-8r-45-Edit_2400

There are a number of pictures from the area around Smithfield Market, though I’ve never got up early enough to photograph the market truly in progress – and other photographers have done so pretty well so I didn’t feel I needed to make the effort.

Albion Buildings, Little Britain, City 86-8r-64-Edit_2400

Little Britain remains a fascinating street though now I think only the facades remain and the area behind has been destroyed. I came across it a little too late when demolition of much of it was already underway and by 1986 I think it was well advanced. These properties in Albion Place, for Overbury & Sons Limited at 7 and 8 and John Lovegrove & Co Ltd at 6 had long been closed.

Hessel St, Whitechapel, Tower Hamlets 86-8s-55-Edit_2400

Hessel St in Whitechapel was a remarkable street full of old shops, some now junk shops, others Bangladeshi grocers but with some still retaining the names and descriptions of their earlier Jewish shops. As well as these black and white picture I also photographed some of the shops in colour.

These pictures were made in August 1986 and I returned some time later hoping to take more but I think then most of the street had disappeared.

Prescot St, Aldgate, Tower Hamlets 86-8s-61-Edit_2400
Prescot St, Aldgate, Tower Hamlets 86-8s-64-Edit_2400

Prescott Street now looks a little different, though a number of the older buildings have survived, including a fine pub. But most are now in very different uses and in rather better condition than when I took these pictures in 1986.

Discovery Walk, Wapping Lane, Wapping, Tower Hamlets Discovery Walk, Wapping Lane, Wapping, Tower Hamlets 86-8s-23-Edit_2400

My street map describes this as ‘Ornamental Canal’ and I think that the redevelopment of the London Docks in Wapping is perhaps the least successful of all docklands redevelopment in retaining any real impression of the former dock with the exception of just a small area at its southwest and Shadwell New Basin. Wapping outside the dock area has fared a little better too, though it is sometimes only skin deep.

Page 7 1986 London Photos.


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 London 1986

Saturday, May 30th, 2020

The pictures on page 6 of my 1986 London Photographs were all taken in the City of London or close to its edges in Tower Hamlets and Finsbury and include a few of its better known buildings but are mainly less well-known streets and aspects that caught my attention.

P & O, St Botolph St, City 86-7o-45_2400

There is still a Beaufort House on St Botolph St, but it isn’t the same building. This one, dating from the 1950s with a nautical feel, was built as offices for the P & O shipping company. As I turned the corner and it hove into site it always gave me the impression of a huge liner with many deck levels that had somehow been marooned in the city.

Shortly after I took this and the other pictures on Page 6 it was demolished, with construction starting later in the year and completed in 1988 to an overblown postmodern design by RHWL Architects, a “distinctive office building” which many find hideous. In 2016 Amazon took around 47,000 square ft of its space in one of the largest office deals of that year.

Wentworth St, Aldgate, Tower Hamlets86-7q-64_2400

While many of these buildings are still there, often they have changed a little. Permutt Fashion Stores are no longer there at 11 Wentworth St in Petticoat Lane market, which is now ‘Queen of Textile’s’ with a rather curious apostrophe but without the advertising on the upper floors – though the rectangle above the first floor window with the name C PERMUTT when I took my picture is still there, but empty. A Permutt’s at number 13 is now a nameless Dry Cleaners and Tailors. The café at No. 9 is still a café and looks very similar but is now called Simply Tasty rather than being named for the Italian city of Vernasca, though it still appears to offer home-cooked food at reasonable prices.

Searching for more about A Permutt on the web reveals little other than that in 1934 there were bankruptcy proceedings at Carey St against an Abraham Permutt, trading as A Permutt & Co, a timber merchant in nearby Brick Lane. I don’t know if there was any connection with the A Permutt whose shop was in Wentworth St.

Nat West Tower, Tower 42, City86-7p-31_2400

The NatWest Tower is still there, though now longer called that, now known as Tower 42. Completed in 1980, it was the first skyscraper in the City, and still one of its taller buildings at 600ft. It has 47 floors, with 42 of them cantilevered out from a central core, and was renamed Tower 42 in 1995. The tower was extensively damaged by the IRA bomb in Bishopsgate in 1993 and required several years of work and after the refurb NatWest decided to sell it rather than move back in.

The picture shows two of the cantilevered sections. There are several walkways around the base of the building but all are private property and after I had taken several pictures I was approached by a very polite security officer who told me that photography was not permitted, showing me exactly where the boundary of the property was on the pavement and saying I could take as many pictures as I liked from there.

Worship St, Finsbury, Islington  86-7q-32_2400

Although much of the area has been destroyed, this fine row of properties on Worship St remains. The street was once called Hog Lane and there are at least two suggestions for the name change. One says it got its new name from a merchant tailor, John Worshop, who owned several acres of land in the area, while others suggest it was because the first houses on the street were built with stone from the old church of St Mary Islington.

This row of artisans workshops with living accommodation above replaced older slum properties on the site, possibly dating from before 1680. The area was owned from around 1740 by the Gillum Family and in 1862 Lieutenant-Colonel William Gillum commissioned leading Arts and Crafts architect Phillip Webb in 1862 to design this block as affordable properties for craftsmen in line with the ideas of honest handwork advanced by Webb and his colleague and friend William Morris. At the right of the row you can just see the V-shaped porch over a water fountain he incorporated into the design.

Finsbury Dairy, Sun St, Finsbury, Islington 86-7q-43_2400

13 Sun Street is now a part of the One Crown Place development which claims to have retained “the elegant row of Georgian terraces on Sun Street” as a boutique hotel and members’ club. It will perhaps have kept some elements of the facade, but I doubt if the diary will be recognisable. The whole length of the terrace which had been boarded up for years was covered with scaffolding in 2018.

Some London Dairies actually had cows in their backyards, but I think this one seems unlikely to have done so. More likely the milk would have come in churns from farms in the countryside, perhaps to the nearby Liverpool St station, on early morning milk trains.

Great St Thomas Apostle, City 86-7r-23_2400

Close to Mansion House station at the bottom of Garlick Hill is Skinners Lane. Skinners and their trade were important in London and the Worshipful Company of Skinners who have a hall in Dowgate Hill were one of the 12 great livery companies, getting their charter from Edward III in 1327. Back in 1986 there were still a number of fur companies still trading in the area, particularly in Great St Thomas Apostle, including Montreal Furs, just a few doors down from Queen St. Presumably its name indicates it was trading in fur skins from Canada, where trappers still operate cruelly supplying companies such as Canada Goose.

You can still see its rather finely decorated shopfront, now a part of Wagamama.

There are 100 pictures on Page 6 of my Flickr Album 1986 London Photographs


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.


1986 Complete – Page 2

Wednesday, April 22nd, 2020
Varden St, Whitechapel, Tower Hamlets 86-5d-11_2400

Images in this post are embedded from Flickr where you can view them at a large size by clicking on the image. You will need to use your browser back button to return to this post. Or you can right-click and select ‘Open link in new tab’.

My album 1986 London Photographs is now complete on Flickr, and this is the second of a short series of posts pointing out a few of my favourite images from the year.

Fashion St, Spitalfields, Tower Hamlets 86-4r-16_2400

Several things come out strongly to me as I look through these pictures, mostly taken around Brick Lane and other areas of Whitechapel. One of the major themes that has run through much of my photography is the writing on the wall, whether graffiti or signs and posters. Language is such an important aspect of our social interactions and its inclusion in these images makes them into a record of how people lived and thought.

Brick Lane, Spitalfields, Tower Hamlets 86-5a-01_2400

In 1984 London was rapidly becoming the multicultural city we now know, though of course it had been so on a lesser scale for many years if not centuries. Spitalfields where some of these pictures were made had long been a home for new communities moving to London and there was still abundant evidence of its Jewish population as well as the Bangladeshis who had by then largely replaced them.

Commercial Rd, Whitechapel, Tower Hamlets 86-5c-64_2400

Housing, then as now, was an important issue in London in particular, and some of these pictures reflect this and other issues such as racism. Although I think some of these pictures are well-composed and even attractive compositionally, I’ve always considered the formal aspects – line, shape, tone, texture, form etc to be the means to communicate a message rather than an end in themselves. I aimed to make photography that had something to say and said it well rather than to produce well composed, attractive or even striking or popular images.

Limehouse, Tower Hamlets 86-5h-66_2400

There are another 95 pictures on the second page of the album, all with a location, taken from the usually rather incomplete information I recorded on the contact sheets. I’ve tried to check these before posting, but corrections and other comments are always welcome. I’m happy for these pictures – with suitable attribution – to be shared on social media, but they remain copyright and any commercial or editorial use requires a licence from me.


My London Diary : London Photos : Hull : River Lea/Lee Valley : London’s Industrial Heritage : Flickr

All photographs on this and my other sites, unless otherwise stated, are taken by and copyright of Peter Marshall, and are available for reproduction or can be bought as prints.

There are no adverts on this site and it receives no sponsorship, and I like to keep it that way. But it does take a considerable amount of my time and thought, and if you enjoy reading it, please share on social media.
And small donations via Paypal – perhaps the cost of a beer – would be appreciated.


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1986 Complete – Page 1

Saturday, April 11th, 2020

Images in this post are embedded from Flickr where you can view them at a large size by clicking on the image. You will need to use your browser back button to return to this post. Or you can right-click and select ‘Open link in new tab’.

Commercial St, Tower Hamlets 86-2d-51_2400

My album 1986 London Photographs is now complete on Flickr, and this is the first of a short series of posts pointing out a few of my favourite images from the year.

Of course the 1370 pictures in the album are not all I took that year, but perhaps about a quarter or a fifth. Quite a lot more than I would have selected or shown back in 1986, but the content has aged well, even if sometimes the actual physical negatives have deteriorated. Images that might have seemed a little mundane when I first saw them on the contact sheets have often gained considerably in interest as historical records.

There is a little redundancy in those 1370, and I’ve sometimes included several pictures of the same subject, where I’ve tried different ways to approach it. But the great majority of subjects were treated to only a single frame.

Crosby Row, Southwark 86-4f-11_2400

Many of those not included still have interest and value as historical records, but preparing them to go on line is tedious and time-consuming, particular as some need quite extensive digital retouching after the ‘scanning’ stage – mostly done by photographing the negatives with a Nikon D810 and Nikon 60mm macro lens. Some of my negatives were damaged by minute insects in search of gelatine, leaving their track as they chewed their way across them and depositing their frass and occasional body parts and complete restoration isn’t always possible.

Reuter, Royal Exchange, City 86-4l-66_2400

I’ve also been having problems in getting even lighting at the negative edges. This isn’t a problem with mounted slides, where the image is cropped, but I want the whole image, and possibly the problem is with light diffusing from the clear film edges. But it does mean every frame needs correction in Photoshop – rather like the little bit of edge-burning we used to do under the enlarger.

Courtenay Square, Kennington, Lambeth 86-4q-45_2400

I was working on a number of themes at the time and as well as recording buildings that interested me was particularly interest in sculptures, shopfronts, shop window displays and trees in the city. The first page of pictures on Flickr (100 images) includes work mainly from Southwark, the City of London and Spitalfields.

Brick Lane area, Spitalfields, Tower Hamlets 86-4p-55_2400

I took very few pictures of people at this time, partly because I was rather shy, but more that I had been affected by some feelings being strongly expressed by some at the time about privacy and arguments that it was wrong to photograph people without first seeking their permission. I was never convinced by these, but they were off-putting, and I was sometimes shouted at when taking pictures. Perhaps more importantly I wanted to direct attention to the things being photographed, and was aware that people almost always steal the frame.

There are another 95 pictures on the first page of the album, all with a location, taken from the usually rather incomplete information I recorded on the contact sheets. I’ve tried to check these before posting, but corrections and other comments are always welcome. I’m happy for these pictures – with suitable attribution – to be shared on social media, but they remain copyright and any commercial or editorial use requires a licence from me.


My London Diary : London Photos : Hull : River Lea/Lee Valley : London’s Industrial Heritage : Flickr

All photographs on this and my other sites, unless otherwise stated, are taken by and copyright of Peter Marshall, and are available for reproduction or can be bought as prints.

There are no adverts on this site and it receives no sponsorship, and I like to keep it that way. But it does take a considerable amount of my time and thought, and if you enjoy reading it, please share on social media.
And small donations via Paypal – perhaps the cost of a beer – would be appreciated.