Posts Tagged ‘houses’

Back to Mayfair 1987

Thursday, September 17th, 2020
Culross St/Park Lane area, Mayfair, Westminster, 1987 87-7a-12-positive_2400

Logically you might expect Wood’s House to be in Wood’s Mews, and it may well have been, but if so is no longer there. The frame before I took two pictures of this rather pleasant 1930s building was a view of the side in Wood’s Mews of a house in Park Lane, and the frame after is of another house further south on Park Lane on the corner of Culross St.

I suspect a building with only two stories became yielded a huge profit to developers in being built as an ugly but considerably taller block, but it would be nice to be proven wrong and to find this still tucked away in a corner.

129 Park Lane, Mayfair, Westminster, 1987  87-7a-36-positive_2400

I think this rather splendid marble (I think) steps are still there on Park Lane behind the high wall that now keeps them out of view of the hoi polloi who often crowd the area around the bus stops close to this corner with Green St.

Perhaps walls like that which now hides these steps and the view from the pavement of the houses behind are a result of the increase in inequality in our society and reflect an increasing unease among the elites. Though there have been few signs of the London mob in recent years. More likely the owners got fed up with finding people sitting on them waiting for buses.

Eagle Squadron, memorial, Grosvenor Square, Wesminster, 1987 87-7a-41-positive_2400

Before the US joined in the Second World War at the end of 1941, 244 US citizens volunteered to join the RAF and served in the RAF, flying Spitfires and Hurricanes in three three Royal Air Force Eagle Squadrons, despite US laws which meant losing their citizenship for fighting for a foreign power The squadrons were transferred to the USAF in 1942 and the pilots were pardoned in 1944.

The bronze eagle on the top of the column is by Elizabeth Frink, and the memorial was financed by US newspaper owner William Randolph Hearst. It was unveiled here by Margaret Thatcher in 1986.

US Embassy, Upper Grosvenor St, Mayfair, Westminster, 1987 87-7a-43-positive_2400

Grosvenor Square was chosen as the site for the Eagle Squadron memorial because of the US Embassy which occupied the entire west end of the square. It was then a fine example of modern architecture and lacked the high fences, ugly lodges and patrolling armed police that made it a rather grim feature in more recent years. I think the long queue is of people queuing to enter the embassy to get US visas.

Car, Gilbert St, St Anselm's Place,  Mayfair, Westminster, 1987 87-7a-64-positive_2400

I have to admit to knowing nothing about cars. But this one parked in Gilbert Street was obviously a little out of the ordinary and I imagine very expensive. It looked to me like something out of a black and white film noir, and perhaps the setting would have served too. I’m sure there will be people who see this picture and can immediately recognise the make, model and date – and if so I hope they let me know in a comment.

To me it looks American, and the style seems to belong to the late 1930s, though it could be a modern replica, possibly one made for use in a film. It has an engine that doesn’t quite fit in the bonnet, perhaps 8 cylinders. The number plate NGF786Y no longer appears to exist. This is also a picture I seem to have missed retouching and there are more than usual number of scratches and dust spots.

Davies St, Mayfair, Westminster, 1987 87-7a-65-positive_2400

It isn’t hard to identify this building as the Grosvenor Works of John Bolding and Sons in Davies Street, as their name is proudly displayed on a plaque at bottom left and on the building at top right, with the initials JBS featuring twice in the centre of the picture. The company was founded by Thomas Bolding in 1822 in South Molton St and they were at first brass founders.

By the 1870s they had moved into the business they became famous for as providers of high-class sanitary equipment. They moved to this site in the late 1880s and these premises were built as a showroom for their goods, with a foundry elsewhere in London. The architects were Wimperis and Arber; John Thomas Wimperis had been appointed as one of the Grosvenor Estates approved architects in 1887 and his assistant William Henry Arber became a partner in 1889.

In 1963 Boldings bought up the business of their rather better-known rival Thomas Crapper. But a few years later in 1969 Boldings was wound up, while Thomas Crapper & Company Limited, founded in 1836, continues in business based in Huddersfield, offering ” a small yet extraordinarily authentic set of Victorian/Edwardian sanitaryware.”

The River Tyburn runs through the basement of the building which is now occupied by Grays Antiques, established in 1977. The river is a tourist attraction with large goldfish swimming in it.

Park Lane, Mayfair, Westminster, 1987 87-7b-66-positive_2400

93 Park Lane, a small part of which is visible at extreme right was a speculative rebuild of 1823-25 by builder Samuel Baxter and is Grade I listed primarily because it “was Benjamin Disraeli’s London residence from 1839 to 1872; Coningsby, much of Sybil and other novels by Disraeli were written here”, whereas the others are all Grade II. 94 to its left was also rebuilt by Baxter at the same date. Next left, 95 was rebuilt in 1842-4 by John Harrison in plain brick with stucco only on the ground floor; the rounded 96 was rebuilt in 1826 as was its more angular neighbour 97. Almost entirely out of sight at left, 98 from 1823-5 was from 1888-94 the residence of Frank Harris, “author and adventurer”, and the final house in the terrace, not in my picture, was also built then by Jon Goldicutt and was the home from 1826-85 of philanthropist Sir Moses Montefiore.

Many other photographers have photographed these houses, including Bill Brandt, who made his picture on a Spring afternoon in 1932 from behind railings across the south-bound carriageway, with a London bus in traffic behind a rather grander horse-drawn carriage driven by two top-hatted men. On page 27 of ‘Camera In London’ it appears with the simple title ‘Mayfair’. The Tate website lists it as “Regency Houses, Park Lane, Mayfair – c.1930–9, later print” and apologises “SORRY, COPYRIGHT RESTRICTIONS PREVENT US FROM SHOWING THIS OBJECT HERE”, but you can view it on Artnet where it is captioned “Park Lane (Mayfair, London) , ca. 1960”. I increasingly think that our current copyright law needs review.


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All photographs on this and my other sites, unless otherwise stated, are taken by and copyright of Peter Marshall, and are available for reproduction or can be bought as prints.


More Notting Hill – 1987

Wednesday, September 16th, 2020

As a schoolboy I used to cycle up a hill past some grand large houses on a street probably of a similar age to these, though not quite as grand, most of them in poor repair and multi-occupied, divided into flats and rooms. My first student flat with two friends in Manchester was in a not dissimilar house where one would meet men, usually the worse for drink, on the stairs when we went to use the shared toilet; we soon realised the occupation of two of the women who had rooms on other floors of the house, including the very motherly woman who collected our rent each week and offered consolation when she arrived one week to find me in on my own and still in bed.

Stanley Gardens, Stanley Crescent, Notting Hill, Kensington & Chelsea, 1987 87-6d-11-positive_2400

When I started work in the 1960s I could have bought one of those houses I cycled past for with a mortgage for around three times my then annual salary. There would have been a few sitting tenants, some of whom could have been easily persuaded to leave. Had I been like Peter Rachman I would have first made a modest cash offer, then if they refused would make their lives miserable by holding loud and noisy all-night parties in the already empty flats, moving finally to cutting off the water and electricity and perhaps sending men with large angry dogs to harass them. He made his fortune mainly in the more northerly parts of Kensington, and not so far as I’m aware in any of the areas shown in my pictures. But even for more law-abiding landlords there were fortunes to be made. Those houses I cycled past, now converted into self-contained flats are now worth at least a thousand times more, allowing for inflation around 50 times as much.

Stanley Gardens, St Peter's Church, Notting Hill, Kensington & Chelsea, 1987 87-6d-12-positive_2400

Stanley Gardens was as a part the Ladbroke Estate owned by James Weller Ladbroke who in the 1820s employed Thomas Allason to make a grand overall plan for the whole area. Ladbroke ran into problems with various developers and the plans were modified in the 1840s by landscape artist and architect Thomas Allom in the 1840s. After James Weller Ladbroke died in 1847 his cousin Felix Ladbrooke sold the land to developer Charles Blake who employed a builder in 1853 to build the houses to Allom’s designs and street plan. The builder went bust before finishing the job and others finished the work in 1858. Most of the houses in Stanley Crescent are also to Allom’s designs and THe Survey of London comments that these streets represent “grand display in the latest taste” of the Victorian era. All were Grade II listed in 1969. You can read a very full account of the area and its history at The Ladbroke Association.

St Peter’s Church Notting Hill was also designed by Thomas Allom and was built before the houses were completed in 1855-7. The site had been donated by Charles Henry Blake (1794–1872) who had made a fortune trading in indigo in India before coming back to make more as a developer in Notting Hill. Its classical style was out of fashion by the time it was built, but fits in better with the housing than would a gothic design.

Man on Skateboard, Portobello Rd, Notting Hill, Kensington & Chelsea, 1987 87-6d-31-positive_2400

My father, born in 1899, was a man of few if any qualifications but skilled in many trades including carpentry, all kinds of building work, plumbing, painting and decorating, bee-keeping and gardening. It was in this latter respect that he became a member of the Soil Association and we grew up eating the food and vegetables he grew in several gardens and an allotment, organic before anyone had thought of the marketing name.

We knew about Whole Earth Foods and Ceres, set up by Nebraska-born brothers Craig and Gregory Sams in 1967, though I don’t think we ever shopped there. Their shop on Portobello Rad was said to be the first English bakery selling wholemeal goods, though I think dedicated to them would be more accurate. They advertised Ceres as “London’s complete natural food centre featuring a full range of organically grown vegetables and grains.”

According to Craig’s blog “This was on the Portobello Road in the 1970s where we were in competition with 30 fruit and vegetable stallholders as well as cheap bakers, and when the yuppification of Notting Hill was just a glint in the property developers’ eyes.”

At some point Craig and his family moved away from Notting Hill to Hastings to continue their business – which went on to include various other companies including the fantastic ed Green & Black’s Organic Chocolate. The shop at the left of the picture had been the Ceres Bakery (which perhaps accounts for the rather American fire hydrant pictured on its front), and to the right is the entrance to Portobello Garden Arcade.
The shop is now Portobellow Health Foods.

I grabbed this image rapidly as a skateboarder came into view, which accounts for the more than usual tilt.

Pembridge Crescent, Notting Hill, Kensington & Chelsea, 1987 87-6d-41-positive_2400

Pembridge Crescent dates from 1854-9. Much of the area was developed by brothers Francis and William Radford, with Francis being the architect for the houses, and was one of the most financially successful developments in Notting Hill. The Survey of London suggests their work in Pembridge Crescent was “coarse in comparison with the earlier, gracious proportions of the houses” in the rest of the area they developed.

Pembridge Crescent, Notting Hill, Kensington & Chelsea, 1987 87-6d-43-positive_2400

Since 1969 the area has been a part of the Pembridge Conservation Area. There is a description of the architecture of the area in the Survey of London on the British History Online web site.

Pembridge Crescent, Notting Hill, Kensington & Chelsea, 1987 87-6d-55-positive_2400

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All photographs on this and my other sites, unless otherwise stated, are taken by and copyright of Peter Marshall, and are available for reproduction or can be bought as prints.


1987 Holborn

Saturday, August 1st, 2020
Star Yard, Holborn, Camden, 1987 87-2m-46-positive_2400
Star Yard, Holborn, Camden, 1987

After Bedford Park I turned my attention to Holborn, including the area around the Royal Courts of Justice where there are shops catering for legal necessities as well as premises meeting more general needs.

Urinal, Star Yard, Holborn, Camden, 1987 87-2m-32-positive_2400
Urinal, Star Yard, Holborn, Camden, 1987

The urinal is still in-situ but I think is permanently closed. Just along the street is a Wetherspoons which serves the same purpose. It’s actually one of their more pleasant locations and I’ve several times enjoyed a quick lunch there. The food may only be so-so, (though there are a few things they do quite well) but the service is fast and the price very reasonable for London. Of course they treat the staff badly, but so do most pubs, and if things get back to anything like normal I’ll follow the union advice and not boycott them but refuse to cross any picket line.

Lincolns Inn Fields, Holborn, Camden, 198787-2m-26-positive_2400
Lincolns Inn Fields, Holborn, Camden, 1987

Lincolns Inn fields has plenty of fine architecture and also London’s most intriguing museum, founded by Sir John Soane. Currently closed it hopes to open on October 1st, but with pre-booked timed tickets only. If you’ve never visited I’d advise you to book as soon as you can. You can get some idea of the museum through yhe amazing digital online https://www.soane.org/explore Explore Soane, but the real thing is rather more satisfying. Because of the space limitations in the museum bags have to be left at the door.

Connock & Lockie, New Oxford St, Camden, 1987 87-2l-63-positive_2400
Connock & Lockie, New Oxford St, Camden, 1987

I can do no better than quote from the company’s web site:

A centenarian business

Connock and Lockie was established by cousins William Henry Connock and John Lockie in 1902 on 60 New Oxford Street. Over the years, we have relocated several times and settled at our current address, 33 Lamb’s Conduit Street, in 2004. Throughout our 110 years of trading, we have proudly catered to the bespoke tailoring needs of discerning ladies and gentlemen.

http://connockandlockie.com
Warwick House,Great Russell St, Holborn, Camden, 1987 87-2l-43-positive_2400
107-110 Great Russell Street,

‘Luxury hotel development, Completion 1987’ it states on the notice on the front of this building, and although in February 1987 when I made this picture it seemed unlikely, this is now the Cheshire Hotel, in London terms a budget hotel, with rooms around £70 per night. Quite why it changed its name from the Warwick Hotel to the Cheshire I don’t know, and the plain entrance has changed to a more pretentious one with four columns.

Space House, CAA House, Kemble St, WIld St, Holborn, Camden, 1987 Space House, CAA House, Kemble St, WIld St, Holborn, Camden, 198787-2l-15-positive_2400
Space House, CAA House, Kemble St, WIld St, Holborn, Camden, 1987

Grade II listed Space House was a speculative office development built 1964-8 by George Marsh of Richard Seifert & Partners for the developer Harry Hyams. It was technically innovative, using a precast concrete grid for rapid construction without the use of scaffolding, and remains visually arresting. As the listing text says, it’s assertive styling reflects “the confidence and dynamism associated with the period.”

This building and the connected building on Kingsway were to be vacated at the end of last year and ‘revamped’ for commercial letting.

Flitcroft St, St Giles, Camden, 1987 87-2k-66-positive_2400
Flitcroft St, St Giles, Camden, 1987

This bas-relief is above the old entrance gateway to St. Giles’s Church Yard where a bas-relief of The Resurrection was placed in 1687. It is a plaster copy of the original which is inside the church. The gateway was originally around the corner in the St Giles High St, but rebuilt in 1800 incorporating the old bas-relief and then moved to Flitcroft St in 1865. Flitcroft St gets its name from Henry Flitcroft who was the architect of the church, built in 1733.

The carving was originally in oak, and the carver, a man called Love was paid £27 for his work. The 1800 gate included a stone recreation of the work, now in plaster.

I occasionally used a photographic lab in Flitcroft St, which produced remarkable Cibachrome prints using a laser scanning technique on the transparencies which gave them an unbeatable contrast and clarity. They were also rather expensive!

You can find more from Holborn in my album 1987 London Photos.


My London Diary : London Photos : Hull : River Lea/Lee Valley : London’s Industrial Heritage : Flickr

All photographs on this and my other sites, unless otherwise stated, are taken by and copyright of Peter Marshall, and are available for reproduction or can be bought as prints.


1986 Complete – Page 2

Wednesday, April 22nd, 2020
Varden St, Whitechapel, Tower Hamlets 86-5d-11_2400

Images in this post are embedded from Flickr where you can view them at a large size by clicking on the image. You will need to use your browser back button to return to this post. Or you can right-click and select ‘Open link in new tab’.

My album 1986 London Photographs is now complete on Flickr, and this is the second of a short series of posts pointing out a few of my favourite images from the year.

Fashion St, Spitalfields, Tower Hamlets 86-4r-16_2400

Several things come out strongly to me as I look through these pictures, mostly taken around Brick Lane and other areas of Whitechapel. One of the major themes that has run through much of my photography is the writing on the wall, whether graffiti or signs and posters. Language is such an important aspect of our social interactions and its inclusion in these images makes them into a record of how people lived and thought.

Brick Lane, Spitalfields, Tower Hamlets 86-5a-01_2400

In 1984 London was rapidly becoming the multicultural city we now know, though of course it had been so on a lesser scale for many years if not centuries. Spitalfields where some of these pictures were made had long been a home for new communities moving to London and there was still abundant evidence of its Jewish population as well as the Bangladeshis who had by then largely replaced them.

Commercial Rd, Whitechapel, Tower Hamlets 86-5c-64_2400

Housing, then as now, was an important issue in London in particular, and some of these pictures reflect this and other issues such as racism. Although I think some of these pictures are well-composed and even attractive compositionally, I’ve always considered the formal aspects – line, shape, tone, texture, form etc to be the means to communicate a message rather than an end in themselves. I aimed to make photography that had something to say and said it well rather than to produce well composed, attractive or even striking or popular images.

Limehouse, Tower Hamlets 86-5h-66_2400

There are another 95 pictures on the second page of the album, all with a location, taken from the usually rather incomplete information I recorded on the contact sheets. I’ve tried to check these before posting, but corrections and other comments are always welcome. I’m happy for these pictures – with suitable attribution – to be shared on social media, but they remain copyright and any commercial or editorial use requires a licence from me.


My London Diary : London Photos : Hull : River Lea/Lee Valley : London’s Industrial Heritage : Flickr

All photographs on this and my other sites, unless otherwise stated, are taken by and copyright of Peter Marshall, and are available for reproduction or can be bought as prints.

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