Posts Tagged ‘Jewish’

London’s Religions

Sunday, March 21st, 2021

Life or at least writing this blog was rather easier in those pre-Covid days. Then I was still getting out and visiting places and covering events, meeting people and going to exhibitions, and there was usually something obvious for me to write about. Now I’m largely living in front of a screen, simply taking the occasional walk or bike ride for exercise and watching and listening aghast as Britain slides increasingly into a country ruled by greed and moving into fascism. Certainly dispiriting times.

So I’ve been looking back, publishing on Flickr the work I made back in the 70s and 80s (and soon the 90s) much of which has never been seen before, and also in writing in posts like this about things that I covered on this day a two, three or twenty years ago. And that’s a problem too. Today I had the choice between 2008, 2012, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017 or 2018 (and possibly more) in all of which I was taking pictures of events on London’s streets on March 21st. Should I go for racism, anti-racism, tax-dodging and fair treatment for low paid workers in 2015 or against deportations, knife crime and Lambeth Council closing community centres in 2017? Should I choose on issues or on my opinions of how good my pictures were?

In the end I chose 2008 for today, largely because its different to most of the other days I’ve written about recently. It perhaps is time for a short rest from me banging on about corrupt Labour councils, though in the 2017 piece I wrote on closing community centres there I did have a nice quote from Anna Minton who found that “20 per cent of Southwark’s 63 councillors work as lobbyists” for developers in the planning industry and that a significant number of Councillors and Council officers are making use of a ‘well-oiled revolving door’ to the industry.

But March 21st 2008 was for me a day about religion in London, with three religious festivals coming together, Christians celebrating Good Friday, the Jewish festival of Purim and Hare Krishna celebrating Gaura Purnima. Although these happen around the same time of the year they seldom all fall on the same day. For 2021, Gaura Purnima is on the 28th March, Purim was on 25-6 February and Good Friday comes on April 2nd.

Back in 2008 I also covered other religious festivals in London, ncluding the Druids featured yesterday, and at the end of March Vaisakhi in Hounslow. In April I took pictures at Milad 2008 – Eid Milad-Un-Nabi, Woolwich Vaisakhi and Manor Park Nagar Kirtan.

You can find out more about these events and see many more pictures on My London Diary:

Gaura Purnima – Hare Krishna
Purim Fun Bus
Good Friday Walk of Witness

Al Quds march – 28 Sept 2008

Monday, September 28th, 2020

Twelve years ago today, rather than sitting at home in front of a computer as I am today, still avoiding the virus, I was photographing one of the more contentious regular protests on the streets of London, the annual Al Quds Day march.

Al Quds is the Arabic name for the city of Jerusalem, literally meaning ‘The Holy One’ and in 1979 Ayatollah Khomeini of Iran announced the last Friday of the month of Ramadan as International Quds Day to express support for oppressed Muslims around the world and in particular to protest against the occupation of Palestine and the oppression of its people.

Ultra-Orthodox Jews opposed to Zionism took a leading role in the march

In the UK, a march through London takes place on the Sunday after the day itself, and is generally attended by several thousand people, mainly Shia Muslim families from mosques around the UK, but supported by many other groups, mainly Muslim but including some Jewish, pro-Palestinian and left-wing groups. This year because of the virus it was celebrated on Friday May 22 by a world-wide on-line event.

Back in 2008 the main groups opposing the march were Iranian opposition groups, along with a larger number of protesters from extreme right anti-Islamic groups, with just a small number of Zionist supporters of Israel. Police largely managed to keep the two sides apart while allowing both to protest.

But the situation did get rather fraught, particularly when the march was passing the where the opposition groups had been kept behind barriers at Piccadilly Circus, and I found myself getting abuse and threats from both sides. At the time I wrote:

“Things got a little heated at Piccadilly Circus, and some demonstrators objected to me taking pictures of them shouting and gesturing at the counter-demonstration, pushing me out of the march. Doubtless some of the other demonstrators on the other side didn’t like me photographing them either, and the police certainly wanted me back on the other side of the tape again. It is important to record what’s happening, and to stand up for a free press, so I kept taking pictures.”

My London Diary, September 2008

There are many (too many) of these pictures on the pages of this story on My London Diary.


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.


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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