Posts Tagged ‘clerkenwell’

Lucky 13 – 1986

Friday, June 26th, 2020

I can’t quite work out why my album 1986 London Photographs spreads out its 1370 photographs over 14 pages, as there seem to be roughly 100 pictures on each of the pages I’ve bothered to count, but to my surprise Page 13 isn’t the last. But despite the superstitions about the number 13 it does appear to have a number of pictures I came across by luck as I walked around the streets, mainly in Islington and the City.

Barnsbury Terrace, Islington 86-10o-56_2400
6 and 7 Barnsbury Terrace

This pair of villas were built around 1840 are are locally listed. If you go there now you may find my picture surprising, as the pair are now more or less symmetrical, except for the additional second floor window above the recessed door of the right hand house. But it has gained the pilasters around the main windows on the ground and first floor and that on the second floor now has the three arches mirroring its neighbour.

I assumed when I took this picture that the rather stark appearance of the right hand house was probably due to a repair after bomb damage. There have been some rather more minor changes to the left hand house also.

Stone Frieze, Musgrove Watson, Battishill Street Gardens, Islington86-10p-33_2400
Stone Frieze, Musgrove Watson, Battishill Street Gardens, Islington

I made several pictures of this remarkable stone frieze which was installed here in the new Battishill Street Gardens which were opened by Sir John Betjamin in 1975. The gardens were a pleasant quiet place to eat my sandwiches when I was photographing in the area.

The frieze had been made by Musgrove Watson (1804-1847), best known for his brass reliefs around the base of Nelson’s column for the Hall of Commerce in Threadneedle St set up in 1830 by biscuit-maker and amateur architect Edward Moxhay as a rival to other places acting as exchanges for commercial information and the display of samples including the Royal Exchange, of Lloyd’s, the Baltic, Garraway’s, the Jerusalem, and the North and South American Coffee-houses.

Never as successful as Moxhay and other investors had hoped, the Hall of Commerce was demolished in 1922, but the bas-relief frieze from its frontage was saved at UCL, and presented by Sir Albert Richardson to Islington Council for their new garden in 1974.

Fleet St, Ludgate Hill, St Paul's Cathedral, City 86-11e-54
Fleet St, Ludgate Hill and St Paul’s Cathedral

It was only after the railway bridge across Ludgate Hill of the line leading north from Blackfriars was demolished that I realised that I had never set out to photograph what had been one of the archetypal London views of St Paul’s Cathedral.

The line between Ludgate Hill Station and Holborn Viaduct station which the bridge carried opened in 1866. Ludgate Hill station was closed in 1929 but only demolished around the time the line closed to rail traffic in 1969. The bridge remained in place until 1990 when a new line for Thameslink services was tunnelled underground below the old route.

I searched and found a few pictures, including this one, that showed the bridge from Fleet Street a short distance west of Ludgate Circus.

Hatton Place, Saffron Hill, Clerkenwell, Camden 86-11g-32
Hatton Place, Saffron Hill, Clerkenwell, Camden

Sir Christopher Hatton was  Lord Chancellor of England for Elizabeth I and his London Home was in this areagiving his name to Hatton Garden. Hatton Place is at the side of the Hat & Tun, which probably got its name from a ‘rebus’ for Sir Christopher, and Hatton Place was formerly Hat in Tun (or Hat and Tun) Yard. Back in 1871 it was described as one of the foulest smelling streets in London – and there was plenty of competition. The pub was renamed as Deux Beers Cafe Bar in 2000, but has since reverted to its former name.

I can find no explanation for the elephant head at No 13, which I presume was in some way related to the business then occupying these premises. The ground floor is now a jewellry shop and workshop but the floors above have been converted into flats and there is now a large window in place of the elephant.

Mural, Farringdon Lane, Clerkenwell, Camden 86-11g-54
Mural, Farringdon Lane, Clerkenwell, Camden

Farringdon Lane used to be called Ray Street, and the bridge over the railway here from where I took this picture is still called Ray St Bridge. There is now no trace of the mural on the wall. I think it depicted scenes from the history and industry of the area, including the Clerk’s Well and printing. I tried several times to photograph it in colour but somehow never managed to get the colours right, and prefer this black and white version.

Holborn Viaduct, City Holborn Viaduct, City 86-11i-11
Holborn Viaduct, looking down Farringdon St

Another photograph of the decorative statuary on Holborn Viaduct, looking down Farringdon St and the Fleet valley towards the River Thames.

Page 13, 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.


London 1986 – Page 11

Wednesday, June 24th, 2020
Temple Bar, Royal Courts of Justice, Strand, Fleet St, City, Westminster 86-9h-34_2400
Temple Bar, Strand

Page 11 of my album London 1986 has some of my favourite black and white pictures I took that year, at least in London, and is centred around the City of London, with pictures from its northen extremities in Moorgate, Smithfield and the Barbican and close to the City in the surrounding London Boroughs, particularly Islington, where my walks took me around Farringdon, Clerkenwell, Old St and Finsbury.

Atlas Paper Works, Newington Causeway, Newington, Southwark 86-9q-31_2400
Atlas Paper Works, Newington Causeway, Newington, Southwark

I drifted into Camden around Kings Cross, Lambeth close to Waterloo, Southwark at Newington and The Borough, Covent Garden, Temple and Strand in Westminster and Whitechapel and Aldgate in Tower Hamlets.

Wig & Pen Dining Club, Strand, Westminster 86-9h-35_2400
Wig & Pen Club, Strand, Westminster

Those who have been following the colour work I’ve posted in the series of slices through London will recognise a number of the places in these pictures, particularly in the album TQ31- London Cross-section which I’ve written about recently. One of them is the Wigt & Pen club on the Strand, still very much in business back in 1986, but which closed in 2003.

Lloyd's Diary, Amwell St, Kings Cross, Islington 86-9o-55_2400
Lloyd’s Diary, Amwell St, Kings Cross, Islington

Occasionally the black and white and colour versions show a similar viewpoint, but usually in black and white I was more concerned with documenting a building or place as a part of the city while the colour work was often more concerned with detail and particularly colour. The black and white is generally more of a document, more objective and the colour more personal, more of a response to the subject.

Frazier St, Lower Marsh, Waterloo, Lambeth 86-9r-11_2400
LowerMarsh, Waterloo, Lambeth

The routes that I researched and plotted were determined by my desire to try to document the whole of London, and to photograph its significant and typical buildings, streets, squares etc. I think it was largely for practical reasons that I did this in black and white, partly because of cost, but more that black and white was able to handle a much higher dynamic range than colour film.

King James St, The Borough, Southwark  86-10a-21_2400
King James St, The Borough, Southwark

But black and white back then was still the primary medium of photography, both in camera and in publication and exhibition. I’d worked for over 15 years primarily as a black and white photographer and almost all of my published work had been in black and white. Looking at the pictures now it is usually the black and white that still interests me most. Things have very much changed, particularly with the move to digital. I only work in colour and can’t ever see myself going back to black and white. And I seldom see black and white by other photographers – particularly not by younger photographers who have never really served their time with black and white – without thinking it would have been better in colour.

Page 11 of my album London 1986.

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.


More from May Days: 2016

Tuesday, May 12th, 2020

Clerkenwell Green was more packed than ever for May Day 2016, with the big attraction being a rally before the start of the march with Jeremy Corbyn as the main speaker, along with TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady.

While the event usually attracts little media attention, TV crews and photographers were out in force, with a crowd of photographers around the open-top bus from which he was speaking, and mobbing him as he arrived and left. The stewards became rather heated and there were some who threatened the photographers and a considerable amount of pushing from both them and the photographers. I was glad I had decided to keep well clear.

The march was much as usual, and I tried to photograph all the banners – and most of them are on My London Diary.

Having had the main speakers before the march started, the rally which followed was perhaps something of an anticlimax, though there was perhaps a wider range of speakers than usual having got the political big guns out of the way earlier. The event was enlivened by a colourful protest by Ahwazi Arabs against their repression over many years by the Iranian regime which has stolen their land and is trying to eradicate their culture.

I left for Altab Ali Park in Whitechapel, where the Bangladeshi Workers Council along with Red London, trade unionists, labour movement, political and community activists had organised a rally to commemorate and celebrate May Day.

 I met up with a small group from Class War at a pub in Aldgate and walked down with them to 1 Commercial St, the ‘Poor Doors’ tower block where the fourth in a series of anti-capitalist street parties organised by anarchists in East London was to start.

Several hundred turned up, some in fancy dress and others in black and the party got started. After partying and blocking Whitechapel High St the set off to protest elsewhere, first outside the sleazy misogynistic Jack the Ripper tourist attraction in Cable St, and then on to block Tower Bridge for a few minutes, where as well as the usual smoke flares we also get a show of fire breathing.

As they paused by the Southwark Council Offices in Tooley St I kept walking. I’d been on my feet for far too long and needed to rest on a train home. I had to take several days off before getting back to taking pictures.

F**k Parade 4: Ripper & Tower Bridge
Anti-Capitalist May Day Street Party
May Day Rally & Gonosangeet
May Day Rally
Ahwazi Protest at May Day Rally
May Day March
Day at Clerkenwell Green


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.


Our Lady of Mount Carmel

Friday, December 20th, 2019

London’s big Italian festival which takes place every July in the streets around St Peter’s Italian Church in Clerkenwell is alway an interesting event, and one that although it has changed over the years since I first photographed it in the 1990s, still retains much of the same atmosphere and feel.

I always enjoy both the procession and the festival that accompanies it, which is apparently a much more recent addition to the event. When the festival first began in the 19th century – and special permission was needed for this Catholic procession – the area around the church had a large Italian population.

Now that population has moved away, with many in the suburbs or outside London and Italian communities come to the event from places like Watford, Luton and Woking, and the Sagra provides them with something to eat and drink and to meet people they may only see once a year at the event. And to dance.

It also provides something of a day out for myself and a few photographer friends, who take advantage of the cheap and reasonably priced Italian wine and sometimes the food too. THough rather more the wine!

I was a little disappointed this year by the release of the doves, which for the last few years has been done by three clergy who were each given a dove to hold in their hands before releasing them more or less together. It was something they so obviously enjoyed. This year there were again three of the clergy, but all they did was stand behind the basket and watch as the lid was opened and the birds made their own way out.

It is always something of a challenge to capture the moment the doves fly, though I’ve usually managed to do so. It is of course made much easier with digital cameras, where you can use rapid sequences of exposures. Back in the days of film, few of us had motordrives, and we needed to wind on after each exposure. This meant you only had a single chance to get the picture, as by the time you had wound on the film the doves would usually have been high in the sky.

This year I took the picture with the Olympus E-M5MarkII using the 14-150mm lens at its widest setting, equivalent to 28mm. It was a bright sunny summer day and I set the camera to ISO 640 to get both a fast shutter speed to stop motion (1/400s) and a small aperture (f10) to get plenty of depth of field so that the background float with its statue of Our Lady would also be sharp. I say I set them, but in fact the camera was on ‘P’ setting and I simply checked it had suitable settings. As the moment approached I changed the camera into sequential shooting mode. I used the high setting which gives around ten frames a second.

One bird came out first and was several feet in the air before the other two emerged. The frame at the top of the post was my sixth and the last to show all three doves. There were I think 5 further frames with the last two doves, and the Exif data shows that I had taken 11 frames in just over a second. Using film I could have got at most two, though I would have hoped to get one that showed the peak of the action, I could well have missed it. Once the doves get going they can move extremely fast.

More pictures and text:
Our Lady of Mount Carmel
Sagra


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.