Posts Tagged ‘Hilton Hotel’

Housing Awards – 2016

Wednesday, June 16th, 2021

A resident of the Aylesbury Estate in Southwark speaks about the council’s terrible record

Most people have never heard of the annual Municipal Journal Local Authority Awards, a kind of self-congratulatory back-slapping beanfeast for local authorities on the lines of the Oscars and a dinner at the Hilton, doubtless on our council tax.

Protesters ignore hotel staff and police who tell them they must move

The news in 2016 that two of London’s councils with the worst records for housing were nominated for awards angered London housing protesters and Focus E15, the Revolutionary Communist Group, Class War, Architects 4 Social Housing and others organised a protest outside the Park Lane Hilton including a rather different awards ceremony.

Protesters from Newham blame Labour Mayor Robin Wales ‘Robin the poor’

They pointed out that Southwark had by 2016 demolished 7,639 units of social housing, sold off public land to developers, and evicted people unlawfully and accuse Newham of social cleansing, rehousing people in distant parts of the country while council properties remain empty, and of causing mental health problems through evictions, homelessness and failure to maintain properties.

Simon Elmer of Architects for Social Housing objects to being assaulted by a police officer.

Police tried to move the protesters away from the hotel entrance and across the service road, but most resisted and held their ground, with police keeping the entrance clear, A few did move across the road were they could hand out flyers people arriving by taxi. There were a a few minor incidents when police pushed a protester holding a banner and again when several protesters held banners and placards in front of the restaurant windows.

Class War had brought their banner with a quote from US anarchist Lucy Parsons “We must devastate the avenues where the wealthy live” particularly appropriate for a protest in Mayfair and outside the Hilton. Police made a rather unwise and ineffectual attempt grab this from them but soon gave up.

People continued to arrive for the event and to walk past the protesters. Many had come from towns and cities across the UK for the event and where probably not particularly away of the situation in London boroughs.

I played around a little with the reflections in the polished metal canopy above the Hilton entrance, which was doing a good job in keeping the light rain off most of the protesters, though I was getting a little wet.

Looking up from the service road we could see those attending the awards ceremony talking and drinking before the dinner, while outside the protesters were beginning their own awards.

There were quite a few speeches from various of the activists, and Southwark won the award as London’s worst council, with Newham a close second.

May and Mayfair 1987

Monday, August 24th, 2020
The Fountains, Hyde Park, Westminster, 1987 87-5g-41-positive_2400

I’ve tried on several occasions to photograph the Italian Fountains in Kensington Gardens, an ornamental garden said to have been a gift from Prince Albert to Queen Victoria in around 1860, designed by James Pennethorne and incorporating ideas from their holiday home at Osborne House on The Isle of Wight. There are five main designs on the urns there, including the ram’s heads you see a few times in this picture, a swan’s breast, woman’s head, dolphin and oval. Taken in May when I think the trees in the background are at their best, some in leaf and others still showing their structure. The garden has been renovated since I made this picture.

Connaught Place, Bayswater, Westminster, 1987 87-5g-61-positive_2400

There seems to be a gate to the pavement of Connaught Place in Bayswater, probably to keep out the riff-raff like you and me, and I clearly chose to photograph through it as a frame to the formal architecture of the line of grand porches beyond. Although there are extremely expensive properties in a prestigious address, I find them rather dull, these heavy porches uneasy add-ons to the bland five-storey plain brick behind – which I chose not to include in my picture. But despite the porches, these are really the back doors of these building.

Bayswater Rd, Bayswater, Westminster, 1987 87-5g-63-positive_2400

The houses may have their doors in Connaught Place but the clearly face to Hyde Park, where the row has these magnificent balconies. I also photographed them in landscape format, but need to replace that image on Flickr as I find the negative moved at left to give a double image when I was making the digital camera ‘scan’, probably because the negative holder was not fully closed.

87-5h-24-positive_2400

Shepherd Market in Mayfair describes itself as “a charming small square and piazza with a variety of boutique shops, restaurants and impressive Victorian pubs” and ” A hidden gem known for its wonderful relaxed village-like atmosphere.” It gets its name from Edward Shepherd who developed the area in 1735-46 on open ground where the annual May Fair had been held. Wikipedia comments “It was associated with upmarket prostitutes from its building up until at least the 1980s” and they were still in business when I made these pictures in the area. In 1987 it still retained something of the shabby charm from its really run-down times when it was popular with artists and writers 60 years earlier. The area is something of a maze of streets and alleys and I no longer recall exactly where this picture was taken.

Shepherd Market, Mayfair, Westminster, 1987 87-5i-35-positive_2400

You can still find Da Corradi’s Italian Restaurant and Ye Grapes in Shepherd Market though I think both have changed somewhat are there are now more tables in the narrow street.

Hertford St, Mayfair, Westminster, 1987 87-5h-64-positive_2400

Hertford St runs from Park Lane to Shepherd Market and then takes a turn north to Curzon St. This building is still there on the corner with Shepherd St and I think is a part of an expensive and exclusive private member’s club outside which I’ve recently photographed protests calling for kitchen staff to get a living wage and better conditions of service. The club is on five floors and includes a nightclub, four restaurants, four bars, a private dining room, cigar shop, a courtyard and a roof terrace and has a dress code which prohibits ‘sportswear of any kind’, t-shirts, shorts, sandals and dirty trainers. Personally having watched the kind of people who go into it I’m pleased not to be a member.

Hertford St, Mayfair, Westminster, 1987 87-5h-35-positive_2400

Towering above the western end of Hertford St is the ugly bulk of the London Hilton in Park Lane, the first Hilton to open in the UK in 1963. 331 Feet tall it overlooks Mayfair, Hyde Park and, more controversially at the time of building, Buckingham Palace and its gardens. The hotel is on 28 floors and has 453 rooms and according to Wikipedia is now the 84th equal tallest building in London, though around twenty still under construction will soon edge it out of the top 100, though I think it will remain one of the tallest in the West End – only Centre Point and the Millbank Tower are taller.