Posts Tagged ‘Clapham’

Richmond and Clapham

Tuesday, May 25th, 2021

Oak House, Old Palace Place, King St, Richmond, 1988 88-1a-53-positive_2400
Oak House, Old Palace Place, King St, Richmond, 1988

I went to Richmond fairly often fairly in my youth some 25 years or so before I took these pictures, sometimes on my bike, on the 37 bus from Hounslow Garage or by car with a friend from school who had a part-time job and could afford to run a Morris Minor. On the bike I would generally ride around Richmond Park, and I took my first cassette of black and white film mainly of the trees there, sending them away to be processed and getting back 36 crinkle-edged black and white enprints. D & P cost something like 17s11d (around 90p) and it was several years before I could afford to take another film. The prints were a dull grey, with no trace of either white or black, but even well-printed they would have been of no great interest.

Flooding, River Thames, Richmond, 1988 88-1a-62-positive_2400
Flooding, River Thames, Richmond, 1988

When we went together in my mate’s car, often with a third friend, it was to sit with a cup of coffee on the terrace of a coffee bar, watching the girls go by while our coffee cooled. I doubt we could ever afford more than a single cup, and certainly none of us had the nerve to talk to any of those passing girls. Richmond at the time was full of young foreign au-pairs, all rather older than us.

Flooding, River Thames, Richmond, 1988 88-1a-02-positive_2400
Flooding, River Thames, Richmond, 1988

I think most of my bus journeys were made on my own, visiting the Palm Court Hotel to listen to jazz in the bar there, standing making a pint of bitter (probably Red Barrel or Worthington E – I then knew no better) last and last as I couldn’t afford another. It was always a rather lonely evening, with little conversation – though occasionally some older man would attempt to pick me up but I wasn’t interested. But there was some truly great music from the likes of Bobby Wellins.

Flooding, River Thames, Richmond, 1988 88-1a-01-positive_2400
Flooding, River Thames, Richmond, 1988

Later, in my thirties, I would visit Richmond regularly, having joined the photographic society there and made a few friends who shared some of my photographic interests. Club photography was in general tired and formulaic and had little to offer, but became used to doing my own thing often to the derision of the majority of the members. I still remember the frisson of revulsion when a visiting judge for an inter-club competion not only praised my entry but awarded it one of the prizes.

Flooding is frequent at Richmond, where the Thames is still tidal (though a half-lock prevents it draining out completely at low tide) and there are always motorists who ignore the warning notices. I think it comes up over parts of the towpath most months during Spring Tides. These pictures were taken in March when I had probably come on one of my regular visits to a couple of second-hand bookshops that often had decent photographic books in stock at a time when these were rare. Many were review copies, probably never reviewed but sold to the dealers as one of the perks of a poorly-paid job. I decided if ever I became a book reviewer (which eventually I did) I would never sell copies, and I didn’t though there were some I gave away, but many more I refused to take.

Heath Terrace, Wandsworth Rd, Silverthorne Rd, Clapham, Lambeth, 1988 88-3a-01-positive_2400
Heath Terrace, Wandsworth Rd, Silverthorne Rd, Clapham, Lambeth, 1988

Once a month we came to visit friends in Kennington, arriving for lunch on a Sunday, and I would often travel up earlier than the rest of my family and spend some time walking around and taking pictures, and I think this may have been taken on one of those mornings. I think I will have chosen this angle on the ornamented Heath Terrace carefully, not just to show the 4 white chimneys of Battersea Power Station at left, but also the rather Lego-like tower block at right, and choosing to put a concrete post at the right edge.

Heath Terrace is still there, though I think now entirely residential, and I’m not sure you can still see the power station, certainly not in summer when Streetview is on its rounds, as that small tree has grown considerably. The concrete post, which I assume was a lamp post as well as holding some other sign has disappeared.

Clapham Manor St, Clapham, Lambeth, 1988 88-3a-04-positive_2400
Clapham Manor St, Clapham, Lambeth, 1988

This Grade II listed building at 42 Clapham Manor St is now home to the London Russian Ballet School and Kids Love Lambeth. It was built in 1854, architect by James Thomas Knowles Snr, as the Clapham General Dispensary for the ‘The Clapham Sick Poor Fund’ formed in 1849 and provided free medical and surgical services for almost a century, closing in the early 1950s.

In 1959 the building was used by the London County Council for industrial training for people with special needs. It later became a pre-school playground and adult education centre, which I think it was at the time of my photograph. Shortly after in 1989 it became empty and suffered some fire damage which led to considerable internal rebuilding. Still owned by Lambeth council, it became a taxi training school until 2005-6 when the council sold the building and its considerable premises at the rear. For some years it was in illegal use as ballet studios, with this being made legal in 2013.

James Thomas Knowles Snr (1806-1884) designed the building free of charge and it was paid for by public subscription. As well as its architectural merit is is listed as one of the earliest provident dispensaries to survive in London.

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

More from Battersea & Clapham, 1988

Wednesday, April 7th, 2021

I often went to Battersea in the 1980s though more often to look at and discuss photographs at the Photo Co-op which was based in Webbs Road than to take pictures. I wasn’t deeply involved but became a regular attender when they set up a ‘Men’s Group’ to look at issues around gender from a male perspective, though I don’t think I contributed much to it.

Altenburg Gardens,  Battersea, Wandsworth, 1988 88-2e-32-positive_2400
Altenburg Gardens, Battersea, Wandsworth, 1988

I was a little put out when the Photo Co-op changed its name to Photofusion and moved to more extensive premises in Brixton, though I did usually attend openings there and contributed quite a few pictures to its photo library.

With its new name and much improved premises it became a larger and less intimate organisation – and it’s location was also less convenient for me, with a half hour bus journey rather than a ten minute walk from Clapham Junction. And although London buses are generally very frequent (and in most respects now much improved) I spent too much time waiting at a draughty bus stop in Brixton on my way home after openings.

Gardens,  Battersea, Wandsworth, 1988 88-2e-33-positive_2400
Battersea Library, Altenburg Gardens, Battersea, Wandsworth, 1988
Battersea Library, Altenburg Gardens,  Battersea, Wandsworth, 1988 88-2e-34-positive_2400
Battersea Library, Altenburg Gardens, Battersea, Wandsworth, 1988

This charming Arts & Crafts style reference library by Henry Hyams was built in 1924 for the Metropolitan Borough of Battersea, adjoining the older library building and was Grade II listed in 1983.

Lavender Hill, Battersea, Wandsworth, 1988 88-2e-23-positive_2400
Lavender Hill, Battersea, Wandsworth, 1988

Although several properties in this picture were for sale, there is no estate agents on this stretch of street and I think it is hard to find one in my pictures of the area. Walking up Lavender Hill more recently it seemed hard to find a shop that wasn’t an estate agents, which seem to be about the only profitable businesses left in London. Huge rises in property prices and increased mobility due to gentrification have created an enormous expansion in this area.

Wandsworth Rd, Newby St, Lambeth, 1988 88-2e-13-positive_2400
Wandsworth Rd, Newby St, Lambeth, 1988

Unless you ride a bike it’s easy to forget that parts of London are quite hilly as this slope down towards the River Thames from Wandsworth Rd in Clapham demonstrates.

Bingo, Wandsworth Rd Snooker Centre, Clapham, Lambeth, 1988 88-2e-12-positive_2400
Bingo, Wandsworth Rd Snooker Centre, Clapham, Lambeth, 1988

Built in 1909 it was one of at least 24 Temperance Billiard Halls in South London built for the Temperance Billiard Hall Co. Ltd, founded in Pendelton Lancashire. Like most or all of those in the early years it was designed by Norman Evans, and there are other examples nearby in Clapham High St and Battersea. Despite this alcohol-free start, the building later became a bar and even a night club.

Until a few years ago it was Rileys, offering a Bar with Pool and Snooker tables. In 2015 the building was gutted, retaining its facade with a rather ugly plain block replacing the rear of the building, now a hotel. It’s something of a mystery how planning permission was obtained, although unlike several others, this hall was not listed. Probably the panels across its frontage shown in my picture were part of the reason for this, and at least the conversion to a hotel has revealed or provided an unencumbered aspect, even if it is only a brick or two thick.

Thomas Memorial, Church of the Nazarene, Temperance Billiard Hall, Battersea Rise, Battersea, Wandsworth, 1988 88-2d-25-positive_2400
Thomas Memorial, Church of the Nazarene, Temperance Billiard Hall, Battersea Rise, Battersea, Wandsworth, 1988

Another Temperance Billiard Hall in Battersea, also unlisted. Again it is no longer a Billiard Hall and is now a pub, with a rather large new building behind. It remained in use as a busy snooker hall until the mid 1990s, open – and usually busy – 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Converted as the Faraday and Firkin, a brew-pub, which opened in 1997, it later became O’Neills and is now The Goat.

The front of the church at left partly dates from 1823 when the building was owned and lived in by local merchant William Mellersh who enlarged it from a cottage dating from the 1750s. In 1858 it became the home of the Wandsworth District Board of Works who extended and embellished it, naming it Mellish House, there were further additions behind but it still became too small after Battersea gained its independence from Wandsworth in 1888 and they built a new town hall on Lavender Hill.

Still owned by Battersea, it served various purposes including being home to the Boy’s Brigade and the YMCA from 1890 until 1915. It was then bought by the International Holiness Mission founded in 1906 by Battersea drapers and pentecostalists John and David Thomas and was renamed the Thomas Memorial Church after David Thomas died in 1938. The IHM joined the Church of the Nazarenes in 1953. A major internal refurbishment was begun in 2011 with the church closing and reopening, still as a Nazarene church but known as Fresh Ground London.

More in 1988 London Photos.


Tuesday, June 2nd, 2020
Shop, Brixton Hill, Brixton, 1991TQ3074-001

Back in 1986 I began a serious attempt to photograph London. Serious but not entirely credible I set out the photograph the whole of the city. Of course I never thought I could photograph everything, but set out a number of principles or themes that would govern my project, or rather a series of projects that I continued to work on for the next ten or 15 years.

Streatham High Rd, 1990 TQ3071-002

The larger part of this work was in black and white, and concentrated on buildings and streets, the physical infrastructure of London, with the goal of photographing every built structure I thought significant, as well as representatives of the typical across the city. You can see a little of this on Flickr in the album 1986 London Photographs, which contains over 1300 photographs, perhaps a third of those I took in the first six or seven months of the project.

Heads & Dummy, Shop,Streatham High Rd, Streatham, 1990TQ3072-010

In colour I was largely concerned with a more intimate level, or how individuals arranged their surroundings and how this reflected their differing social and cultural values. Some of the more obvious reflections of this came in small businesses with the face they displayed toward the public, particularly in shop windows and interiors, which feature strongly in this work.

Bedford Rd, Clapham, 1992 TQ3075-025

The previous year I had abandoned colour transparency and moved to working with colour negative film which provided much greater flexibility. For some years this was entirely trade-processed, and to cut costs (I had a young family to support) I used cheap processing companies aimed for the amateur market. Technically these were rather variable (even from the same company) and the prints I received back, usually 6×4″ ‘enprints’, were extremely variable in quality.

Shop, South Lambeth Rd, South Lambeth, 1989 TQ3077-005

As the stack of fat envelopes containing the negative strips and prints grew I wondered how to make some order of them, and came up with the idea of a traverse of the city with pictures filed together representing a number of ‘vertical’ north-south 1km wide strips of London based around the National Grid.

Cafe, Plato Rd, Brixton, 1989 TQ3077-009

Prints from negatives that interested me were then filed in a series of A4 files, labelled with the first 4 digits of the six figure grid reference which I had begun to mark on the prints. The pictures in this post are all from ‘TQ30’, and the 1km wide strip starts at Streatham and goes north from there. I started scrap book style, pasting the prints onto cartridge paper, but soon moved to using plastic file pages which held four prints on each side, arranging the prints roughly in order of their ‘northings’ in kilometre squares.

From these albums – a longish row of A4 files on my shelves – I was able to select images that were worth printing larger, keeping costs down by printing and processing in my own home darkroom. I’d discovered that Fuji colour paper not only gave cleaner looking prints but enabled the kind of dodging and burning that I’d become used to in black and white without the unwelcome colour shifts of other papers. I’ve had one set of prints from a show in the mid-80s framed on the wall beside the stairs since that show. They are out of direct sun and 35 years later show little of no sign of fading.

Bicycle, Shop, Kennington Lane, Vauxhall, 1989 TQ3078-005

I began putting images from this project on Flickr several months ago, and at the start tried to replicate the layout of the albums – and the vagaries of the prints in terms of colour balance, exposure, saturation etc. Having done several 1km strips like this I’ve decided it doesn’t really work to well, and although I’m still scanning the prints in their sheets of four have separated them into individual images – still roughly in the same order – for TQ30. And while some of the defects of those trade-processed prints are still evident (and occasionally rather a lot of dust on the plastic sleeves) I’ve tried to improve the colour balance etc where necessary. But they are still showing enprints enlarged on screen and this makes some problems more visible.

So far I’ve put just over 100 prints into the album TQ30, from Streatham to Westminster, with another 250 or more to follow, taking the ‘slice’ north to Hornsey. You can view them on 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.