Posts Tagged ‘Greenwich’

Greenwich, Bikefest and the 1940s – 2004

Thursday, June 13th, 2024

Greenwich, Bikefest and the 1940s: Twenty years ago on Sunday 13th June 2004 I had a day out in London, beginning with a walk beside the Thames at Greenwich, then coming to Westminster for a bike festival in Trafalgar Square and then a rather peaceful ‘War in the West End’ in Leicester Square. You can find what I wrote then about all these a little way down the June 2004 page of My London Diary.

Greenwich to North Greenwich Walk

Greenwich, Bikefest and the 1940s

I’d decided to get up early on Sunday and take a walk by the River Thames in Greenwich. Unfortunately engineering work meant no trains were running there so I had rather a long bus journey from Waterloo to get there. At least there was little traffic to hold the bus up.

Greenwich, Bikefest and the 1940s

I began with a walk around the grounds of the former Royal Naval College, now Greenwich University before taking the path past the power station and along Ballast Quay an on.

Greenwich, Bikefest and the 1940s

The path was open to North Greenwich and I made my way along it. Some of the pictures I made are now difficult to locate as this whole riverside is getting replaced by blocks of flats.

I didn’t put many images on line in 2004, as most viewers were still on slow internet connections. Further on towards North Greenwich there is still – at least the last time I walked along here a couple of years ago – an aggregate wharf with huge piles of sand and gravel on the landward side.

One of the huge gasholders at Greenwich was still standing in 2004, since demolished, and across the river Canary Wharf tower for long the only tower on the site was now almost hidden by others sprouting around it.

Eventually I could see the Millennium Dome looming above the sand and gravel which I felt “perhaps looks more at home in this almost lunar landscape” and I knew I was not far from North Greenwich station where I could catch the tube to Westminster.

More pictures on My London Diary.

Bikefest – Trafalgar Square

Bikefest was the first bicycle festival in Trafalgar Square, but I was surprised to find that bicycles were not allowed on the square. Though perhaps they would have got in the way, but it would have been nice at least to have had some temporary secure bike parking.

Except of course those taking part officially in the event including Team Extreme performing on the half-pipe and some great cycle powered musical systems such as Rinky-Dink.

But I had agreed to meet one of my sons there and he managed to smuggle his unicycle in to the event. But by the time I found him he had already been hassled by the heritage wardens (who I described as ‘Ken’s SS’) but he still decided to have a go at riding in the fountains where he could not possibly be endangering the public.

But he had hardly got going when he was ordered out and made to leave the area, though he did so riding the unicycle after a few quick bounces to shake off the water.

I went back to watching Team Extreme and taking a few more pictures, although I found it hard to convey quite how extreme they were, before leaving to join the Second World War in Leicester Square.

More pictures begin here on My London Diary.

West End at War, Leicester Square

Westminster Council had organised a festival turning Leicester Square into 1940’s London for the weekend, going back 60 years to 1944.

Although 60 years ago bombs were still falling on Westminster and rationing made life difficult (though for the wealthy – and there were plenty in Westminster – the black market was flourishing) the West End was full of servicemen on leave and many servicewomen determined to have fun, “letting their hair down” in cinemas, on dance floors, in clubs, pubs and hotels.

I found the scene in the square rather sad, although obviously a lot of effort had been put into the displays and performances and there were a few 1940s dressed re-enactors among the crowds in modern dress.

60 Years earlier Allied troops had landed in France on D-Day to fight to reclaim Europe, but the previous Thursday we had seen a large vote here in the European Parliament election rejecting it with both Conservative and Labour votes well down and the Lib-Dems coming in 4th place behind the UK Independence Party.

Things of course got worse in 2016, when the leave vote gained a small majority over those wishing to remain. Although the vote was not binding, stupidly Tory Prime Minister David Cameron had promised to abide by it – rather than more sensibly pointing out that a major constitutional change such as this should require a substantial majority rather than a momentary electoral whim – as would surely have been the case if we had a written constitution. And for once a politician kept his promise.

The latest opinion poll (May 1st 2024) has 55% saying we were wrong to leave against 31% thinking we were right with 13% of Don’t Knows.

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Die-in against Greenwich cycle deaths – 2018

Friday, June 7th, 2024

Die-in against Greenwich cycle deaths: On Thursday 7th Jun 2018 Cyclists staged a die-in outside Greenwich Council offices in Woolwich Town Hall after three cyclist were killed by vehicles in the area in recent weeks, two by HGV(Heavy Goods Vehicles) trucks on the notoriously unsafe Woolwich Rd.

Die-in against Greenwich cycle deaths

Cyclists are vulnerable road users – as also are pedestrians. But while almost everywhere at least in urban areas we have separate pavements for pedestrians, most of the time cyclists have to share roads with cars and lorries. While all road deaths are tragic its important to keep things in proportion.

Die-in against Greenwich cycle deaths

Official statistics shows 462 pedestrians were injured by cyclists in 2022, compared to 437 in 2021 when one person is recorded as dying, and 308 in 2020, when four people were killed. The figures relate to deaths on roads and there are some other deaths and injuries on footpaths, cycle paths and elsewhere which are not included but the numbers are relatively small.

Die-in against Greenwich cycle deaths

Similar figures for pedestrians killed by cars have in recent years been between 346 and 470 with between 4 and 7,000 serious injuries. While around a hundred cyclists are killed by cars and over 4,000 seriously injured.

Die-in against Greenwich cycle deaths

The differences in numbers are huge and depend on various factors. But simple physics plays a part with the extra mass of cars and higher speeds of travel making them on average around 60 times more lethal than bicycles in collisions, and much more where traffic is fast moving and vehicles heavier.

Where pedestrians and cyclists share paths or other spaces there are still differences, but on a lesser scale, with cyclists typically only having around 15 times the energy of pedestrians due to their greater speed.

The government fact sheet states “Pedal cyclists are one of the vulnerable user groups. They are not protected by a vehicle body in the same way car users are, and tend to be harder for drivers to see on the road. They are, therefore, particularly susceptible to injuries.”

And it also notes that the figures for non-fatal casualties involving “pedal cyclists are amongst the most likely to be under-reported in road casualty data since cyclists have no obligation to inform the police of collisions.” Certainly the two incidents I can remember where I was knocked flying by cars whose drivers had failed to see me and where I clearly had right of way were not reported.

The greatest risk of cyclists being killed comes in collisions with HGVs. Reported collisions involving one car cause around four times as many deaths but there are roughly there are roughly 50 times as many as with HGVs and those with HGVs are roughly 15 times as likely to kill cyclists.

One of the speakers at this event in Woolwich spoke about the research he was involved in 37 years earlier on designing safer lorries. Few of the suggestions from this have been implemented, although things are slowly changing. But most HGVs are still unsafe with limited visibility and huge blind spots.

Other speakers talked about the failure of Greenwich Council to support the plans for Cycle Superhighway 4, allegedly because of the personal antipathy of the former council leader to Boris Johnson’s former cycling commissioner Andrew Gilligan. Since 2018 some progress has been made on what is now called Cycleway 4, though it still ends short of Woolwich. And others pointed out that air pollution, much due to road transport was a huge killer in London, causing an estimated over 9,000 deaths a year. We don’t just need safer roads but need to find ways to reduce vehicle usage.

More pictures at Die-in against Greenwich cycle deaths.

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All photographs on this page are copyright © Peter Marshall.
Contact me to buy prints or licence to reproduce.

Greenwich Walk – 2018

Wednesday, October 18th, 2023

Greenwich Walk: On Thursday 18th October 2018 I walked with two or three other photographers from North Greenwich Station to the centre of Greenwich and made the pictures in this post. You can see many more of them in a post on My London Diary, Greenwich Walk.

Greenwich Walk

Recently on >Re:PHOTO I’ve published a series of posts about my walks in London back in the 1980s, along with some of the pictures I took then which are now in my albums on Flickr. The most recent walk I’ve featured has been in Brixton and Stockwell and began with Stockwell Park, Bus Garage, Tower and Mason, and I’ve still to finish the posts on this, and will do so shortly.

Greenwich Walk

But I’ve continued to walk around London, if less frequently than before in recent years. My walks now are rather shorter in length and duration and are mostly together with a few friends, other photographers who sometimes lure me into pubs on the way (I’m easily tempted.) And we almost always end up with a meal together in one.

Greenwich Walk

Photographically things are rather different too. I don’t even always take any photographs and am no longer working on the kind of extended projects which I had back in those earlier days, recording the fabric of the city and in particular those areas undergoing substantial change – such as the whole of London’s docklands.

Greenwich Walk

Back in the 80s and 90s I always worked with at least two cameras, one with black and white film and the other with colour. So far I’ve included very little of the colour work in those posts here, in part because I was working on a different project with the colour. You can see more of the colour work in the online project initially put together as a dummy for an as yet unpublished book in the early 1990s, ‘Café Ideal, Cool Blondes & Paradise‘.

More recently several web sites have published features using mainly these colour pictures from my Flickr albums sometimes along with some of the black and white. The most recent of these is on Flashbak, ‘34 Photos From A Walk Around Tooting, South London In 1990‘. It puts together images from several visits to the area and includes a few black and white images of people on the streets, In the introduction Paul Sorene comments “What we love about Peter’s pictures is that he shows us the everyday things we saw but didn’t much notice. Now that we get to look again, things looks strangely familiar.” I think this is about the 12th set of my pictures on that site.

But now I only take one camera on my walks, and always work in colour as the camera is digital. I could easily switch the images to black and white, but have only done so extremely rarely.

The other large change for me is the ease with which I can now make panoramic views, no longer needing to carry a separate camera for these, just the right lens. Many of the images from my walk on Thursday 18th October 2018 are panoramic with a horizontal angle of view of around 145 degrees even though they have a ‘normal’ aspect ratio of 3:2 as they also have a large vertical angle of view. Just a few are cropped to a more panoramic format.

Finally, here is the paragraph I wrote about the area in 2018:

I first walked along here back in 1980, and have done so a number of times since, though in recent years much of the riverside path has been closed as the old wharves are being replaced by luxury flats. It is still an interesting walk, though it has lost virtually all of the industrial interest it once had. A River Thames that is rapidly becoming lined by new and largely characterless buildings is at times a sad state, but there still remain some liminal landscapes and surprising vistas.

Greenwich Walk on My London Diary

LSE Resist – Working Class, Kidbrooke & Cleaners

Friday, September 29th, 2023

LSE Resist – Working Class, Kidbrooke & Cleaners: in September 2016 then LSE research fellow Lisa McKenzie and a couple of students organised a series of discussions, films, lectures and exhibitions in the 3 day campus-wide 3-day free ‘Resist: Festival of Ideas and Actions’. The festival explored how political resistance is understood within academic research, the arts, grassroots activism campaigns, student debate and mainstream politics.

LSE Resist - Working Class, Kidbrooke & Cleaners

As a part of this festival LSE cleaners began a campaign for parity of treatment with other workers at the LSE. I had contributed some protest pictures to be used in publicity for the festival and attended some of the events on 28-29th September 2016.

LSE Resist - Working Class, Kidbrooke & Cleaners

The success of this festival was perhaps one of the reasons why Dr McKenzie was not given a further contract at the LSE. She has since worked at Middlesex University, Durham University and the University of Bedfordshire and is Board Chair of the Working Class Collective.

Working Class debate at LSE Resist – Wednesday 28th September 2016

LSE Resist - Working Class, Kidbrooke & Cleaners

There was a lively open debate around ideas of the working class at lunchtime on the steps in front of the LSE building in Lincoln’s Inn Fields led by LSE Professor of Anthropology David Graeber and Martin Wright of Class War with contributions from others including LSE research fellow Lisa McKenzie and Class War’s Ian Bone.

LSE Resist - Working Class, Kidbrooke & Cleaners

I arrived late, partly because the LSE then was a huge building site and the Facebook invitation to the event had included a map incorrectly suggesting it was taking place in Houghton Street, so unfortunately missed the some of the opening remarks by Graeber.

He was followed by Whitechapel anarchist Martin Wright, a working-class activist from East London who told us he was proud of his record of not working. He now regularly broadcasts his pithy comments on current affairs on the ‘Red and Black’ channel on You Tube.

Ian Bone, the founder of Class War, once described by the gutter press as the ‘The Most Dangerous Man in Britain‘ gave a typically witty and thought-provoking contribution.

And of course Lisa McKenzie spoke at some length and depth, and there was a great deal of discussion among the main speakers, with contributions from many of those sitting around on the steps, mainly LSE students. I took a great many pictures some of which you can see on My London Diary, but think I managed to keep my mouth shut and listen rather than speak.

More pictures at Working Class debate at LSE Resist.

Simon Elmer of ASH indicts LSE

The following day I was back on the same steps to hear Simon Elmer of Architects for Social Housing (ASH) give a lengthy and detailed indictment, ‘The Intellectual Bloodstain’ on a report by a group of LSE academics on Kidbrooke Village, a development by Berkeley Homes and Southern Housing, on the site of a council estate which was demolished between 2009 and 2012.

The Ferrier Estate had been built for the Greater London Council in 1968-72 on the site of a former RAF base. The first section had five 12 storey towers and three years later a second section six more were added. The estate had around 1,900 flats.

When the GLC was abolished in 1986 for having opposed the Thatcher government it was a sad day for London in general, with the capital being left without its essential city-wide authority, something it has not yet recovered from despite the setting up of the GLA in 2000. But for the Ferrier estate in was even worse news as the estate was transferred to the Royal Borough of Greenwich.

Greenwich made Ferrier a sink estate and failed to maintain the estate properly; its population were markedly multi-ethnic, including many refugees while most of the rest of the borough’s estates were predominantly white.

You can read Elmer’s talk in full on the ASH web site and it makes interesting reading. Perhaps the key fact is that the estate still had 1732 flats which were housing council tenants at social rents, but in the replacement Kidbrooke Village although there will be 4,763 new apartments, only 159 will be at social rent. Some of the others will be ‘affordable’, meaning at up to 80% of market rent, but that means completely unaffordable to those who previously lived there – or to almost all of the 15,000 on the council’s housing waiting list.

As a former member of Greenwich Council was quoted by Elmer as stating, ‘Ten years ago residents on the Ferrier Estate were told that they would have the right to come back. What Greenwich Council didn’t mention is that they would need to win the Lottery to do so.

Elmer uses the case of Ferrier to ague about a key tropes behind the LSE produced report, the idea of ‘urban villages’ and also points out some of the omissions and inaccuracies of the report as well as attacking their use of inadequate and often misleading concepts such as ‘human scale‘, ‘unique identity‘, ‘social interaction‘ (which means going to shop at Sainsbury’s), ‘locally driven‘, ‘mixed communities‘ and more as well as pointing out some simple lies lifted directly from the developers’s marketing book.

His report points out “the white elephant standing in the middle of the living room of every one of these luxury apartments – that is, their complete failure to meet the housing needs of the local community” and went on to look more widely at housing issues in the UK before concluding his talk by convening a People’s Court for the indictment of the LSE Four, listing four charges and calling for their suitable punishment “in the name of Architects for Social Housing and on behalf of the former residents of the Ferrier Estate.” I think they were unanimously found guilty.

At the end of the meeting Petros Elia, General Secretary of the United Voices of the World trade union spoke briefly about the failure of LSE management to protect the interests of the LSE cleaners in outsourcing them to a cleaning contractor with no insistence on decent working conditions and conditions of service and inviting all present to a meeting later that do to discuss further action.

More pictures at Simon Elmer of ASH indicts LSE.

LSE Cleaners Campaign Launch

Later on Thursday I went to the meeting where cleaners at the LSE began their campaign for parity of treatment with other workers at the university.

The cleaners, employed by Noonan on a LSE contract, are paid the London Living Wage, but have only the statutory minimum holidays, sick pay and pension contributions, while workers directly employed by the LSE have more generous terms. They also complain they have lost rest facilities, are not allowed in the canteen with other workers, exposed to dangerous chemicals, not allowed to use lifts to move heavy equipment between floors and are generally treated like dirt.

We were all shocked when one of the cleaners stood up and told how she had been sacked by Noonan after 12 years of service at the LSE. The UVW will fight her unfair dismissal as well as pursuing their other claims.

Others attending the meeting included most of the students from a new graduate course at the LSE on issues of equality, something the LSE has a long history of campaigning for outside of the institution but seemed rather blind to on its own campus. Support for the cleaners was expressed by the LSE Students Union General Secretary and by several LSE staff members, and Sandy Nicoll from SOAS Unison told the meeting about their 10 year fight to bring cleaners there in-house.

Several of the cleaners spoke in Spanish, and their comments were translated for the benefit of the non-Spanish speaking in the audience,

There were suggestions for further actions to improve conditions and fight the unfair redundancy, and I was to photograph some of these in the months that followed, eventually leading the them being taken back in-house as LSE employees in 2017.

More pictures at LSE Cleaners campaign launch.

Cycling Around the Isle of Dogs

Saturday, June 24th, 2023

Cycling Around the Isle of Dogs: Tuesday June 24th 2014 was a nice Summer day in London. Not too hot, with a maximum in the low twenties, and with a blue sky tempered by some nice clouds and just a few light showers to cool me down. For me it was an ideal day for a bike ride and also for making some panoramic images.

Cycling Around the Isle of Dogs

It was a while since I’d been to the Isle of Dogs, and there had been quite a few changes around there in recent years, so after an early lunch I put my folding bike on the train and made my way to Limehouse.

Cycling Around the Isle of Dogs

It wasn’t really a bike ride, more just using the bike to carry me and my camera around the area, stopping on my way to make well over two hundred panoramic images in the roughly two and a half hours it took me to get to Island Gardens, opposite Greenwich for the train home. Later I worked on these images, selecting around 90 to put on-line – a higher than usual proportion. But I do rather more thinking about panoramic images and they require rather more care, particularly to get the camera absolutely level to keep the horizon straight.

Cycling Around the Isle of Dogs

I posted them in two groups, Limehouse pans and Millwall – Isle of Dogs pans. All the images were converted using the PT Gui software implementation of the Vedutismo perspective (also called Panini) made popular by Canaletto and other Italian cityscape painters in the 18th century which allows a more realistic representation of extreme angles of view – something like 147 degrees horizontally in these images. These would be impossibly stretched towards the edges in a normal rectilinear view, which only works up to around 90 degrees.

Cycling Around the Isle of Dogs

You can see any of these images larger on the links given to My London Diary at the end of this post, or by right-clicking on any of them and selecting to view them. Rather than write more about the ride here, I’ll quote from one of the posts there:

When I first walked these streets there was virtually no access to the riverside, with wharf after wharf between Westferry Rd and the river until you came to the park (Sir John McDougall Gardens.) A footbridge led from the Barkantine estate – built to replace a heavily bombed area of densely-packed small houses. South of this you again walked along the busy street until there were a few empty wharves around the south of the Isle of Dogs.

Now you can walk mainly along the riverside, with only one working area blocking the path. But there are several other places where you have to divert, including one wall dividing social housing from its wealthy neighbours. There was also a temporary diversion in one area, though it wasn’t clear why.

Further on are fine views across the river to Greenwich, along with further diversions from the riverside, where several earlier developments did not include riverside walks.

My London Diary

The Thames is too wide here for a panorama to work well without some foreground interest, or cropped to a very narrow strip. At the end of the ride, I did make a few pictures from Island Gardens across the river with a rather longer lens. These are in a separate post, also linked below.

Limehouse pans
Millwall – Isle of Dogs pans
Greenwich from the Isle of Dogs

Climate Camp Blackheath 2009

Friday, August 26th, 2022

Climate Camp Blackheath 2009  - activists on the tube

Climate Camp Blackheath 2009 – On Wednesday 26 August 2009 I joined a group of climate activists who were gathering in front of Stockwell Underground Station in south London, waiting for directions to move to wherever that year’s climate camp was to be held. They were ‘Blue Group’, at one of six locations around London, waiting to get the secret instructions and move to the site.

We met by the memorial to Jean Charles de Menezez

It had been chosen as one of the meeting points because of what happened there on 22 July 2005. As I wrote, coming “up the escalator at Stockwell station it’s hard not to shiver at the memory of those videos showing Jean Charles de Menezes strolling down to catch his last train, and police coming though the gates in pursuit. There is a memorial to him outside the station, including a great deal of information about the event and the misinformation and covering up by police.”

People wait for instructions in Larkhall Park

It was a terrible mistake made by the Metropolitan Police and the officer in charge was rewarded for it by being put in charge of London’s police. She only recently lost that job after the London Mayor made clear that he had lost confidence in her, but a huge number of Londoners had lost confidence in her and the police in 2002.

On the DLR to Greenwich

After hanging around for while, we were told to go and sit in a nearby park and wait there, and we sat down and ate our sandwiches while some played games. Eventually at 2pm instructions came and we followed the leaders onto the tube, alighting at Bank and changing to the DLR, most still not knowing where the journey would end.

And eventually we reached Blackheat Common

By the time the DLR arrived in Greenwich the destination had become clear, and we left the station for the long walk up the hill to Blackheath Common, an area of common land with a long pedigree as a meeting place for rebels. Police seemed happy both at Stockwell and on the journey to watch the activists from a distance and as we walked past a police station they seemed to be in hiding.

Some rested after the walk up the hill

The common was the site where John Ball made his famous speech with his famous “When Adam delved and Eve span, who was then the gentleman?” and urged his peasant audience to “cast off the yoke of bondage, and recover liberty.” But the Peasant’s Revolt ended badly in 1381, with teenage King Richard II looking on as the priest was briefly hung and then carefully kept alive to watch his genitals and bowels being removed and burnt before he was beheaded and his body hacked into four pieces.

Jack Cade was a little more fortunate after his rebels camped here in 1450, as he was killed in a battle before he could be executed, but like Ball his severed head was displayed on London Bridge as a warning to others.

Others were busy working, setting up the fence, toilets etc

In 2009, the authorities rather stood back and watched, including from a helicopter hovering above as the camp was set up. As I commented, “With stabilised cameras the image quality should have been high enough for them to match the faces against their database (which of course they claim does not exist.)” Later they brought in a cherry picker to take pictures from, a considerably cheaper option.

Time for a meeting

I’d largely avoided photographing previous climate camps because of their ‘media policy’, which as I wrote “appears to be driven by a few individuals with paranoid ideas about privacy and a totally irrational fear of being photographed. It really does not steal your soul!” This stated that press photographers had to sign the policy and be accompanied while on the site by a minder.

Setting up tents

I didn’t have any problems wandering freely and taking pictures while the site was being set up, and met many people who welcomed me, having met me at previous environmental protests. And I was invited to return later to the camp as a member of the documentation team with a sash that allowed me to wander freely. So I came back two days later to take more pictures, and though there were a few people who made clear they didn’t want to be photographed I was generally able to work as normal.

Water pipes for washing and kitchens

There were no uniformed police on the site on my later visit – and as I noted, it “was almost certainly the most caring and most law-abiding part of South London, with no crime, no drugs and very little alcohol around.” The organisation of the site was truly impressive.

But shortly before I left I noticed that one of the police cameras on their cherry picker was following me as I walked around, and after I left the site I was “followed rather ineptly (perhaps deliberately so) by a young black man in plain clothes as I wandered around for the next 15 minutes, occasionally writing in his notebook. It seemed a waste of public money.”

Some anarchists left after 2 police came on site

I’d stopped for some minutes at several of the workshops that were taking place on my second visit, and had been impressed by the expertise of many, both those leading the sessions and some of those contributing to the debates. If people like these rather than the politicians had been in positions of power we would now be in a very much better place to avoid climate catastrophe, but unfortunately what we have seen is 13 more years almost completely wasted.

Capitalism IS Crisis

More pictures from Wednesday August 26th
Climate Camp: Blue Group Swoop
Climate Camp: Setup

And for an account and pictures from my day there on Saturday August 29th
Climate Camp: Saturday

XR, Hong Kong, Animal Rights & London – 2019

Wednesday, August 17th, 2022

XR, Hong Kong, Animal Rights & London

XR, Hong Kong, Animal Rights & London – 2019 Three years ago today, on Saturday 17th August I made a few journeys around London to photograph protests in Greenwich by Extinction Rebellion and Animal Rights marchers in central London as well as protests supporting Hong Kong’s Freedom marches and Chinese students opposed to them in Westminster.

Royal College and Thames with sailing barge from Greenwich Park, Greenwich. 1982 31p-44: barge, college, palace, river, Thames

My day taking pictures ended in Greenwich Park, where I made the picture at the top of this post, a view looking down the Queen’s House and the Old Royal Naval College and on towards Canary Wharf. I’d made a photograph from a very similar position in 1992 and the pair make an interesting comparison.

XR Rebel Rising March to the Common – Greenwich

XR, Hong Kong, Animal Rights & London

Supporters of South East London Extinction Rebellion met beside the Cutty Sark in Greenwich to march to a two-day festival on Blackheath Common, calling for urgent action on Global climate change.

XR, Hong Kong, Animal Rights & London

Blackheath Common has a long history of involvement in protest. It was here that around 100,000 anti-poll tax rebels gathered under Wat Tyler in 1381, and in 1450 that Jack Cade’s 20,000 Kent and Essex yeomen camped in their revolt against Henry VI’s tax hikes. Neither of these events ended well, nor did the several thousand Cornishmen killed and buried on the common after they rose up against taxes levied to fight the Scots 1497. The Chartists who met here also largely failed, but the Suffragettes did better.

XR, Hong Kong, Animal Rights & London

Ten years earlier, I’d come with Climate Camp to swoop to a secret destination which turned out to be Blackheath Common, and photographed the camp being setup and spent another day there as a part of the Climate Camp documentation team. But that too had failed to spur the UK into any really effective action, though perhaps more lip-service.

The situation by 2019 was clearly critical and Extinction Rebellion were calling on our and other governments to take the urgent actions needed to avoid the extinction of species including our own, and also for local councils to do everything within their powers.

Unfortunately I wasn’t able to stay with the marchers all the way to the festival ground as the march started late, waiting for the samba band to arrive. I had to leave them halfway up the hill and rush back down to the station for a train to central London.

XR Rebel Rising March to the Common

Stand with Hong Kong & opposition – Trafalgar Square

My train took me into Charing Cross and I rushed the short distance to Trafalgar Square where I found a rather confusing situation. It took me a few moments to realise that the first group of Chinese protesters I met were supporters of the Chinese government, but the number of Chinese flags they were waving was an undeniable clue.

There are many Chinese students studying at UK universities, providing a very useful source of finance to these institutions. Most of that money comes from the Chinese government or from families that are very wealthy from their Chinese businesses which depend on that government, and as they intend to return to China have no choice but to come and be seen showing their support for China.

I spent a few minutes photographing their protests, then moved on a few yards to a protest with a very different colour, dominated by yellow posters, banners and umbrellas of the Hong Kong Freedom Movement.

Eventually they set off to march down Whitehall, stopping to protest opposite Downing
St. The Chinese students followed them, but police largely kept the two groups on opposite sides of the road, with the Chinese supporters shouting to try and drown out the speakers opposite.

After a rally at Downing St the Hong Kong freedom protesters moved off towards a final rally in Parliament Square – followed too by some of the Chinese who continued to shout and mock them. But I left to go elsewhere.

Stand with Hong Kong & opposition

Official Animal Rights March 2019

I’d missed the start of the vegan Animal Rights march in Hyde Park, but met them and took some pictures as they came to Trafalgar Square, where they halted, blocking all the roads leading in and out of the square.

This march was organised by the vegan activist collective Surge and non-violent civil disobedience movement Animal Rebellion, who say animal lives matter as much as ours and call for an end to speciesism, and the misuse of animals for food, clothing and sport.

Some of the marchers wore t-shirts with the number 269, the number of a calf on an Israeli diary farm whose number Israeli animal rights activists branded themselves with in a 2012 protest after which 269life became a worldwide movement.

Official Animal Rights March 2019

Charing Cross to Greenwich & Back

Deptford Creek

For once my trains to Blackheath and back from Greenwich after photographing the central London protests both had reasonably clean windows, and I took a number of photographs on the outward and return journeys. Also in this section I included the picture from Greenwich Park at the top of this post, along with a couple of others from much the same position.

Charing Cross to Greenwich

XR Rebel Rising Royal Observatory Die-In – Greenwich

From Blackheath Station I rushed to the Rebel Rising festival on Blackheath Common, arriving just in time for the start of a march from the festival to protest at the Royal Observatory in Greenwich Park.

The march proceeded behind a black banner with the text asking the question ARE WE THE LAST GENERATION? Unfortunately at least for the younger members of the marchers, some of whom were in push-chairs the answer could well be YES.

At the Royal Observatory there was a die-in on the area in front of the gates, the site chosen to symbolise we have zero time left and that we need to act now on climate change. Some taking part had clock faces drawn on their faces and the protest was just a few yards to the east of the markers for the Greenwich meridian, zero longitude.

Many of the tourists passing the protest including those going in and out of the Royal Observatory stopped at least for a few moments on the crowded paths to watch and listen, and many expressed their support for the need to take urgent actions to avoid global climate catastrophe.

Rebel Rising Royal Observatory Die-In

More Deptford And A Little Greenwich

Tuesday, May 24th, 2022

My walk continued along Stowage where my previous post ended to St Nicholas, Deptord Green, and then south through Deptford.

Church Gate, Skull, St Nicholas, Deptord Green, Deptford, Greenwich, 1988 88-10f-54-Edit_2400
Church Gate, Skull, St Nicholas, Deptord Green, Deptford, Greenwich, 1988 88-10f-54

Playwright and spy Christopher Marlowe (1564-1593) was apparently killed in a house in Deptford on 30th May 1593 and buried in an unmarked grave in this churchyard at St. Nicholas’s Church. A web page, Death In Deptord gives the known facts and also various conspiracy theories. He had been arrested a week earlier on a charge of atheism, then a serious crime for which those found guilty could be burnt at the stake. Surprisingly he was granted bail.

He came to Deptford to escape the plague which was raging through London and was at a meeting in a private house there which is thought to have been a safe house used by government agents, and was dining there with three other spies, all connected with the secret service set up by Marlowe’s patron, Sir Francis Walsingham, to protect Queen Elizabeth from Catholic assassination plots.,

Surprisingly the lengthy Coroners Report by the Queen’s Coroner kept secret at the time was only rediscovered and published in 1925. It describes the killing as a result of a dispute over the bill and names his murderer – who was given a royal pardon 28 days later. Many have thought the inquest was a cover-up and that either the death was a planned assassination by the security services or that Marlowe was not killed but smuggled out of the country to escape his prosecution and possible burning for heresy.

Deptford High St, Douglas Way, Deptford, Lewisham, 1988 88-10f-45-Edit_2400
Deptford High St, Douglas Way, Deptford, Lewisham, 1988 88-10f-45

This shop on the corner of Douglas Way is still a Halal Butcher. There was a barbers until around 2016 in the shop on Douglas Way still with the perhaps unfortunate name of H Nicks, but that and the two further shops have changed hands and are now rather more colourful, with barbers Tuttii Fruitii, Divine Beauty Hair Salon and Good Friends Chinese Restaurant and Takeaway reflecting the vibrant multicultural mix of Deptford.

Deptford High St, Deptford, Lewisham, 1988 88-10f-34-Edit_2400
Deptford High St, Deptford, Lewisham, 1988 88-10f-34

The shop on the left, closed in 1988 is now Omed Uk Ltd, African Textile & Novelty, and Richard Stone Mans Store is now DAGE, Deptford Action Group For The Elderly but that on the right, though with a new sign is still in much the same business as Deptford Cobbler. The buildings appear to have changed little. Most times when I’ve walked along here since the street has been busy with market stalls, but these pictures were made on a Sunday morning when there was then no market.

Deptford High St, Deptford, Lewisham, 1988 88-10f-35-Edit_2400
Deptford High St, Deptford, Lewisham, 1988 88-10f-35

There was a pub here in 1788, though the street was then called Butt Lane. It was part rebuilt in the late 19th century with the frontage rebuilt at some time between 1868 and 1894. Originally called the Red Lion and Wheatsheaf it became The Distillery in the 1890s and at other times in the early twentieth century simply as the Red Lion. It reverted to its original name around 1930 and closed as a pub in 1961-2.

The Wenlock Brewery in Wenlock Road Hoxton owned a large number of pubs across London and was bought up by Worthington – part of Bass – in 1953 and closed in 1962.

Mumford's Mill, Greenwich High Rd, Greenwich, 1988 88-10f-22-Edit_2400
Mumford’s Mill, Greenwich High Rd, Greenwich, 1988 88-10f-22

I walked across Deptford Bridge and a short distance up Greenwich High Road to photograph Mumford’s Mill which is on the east bank of Deptford Creek. The Grade II listed silo with the date 1790 was a later addition to the site, added in 1897 and built in an elaborate Italianate style by one of the leading architects of the day, Sir Aston Webb, along with his partner Edward Ingress Bell who got his unusual second name from being born in Ingress Park a few miles down the river at Greenhithe.

The 1790 mill was possibly a tide-mill – and there is a tidemill site here on the west side of the Creek, for some years a neighbourhood park but now after a fight by local residents failed to save it being redeveloped for housing. The early mill was soon replaced by two early 19th century three storey stone grinding flour mills.

But by 1897 this was a state of the art flour mill, with roller mills powered by steam. In the 1930s it was bought by the Rank Group, founded in Hull by Joseph Rank who had set up the first modern flour milling business in the UK there in 1875 and milling was soon ended. Parts of the premises were used by various companies, but much was apparently empty for several decades until converted to residential use early this century.

Greenwich High Rd, Greenwich, 1988 88-10f-23-Edit_2400
Greenwich High Rd, Greenwich, 1988 88-10f-23

I continued up the Greenwich High Road to these two adjacent contrasting doorways just off the road in Burrgos Grove. Wellington House is 2 Burgos Grove while the property at right, in 1988 shared between Joule Electrical Ltd and the Inner London Probation Service is numbered as 34 Greenwich High Rd. Probably both properties date from the mid-19th century. No 34 was extensively rebuilt in 2012 but the doorway and facade were retained.

Deptford Broadway, Deptford, Lewisham, 1988 88-10f-24-Edit_2400
Deptford Broadway, Deptford, Lewisham, 1988 88-10f-24

I walked back to Deptford Bridge and west to Deptford Broadway. Now this would mean going under the Lewisham extension of the Docklands Light Railway, opened in 1999. Should you be here it is worth going up to the platforms of Deptford Bridge Station which gives some of the better views of Mumford’s Mill and other parts of the area, and taking the train north to Greenwich to see more of Deptford Creek.

The north side of the Broadway has a remarkable variety of architectural styles and includes a group of five houses at the right of this picture Grade II listed as a group at 17-21 consecutive, thought to be all of late C17 origin, though all much altered later. Next is Broadway House, dated 1927, followed at 13-14 by what is probably a late-Victorian property and then a fine piece of 1930 Art-Deco – in my picture ‘Antique Warehouse’ but built for ‘Montague Burton, The Tailor of Taste’. Unfortunately I was just a few months too late to photograph the Deptford Odeon, designed by George Coles in 1938, but demolished earlier in the year – and the billboard at extreme right was in front of its empty site.

To be continued in a later post.

Stowage, Deptford

Thursday, May 19th, 2022

Stowage, Deptford – Stowage is the place were things were stored and Stowage was from 1600 until 1782 a storage area for the East India Company who also built ships here. The name was not just for the street but for a wider area including the site of Deptford Power Station, the world’s first commercial-scale high voltage power station by Sebastian Ziani de Ferranti in 1889.

The Hoy, Deptford Power Station, Stowage, Deptford, Greenwich, 1988 88-10e-34-Edit_2400
The Hoy, Deptford Power Station, Stowage, Deptford, Greenwich, 1988 88-10e-34

The Hoy pub was open on the corner of Stowage at 193 Creek Road at least by 1840 but closed in 2008, becoming a café. Some reports say it lost its licence because of a large number of reports of drug use. It looked closed and unoccupied when I walked past a few months ago. Until the 1920s there were two pubs actually in Stowage, the Old George and the Fishing Smack, both open in the 1820s.
Stowage, Deptford, Greenwich, 1988 88-10e-36

The General Steam navigation Co Ltd established its shipyard on Stowage at the mouth of Deptford Creek in 1825, using it to build and maintain its paddle steamers. The site became part of Deptford Power Station for the Deptford East HP station which opened in 1953.

Stowage, Deptford, Greenwich, 1988 88-10e-26-Edit_2400
Stowage, Deptford, Greenwich, 1988 88-10e-26

The area has a long and interesting history. Stowage was the first base of Trinity House, who were close to St Nicholas’s Church at the west end of Stowage from 1511-1660 before moving to the City of London, and this was the location of the first Trinity House Almshouses. According to the entry in Pepys Diary for Friday 8 April 1664 he went with Sir William Batten, then the Master of Trinity House to see the new almshouses which were being built at Deptford. They were demolished around 1877.

Stowage, Deptford, Greenwich, 1988 88-10e-11-Edit_2400
Stowage, Deptford, Greenwich, 1988 88-10e-11

The walk District 45 created by the Royal Geographical Society is a fine introduction to the area and one I recently followed (with a few of my own additions) with a couple of friends. It is based on Charles Booth’s walk around the area with the local police in 1899 and you can read Booth’s notebooks on the LSE’s Charles Booth’s London web site (his handwriting is occasionally a little difficult) which provide some further notes to those in the RGS walk.
Stowage, Deptford, Greenwich, 1988 88-10e-13

In his notes, Booth described Stowage as “A stinking unpaved lane with wharves on north side until the bend is passed … occupied by a low rough waterside population. ” He went on to say “Most people living here work at one of the factories along the Creek. Besides the chemical works there are numerous business places employing a large number of ‘hands’. The Steam Navigation Company has a large yard in the Stowage.

All these works are busy and work is plentiful so that no man need be unemployed. Women work
in woodyard and laundry, girls in the tin factory or as ‘gut girls’ in the meat market cleaning the entrails of the slaughtered beasts
. “
Stowage, Deptford, Greenwich, 1988 88-10e-12

I walked along the short street on various occasions in the 1980s and 90s, and it seems to me that relatively little had changed, except there were rather fewer houses and people living on the streets. It was a street were there were often small groups of men who looked shifty and where I didn’t always feel able to stop and take photographs and where much that went on was perhaps on the edge of the law. Often there were fires burning and foul smoke, perhaps getting rid of rubber and plastic from various scrap metal objects.

Stowage, Deptford, Greenwich, 1988 88-10f-64-Edit_2400
Stowage, Deptford, Greenwich, 1988 88-10f-64

I wrote “It was also an area where anyone with a camera aroused suspicion, if not outright hostility. If you were lucky people just asked accusingly “You from the council?”, but there were others who made rather more direct threats. it was an area where there were dodgy deals, stolen cars and other things going on that it wasn’t healthy to poke your nose into. Most of the time I kept my Olympus OM1 under my jacket as I walked along.”

Stowage, Deptford, Greenwich, 1988 88-10f-65-Edit_2400
Stowage, Deptford, Greenwich, 1988 88-10f-65

Other photographers were less timid than me – and had rather different interests in the area. One I knew slightly was Jim Rice, and for his Deptford Creek project he got to know many of those in the area and made some striking portraits.

Stowage, Deptford, Greenwich, 1988 88-10f-51-Edit_2400
Stowage, Deptford, Greenwich, 1988 88-10f-51

Greenwich and Deptford Creek October 1988

Tuesday, May 17th, 2022

Caesars American Restaurant, Waterloo Rd, Lambeth, 1988 88-10e-55-Edit_2400
Caesars American Restaurant, Waterloo Rd, Lambeth, 1988 88-10e-55

I had spent several days wandering around Hackney in the previous months and decided it was time to go back south of the river and picked on Deptford for my next walk. I’d decided to get a train from Waterloo East to Greenwich as my starting point, but arrived in to Waterloo with some time to spare and walked briefly along Waterloo Road. You won’t find Caesars there now, its place taken by a vape shop and Tesco Express.

Norman Rd, Greenwich, 1988 88-10e-56-Edit_2400
Norman Rd, Greenwich, 1988 88-10e-56

I took the train to Greenwich Station and came out onto Norman Road which is on the east side of Deptford Creek. There are still some industrial sites here but the area to the north shown in my photograph now has tall blocks of flats both on the creek side (to the left of my picture) and on the right. There was no access to the Creek here.

Posters, Norman Rd, Greenwich, 1988 88-10e-41-Edit_2400
Posters, Norman Rd, Greenwich, 1988 88-10e-41

The area around Deptford Creek now has many artists studios, but back in 1988 I wasn’t expecting to see this kind of display in the area, and it wasn’t at all clear whether this was a result of fly-posting followed by vandalism or art, though I inclined to the latter. It certainly had become art by the time I photographed it.

Deptford Creek, Creek Rd, Deptford, Greenwich, 1988 88-10e-44-Edit_2400
Deptford Creek, Creek Rd, Deptford, Greenwich, 1988 88-10e-44

Finally on Creek Road I was able to see the creek itself, looking across to Deptford from the Greenwich end of the bridge. In the distance is the spire of St Paul’s Deptford. Tall blocks built around 2017 on Copperas Street now block that view.

Deptford Creek, Creek Rd, Deptford, Greenwich, 1988 88-10e-45-Edit_2400
Deptford Creek, Creek Rd, Deptford, Greenwich, 1988 88-10e-45

Walking across the bridge gave me this view of the Deptford side. Creek Road Bridge is a lifting bridge and in 1988 often caused severe traffic delays in the area when lifted at high tides to allow vessels to pass. I think bridge lifts are now rare, though at least until recent years they were still occasionally needed to allow vessels carrying aggregate to berth at Brewery Wharf just below the bridge on the Greenwich side.

In the distance you can see the Deptford Creek Railway Bridge which was also a lifting bridge, though of very different design. I understand this is now welded in place and incapable of lifting.

Deptford Creek, Creek Rd, Deptford, Greenwich, 1988 88-10e-46-Edit_2400
Deptford Creek, Creek Rd, Deptford, Greenwich, 1988 88-10e-46

Although Deptford Creek forms the boundary between Deptford (in the London Borough of Lewisham) and Greenwich for much of its length, the area around its mouth from a little south of Creek Road as far west as Watergate Street in Deptford is in the London Borough of Greenwich, including the whole now former site of Deptford Power Station. Both sides of the Creek were industrial in 1988, though the last of the three power stations had ceased operation in 1983, and it was spectacularly demolished in 1992. The first station, designed by Sebastian de Ferranti and opened in 1889 was the world’s first ‘central’ power station, operating at high voltage and on an unprecedented scale and closed in the 1960s.

Deptford Creek, Creek Rd, Deptford, Greenwich, 1988 88-10e-32-Edit_2400
Deptford Creek, Creek Rd, Deptford, Greenwich, 1988 88-10e-32

Much of the Deptford side of the Creek north of Creek Road was occupied by scrap metal dealers and in 1988 this brick building at Crown Wharf was the offices of London Iron & Steel Limited.

Deptford Creek, Creek Rd, Deptford, Greenwich, 1988 88-10e-33-Edit_2400
Deptford Creek, Creek Rd, Deptford, Greenwich, 1988 88-10e-33

The Creek turns west after going under Creek Road, then around to the north to enter the RIver Thames. There is a large pile of scrap on the wharf in front of the disused power station and Turbulence, a general cargo vessel, 1426 tons gross built in Selby, Yorkshire in 1983 is moored there. Large heaps of sand and gravel are at an aggregate works on the Greenwich bank, though previously there had been a gas works here.

Today the scene is entirely different, with large residential developments on both sides of the Creek, at Millennium Quay on the west and New Capital Quay on the east. A new footbridge joining the two across the mouth of the Creek was opened in 2015. This is a swing bridge which also occasionally has to be opened to let vessels pass at high tide.

My walk continues in a later post.