Posts Tagged ‘Lodnon’

Ripper Selfies, Custody Deaths, Halloween Skate & Poor Yorick

Monday, October 31st, 2022

A varied set of events from seven years ago on Saturday 31st October 2015

Ripper ‘Selfies with Dead Women’ – Cable St, Sat 31 Oct 2015

The Fourth Wave: London Feminist Activists (LFA) protested at the Jack the Ripper ‘museum’ against Halloween event publicity inviting visitors to take ‘selfies’ with the body of one of his dead victims. They were joined by comedian Kate Smurthwaite, Class War and the Sisters of Perpetual Resistance.

LFA came in cat masks and the Sisters of Perpetual Resistance came in their curious triangular black hoods with a banner ‘What a Bloody Ripp-Off’ and a bucket ‘Dead Women Can’t Protest‘. Comedian Kate Smurthwaite was there holding a poster ‘Corpses ain’t Tourism‘ and a little late Class War arrived with their ‘Women’s Death Brigade‘ banner.

The LFA also brought a decidely unsexy blowup doll with a mask of Ripper shop owner Mark Palmer-Edgecumbe with a Fawcett Society t-shirt ‘This is what a feminist looks like’, the word feminist crossed out and replaced in red by the word ‘CAPITALIST’.

Among those who spoke as well as the event organiser were Kate Smurthwaite and Becky Warnock whose petition against the s-called museum had got over 12,000 signatures.

Ripper ‘Selfies with Dead Women’

UFFC Annual Remembrance Procession – Whitehall, Sat 31 Oct 2015

Families and friends of people killed by police or in prisons made their annual march at a funereal pace from Trafalgar Square to Downing St, to a rally with speakers including those from the families of Mark Duggan, Sean Rigg, Sheku Bayoh and others.

This procession has taken place each year since1999 and you can see my pictures from this year when it took place on 29th October 2022.

In 2015 the march, led by family members holding banners, made its way in silence down Whitehall before erupting into a noisy protest at Downing St.

Here there were speeches from family members including including Cephus “Uncle Bobby” Johnson the uncle of Oscar Grant who was killed by a police officer in Los Angeles, Stephanie Lightfoot-Bennet whose twin brother Leon Patterson was killed by Manchester police in 1992, Kadisha Brown-Burrell, whose brother Kingsley Burrell died in police custody in 2011. Shaun Hall, the brother of Mark Duggan, shot by police in 2011 in Tottenham and Marcia Rigg whose brother Sean was killed in Brixton police station in 2008.

A small group of family members took a letter into Downing St while the rally continued. Although as t-shirts worn by many stated there have been ‘1518 deaths in police custody since 1990′ including many with clear evidence of beating and murder, not a single case has yet resulted in any justice. Police and authorities have prevented proper investigation of cases, committed perjury and obstructed the course of justice to protect the officers concerned.

More at UFFC Annual Remembrance Procession 2015.

Halloween Skate 2015 London – Hyde Park Corner, Sat 31 Oct 2015

On a very much lighter level I met with London Friday Night Skate at Hyde Park where they were to begin their annual Halloween skate in varied Halloween costumes.

I didn’t try to follow them after they left to skate their lengthy route through Mayfair, Soho, Covent Garden to an after-party at a pub near Kings Cross.

Halloween Skate 2015 London

UVW Hamlet-themed Barbican Flash-mob – Barbican Centre, Sat 31 Oct 2015

Alas Poor Yorick Got No Sick Pay‘ was the message on the skull held up by the Cleaners union United Voices of the World as they staged a protest on the last night of a season there of Hamlet.

The were protesting for full payment of the living wage and sick pay for the cleaners there and and an end to the use of workfare in the centre. The cleaners are not directly employed by the Barbican and get far worse conditions of service and treatment than directly employed workers from the outsourcing company which the Barbican has a contract with.

The Shakespearian theme was continued in posters such as ‘To Be or Not to Be… Paid a Living Wage‘ and ‘To Be or Not to Be… Paid Sick Pay‘ while those theatre-goers seeing the protest were urged to tweet photos and videos with hashtag #Hamlet.

Among the protesters were Green Party leader Natalie Bennett and Sandy Nicoll, currently suspended SOAS Branch Secretary, and there were banners ‘Boycott Workfare’ and from ‘Unite the Resistance’ as well the UVW banner. Several from Class War had also come to support the cleaners.

There had been a couple of police officers present when I arrived on time for the protest, but they had disappeared well before the UVW turned up around 20 minutes late. Barbican security staff made some attempts to move the protesters on, but I imagine they are also outsources on lousy terms and conditions and that their hearts were not really in it.

Eventually after a number of speeches and some noisy chanting the police returned and talked with the UVW General Secretary Petros Elia who was leading the protest. He told them that the protesters were about to leave before tonight’s Hamlet was due to start and continue the protest outside the main entrance, and they then did so.

Outside the Barbican we joined some of the cleaners who work in the Barbican who had stayed outside and the protest continued with a rally in the street.

UVW Hamlet-themed Barbican Flash-mob

Chiswick House & Gardens 1988

Wednesday, April 20th, 2022

Chiswick House & Gardens 1988

Classic Bridge, Chiswick House Gardens, Chiswick, Hounslow, 1988
Classic Bridge, Chiswick House Gardens, Chiswick, Hounslow, 1988 88-9b-56

I think we managed to get most of our students together at Kew Bridge after our walk along Brentford Riverside to take the train for the single stop to Chiswick, from where we walked the third of a mile or so to Chiswick House Gardens.

Sphinx, Chiswick House, Chiswick House Gardens, Chiswick, Hounslow, 1988 88-9b-35
Sphinx, Chiswick House, Chiswick House Gardens, Chiswick, Hounslow, 1988 88-9b-35

As it says on the web site, “Chiswick House and Gardens is one of the most glorious examples of 18th-century British architecture and landscaped gardens, with over 300 years of discovery, inspiration and delight.” The house and gardens were created between 1725 and about 1738 by William Kent working for his friend Richard Boyle, the third Earl of Burlington and represent the birth of the English Landscape Movement and the house one of the finest examples of neo-Palladian architecture in England.

Lion, Exedra, Chiswick House Gardens, Chiswick, Hounslow, 1988 88-9b-32
Lion, Exedra, Chiswick House Gardens, Chiswick, Hounslow, 1988 88-9b-32

I don’t think we told the students a great deal about this, but we had showed them some pictures before the outing, including some fine photographs by Bill Brandt and Edwin Smith, and perhaps even some of my own.

Steps, Chiswick House, Chiswick, Hounslow, 1988 88-9b-14
Steps, Chiswick House, Chiswick, Hounslow, 1988 88-9b-14

Over the years the grounds and the house had deteriorated and before it had been sold to Middlesex County Council in 1929 had been a mental health institution. The house was taken over by the Ministry of Works (now English Heritage) in 1948, and they embarked on a major project to restore both house and gardens to their original state.

Bust, Chiswick House Gardens, Chiswick, Hounslow, 1988 88-9b-15
Bust, Chiswick House Gardens, Chiswick, Hounslow, 1988 88-9b-15

The gardens at the time of our visit in 1988 were in parts rather less restored than they are now, and I think access was a little less restricted and we could wander freely around them. The park is open free of charge to the public every day and is well worth a visit. Back in 1988 there were relatively few visitors and apart from our group they were mainly locals walking their dogs. Now after another major restoration with £12m of national lottery money and a new café completed in 2012 it gets rather more visitors.

Bust, Chiswick House Gardens, Chiswick, Hounslow, 1988 88-9b-16
Bust, Chiswick House Gardens, Chiswick, Hounslow, 1988 88-9b-16

The café was the London Building of the year in 2011, and the ‘artisan’ food isn’t bad if you like that sort of thing, though back in 1988 we brought sandwiches.

Burlington Lane, Chiswick, Hounslow, 1988 88-9c-63
From Station footbridge, Burlington Lane, Chiswick, Hounslow, 1988 88-9c-63

We didn’t get all of the students back to catch the train home from Chiswick station on any of the occasions we took them there. I think this may have been the year when police held two of them as they ran across the park to try and get to the train on time and held them for several hours without allowing them to contact anyone. But normally when we took students out some would disappear and go clubbing in London, coming back bleary-eyed to college the following morning to sleep in our lessons.

Sloane Territory 1988

Wednesday, June 23rd, 2021

Doddington, Rollo, Estate, Battersea, Railway, Wandsworth, 1988 88-3f-61-positive_2400
Doddington, Rollo, Estate, Battersea, Railway, Wandsworth, 1988 88-3f-61

This rather different view of the London skyline was taken on my way to Chelsea to take pictures in a very different part of London around Sloane Square, from my train window as it came out of Clapham Junction on its way to London Victoria. The sheds are between the lines into Victoria and those I travel on more regularly towards Vauxhall and Waterloo and the council estates beyond them form a wall to the north of that line, part of the great post-war programme to provide decent housing at sensible cost under both Labour and Conservative governments. Then came Thatcher.

Hans Place, Knightsbridge, Kensington & Chelsea, 1988 88-3f-54-positive_2400
Hans Place, Knightsbridge, Kensington & Chelsea, 1988 88-3f-54

Though I often admire the design and detail of the great houses built from around the 1770s after architect Henry Holland leased land from Earl Cadogan and sublet building plots for family houses on a fairly grand scale, this is never an area where I feel at home. Even thought houses such as these are now largely split into numerous flats – there are ten bells at the side of the right hand door here – I still feel it is the kind of area I would be expected to doff my cap at the Tradesmen’s entrance. Harrod’s whose board appears here is a major estate agent for the properties in this area were a decent sized flat might cost a couple of grand a week.

Hans Place, Knightsbridge, Kensington & Chelsea, 1988 88-3f-56-positive_2400
Hans Place, Knightsbridge, Kensington & Chelsea, 1988 88-3f-56

Much of the area was rebuilt around the end of the 19th century, and I often find the red brick and terracotta rather overpowering.

Harrods, Hans Rd, Knightsbridge, Kensington & Chelsea, 1988 88-3f-66-positive_2400
Harrods, Hans Rd, Knightsbridge, Kensington & Chelsea, 1988 88-3f-66

Harrods grew from a small shop to take over the whole 5 acre block here. Charles Henry Harrod had begun as a shopkeeper in Borough High St in 1824, moving on to shops in Clerkenwell and then Cable St in Stepney before buying a single room shop on the Brompton Rd in 1849, sensing a business opportunity with the Great Exhibition which was to open in 1851 nearby in Hyde Park. Opening with just two shop assistants and a messenger boy the shop grew rapidly, taking over adjoining buildings. His son Charles Digby Harrod took over the running of the business around 1860 and was employing 100 staff by 1881. The success was partly due to the business refusing credit to any of its customers, insisting on cash, and also by delivering all goods free of charge. Remarkably the business survived being burnt to the ground on December 7 1883, managing to deliver all of its Christmas orders from temporary premises across the road, and a new building was erected within a year. Charles Harrod sold the store via a stock market flotation in 1889, but the new company kept the family name.

In 1894 Harrods employed C. W. Stephens, an architect who had worked for the Belgravia Estate to design a new building for the store. It had to be built bit by bit as Harrods slowly acquired more of the land between Hans Crescent and Hans Road and the business had to be kept open as it was rebuilt. The work was largely completed around 2012, though external and internal changes continued.

I think my picture on Hans Road shows the Coronation Tower over the entrance to the delivery yard and I think dates from 1910-2. The Survey of London describes the commercial buildings of Stephens as in the “ornate, eclectic school of late Queen Anne architecture“, noting that Harrods stands out because of its rich casing of terracotta from Doultons.

Cadogan Hall, Sloane Terrace, Sedding St, Sloane Square, Kensington & Chelsea, 1988 88-3g-14-positive_2400
Cadogan Hall, Sloane Terrace, Sedding St, Sloane Square, Kensington & Chelsea, 1988 88-3g-14

Rather more to my taste is Cadogan Hall, still when I photographed it the First Church Of Christ Scientist, built in a Byzantine Revival Style, architect Robert Fellowes Chisholm, better known for his work in Madras, India where he worked from 1865-1902 when he returned to London where he had been born in 1840. Grade II listed in 1969 the church went out of use in the 1990s and was bough by the then owner of Harrods, Mohamed Fayed, who wanted to convert it to a luxury house, but was prevented in making the alterations he wanted because of its listed status. In 2000 it was bought by Cadogan Estates who converted it to a concert hall, offering it to the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra as their London home.

Royal Court Theatre, Sloane Square, Kensington & Chelsea, 1988 88-3g-21-positive_2400
Royal Court Theatre, Sloane Square, Kensington & Chelsea, 1988 88-3g-21

The Royal Court Theatre can justifiably claim to be “the writers’ theatre… a leading force in world theatre for cultivating writers – undiscovered, emerging and established” but I think it is also a rather tricky place to photograph.

The show on at the time appears to have been Howard Brenton’s ‘Blood Poetry’, first performed at the Haymarket Theatre Leicester in 1984, in which Percy Bysshe Shelley and his mistress live with Lord George Byron in Italy in a commune of free love, writing the bloody poetry of revolution, and come to a sticky end.

The director of the Royal Court at the time was Max Stafford-Clark, who I had the pleasure of appearing on-stage with at Battersea Arts Centre along with Jeremy Hardy and journalist Dawn Foster in an after-performance panel discussion ‘Art & Accidental Activism’ of Lung Theatre’s ‘E15’ – who I’d earlier photographed on the streets of Battersea at the start of their run.

Venus Fountain, Sloane Square, Kensington & Chelsea, 1988 88-3g-23-positive_2400
Venus Fountain, Sloane Square, Kensington & Chelsea, 1988 88-3g-23

Little seems to be known about the early life of Nell Gwynn, who grew up in a brothel in Covent Garden and was hired to sell oranges and other fruits in a scantily clad costume to the audience at the newly opened theatre in Bridges St (later the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane) at the exorbitant price of 6d (2.5p). Despite being illiterate she learnt to be an actress and took various roles as a part of the King’s Company, becoming a star for her performance in the 1665 restoration comedy ‘All Mistaken, or the Mad Couple’ and going on to star in many other plays.

King Charles II, who was married to Catherine of Braganza had various mistresses, and fathered seven sons by them, including two by Nell Gwyn, who was the longest serving and most loved of them all. Her elder son was made the Earl of Burford, but the younger died at the age of six.

The royal couple are depicted on the base of this fountain, designed by Gilbert Ledward R.A. (1888-1960) in 1953. My picture shows Charles II picking an apple from a tree. This relief – which also includes cupid, a deed, a hound and and a swan on the Thames – is perhaps more interesting than the Venus above. It’s presence here is said to have been because the king will often have travelled through here and down the then newly opened King’s Road to a house where Nell occasionally stayed. It seems a little contrived; at her insistence, the king had given her a house on Pall Mall and granted her son a house, renamed Burford House, in the Home Park at Windsor for when he was in residence there. She also had a summer home in King’s Cross.

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.