Posts Tagged ‘graffiti’

Fighting Brixton Gentrification – 2015

Thursday, April 25th, 2024

Fighting Brixton Gentrification – On Saturday 25th April 2015 the local community in Brixton held a day of activities to reclaim its social & cultural diversity, threatened by increasing rents and property development that are forcing out local businesses and residents.

Fighting Brixton Gentrification

I’d arrived early for main ‘Reclaim Brixton’ event in Windrush Square and first made my way to Atlantic Road where long-established local businesses were being forced out from the railway arches which line one side of the road. They were under threat from Network Rail who with support from Lambeth Council were carrying out a refurbishment programme which would result in their shops being closed and the rents for the shops after being three times as high, pricing the low cost local businesses out of the area.

Fighting Brixton Gentrification

All the stores were closed for two hours across lunchtime in protest, and mural artists had been invited to work on their metal shutters. In 2015 I wrote: ‘On Stella’s Exclusive Hair & Beauty Salon an artist was working on a mural for the United Families and Friends campaign, celebrating Cherry Groce, Sean Rigg and Ricky Bishop, all killed by Brixton police. All the shops on both sides of the arches were closed, and most had white sheets with the name of the business and a punning message about the evictions. Some of them have traded here for many years – Denmay Fabrics since 1948, and L S Mash and Sons have been fishmongers here since 1932. Their message to Network Rail – ‘Don’t rip the soul outta my place

Fighting Brixton Gentrification

Fighting Brixton Gentrification

Street theatre groups walked past on their way to ‘Reclaim Brixton’ some in exotic dress carrying cardboard homes and others with posters against the threat to Communities, Homes, Businesses from Lambeth Council.

I walked along to the gentrified Brixton Village, an extensive arcade between Atlantic Road and Coldharbour Lane, to find that police and security were keeping out protesters who, led by London Black Revs, had planned to go through the market in a peaceful march.

I found Class War at Brixton Station and walked back with them to Brixton Village, where other campaigners including some from the Ayslesbury Estate where I had photographed the previous day making their banner and other South London housing campaigners were arriving for the march.

Rather to my surprise the march when it finally started was a short and fairly direct one to Windrush Square, turning off Coldharbour Lane to enter the square via Rushcroft Road.

Close to the mansion flats which had been squatted for 32 years before residents were violently evicted in July 2013 people accompanying the long black banner of B.A.G.A.G.E (Brixton Action Group Against Gentrification and Evictions) with its message ‘Refuse to Move – Resist the Evictions – Support your Neighbours’ and others let off several red flares.

Windrush Square in front of the Tate Library and opposite Lambeth Town Hall was a few years earlier re-landscaped by Lambeth Council, who deliberately turned what had been a popular place for locals into a bleak and unwelcoming windswept area to discourage the informal gatherings that took place there.

Perhaps it was partly due to this that the event taking place there seemed to lack any real cohesion with various groups doing their own thing in different parts of the large area and largely ignoring the speeches and performances at the Unite Community stage.

After an hour or so with not very much happening, activists decided it was time for a march and took to the road blocking traffic and walked up Brixton Road.

They stopped for a while outside Brixton Underground, drumming and dancing and shouting.

Then they marched along Atlantic Road and rather to my surprise returned directly to Windrush Square along Coldharbour Lane.

Marcia Rigg, Sean Rigg’s sister, still fighting for justice for her brother’s killing by Brixton police in August 2008 and friend

I hung around for a while in Windrush Square where nothing much was still happening slowly and things seemed peaceful. I decided I had done enough for the day and left.

This was a mistake. Shortly after (probably when Class War came out of the pub) sthings kicked off and some people stormed and briefly occupied Lambeth Town Hall, a large window at Foxton’s estate agents was broken, and a few activists went into Brixton Village with banners.

Many more pictures on My London Diary:
London Black Revs ‘Reclaim Brixton ‘march
Reclaim Brixton celebrates Brixton
Take Back Brixton against gentrification
Brixton Arches tenants protest eviction

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St George’s Day 2005

Tuesday, April 23rd, 2024

St George’s Day – I’m not sure if I will be doing anything to celebrate St George’s Day today. Most of the celebrations around London seemed to be taking place on Sunday. I was planning to attend an event fairly close to where I live, but I started the day with one of my more impressive nose bleeds and decided to stay home rather than risk dripping blood over the streets.

Clink St, Southwark

So instead of pictures from a couple of days ago, today I’m posting some from 23rd April 2005, 19 years ago. I began that day with a visit to Tate Modern and a walk along to Clink Street where I photographed some stencilled graffiti -including one by Banksy – before crossing the river and heading to the celebrations taking place in Covent Garden.

St George's Day
‘IT HAPPENED ANYWAY’ – Millions on the street failed to stop the Iraq invasion

With the pictures is the rather tongue in cheek text that accompanied them in 2005 on My London Diary, edited to respect normal use of capital letters and any spelling errors. There are a few more pictures on My London Diary.

St George's Day

St George keeps busy as a patron saint of Canada, Catalonia, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Lithuania, Malta, Palestine and Portugal, as well as a number of cities including Moscow and Venice, a whole raft of trades including farmers and soldiers, as well as herpes and syphilis. It’s perhaps surprising he still has time for England, although until recently you would hardly have noticed it in any case.

St George's Day

St George Until recently was left to the nutters, football supporters and racists (three highly overlapping groups.) Those elites who run the country generally found patriotic display about Englishness rather beneath them – only our Celtic fringe and ethnic groups have a ‘culture’, the rest of us are too modern and intelligent for such primitivism.

St George's Day
London Town Crier Peter Moore talks to the President of the Royal Society of St George

Its the kind of thinking that led the Arts Council to refuse to support Morris Dancing, while pumping thousands into steel drums (as they should – but there is nothing wrong with supporting our English heritage as well.)

Pearly King and Queen

This year, the Royal Society Of St George (posh patriotic nutters with the Queen as their patron, started in our American colony around the 1770s) were organising celebrations in Covent Garden, and after a morning at Tate Modern I went to see.

Although I think Morris ought to be supported, I’m not a great fan of the dancers, though its OK outside the pub on a sunny day for half an hour a couple of times a year so long as I don’t have to take part.

The Moulton Morris, performing as a part of the event were more impressive than most, both for their costume and the dancing, and also for the half a dozen young people taking part. Somehow there seemed to be less beards and sandals than most sides.

More pictures on My London Diary

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Walking the Olympic Area – 2012

Sunday, April 21st, 2024

Walking the Olympic Area – Unless my memory has failed me (which it often does these days) the two day course I ran on Saturday 21st April 2012 and Sunday 22nd was my last formal teaching session. I think I have turned down a few requests to run workshops since as they are rather tiring.

Walking the Olympic Area - 2012

I can’t remember exactly how the course came about, but the venue was the View Tube, now run by Poplar HARCA for the local community, which had opened on the Greenway overlooking the London Olympic site in 2010, as a cafe and education centre. A set of bright yellow boxes it then had an upper floor viewing area overlooking the building site.

Walking the Olympic Area - 2012

I’d been photographing the area on and off since 1982 – and you can see many of the pictures I took on a web site, The Lea Valley. I think the course will have begun with me showing some of those pictures and talking about them before taking the participants out for some fairly short walks around Stratford and Stratford Marsh, or at least those areas still open to the public. The pictures here are all from the two days of the course.

Walking the Olympic Area - 2012

Travelling across London to the area I had to give myself plenty of time in case there were any travel delays, so I arrived well before the course was due to start on both days and was able to walk around and make a few pictures then.

Walking the Olympic Area - 2012

While leading the students around the area I was mainly involved with facilitating them making images, but did manage to make a few for myself, and I think I also stayed on a little after the day finished for some more.

On the Saturday we went along the southern edge of the site and into Stratford Westfield and up to the John Lewis viewing area before returning for a lunch break for the students when I made some panoramas close to the View Tube while eating my sandwiches. Parts of the area were quite crowded with others who had come to view the site. Fortunately there were considerably fewer on the workshop than in this picture.

After lunch I took everyone along the Greenway, into Fish Island, across Old Ford lock, down the towpath to Bow Flyover and then to Pudding Mill Lane station.

We met again on Sunday morning at Pudding Mill Lane station. Again I’d arrived early and had already made some pictures before the walk began up the Greenway to Hackney Wick, through Fish Island to White Posts Lane before returning over Old Ford Lock to the View Tube.

I had requested those taking part to work with digital images – and I think almost all had done so. Lunchtime gave them a chance to review the pictures they had made and we then were able to see and discuss the work, though unfortunately we could only see the pictures rather dimly as the teaching area, although it had a nice large touch screen, had no blinds on its windows.

You can see more of the pictures I made on the two days on My London Diary, including some of the panoramic images. All my pictures were taken on a Nikon D700 camera, I think all with the laser-sharp Nikon 16-35 f4.0 lens. The panoramas were made with the same lens, taking a series of 5-10 exposures and digitally stitching these together using PTGui software, probably the most powerful and flexible photo stitching application available. Photoshop now does a decent job with simple panoramas but has fewer options.

Panoramic images don’t display well on this blog, so apart from the one at the top of the post showing the View Tube you will need to go to My London Diary to see more. Most of those I took showing the actual Olympic site on these two days are panoramic.
Olympic Course Day 1
Olympic Course Day 2

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Pancakes, A Farm & Another London – 2007

Tuesday, February 20th, 2024

Pancakes, A Farm & Another London: My working day on Shrove Tuesday, 20th January 2007 began in Guildhall Yard in the City of London, where by permission of the Chief Commoner the Worshipful Company Of Poulters were holding their annual charity pancake races. The Poulters got their charter to regulate the sale of poultry and small game in 1368, but their pancake races are a rather more recent tradition, first run in 2005.

Pancakes, A Farm & Another London

Music for the event came from the Worshipful Company Of Musicians (1500), time-keeping was by the Worshipful Company Of Clockmakers (1631) and a starting cannon for each of the many races was provided and fired by the Worshipful Company Of Gunmakers (1637.)

Pancakes, A Farm & Another London

Although this is a charitable and fun event it fully demonstrates the competitive spirit at the heart of the city. More pictures on My London Diary.

Pancakes, A Farm & Another London

From Guildhall I rushed to another pancake event on the edge of the City, the Great Spitalfields Pancake Race at the former Trumans Brewery, arriving very out of breath just in time to see the finish of the final race and to photograph some of those who had taken part in fancy dress and the prize-giving.

Pancakes, A Farm & Another London

As I commented, “the atmosphere was considerably less restrained than in the City.More pictures.

From there a short walk took me on a visit to Spitalfields Urban Farm, one of a number of urban farms set up in the 70s and 80s (1978 in this case) on waste land. This area had formerly been part of a railway goods depot next to the line out of Liverpool Street. It now provides an environmental education and a great deal of enjoyment to people of all ages in the local community.

I was meeting with other photographers later in the day, and still had time to stroll in a leisurely fashion through Spitalfields to Shoreditch to catch the bus, making a few photographs on the way. Back then there was relatively little graffiti on the walls around the disused Spitalfields station and Brick Lane, but now its hard to find a square inch of wall not covered with it. I was photographing in a dark alley leading through to Bishopsgate when a hooded figure strolled past me. Despite the media stereotyping of ‘hoodies’ I couldn’t feel he was in the least threatening; if anything rather more like a monk. More pictures on My London Diary.

I met a group of photographer friends for a meal at an Italian cafe in New Malden and then we went on together to Kingston Museum, where the show ‘Another London‘ including my work along with that of Paul Baldesare and Mike Seaborne was then showing. Of course it closed years ago, but the web site featuring work from it is still on-line.

Pancakes, A Farm & Another London

As the introduction on the site states, the show features “the London of the suburbs, of its deprived areas and of its various ethnic groups” with work by myself an Paul “in the tradition of ‘street photography‘” and Mike’s panoramic urban landscapes some “using the viewpoint offered by the front seat of London buses.”

Another London

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Bonnington Square and Kennington Lane – 1989

Monday, November 13th, 2023

Bonnington Square and Kennington Lane – The final set of pictures from my walk on 19th July 1989 which began with Stockwell Park, Bus Garage, Tower and Mason. It continues from my post More From Stockwell & South Lambeth.

Bonnington Square, Vauxhall, Lambeth, 1989 89-7h-31
Vauxhall Grove, Bonnington Square, Vauxhall, Lambeth, 1989 89-7h-31

At the end of Langley Road I came to a remarkable area of Vauxhall. Built in the 1870s for railway workers Bonnington Square was in the late 1970s compulsorily purchased by the GLC who intended to demolish it and build a school. But one resident, a Turkish shopkeeper, took legal action to prevent the demolition and eventually the GLC gave up. Squatters moved in to occupy almost a hundred emptied properties, setting up a vegetarian cafe, a wholefood shop and bars and a community garden.

Bonnington Square, Vauxhall, Lambeth, 1989 89-7h-32
Bonnington Square, Vauxhall, Lambeth, 1989 89-7h-32

The squatters formed a housing co-op and eventually negotiated a lease and in 1998 were able to buy the buildings from Lambeth Council. Most are now still owned by low-rent housing cooperatives. A few are privately owned, I think including some where the GLC had not managed to get residents to move out. The gardens are still collectively run, as was the café.

Bonnington Square, Vauxhall, Lambeth, 1989 89-7h-33
Bonnington Square, Vauxhall, Lambeth, 1989 89-7h-33

The story is told in The Mavericks of Bonnington Square which also includes a 20 minute film produced around 2011 which gives an interesting view of the area and the incredible transformation made by those who moved in, and also includes many of their photographs from the early days. People had more or less to rebuild many of the properties and developed an incredible community spirit in doing so. The area is now described as a “botanical oasis hidden in the midst of Vauxhall” and includes two community gardens, one on an area destroyed by wartime bombing.

Bonnington Square, Vauxhall, Lambeth, 1989 89-7h-31
Bonnington Square, Vauxhall, Lambeth, 1989 89-7h-31

I went to Bonnington Square quite a few times, often taking a short wander through on my way from visiting friends who lived in a council flat close to the Oval to Vauxhall Station, not to take pictures but just because it was an interesting diversion if I had a few minutes before my train came, and I also went to some of the festivals there.

St Peters, Vauxhall, Kennington Lane, Vauxhall, Lambeth, 1989 89-7h-26
St Peters, Vauxhall, Kennington Lane, Vauxhall, Lambeth, 1989 89-7h-26

I often walked past St Peters Church and went inside a few times, including to a service led by a trendy young cleric in black leathers. Now I think worhips there is rather different. The Grade II* listed church built in 1863-4 was the first major town church by the renowned British Gothic Revival architect John Loughborough Pearson. It has magnificent interior and a fine exterior; shortages of cash meant the church was rather plainer than Pearson’s orginal plans, probably much to its advantage. The site was given free by the developer of Vauxhall Gardens on the provision that all seats in the church should be free and not rented. It has a fine acoustic and now hosts concerts as well as services.

Around the corner linked to the side of the church are the schools built a few years earlier (also designed by Pearson) to train local children to be draughtsmen and artists for Maudslay’s engineering works and Doulton’s pottery factory nearby. The wall at the left of the picture is of another building by Pearson, though you can see little of it in this picture, his St Peter’s Orphanage and Training College for the daughters of clergy and professionals and also Grade II* listed, now converted into flats as Herbert House.

Shops, Kennington Lane, Vauxhall, Lambeth, 1989 89-7h-25
Shops, Kennington Lane, Vauxhall, Lambeth, 1989 89-7h-25

A lively row of small shops is still present here on Kennington lane, although now rather less useful and perhaps a little more run-down. I stood regularly at the bus stop here for buses to Camberwell and Peckham as well as walking past on another longer route to see my friends or to take my cameras in for repair at Fixation down the road, and made a few photographs here over the years.

Window display, Kennington Lane, Vauxhall, Lambeth, 1989 89-7h-11
Window display, Kennington Lane, Vauxhall, Lambeth, 1989 89-7h-11

This was part of the window display in one of those shops in July 1989., including two Edward Weston posters of Clark Gable and Grouch Marx. The Marilyn Monroe image was her first of her to appear on the cover of LIFE on April 7, 1952, taken by Philip Halsman, and it was later published widely, including again inside LIFE in 1962 at the time of her death.

Happy Birthday Nicaragua, Harleyford Rd, Kennington Lane, Vauxhall, Lambeth, 1989 89-7h-24
Happy Birthday Nicaragua, Harleyford Rd, Kennington Lane, Vauxhall, Lambeth, 1989 89-7h-24

On the corner of a very busy traffic junction just yards southeast of Vauxhall Station this white wall was a good site for graffiti, though in my picture it is partly obscured by the street furniture. I think I chose the viewpoint to make sure that the message ‘Happy Birthday Nicaragua – 10 years of liberation – (and a long way from Thatcher)’ was clear.

The Sandinistas took power in Nicaragua in July 1979, ending long years of dictatorhsip by the Samoza family who had been put into power there by the US who occupied the country from 1912 until 1933. Thatcher was only prime minister from 1979 until 1990 but it seemed much longer and caused a decisive shift to the right and towards an emphasis on individual greed rather than social responsibility that continues to this day.

South Lambeth & Vauxhall 1989

Sunday, November 12th, 2023

South Lambeth & Vauxhall 1989: Yet again I’ve found some more pictures from my walk in South Lambeth on 19th July 1989, which began with Stockwell Park, Bus Garage, Tower and Mason. This time the pictures comefrom the end of the walk where I had wrongly remembered my route that day. I didn’t always develop films in the order in which they were taken and things sometimes got rather out of order in my files.

After taking pictures on Old South Lambeth Road I thought I had simply walked to Vauxhall Station without taking more pictures. But I now realise I had walked further up the South Lambeth Road an had then gone on to take some photographs in Vauxhall.

South Lambeth Library, South Lambeth Rd, South Lambeth, Lambeth, 1989 89-7h-66
South Lambeth Library, South Lambeth Rd, South Lambeth, Lambeth, 1989 89-7h-66

In a previous post I wrote about the library and linked to an article on Vauxhall History about the fights by people in the area on several occasions to keep their library open. Thanks to their efforts the library, in the heart of Lambeth’s Portuguese community, is still open five days a week, though doubtless it will not be long before Lambeth Council tries yet again to close and demolish it.

South Lambeth Library, South Lambeth Rd, South Lambeth, Lambeth, 1989 89-7h-51
South Lambeth Library, South Lambeth Rd, South Lambeth, Lambeth, 1989 89-7h-51

Despite the street name on the wall, South Lambeth Library is on South Lambeth Rd, and Wilcox Close is here simply a pedestrian way than runs along its southern side, with vehicle access to the houses in the Wilcox Cloase being from Kenchester Close, another street in the Mawbey Brough council estate built here in the 1970s – one of the times the community had to unite to save the library.

This picture concentrates on the highly ornamented frontage of the building. Particularly impressive are the decorated words TATE FREE LIBRARY.

South Lambeth Library, South Lambeth Rd, South Lambeth, Lambeth, 1989 89-7h-52
South Lambeth Library, South Lambeth Rd, South Lambeth, Lambeth, 1989 89-7h-52

A final picture of the library in this post shows more of the library building, which is only locally listed, which gives it no protection. In a previous post I suggested that this was because it had been considerably altered since it was built in 1888, losing the copper cupolas on top of its powers possibly to meet demand for metals in the war and also losing a fine porch, probably to allow road widening. Historic England seem to be very reluctant to list buildings which have been significantly altered.

Wheatsheaf Hall, Wheatsheaf Lane, South Lambeth, Lambeth, 1989 89-7h-55
Wheatsheaf Hall, Wheatsheaf Lane, South Lambeth, Lambeth, 1989 89-7h-55

Opened in 1896 as the Wheatsheaf Congregational Church Mission and used until 1939 as a mission hall, it claims to have been the first free public library in Lambeth, though possibly this was in the small villa on the site before this, as South Lambeth Library opened in 1888. The building was Grade II listed in 1975.

In 1980 Lambeth Council began proceedings to evict the then tenants Cinebuild to develop it as a tenant’s hall and community centre which opened in 1988 and continues in use “for community and business meetings, meditation groups, faith groups, council surgeries, rehearsal space, weddings, christenings, birthday parties and bingo.”

Wheatsheaf Hall, Wheatsheaf Lane, South Lambeth, Lambeth, 1989 89-7h-42
Wheatsheaf Hall, Wheatsheaf Lane, South Lambeth, Lambeth, 1989 89-7h-42

Another view of Wheatsheaf Lane and the hall, which still looks much the same now. The pub glimpsed at left was The Wheatsheaf, reflecting the agricultural nature of the area, parts of which were still fields when this was first opened. It is known to have been here in 1788, though this building is Victorian. It closed as a pub in 2017 and is now a Brazilian restaurant.

St Anne & All Saints, Miles St, South Lambeth Rd, South Lambeth, Lambeth, 1989 89-7h-44
St Anne & All Saints, Miles St, South Lambeth Rd, South Lambeth, Lambeth, 1989 89-7h-44

According to Vauxhall History, a chapel was built on this site in 1793 after much pleading from local parishoners who had to walk across marshland to get to St Mary’s Church next to Lambeth Palace. It was a dangerous route as this offered hiding places for robbers who would attack those walking through it.

They were allowed to build a private chapel and the cost of building was paid for by selling shares entitling those who bought them to seats in the chapel and leasing other seats. There were no free seats and the poor still had to cross the hazardous marsh.

Perhaps it was because it was a chapel for the rich and not the rapidly growing working class population of the area was that led to a fire which partly burnt the chapel down in 1856 and an incident of sacrilege of which details have not survived the following year.

In 1860 the Church of England decided to set up a separate parish of South Lambeth and to build a new church on the chapel site. They wanted to take over the chapel, and it took them 8 years to find all the shareholders and get the site conveyed to them. A slow process of rebuilding then began to turn the chapel into something more suitable for a parish church which was only completed in 1876 to the designs of architect R Parkinson. It was rebuilt again in 1958 after bomb damage in the Second World War.

The church was dedicated to St Anne probably as a tribute to Ann Beaufoy, the wife of George Beaufoy who had become head of the local vinegar factory in 1851 and had been one of the promoters of the new parish. It was his son Mark Beaufoy, who became MP for Kennington who chaired the meeting in his home in 1881 to found the Waifs and Strays Home, now the Children’s Society.

Behind the church is the tall tower block of BT’s Keybridge House on South Lambeth Rd, built 1975-7 and demolished in 2015. Few would mourn its passing but many wish its successor was rather better.

'SCHOOLS ARE PRISONS', Langley Lane, Vauxhall, Lambeth, 1989 89-7h-46
‘SCHOOLS ARE PRISONS’, Langley Lane, Vauxhall, Lambeth, 1989 89-7h-46

This was taken in Langley Lane but although the wall is still there the building behind it has gone and it is now just a car park at the rear of the imposing 5 storey block of the former LCC’s 1908 Lawn Lane Schools. Later this was Vauxhall Central Girls School which in 1957 this became one of two buildings of Vauxhall Manor Secondary School, a comprehensive 11-18 girls school. This merged with the Beaufoy School, a school for boys in 1983 to become the mixed comprehensive Lilian Baylis School, now on Kennington Lane The Lawn Lane building has now been converted to flats as ‘The Academy’.

A later post will I hope finish this walk with some pictures from Vauxhall.

Thames Path, Tradescants, Leake Street – 2014

Friday, November 10th, 2023

Thames Path, Tradescants, Leake Street – On Monday 10th November 2014 I went on a walk with some of my family in Lambeth, where my sister in particular was keen to visit the Garden Museum in the deconsecrated St Mary’s Church next to Lambeth Palace.

Thames Path, Tradescants, Leake Street

We began our walk at Waterloo station, making our way to the riverside path along by the Thames and walking west past St Thomas’s Hospital. A lttle beyond that in front of Lambeth Palace is a memorial bust of Violette Szabo, (1921-1945) standing on a monument to the SOE, the Maquis and the Norwegian resistance commandos, heroes of Telemark. Szabo, a Lambeth resident, was posthumously awarded the George Cross and the Croix de Guerre and was one of the 117 of the 470 agents the SOE sent to France who did not survive

Thames Path, Tradescants, Leake Street

On My London Diary I give some more detail about the setting up of this museum after Rosemary Weekes (later Nicholson) began her campaign to save the church and the fine tomb of father and son John Tradescant, 17th century plant hunters and royal gardeners in its churchyard as a Museum of Garden History. Her work together with her husband John Nicholson is commemorated in the garden with a plaque.

Thames Path, Tradescants, Leake Street

I posted a photograph of a sculpture commemorating the two John Tradescants – father and son – a few days ago in the post Old Clapham Road and South Lambeth – 1989 and wrote rather more about them later in another post on my 1989 walk, Tradescant, Old South Lambeth Rd and Caron, which began with a picture of houses on Tradescant Road, built on the site of their home in South Lambeth, and I’ll try not to repeat myself more than I need here.

Thames Path, Tradescants, Leake Street

The Tradescant tomb was first commissioned by Hester Tradescant, the widow of the younger John when he died in 1662 and had elaborate carvings depicting rather fancifully some of the specimens of various kinds from their travels in search for new plants around much of the world. These formed the basis of the first public museum in England – the Lambeth Ark – and were fraudulently stolen by a neighbour who pretended to support this who later presented them to Oxford University to establish the Ashmolean Museum.

By the mid-nineteenth century the original memorial was in very poor condition, probably attacked by the noxious acidic fumes from the many industries in the area, and in 1853 a replica was re-carved using limestone from Darley Dale in Derbyshire.

Also in the museum garden if the tomb of the notorious Captain Bligh of the Bounty, on whose ships the Tradescants brought back some of their plants. John Tradescant the Older had begun work as gardener to one of the wealthiest families in England and here there is a recreation of one of his Knot Gardens, based on designs for gardens at Hatfield and Cranbourne.

The museum is well worth a visit, particularly for keen gardeners, and has a pleasant cafe and of course a shop. The Tradescants also set up what was possibly the first garden centre a short distance away, though I think you would have then needed very deep pockets to buy any of their plants, many of which are now very common in our gardens.

We walked back through Archbishop’s Park, a public park with some fine trees and some green cyclists.

And came out on Lambeth Palace Road which has some modern buildings and a large metal sculpture, South of the River’ by Bernard Schottlander (b.1924) which was cast by British Steel in 1976 outside the offices at Becket House. As we went past the Lying-In Hospital (now just a frontage to a recent hotel) I found we had over 20 minutes before our train so I led our group down into Leake Street.

Although much of several parts of London are now covered with graffiti I think this tunnel remains the only officially sanctioned area for artists. I’d been there on various occasions but I think it was the first time the others in our group had been there

It wasn’t the fastest way to get into Waterloo Station, and took us to the far end from where our trains now run from the former Waterloo International platforms, but we still caught our train with time to spare.

Many more pictures from the walk and museum garden – including more graffiti – on My London Diary at Lambeth Walk.

Hiroshima, Arms Trade, Olympics & Green Jobs – 2009

Sunday, August 6th, 2023

Hiroshima, Arms Trade, Olympics & Green Jobs: August 6th is Hiroshima Day, and every year when I’m in London I try to get to the London memorial ceremony organised by London CND in Tavistock Square, and 2009 was no exception. But other events were also taking place that day, with a picket outside the offices of the company that organises the world’s largest arms fair and a rally to keep green jobs a wind turbine manufacturer. And between the last two I made a short visit to see what was happening to Stratford ahead of the Olympics.

London Remembers Hiroshima – Tavistock Square

Hiroshima, Arms Trade, Olympics & Green Jobs - 2009

The annual ceremony next next to the cherry tree planted there by the Mayor of Camden in 1967 to remember the victims of Hiroshima follows a similar pattern each year, though the speakers and singers change.

Hiroshima, Arms Trade, Olympics & Green Jobs - 2009

In 2009 events were introduced Islington MP Jeremy Corbyn and speakers included the then Mayor of Camden and who was followed by an number of others including Frank Dobson MP, Bruce Kent the Vice President of CND, sadly no longer with us and other peace campaigners.

Hiroshima, Arms Trade, Olympics & Green Jobs - 2009

Between some of the speeches there was music from socialist choirs. Raised Voices are a regular contributor and others have joined them in some years, in 2009 it was the Workers Music Association. Often a folk singer and poets contribute and at the end of the event people lay flowers at the base of the cherry tree before everyone sings together one or more of the protest songs including “Don’t you hear the H Bomb’s Thunder.”

Last year here on >Re:PHOTO I wrote the post Hiroshima Day – 6th August which looked at a number of these events from 2004 until 2017, with links to those in 2018, 2019 and 2o21.

More from 2009 in London Remembers Hiroshima.

Stop East London Arms Fair – Clarion Events, Hatton Garden

I left Tavistock Square in a hurry at the end of the ceremony to rush to Hatton Garden, where campaigners from ‘DISARM DSEi’ were picking the offices of Clarion Events in Hatton Garden, calling for an end to the Defence Systems & Equipment international (DSEi), the world’s largest arms fair, which Clarion are organising at ExCeL in East London next month.

The DSEi arms fair is a vast event, with over a thousand companies from 40 companies exhibiting and selling there lethal weapons. Among the buyers are those from repressive regimes around the world who will use them to keep control in their own countries. The arms trade results in millions of men, women and children being killed in conflicts around the world. According to UNICEF, in the ten years between 1986 and 96, two million children were killed in armed conflict and a further six million injured, many permanently disabled.

British companies are among those making high profits from equipment designed to kill people, and our High Street banks invest huge amounts in arms companies.

This was an entirely peaceful protest with a small group of people handing out leaflets to people passing by explaining to them what goes in an an office which appears to be for the diamond trade. Many stopped to talk with the protesters, surprised to find that our government backed and encouraged such activities. Government statistics show the UK’s global security exports as ranking third in the world, only behind the USA and China.

Although the only weapon carried by the campaigners was a small plastic boomeragn wielded by a young child, armed police watched them from across the road, together with other officers who took copious notes, although they seemed to show more interest in the four press photographers present, who were mainly just standing around talking to each other as there wasn’t a great deal to photograph. When the protesters left after an hour of picketing a police car drove slowly behind them as they walked to the pub.

More at Stop East London Arms Fair.

Olympic Site Update – August – Stratford Marsh,

Welcome to Hell’ says the graffiti at Hackney Wick – and it certainly looks like hell for photographers

I had a few hours to fill before the next event and had decided to go to Stratford to see how the area was being prepared for the Olympics in three years time. The actual site had been fenced off by an 11 mile long blue fence, but there were still some places where parts of the site could be viewed.

I went to Stratford and them walked along a part of the Northern Outfall Sewer which goes through one edge of the site. Part of this was completely closed to the public (and remained so for some years after the Olympics because of Crossrail work) but a public footpath remained as a narrow strip between temporary fencing north of the main line railway to Hackney Wick.

Security along this section was high, with security men roughly every 50 yards standing or sitting with very little to do, and the fencing made it impossible to get an unobstructed view. Later these temporary fences were replaced by impenetrable metal fencing and it became easier to take pictures. But on this occasion I could only really photograph the opposite side to the main part of the site where a lot of activity was taking place.

Even at Hackney Wick much of the Greenway was still fenced off, and I was pleased to come down into the Wick itself. Here I could photograph the stadium under construction from a distance, but rather more interesting was the graffiti on many buildings and walls facing the Lea Navigation.

Sadly much of this was cleaned up for the Olympics.

More at Olympic Update – August.

Rally For Vestas Jobs – Dept of Energy & Climate Change, Whitehall

I was back in Westminster outside for a rally outside the Department of Energy and Climate Change in Whitehall calling for the government to support wind turbine blade manufacturer Vestas based in Newport on the Isle of White.

It had started to rain before the rally started and was pouring by the time it finished, though those present listened intently to speeches from a Vestas worker, trade union speakers from the RMT, PCW and Billy Hayes of the Communications Workers Unions, as well as former Labour Secretary of State for the Environment Michael Meacher MP (top picture) and Green Party GLA member Jenny Jones, who arrived at the event by bicycle.

Vestas problems were very much Government-made and as I wrote a result of “its failure to put it’s money where its mouth is on green energy policies, relying on hot air rather than support for wind power and other alternative energies.

Things are even worse now, with a government driven by lobbying from the oil industry granting licences for getting more oil from the North Sea. The Rosebank field west of Shetland will totally sink any hope of the UK meeting its promises on carbon emissions.

More pictures at Rally for Vestas Jobs.

Venezuelan Gold, Democracy for Sudan and more

Thursday, February 23rd, 2023

Saturday 23rd February 2019 seems now a long time ago. Although it’s only four years ago it was in the pre-Covid era. It was a busy day for me.

Stop Trump’s Venezuela gold & oil grab – Bank of England.

Venezuelan Gold, Democracy for Sudan
Ken Livingstone

A protest outside the Bank of England calls for the bank to return the $1.3 billion of Venezuelan gold (31 tonnes) to the Venezuelan government and for an end to the US-backed attempted coup.

Venezuelan Gold, Democracy for Sudan
Trump and May hold up gold bars

Right-wing opposition leader Juan Guaido, illegitimately recognised by our government as President, has written to Theresa May calling for the funds to be sent to him. Among the speakers were former London Mayor Ken Livingstone and Kate Hudson of CND.

Venezuelan Gold, Democracy for Sudan

Venezuela’s 32 tons of gold are still held in the Bank of England, with the High Court’s latest decision in July 2022 based on the UK foreign secretary’s ambiguous statement about Maduro’s legitimacy as president refused to hand the gold back to its owners.

Venezualan Gold, Democracy for Sudan

More pictures at Stop Trump’s Venezuela gold & oil grab.

Sudanese support non-violent uprising – Trafalgar Square

Sudanese in Trafalgar Square support the peaceful protests in Sudan which began in December calling for democracy and for President Omar Al-Bashir to step down.

Eventually in April 2019 Al-Bashir was forced out of office, and later many of his supporters were sacked. But protests continued in Sudan against the military regime and following another coup in Octorber 2021 the country remains in conflict.

More pictures Sudanese support non-violent uprising.

Yellow Jackets continue protests – Westminster

Every weekend around this time a small group of Right-wing pro-Brexit extremists wearing yellow jackets were out protesting in Westminster for several hours, walking along the street and disrupting traffic, accompanied by a number of police.

They were angry at the slow pace at which Brexit was taking place and the failure of the EU to accede to every UK demand and play dead with its legs in the air. The Leave campaign had made great promises, none of which were achievable but which had conned the public into voting for it, and had stirred up a wave of xenophobia and racism – and this was one of its results.

Another was of course the election victory at the end of the year which led to Boris Johnson becoming Prime Minister – thanks to the help of Keir Starmer who effectively sabotaged the Labour Party’s vote. Johnson pushed through an agreement which apparently he hadn’t even read and which we are still seeing the problems from in Northern Ireland.

Although I voted to remain in Europe, I can see there were some valid complaints about our membership – but these were not what the Leave campaign was fought on. Instead they pursued a course based on lies and self-interest..

Yellow Jackets continue protests

Bolivians protests against President Morales – Parliament Square

Bolivians were in Parliament Square to protest against President Evo Morales, saying he is a dictator and accuse him of corruption and interfering with the court system to remain in power.

Morales was a labour leader and activist who became the first from the indigenous population to become president in 2006. Under his leadership there were huge gains in legal rights and social and economic position for the indigenous poor in the country.

Some of those gains were at the expense of the middle classes who had been used to ruling the country, and much of the opposition to him came from them and from their international friends, particularly in the US his opposition to neoliberalism as a dangerous example to other south American countries. Almost all press reports on Bolivia (and other countries) reflect the views of the urban middle classes rather than the people as a whole.

The constitutional question to some extent cut across communities in the country and although his standing for a fourth term as approved by the Electoral Tribunal it went against a 2016 referendum which had narrowly rejected by 51.3 to 48.7% of the votes. Like Brexit a slim majority.

Violent protests continued after Morales was forced into resigning in what his supporters called a coup d’état in November 2019, though others describe it as an uprising against his unconstitutional attempt to be president for a fourth term. Protests continued to get him reinstated and were met by violence from the security forces who were exempted from any criminal responsibility by interim president Jeanine Áñez.

A new election took place after two delays in October 2020, and resulted in a landslide victory for Morales’s Movement for Socialism (MAS) party now led by Luis Arce who was sworn in as President of Bolivia the following month. One of the new government’s first actions was to return a huge loan to the IMF taken out by Áñez in order to protect Bolivia’s economy from its unacceptable conditions.

In 2021 Áñez was arrested and in 2021 she and others were sentenced to 10 years for making “decisions contrary to the constitution”” and “dereliction of duty” for her role in the coup. Other cases are still being brought against some of those involved and protests against this continue.

Bolivians protests against President Morales

Leake Street graffiti

As I was approaching Waterloo Station I realised I had just missed a train home and would have to wait over 20 minutes for the next one so I decided to take a longer route through the tunnel under t he tracks coming out of the station to take another look at the graffiti there.

This is one of the few places in London where graffiti is allowed and encouraged, with space for some large and sometimes very intricate designs. Few last for long before they get painted over with new work, though those on the ceiling usually last a little longer.

More at Leake Street graffiti.