Posts Tagged ‘Islington’

Lucky 13 – 1986

Friday, June 26th, 2020

I can’t quite work out why my album 1986 London Photographs spreads out its 1370 photographs over 14 pages, as there seem to be roughly 100 pictures on each of the pages I’ve bothered to count, but to my surprise Page 13 isn’t the last. But despite the superstitions about the number 13 it does appear to have a number of pictures I came across by luck as I walked around the streets, mainly in Islington and the City.

Barnsbury Terrace, Islington 86-10o-56_2400
6 and 7 Barnsbury Terrace

This pair of villas were built around 1840 are are locally listed. If you go there now you may find my picture surprising, as the pair are now more or less symmetrical, except for the additional second floor window above the recessed door of the right hand house. But it has gained the pilasters around the main windows on the ground and first floor and that on the second floor now has the three arches mirroring its neighbour.

I assumed when I took this picture that the rather stark appearance of the right hand house was probably due to a repair after bomb damage. There have been some rather more minor changes to the left hand house also.

Stone Frieze, Musgrove Watson, Battishill Street Gardens, Islington86-10p-33_2400
Stone Frieze, Musgrove Watson, Battishill Street Gardens, Islington

I made several pictures of this remarkable stone frieze which was installed here in the new Battishill Street Gardens which were opened by Sir John Betjamin in 1975. The gardens were a pleasant quiet place to eat my sandwiches when I was photographing in the area.

The frieze had been made by Musgrove Watson (1804-1847), best known for his brass reliefs around the base of Nelson’s column for the Hall of Commerce in Threadneedle St set up in 1830 by biscuit-maker and amateur architect Edward Moxhay as a rival to other places acting as exchanges for commercial information and the display of samples including the Royal Exchange, of Lloyd’s, the Baltic, Garraway’s, the Jerusalem, and the North and South American Coffee-houses.

Never as successful as Moxhay and other investors had hoped, the Hall of Commerce was demolished in 1922, but the bas-relief frieze from its frontage was saved at UCL, and presented by Sir Albert Richardson to Islington Council for their new garden in 1974.

Fleet St, Ludgate Hill, St Paul's Cathedral, City 86-11e-54
Fleet St, Ludgate Hill and St Paul’s Cathedral

It was only after the railway bridge across Ludgate Hill of the line leading north from Blackfriars was demolished that I realised that I had never set out to photograph what had been one of the archetypal London views of St Paul’s Cathedral.

The line between Ludgate Hill Station and Holborn Viaduct station which the bridge carried opened in 1866. Ludgate Hill station was closed in 1929 but only demolished around the time the line closed to rail traffic in 1969. The bridge remained in place until 1990 when a new line for Thameslink services was tunnelled underground below the old route.

I searched and found a few pictures, including this one, that showed the bridge from Fleet Street a short distance west of Ludgate Circus.

Hatton Place, Saffron Hill, Clerkenwell, Camden 86-11g-32
Hatton Place, Saffron Hill, Clerkenwell, Camden

Sir Christopher Hatton was  Lord Chancellor of England for Elizabeth I and his London Home was in this areagiving his name to Hatton Garden. Hatton Place is at the side of the Hat & Tun, which probably got its name from a ‘rebus’ for Sir Christopher, and Hatton Place was formerly Hat in Tun (or Hat and Tun) Yard. Back in 1871 it was described as one of the foulest smelling streets in London – and there was plenty of competition. The pub was renamed as Deux Beers Cafe Bar in 2000, but has since reverted to its former name.

I can find no explanation for the elephant head at No 13, which I presume was in some way related to the business then occupying these premises. The ground floor is now a jewellry shop and workshop but the floors above have been converted into flats and there is now a large window in place of the elephant.

Mural, Farringdon Lane, Clerkenwell, Camden 86-11g-54
Mural, Farringdon Lane, Clerkenwell, Camden

Farringdon Lane used to be called Ray Street, and the bridge over the railway here from where I took this picture is still called Ray St Bridge. There is now no trace of the mural on the wall. I think it depicted scenes from the history and industry of the area, including the Clerk’s Well and printing. I tried several times to photograph it in colour but somehow never managed to get the colours right, and prefer this black and white version.

Holborn Viaduct, City Holborn Viaduct, City 86-11i-11
Holborn Viaduct, looking down Farringdon St

Another photograph of the decorative statuary on Holborn Viaduct, looking down Farringdon St and the Fleet valley towards the River Thames.

Page 13, 1986 London Photographs.


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 Page 12

Thursday, June 25th, 2020
Leeke St, Pentonville, Camden 86-10c-44_2400
Leeke St, Pentonville, Camden

Page 12 of 1986 London Photographs

1986 was the year I began seriously to photograph the fabric of London, and the number of photographs on Flickr, 1,370 reflects this, although I took several times this number, mainly in a series of planned walks exploring different areas of the capital.

76-78, Caledonian Rd, Kings Cross, Islington 86-10g-11_2400
Caledonian Rd, Kings Cross, Islington

A few of those I’ve not digitised are near duplicates, though usually I only took a single image of each subject, often taking some time to consider the best viewpoint and sometimes waiting for people or traffic to leave me a clearer view. Although I was working on 35mm and almost always hand-held, my approach was generally like that of a photographer using a larger camera – and the 35mm Olympus shift lens gave me much of the flexibility of large-format camera movements.

Nat West Tower, Old Broad St, City 86-10e-61_2400
Nat West Tower, Old Broad St, City

I had tried using 4×5″ cameras, a first with a monorail and then with an MPP, but found them too restrictive. Heavy to carry any distance, slow to set up and even with several magazines and a small pile of dark slides I was very limited in how many exposures I could make in a session. The movements on the MPP were also fairly limited, and the Olympus shift lens was more useful for this. While I admired the quality of large format results – and tried at times to emulate it by using Kodak Technical Pan – it wasn’t practical (or affordable) for the kind of large-scale project I had embarked on.

Venus, Canonbury Rd, Islington 86-10k-64_2400-2
Venus, Canonbury Rd, Islington

Most of these walks in October 1986 were in Islington, where I walked around areas including Clerkenwell, Pentonville, Canonbury, Barnsbury, Highbury and Islington itself, though I think I occasionally strayed across the borough border into the City of London and Camden.

Bartlett Export Packers, Regent's Canal, Islington 86-10t-31_2400
Bartlett Export Packers, Regent’s Canal, Islington

I travelled on public transport, using either the North London Line or the Underground, and it was sometimes easier (or cheaper) to travel to stations outside the borough – such as Bank (then still ‘City’), still a ‘London Terminus’ of British Rail Southern Region until 1994. I didn’t often use buses, partly because it was still rather harder than now to find out where they might go.

St Agnes Place, Kennington, Lambeth 86-10c-66_2400
St Agnes Place, Kennington, Lambeth

There are also a few pictures from south of the river, around Walworth and Kennington, where we used to go to a monthly meeting with friends, arriving for Sunday lunch. I’d often leave early in the morning for a few hours of walking and photography before these meetings.

The pictures here are just a few of those I now find more interesting from the page, but there are many others worth seeing in the hundred that make up Page 12 of 1986 London Photographs.


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.


London 1986 – Page 11

Wednesday, June 24th, 2020
Temple Bar, Royal Courts of Justice, Strand, Fleet St, City, Westminster 86-9h-34_2400
Temple Bar, Strand

Page 11 of my album London 1986 has some of my favourite black and white pictures I took that year, at least in London, and is centred around the City of London, with pictures from its northen extremities in Moorgate, Smithfield and the Barbican and close to the City in the surrounding London Boroughs, particularly Islington, where my walks took me around Farringdon, Clerkenwell, Old St and Finsbury.

Atlas Paper Works, Newington Causeway, Newington, Southwark 86-9q-31_2400
Atlas Paper Works, Newington Causeway, Newington, Southwark

I drifted into Camden around Kings Cross, Lambeth close to Waterloo, Southwark at Newington and The Borough, Covent Garden, Temple and Strand in Westminster and Whitechapel and Aldgate in Tower Hamlets.

Wig & Pen Dining Club, Strand, Westminster 86-9h-35_2400
Wig & Pen Club, Strand, Westminster

Those who have been following the colour work I’ve posted in the series of slices through London will recognise a number of the places in these pictures, particularly in the album TQ31- London Cross-section which I’ve written about recently. One of them is the Wigt & Pen club on the Strand, still very much in business back in 1986, but which closed in 2003.

Lloyd's Diary, Amwell St, Kings Cross, Islington 86-9o-55_2400
Lloyd’s Diary, Amwell St, Kings Cross, Islington

Occasionally the black and white and colour versions show a similar viewpoint, but usually in black and white I was more concerned with documenting a building or place as a part of the city while the colour work was often more concerned with detail and particularly colour. The black and white is generally more of a document, more objective and the colour more personal, more of a response to the subject.

Frazier St, Lower Marsh, Waterloo, Lambeth 86-9r-11_2400
LowerMarsh, Waterloo, Lambeth

The routes that I researched and plotted were determined by my desire to try to document the whole of London, and to photograph its significant and typical buildings, streets, squares etc. I think it was largely for practical reasons that I did this in black and white, partly because of cost, but more that black and white was able to handle a much higher dynamic range than colour film.

King James St, The Borough, Southwark  86-10a-21_2400
King James St, The Borough, Southwark

But black and white back then was still the primary medium of photography, both in camera and in publication and exhibition. I’d worked for over 15 years primarily as a black and white photographer and almost all of my published work had been in black and white. Looking at the pictures now it is usually the black and white that still interests me most. Things have very much changed, particularly with the move to digital. I only work in colour and can’t ever see myself going back to black and white. And I seldom see black and white by other photographers – particularly not by younger photographers who have never really served their time with black and white – without thinking it would have been better in colour.

Page 11 of my album London 1986.

Dancing and Dereliction – TQ30

Saturday, June 6th, 2020

North of Covent Garden in the 1km wide strip of London in TQ30 we come into the areas of St Pancras in LB Camden (which includes Kings Cross) and Pentonville in Islington which were largely outside the tourist zone, apart from housing a number of hotels, none of which appear in my colour pictures from 1986-93.

Printer, Kings Cross Rd, St Pancras,1990 TQ3083-057

Businesses here catered for London, and many were failing thanks to changes in technology and the de-industrialisation of our economy. A large swathe was blighted by plans for development of the railway lands, including much outside the actual rail areas that were threatened by demolition, though thanks to local opposition much has so far been saved.

Wellers Court, Somers Town, 1990TQ3083-048

North of Kings Cross there was to be wholesale demolition, and even listed buildings were not safe. The gasholders that were such a prominent landmark in the area were soon to be dismantled, with some being re-erected some distance away on the opposite side of the canal.

Gasholder, Pancras Rd, Kings Cross, 1990 TQ3083-030

And the dancers on the side of Stanley Buildings were having their final dance before they and the other nearby buildings were demolished.

Dancers, Stanley Buildings, Kings Cross, 1990TQ3083-009

Perhaps surprisingly I took few pictures of the Regent’s Canal in colour, though rather more in black and white, but I had photographed around here fairly extensively in the previous few years and perhaps felt I had little more to say.

Works, Albert Wharf, New Wharf Rd, Pentonville, 1986 TQ3083-021

But it was good to have a picture of the road side of Charles Bartlett, Export Packers & Shippers, whose chimney and works dominate this stretch of the canal.

Door and Brooms, Caledonian Rd, Pentonville, 1990TQ3083-064

But the road that fascinated me most was the Caledonian Road and its side streets, as a number of the pictures here show. You can see these and others on the third page of my album TQ30 London Cross-section.


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.


Page 5: Micawber St

Tuesday, May 26th, 2020
Micawber St, Hoxton, Hackney 86-7f-66_2400

The Merriam-Webster dictionary lists Micawber as a word meaning “one who is poor but lives in optimistic expectation of better fortune“, derived of course from the clerk in Charles Dicken’s David Copperfield famous for his belief that “something will turn up” and the principle he expounds:

Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure nineteen nineteen and six, result happiness. Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure twenty pounds ought and six, result misery.”

Macawber St, Hoxton, Hackney 86-7f-51_2400

Wilkins Micawber is said to have been based on Dicken’s father who also spent time in a debtors prison. In the novel Micawber gives his address as Windsor Terrace, City Road, and in the 1930s this street is in Hoxton, close to the Islington border in north London which runs across the north end of Windsor Terrace, previously Edward St was renamed after him.

Micawber St, Hoxton, Hackney 86-7f-52_2400

It seemed a suitable location for a bookie’s shop, (and there is a pub opposite) but it had clearly gone out of business. The building is still standing though rather altered, at the end of a row of Victorian housing but the area has changed considerably. As well as modern developments since I took this picture, parts had already been rebuilt after the Blitz with what was left of Windsor Terrace being redeveloped in the 1950s, and the Wenlock Brewery on Micawber St, site of a terrible wartime tragedy when bombing caused a leak of ammonia gas into its basement which was used as a local air raid shelter was demolished shortly after. That site is now the home of the Child Poverty Action Group.

Wenlock Basin, Regent's Canal, Hackney 86-7g-64_2400

Micawber St runs across the south end of the Wenlock Basin on the Regent’s Canal, but I don’t think there is anywhere where the basin is visible from the street.

St Luke's Vestry, 1896, Wenlock Rd or Wharf Rd, Islington 86-7g-34_2400

Another nearby building, erected in 1896 by St Luke’s Vestry. You can see these and other pictures on Page 5 of my Flickr album 1986 London Photographs.

Richmond Ave, Islington 86-2d-42_2400
1986 London Photographs. To go to page 5 use this link instead

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.


July 1986 on Flickr

Wednesday, April 1st, 2020
Pipe Bridge, Regent’s Canal, Baring St, Islington

I had more time to take pictures in July as my teaching came to an end for the summer vacation around halfway through the month. This meant I could go up to London on some weekdays, though I still had two small boys to look after on days my wife was working. That usually meant staying at home, but sometimes I took them both out with me to London.

Regent’s Canal

I spent some time in Shadwell and Bethnal Green, but also further north in Shoreditch, Hoxton and Dalston, occasionally wandering into Islington. Though I obviously photographed on foot, I had to travel from my home outside London and then around London to the starting point for my walks, and the One Day Capitalcard, valid on all public transport in London after 9.30am made this much simpler after its introduction in June 1986 – the one-day Travelcard launched in 1984 had been for bus and tube only.

The Mission, Holywell Lane, Shoreditch, Hackney

Towards the end of the month I moved my focus to the City of London, even easier for transport then as the Waterloo and City line was still run by British Rail and my ‘London Terminals’ ticket was valid all the way to Bank.

Blackfriars Rail Bridges

When I began photographing London there were two railway bridges across the River Thames at Blackfriars, but all that remained of one of these by 1986 were the pillars that had supported it. And while these were rather a fine set of pillars they were (and remain) a rather curious river feature, presumably left in position simply to save the cost of removing them.

Queenhithe and the River Thames

Queenhithe, a small inlet on the City side of the river has a long history. The Romans built a quay here, and buried deep down in the wet mud some of the timbers they put here survive, as do remains of the dock contructed when Alfred the Great, King of Wessex re-established the City of London aroudn 886 AD. It got the name Queenhithe (a hythe is a small harbour) when Henry I gave the right to levy dues on goods landed there to his wife Matilda around the time of their marriage in 1100. Queenhithe was still a major harbour for the city hundreds of years later and remained in use, with lighters bringing skins for the fur trade which was based a short distance to the north until the Second World War.

Fur shops in Great St Thomas Apostle

Around 300 of the black and white pictures I took in July 1986 are now online:
Peter Marshall: 1986 London Photographs on Flickr.
July’s pictures start here.

The images are copyright but may be shared on non-commercial personal social media. A licence is required for any corporate, commercial or editorial use.


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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