Posts Tagged ‘Hammersmith’

Nakba, NHS, Gitmo etc & Tamils

Wednesday, May 18th, 2022

NakNakba, NHS, Gitmo etc & Tamils – Saturday 18th May 2013 was another busy day for protests in London and I covered a number of demonstrations.


End Israeli Ethnic Cleansing – Old Palace Yard, Westminster

65 years after 700,000 Palestinians were driven out of their homes as refugees in the ‘Nakba’ (catastrophe) when the state of Israel was created, Palestinians and their supporters protested outside parliament calling for an end to the continuing ethnic cleansing and a boycott and sanctions until Israel complies with international law.

There had been protests in Jerusalem earlier in the week on Nabka Day against the continuing sanctions against Palestinians that have crowded them into an ever-decreasing area of land, diminishing almost daily as new Israeli settlements are created and new restrictions placed on the movement of Palestinians. Many of those protesting in London from Jewish or Palestinian backgrounds and as usual these included a group of extreme orthodox Neturei Karta Jews who had walked down from North London; they see themselves as guardians of the true Jewish faith, and reject Zionism.

The speeches were continuing when I left to cover another event. More at End Israeli Ethnic Cleansing


London Marches to Defend NHS – South Bank to Whitehall

On the opposite side of the River Thames thousands were gathering by the Royal Festival Hall to march against cuts, closures and privatisation of the NHS, alarmed at the attack by the government on the principles that underlie our National Health Service and the threats of closure of Accident and Emergency facilities, maternity units and hospital wards which seem certain to lead to our health system being unable to cope with demand – and many lives put at risk.

Nine years later we are seeing the effect of these policies with ambulance services unable to cope with demand, lengthy delays in treating people in A&E, delays in diagnosing cancers leading to increased deaths and more. And although it was only a matter of time before we had a pandemic like Covid, and exercises had shown what needed to be done to prepare for this, the NHS had not been given the resources to prepare for this, leading to much higher death rates than some comparable countries.

Part of the problems of the NHS come from disastrous PFI agreements pushed through under the Labour government, landing NHS trusts with huge debts that will continue for many years. This forced NHS trusts into disastrous hospital closure plans, some of which were defeated by huge public campaigns. Many of those marching were those involved in these campaigns at Lewisham, Ealing, Charing Cross, Hammersmith, Central Middlesex, Whittington and other hospitals around London.

I left the march as it entered Whitehall for a rally there. More at London Marches to Defend NHS.


Guantánamo Murder Scene – US Embassy, Grosvenor Square

London Guantánamo Campaign staged a ‘murder scene’ at the US Embassy on the 101st day of the Guantánamo Hunger Strike in which over 100 of the 166 still held there are taking part, with many including Shaker Aamer now being forcibly fed.

More at Guantánamo Murder Scene.


More US Embassy Protests – US Embassy, Grosvenor Square

Other protesters outside the US Embassy included Narmeen Saleh Al Rubaye, born in the US and currently living in Birmingham, whose husband Shawki Ahmed Omar, an American citizen, was arrested in Iraq by American forces in 2004 and turned over to Iraqi custody in 2011. He was tortured by the Americans when they held him and was now being tortured by the Iraqis and also was on hunger strike. She has protested with her daughter Zeinab outside the US Embassy for a number of weekends and on this occasion was joined by a small group of Muslims who had come to protest against Guantanamo, appalled by the actions of the US waging a war against Islam and Muslims.

Shawki Ahmed Omar is still held in Iraq; before he died in 2021 former US Attorney General Ramsey Clark recorded a video calling for his release which was posted to YouTube in with the comment by another US lawyer “This case is one of the greatest miscarriages of justice in recent United States history. It is a case where the US government essentially lied to the US Supreme Court to cover up torture and to be able to turn an American citizen over to people who they knew would torture him.”

A few yards away, kept separate by police, a group of supporters of the Syrian regime, including some from the minor Communist Party of Great Britain (Marxist-Leninist) was also holding a protest in favour of the Assad regime and against western intervention in Syria.

More at More US Embassy Protests.


Tamils protest Sri Lankan Genocide – Hyde Park to Waterloo Place

I met thousands of British Tamils and dignitaries and politicians from India, Sri Lanka and the UK as they marched through London on the 4th anniversary of the Mullivaikkal Massacre, many dressed in black in memory of the continuing genocide in Sri Lanka. Many wore the tiger emblem and called for a Tamil homeland – Tamil Eelam.

Although it was a large protest, with perhaps around 5,000 marchers I think it received absolutely no coverage in UK media, and I seemed to be the only non-Tamil photographer present. Tamils were rightly disgusted at the lack of response by the UK, the Commonwealth and the world to the organised genocide that took place in Sri Lanka, of which the massacre at Mullivaikkal four years ago was a climax.

The march had started from Hyde Park, and I caught up with it on Piccadilly and went with it taking photographs to Waterloo Place where there was to be a rally. But it had been a long day for me and I left just before this started.

More at Tamils protest Sri Lankan Genocide.


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After Christmas – Brentford to Hammersmith

Tuesday, December 28th, 2021

After Christmas – Brentford to Hammersmith was one of our more interesting walks in London to walk off our Christmas excesses in recent years. For once I’m not sticking religiously to my usual practice and this was three years AND one day ago, and the four of us set out on 27th December 2018.

Often in recent years we’ve gone away in the period after Christmas to visit one of our sons and his family in Derbyshire, with some great walks in the areas around where they have lived, and there are pictures from these on My London Diary, but in 2018 my other son and his wife were staying with us and came for this walk.

Public transport in the period between Christmas and New Year is at best restricted and rather unreliable, and 2018 was no exception and this always limits our starting point. Even for this relatively local walk what would have been just a short direct train meant taking the train to Twickenham and then catching a local bus to Brentford. And on our return trip again a bus took us back to Twickenham for the train home. It meant less time for walking and we had to abandon the idea of actually going inside Chiswick House in order to complete the relatively short walk of 5-6 miles before it got dark.

Brentford, and particularly the Grand Union Canal where we began our walk is now very different from how I remember it – and indeed since I first went back to photograph it in the 1970s. Commercial traffic on the Grand Union came more or less to an end in the early 1970s. What was once canal docks and wharves by the lock where boats were gauged and tolls charged the sheds have been replaced by rather uglier flats and a small marina.

Walking by the canal towards its junction with the River Thames there are areas which still look much as they did years ago, and some rather more derelict than they were then. This is a side of Brentford invisible from the High Street but with much of interest. Probably in the next few years this too will disappear as gentrification advances.

Shortly before the lock leading to the Thames, the River Brent which is here combined with the canal runs over a weir to make its own way to the main river. There are still working boatyards in the area around here, though a little downstream more new flats and a part of the Thames Path here was closed and a short diversion was necessary.

We continued along past new riverside flats and a new private footbridge to the recently revivied boatyard on Lot’s Ait to an area of open space which was a part of the old gas works site, then along the riverside path past more new flats to Kew Bridge and Strand on the Green. Here it was warm enough to sit in the sun and eat our sandwiches before leaving the river to walk to Chiswick House Gardens.

I’d planned to get here for lunch, perhaps spending an hour or so going around the house and then perhaps a drink in the cafe, but there was no time thanks to the rail problems, so we briefly visited the toilets before heading on to St Nicholas’s Church and Chiswick riverside.

From there it was a straight walk by the river to Hammersmith Bridge, arriving around sunset with some fine views along the river – and then the short walk to the bus station for the bus back to Twickenham and the train home. The two bus journeys made our travel take much longer, but you do get some interesting views from the top deck of a double-decker and the journey was intereresting at least until it got too dark to see much.

More on the walk and many more pictures at Brentford to Hammersmith.


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Nine years ago: 6 Oct 2012

Wednesday, October 6th, 2021

Proposals to close Accident and Emergency services at four of the nine hospitals in North West London provoked fury among local residents and opposition from local councils as they would mean slow journeys over heavily congested roads for those living in much of northwest London. The proposals seemed to be motivated simply by cost savings with no regard to the consequences.

This protest was one of a number that I photographed, particularly about the closure of A&E and some other services at both Charing Cross Hospital (which is in Hammersmith) and Ealing Hospital. The previous month I had photographed a http://mylondondiary.co.uk/2012/09/sep.htm#hospitals large march from Southall Park to Ealing Hospital against the closure plan and there was another march to Central Middlesex Hospital taking place that same day.

These large and widespread protests and legal actions taken by the protesters were almost certainly a major factor behind the decision in March 2019 by then Health Secretary Matt Hancock to finally scrap the plans for what was the biggest hospital closure programme in the history of the NHS. The campaigners welcomed the decision but said it should have come much earlier rather than after seven years of the Dept of Health supporting the plans, which would have involved demolishing Charing Cross Hospital and selling off most the site.

I photographed as people gathered for the march in Shepherds Bush but had to leave as the march was setting off for Hammersmith and a rally in Fulham to go to Westminster.

Britain First, a far-right anti-Muslim movement (it describes itself as “a modern, responsible patriotic political movement”) was protesting at Downing St against what they described as ‘Britain’s secret shame – Muslim Grooming’ and were joined on their protest by members of other extremist groups including the English Defence League. After protesting for around an hour at Downing St they marched the short distance to Parliament Square where they tried to burn an Islamic flag. It proved to be rather fire-resistant.

A few yards away, thousand of Muslims packed Old Palace Yard opposite the Houses of Parliament in a peaceful protest against an Anti-Muslim film made in the USA. They called for laws to protect religious figures.

The film, Innocence of Muslims, a crude video made by https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nakoula_Basseley_Nakoula Egyptian-born American writer Mark Basseley Youssef had already prompted violent anti-American protests in various Muslim countries. Youssef was then in jail in Los Angeles for violations of a probation order which, among other things included making false statements regarding his role in the film, and his use of the alias “Sam Bacile”. He had a previous conviction for in 1997 for intent to manufacture methamphetamine and was under probation following release in June 2011 from being jailed in 2010 for his part in a bank fraud.

Youssef, under his alias Bacile, falsely claimed that the anti-Islamic film had been funded by $5 million from 100 Jewish donors and that he was an Israeli Jew. An Egyptian court tried him and others in absentia and sentenced them to death for defaming Islam in November 2012. He was released from prison in 2013 to serve the remainder of his sentence in a halfway house in Californinia followed by 4 years of probabation.

Finally I travelled to Kilburn for a march and rally demanding Brent council rehouse the Counihan family from South Kilburn. Two years earlier, Anthony Counihan, a London bus driver inherited a few acres of poor land in Galway on the death of his father. Rented out, it brings an income of £18 a week.

He reported this to Brent Council, who responded with an eviction order and a demand for repayment of £70,000 of housing benefit, later telling him he should move back with his family to Ireland where he was born – while continuing to drive a bus from Cricklewood Depot. His wife Isabel and five children were all born in Brent.

The case was complicated by the fact that the family had moved out of a council property to go back to Ireland for a year to look after his sick father, and had signed away their lease as the council had not told them they could sublet for the year, and by their treatment by the council after their return, when they were unable to find accomodation they could afford on a bus-drivers salary. Brent decided they had made themselves “intentionally homeless” and were refusing their statutory duty to rehouse the family.

More on all at:
Rehouse the Counihans
Muslims against Anti-Muslim Film
Britain First – Muslim Grooming
Save Our Hospitals – Shepherds Bush


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


Hammersmith to Holland Park

Saturday, May 22nd, 2021

Brook Green, Hammersmith, Hammersmith & Fulham, 1988 88-1a-56-positive_2400
Brook Green, Hammersmith, Hammersmith & Fulham, 1988

Helpfully a street sign and a number inform me that this is 180 Shepherds Bush Rd, at the western edge of Brook Green. The road at one time used to wander around here but long ago traffic was routed straight through the grassy space, with both new and old road remaining as Shepherds Bush Road. There are no properties on the new section of the road, just a bus stop, traffic signs and traffic lights.

Without the information on the photo it would be hard to place this picture, as nothing visible remains of this part of the factory which housed Express Lifts and was I think part of the large Osram works which had began making carbon lamps here in 1881. It went on to produce many other types of lamps until around 1955, continuing only to produce argon and electronic valves until 1988 and was demolished the same year, with only its tower with the famous Osram Dome elsewhere on the site being saved, incorporated into the Tesco Superstore that took its place

Sinclair Rd, Hammersmith, Hammersmith & Fulham, 1988 88-1a-43-positive_2400
Sinclair Rd, Hammersmith, Hammersmith & Fulham, 1988

You can still find this pair of houses on Sinclair Rd, part of one of many conservation areas in Hammersmith & Fulham. There are a number of houses with impressive paired porches on the street, substantial four storey houses dating from around 1880. This pair is one of relatively few to have retained the stucco urns under the porticos, and this is a particularly impressive example with slender columns and capitals, but I think the real attraction for me was the incredibly morose bearded and moustached crowned head at the base of a finial.

Springvale Terrace, Hammersmith, Hammersmith & Fulham, 1988 88-1a-32-positive_2400
Springvale Terrace, Hammersmith, Hammersmith & Fulham, 1988

In the same conservation area as Sinclair Rd is a small section of very different housing. This small block which contained around 24 late Victorian terraced houses with a small Radiator Factory at its north end had been replaced by these modern buildings by 1988. The picture is taken from the road at the south side of this small estate.

St John the Baptist, Church, Holland Rd, Holland Park, Kensington & Chelsea, 1988 88-1a-26-positive_2400
St John the Baptist, Church, Holland Rd, Holland Park, Kensington & Chelsea, 1988

Crossing the railway at the bridge on Addison Gardens took me from Hammersmith & Fulham into the Holland Park area of Kensington & Chelsea and St John the Baptist Church in Holland Rd, a remarkably exuberant Grade I listed building by the distinguished Victorian church architect James Brook, “cathedral-like in scale and ambition, combining Brooks’s devotion to severe early Gothic models with a degree of material opulence not seen in his better-known East End churches”. Begun in 1872 it was completed in stages when the parish had the money and only finished after Brook’s death with finishing touches (perhaps unfortunate) by his successor John Standen Adkins in 1910.

The well-illustrated feature on the history of the church on the church web site states “St John’s is a distinguished and integrated time-capsule of the Anglo-Catholic movement. It is regularly in use for that traditional form of worship today.”

Holland Park Gardens Holland Park, Kensington & Chelsea, 1988 88-1a-15-positive_2400
15 Holland Park Gardens, Holland Park, Kensington & Chelsea, 1988

The London School of English is still in this imposing building in Holland Park Gardens. Perhaps surprising I avoided the wide sweep of steps leading up to its door, probably in order to emphasise the nest of balloons tied to its railings.

Addisland Court, Holland Villas Road, Holland Park, Kensington & Chelsea, 1988 88-1a-11
Addisland Court, Holland Villas Road, Holland Park, Kensington & Chelsea, 1988 88-1a-11

Addisland Court is a prestigious block of flats that screams 1930s Art Deco and its site design also very much reflects the golden age of motoring (when it was only for the rich.) A three bedroom flat here has an estimated value of around £2million. It was apparently used as a location in a couple of episodes of a TV series of Agatha Christie’s Poirot. It was built in 1936, designed by William Bryce Binnie whose other works include the East Stand at Arsenal’s old Highbury ground and who after distinguished war service had been assistant architect at the Imperial War Graves Commission for which he designed a number of memorials in France and Belgium.


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