Posts Tagged ‘London’

Regents Canal – Kings Cross

Monday, September 9th, 2019

I had an hour or so to spare before a protest taking place outside The Guardian offices at Kings Place on York Way, the building at the left of the picture above and decided it was enough time to take some pictures along the canal, mainly to the east from York way to the mouth of the tunnel under Islington. The picture above is from where I walked down to the canal from York Way, and as you can see it was a good day for panoramic images like this, with plenty of interest in the sky. Skies do tend to take up a rather large part of such images, and either a dull overall grey or a clear blue can make them rather boring. The clouds in pictures like this also enliven the water with their reflections.

Walking under the York Way bridge I made an image showing the bridge and the building of Kings Place, with a waterside sculpture. There was little traffic on the canal and the water was a smooth mirror showing the buildings and the sky.

A few yards further on and I could see into the Battlebridge basin as well as the buildings alongside the canal and the moored narrow boats. When I first photographed here the buildings alongside the canal were industrial, but now they have largely been replaced by new flats. The canal here is more open and the water is rippled, making the reflections less clear.

A little further east and the canal was more sheltered, again giving a smooth mirror surface and clear reflections. The cylindrical perspective needed to acheive the extreme angle of view obviously curves the roof line of the building at left which is well away from the centre of the image. Vertical line and those through the image centre are rendered straight, but other lines curve increasingly away from the centre . The canal bank at the bottom of the building is less obviously curved as it is closer to the centre.

This isn’t really a distortion but a simple effect of the projection needed to get such an extreme view onto a flat surface. It could be made less obvious by cropping from the top of the image.

A few minutes later I had reached the tunnel mouth and found that there was a small garden across the top of it, though it wasn’t really possible to get a good picture as I was unable to get inside.

I wandered around a little more on my way back to York Way, and had time also to make a few non-panoramic images.

You can see some of these as well as other panorams on My London Diary at Regent’s Canal – King’s Cross


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

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.

There are no adverts on this site and it receives no sponsorship, and I like to keep it that way. But it does take a considerable amount of my time and thought, and if you enjoy reading it, a small donation – perhaps the cost of a beer – would be appreciated.


Drivers protest at Uber offices

Friday, September 6th, 2019

Uber drivers in London claim that on average they earn £5 an hour after taking into account their expenses, well below the national minimum wage and less than half the London Living Wage, the independently assessed minimum needed to live in London.

United Private Hire Drivers, a branch of the IWGB – Independent Workers Union of Great Britain – has been recruiting and organising private hire drivers including those working for Uber and organised a protest outside the Uber offices in Aldgate on the day before Uber’s Wall Street share flotation. The flotation at $45 per share meant a bonus of billions for Uber’s founders and for early investors including Amazon’s boss, Jeff Bezos and disgraced cyclist Lance Armstrong but absolutely nothing for the drivers.

Those who bought into the shares at the flotation may also have lost, unless they sold their shares at exactly the right time; the shares had lost around 7% at the end of the first day of trading and have only very briefly peaked above the opening price. In August they slumped down to around $32. Of course they may rise again – particularly if Uber ever manages to make money.

Despite cheating and exploiting its workers, avoiding tax and failing to properly recognise the status of the workers who drive for it, Uber has still never made a profit and may never do so. Of course it has done very nicely for the people at the top of the organisation – and those early investors.

In some respects, Uber certainly does point to the future of private hire, and highlights the antiquated and expensive nature of our London black cab system. And it provides a service many find very useful if not always entirely necessary, but at the expense of both its drivers and tax payers in general, cheated out of tax.

Better and cheaper true public transport services could do much to reduce the need and the desire for the service Uber offers, and there seems to be no inherent reason why a similar public service could not replace both Uber and black cabs and other hire services, although paying drivers decently and providing proer conditions of service as well as paying taxes would inevitably increase the cost to users.

The drivers say that fares need to be increased to £2 per mile and that the commission to Uber, currently 25%, needs to go down to 15%. They want an end to unfair dismissals for for Uber to respect the rights of drivers as workers which were confirmed by an Employment Tribunal ruling in 2016.

The protest involved drivers boycotting the Uber app from 7am to 4pm, and it was impossible to know how successful that had been. But there were rather fewer drivers than I expected outside the offices and blocking one lane of the busy road, though I left before the protest was over.


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

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.

There are no adverts on this site and it receives no sponsorship, and I like to keep it that way. But it does take a considerable amount of my time and thought, and if you enjoy reading it, a small donation – perhaps the cost of a beer – would be appreciated.


Highgate to Stoke Newington

Wednesday, September 4th, 2019

On the early May Bank Holiday – the one that should have been on May Day but isn’t – Linda and I walked another short section of the Capital Ring, from Highgate to Stoke Newington.

After a short walk along footpaths and roads, the route joins the former railway line which is now the Parkland Walk. Quite a lot of this is in a cutting, though there are some embankment sections, but except where the line has bridges over roads the view is often very limited by trees and bushes which have grown beside the former line.

A long bridge takes you across the East Coast main line and its suburban outliers and into Finsbury Park, where both cafe and toilets were very welcome.

Across the park you join the New River, supplying water to London since 1613, thanks in particular to the efforts of Sir Hugh Myddelton, though I expect he had quite a few others to dig it for him (and it wasn’t his idea in the first place.)

This goes along the edge of the Woodberry Down Estate, a large area bought by the LCC for housing in 1934, but only developed after the war as a ‘utopian estate of the future‘. Building began in 1949 and the 57 large blocks of flats were only completed in 1962. The estate included the country’s first purpose built comprehensive school and a medical estate opened by Nye Bevan, but unfortunately was allowed to deteriorate over the years, and beggining in 2009 became one of Europe’s biggest single-site estate regeneration projects.

The controversial scheme by Berkeley Homes, Notting Hill Genesis and Hackney Council will involve a loss of around a fifth of social housing in the area estimated by the council at around 320 homes and has been described as ‘state-sponsored gentrification‘ with 3 bed flats selling for around £800,000 and many being bought up as investments by foreign investors rather than used as homes.

On the opposite side of the path, across the New River are large reservoirs of open water, part now a nature reserve with public access (and another tea room with toilets) and another used for sailing and other water sports. The remarkable Scottish Baronial castle built as offices for the water board is now a climbing centre.

From there it’s a short walk to Clissold Park (another cafe and toilets – this must be the best provided section of the Capital Ring) and Stoke Newington Church Street, often described as a ‘hipster hub‘. Next to the park are the two churches of St Mary, the older locked but with an atmospheric and overgrown churchyard and the Victorian built in 1858 to the design of Sir George Gilbert Scott,  open and well worth a visit.

As a final climax we came to Abney Park Cemetery, one of London’s finest, set up in 1840 as a burial ground for non-conformists and the final resting place of around 200,000 Londoners, now a nature reserve. We looked up the train times from nearby Stoke Newington station and rather than rushing through to the station spent some time wandering around and finding a few of the better-known graves and some other interesting monuments.

In our rush from there the few hundred yards to the station I lost a little concentration and we went down to the wrong platform and caught a train going into London rather than out and had to re-plan our journey home. It turned out to be almost as fast.

More pictures from the walk at Highgate to Stoke Newington.


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

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.

There are no adverts on this site and it receives no sponsorship, and I like to keep it that way. But it does take a considerable amount of my time and thought, and if you enjoy reading it, a small donation – perhaps the cost of a beer – would be appreciated.


May Day banners

Saturday, August 31st, 2019
The main banner for the march

After photographing some of the marchers as they left Clerkenwell Green I rushed ahead and photographed the whole march as it came up to Farringdon Road and continued on its way towards Trafalgar Square.

I tried hard to photograph all of the banners that were being carried, and have put most of these pictures on My London Diary. I think I missed a few, particularly where some of the large trade union banners obscured others, and there were a few pictures I rejected for technical or aesthetic reasons. But it is a measure of the rather smaller scale of this year’s march that I was able to record almost all of it in a little over 40 images.

Sri Lanka People’s Liberation Front
Turkish MLKP banner
Kashmir JK NAP UK
Day-Mer Women Organisation
English Collective of Prostitutes and Women Against Rape
Communist Party of Greece

When the end of the march had passed me, I walked down to the tube. I had decided against going to the rally in Trafalgar Square, and I suspect that as in previous years most of the marchers would quickly melt away after they had reached the destination. There would still be an audience, though not a huge one and made up more of British trade unionists and socialists than the march.

In previous years the rally has largely failed to represent the cosmopolitan nature of the march, and I had no reason to feel this year would be any different. I went to celebrate May Day with a group of friends in a pub in Wapping, intending to return in the evening for another event in central London. But our celebrations went well and somehow I missed it.

More London May Day Banners on My London Diary.


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

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.

There are no adverts on this site and it receives no sponsorship, and I like to keep it that way. But it does take a considerable amount of my time and thought, and if you enjoy reading it, a small donation – perhaps the cost of a beer – would be appreciated.


Shrinking May Day

Friday, August 30th, 2019

There has been a march in London on May Day, May 1st, for many years now, and since I went freelance I think I’ve attended it most or all years. Before when I was working as a full-time teacher, I was usually working on the actual May Day and unable to celebrate it, though back in the 70s I would turn up to work with a sprig of Lily of the Valley in my lapel, provided by a left-wing colleague, with French connections – there they have a public holiday to celebrate La Fête du Travail which is also know as La Fête du Muguet .

Back in 1978, the then Labour Prime Minister James Callaghan lost his nerve in creating a May bank holiday, and instead of declaring May Day as a holiday we got the rather ridiculous first Monday in May. Despite it not being May Day it remains contentious, with the Tory right Little Englanders wanting to replace it with a nationalistic UK Day ‘Best of Britain’ celebration in Ocotober. Next year it is to be moved to Friday May 8th to celebrate the 75th anniversary of VE Day.

Without London’s ethnic communities, I think the London march would have died years ago, with Kurds and Turkish communist groups really keeping the event alive and many other nationalities taking part. There is a small hard-core of left wing trade unionists and British communists, as well as various issue groups also.

This year Clerkenwell Green seemed very empty when I arrived at the time marchers were supposed to gather from noon, though more came later, knowing it would only start around 1pm.

But there were a few speeches in front of the Marx Library, notably from an man from the Indian Workers Association about the 100th anniversary of the Jallianwala Bagh massacre  and their demand for a formal apology from Britain and the Venezuelan ambassador who spoke in support of their government against media lies used to promote the  US-inspired and supported right-wing coup

Two unwelcome marchers held a banner with an anti-trans message woman an adult human female. Later following complaints they were challenged by march stewards and forced to leave the march. There is little support for this ‘Terf’ bigotry on the left which almost universally supports LGBTQ+ rights as an important area of human rights.

You can see more pictures at London May Day .

My next post will look at some of the banners on the May Day March


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

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.

There are no adverts on this site and it receives no sponsorship, and I like to keep it that way. But it does take a considerable amount of my time and thought, and if you enjoy reading it, a small donation – perhaps the cost of a beer – would be appreciated.


Travelcard & more protests

Thursday, August 29th, 2019

I do like to get my money’s worth from a Travelcard. Because of some Tory gerrymandering in the 1960s the area where I live was the only part of Middlesex not to become a London borough, which means that despite my age I don’t qualify for a ‘Freedom Pass’ but am still paying for rail and underground travel.

I do of course get a national bus pass, which does save me a great deal, and a Senior Rail Card gets me a third off my rail fares except during the morning peak – and is a bargain at £70 for 3 years. But still the travel to and around London working costs me around £1500 a year – yet another reason to curse the Tories.

The Freedom Pass was introduced by a Labour GLC in 1973, largely pushed through by the effort’s of Ken Livinstone’s Deputy Illtyd Harrington. Welcome though it was for pensioners, transport in London remained a difficult and expensive business for those of us younger at the time, with journeys generally requiring the purchase of a separate ticket for each stage in any journey.

Again it was under a Labour GLC that the Travelcard was introduced in 1983-4 (the later year for the one-day version) although its use was restricted until the Capitalcard in 1985 added rail travel to Underground and buses. This was replaced by a revised Travelcard in 1989 which included rail and DLR services, which despite changes in London’s governance and travel systems remains in use with only minor changes today.

The Travelcard made my extensive photography of Greater London from 1986-2000 possible, or at least greatly simplified the logistics, particularly in removing the need to queue at tube and rail stations to buy a ticket for each stage of the journey. Improvements in providing information about services, and latterly the online Journey Planner and Googlehave also greatly simplified the process, which previously had meant much tedious work with paper timetables and tube and bus maps as well as the London A-Z. Though with a little intelligence it often remains possible to find faster routes than those suggested online, which occasionally verge on the bizarre.

On April 30th my Travelcard first took me to Waterloo, and then on the tube to Westminster. After photographing the protests there it was back on the tube to London Bridge and then by rail to New Cross and a short walk to Goldsmiths. I then returned by train to London Bridge, again taking the tube to Westminster, where I photographed a protest by XR Families at the Treasury. I walked back to Westminster station and again took the Jubilee Line, this time to Finchley Road, with a short walk to cover a protest against a fundraiser to recruit young people to the Israeli army at the JW3 Jewish Community Centre. This is close to Finchley Road & Frognal station from which I caught the Overground to Richmond for a South West Railway train home.

I think the day would have needed a combination of 5 or 6 single or return tickets for the various stages in the pre-Travelcard era, each involving queing to buy a ticket from a clerk in the ticket office. I don’t think I could have contemplated a journey like this and had I done so it would have been expensive. I felt my Travelcard had served me well.

More about the last two protests of the day and of course more pictures:

XR Families and Children at the Treasury
Protest against Israeli Army Recruitment


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

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.

There are no adverts on this site and it receives no sponsorship, and I like to keep it that way. But it does take a considerable amount of my time and thought, and if you enjoy reading it, a small donation – perhaps the cost of a beer – would be appreciated.


Goldsmiths Occupation

Wednesday, August 28th, 2019

Goldsmiths, University of London was once a small college in New Cross, establishe in 1891 by the Worshipful Company of Goldsmiths as Goldsmiths’ Technical and Recreative Institute in a building built in 1844 for the Royal Naval School who had outgrown the site. It became a college of the University of London in 1904 as as Goldsmiths’ College, losing the apostrophe in 1933.

Goldsmiths College is still its official name, but it no longer uses the ‘College’, perhaps too much of a reminder of its past role largely in training teachers, although also offering other courses. Many well-known British artists studied there, perhaps benefitting greatly from a thriving south London art scene in the 1970s in Bermondsey and other areas of nearby Southwark.

Goldsmiths too has outgrown its old building, although it is still its main building, but has spread its campus across a much larger area, with both new buildings and incorporating older ones, the most prestigious and ornate of which is the former Deptford Town Hall on the New Cross Road.

Over half the students at Goldsmiths are mature students, and around a fifth are overseas students as well as many BAME students from this country. That mix was evident when I visited Deptford Town Hall where students were preparing for a party to celebrate 50 days of occupation in the building – as it has also been on other visits to the campus. It feels more like a London university than most.

The Goldsmiths occupation was prompted after a candidate standing in student elections was racially abused and the university authorities failed to take action, but has longer and deeper causes. Students claim that the university fails to treat its BAME students and workers fairly, with higher dropout rates for them as well as lower academic results. I’d been at Goldsmiths a couple of months earlier, on St Valentines Day for a protest to launch the campaign by the IWGB union and students to directly employ its security officers and give them decent pay and conditions.

I was signed into the building by a student and given a conducted tour of the occupied areas, then watched and photographed the occupying students preparing for their party – and wished I could stay as the food looked delicious.

The students had a long list of demands, including that Goldsmiths develop a strategic plan to tackle the institutional racism – and bring workers on the campus into direct employment, several versions of which were written up in the occupation and on-line.

They also demand that Deptford Town Hall be made more available to the local community, as they say Goldsmiths have failed to live up to the promises they made about this. It really is a splendid building, and the interior even more so than the impressive facade, and it would be good to see it become a community asset rather than solely used for university purposes. It was after all built for the people, doubtless with money from taxpayers as well as from our exploitation of the Empire.

The occupation finally came to a successful end in July after 137 days when the Black, Minority Ethnic, Muslim, LGBTQ and disabled student-led occupation by Goldsmiths Anti-Racist Action obtained a legally binding dcument signed by the Senior Management Team to their demands including that they would not pursue further legal action against those who had carried out the occupation.

More pictures from my brief visit: 50 days anti-racist occupation at Goldsmiths.


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

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.

There are no adverts on this site and it receives no sponsorship, and I like to keep it that way. But it does take a considerable amount of my time and thought, and if you enjoy reading it, a small donation – perhaps the cost of a beer – would be appreciated.


Anglo American

Tuesday, August 27th, 2019

I’d gone to the QEII Centre in Westminster to photograph one protest outside the AGM of London-listed mining company Anglo American, and found that there were two taking place and sharing the space not entirely happily.

I’d known well in advance that the London Mining Network were going to be there and hold a vigil because of the “unimaginable damage to communities and the planet” caused by Anglo American “through its disregard for human rights, the environmental devastation caused by its projects, and its neo-colonial policies in Colombia, Brazil, Peru, Chile, South Africa and elsewhere.”

Protesting together with them were people representing groups in some of those countries, particularly Colombia, as well as Medact, health professionals for a safer, fairer & better world, many of whom volunteer to work abroad including in areas affected by the activities of Anglo American. And among the protesters were several who had bought a single share so as to be entitled to go into the AGM and question the activities of the company in the meeting.

But there is no booking system for protests – and for static protests there is even no requirement to inform the police, though this is necessary for marches to be legal. And another group had come and set up before them on the spot they had hoped to occupy.

As it says in the search description for their web site, “Anglo American is a globally diversified mining business. Our portfolio spans diamonds (De Beers), platinum, copper, iron ore and manganese, metallurgical …” (the rest of their activities are masked by the character limit, so you can finish the sentence how you like.)

De Beers is the worlds leading diamond company. Inminds came to demand that they end their trade in Israeli blood diamonds, saying the Kimberley Process, meant to prevent the trade in diamonds that fund human rights violations is purposely neutered. De Beers supplies diamonds to Israel where they are cut and polished and produce around about $1 billion annually to bankroll the Israeli military and security industries and its horrendous human right abuses against Palestinians.

Inminds say that in 2015 Israel managed to block a proposal by the World Diamond Council that would have extended the definition of conflict diamonds “to include countries who flout human rights laws not just in mining areas but also in diamond trading centers“. 

The London Mining Network held their protest a few yards away, and not as they had intended at one of the entrances where shareholders might walk to the AGM. Although the two protests remained separate, some of those attending spent time supporting both. I’ve photographed both groups before and probably should have reported the two protests separately, but I hope the captions to my images filed made the position clear – as I think it is on My London Diary in Protests at Anglo-American mining AGM.


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

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.

There are no adverts on this site and it receives no sponsorship, and I like to keep it that way. But it does take a considerable amount of my time and thought, and if you enjoy reading it, a small donation – perhaps the cost of a beer – would be appreciated.


July 2019 on My London Diary

Monday, August 26th, 2019

Finally my pictures and comments for July 2019 are online. It should have been easy as I took the last week off with various family events, which even if they get photographed very seldom get shared publically on-line. But somehow I’m finding keeping up with things rather difficult, and for various reasons I think My London Diary is likely shortly to come to an end. But at least a few months more…

As usual in July I went to the annual Procession of Our Lady of Mount Carmel at St Peter’s Italian Church in Clerkenwell and managed to get all three doves leaving the basket in the same picture – always a challenge.

July 2019

Boris J is not our Prime Minister
Our Lady of Mount Carmel
Sagra
No to Boris, Yes to Europe
Requiem for a Dead Planet at Daily Mail

Students march for climate
XR London Tax rebellion
GLIAS 50th anniversary walk
St John’s Wood – Paddington Basin
Extinction Rebellion Waterloo

XR Summer Uprising procession
XR call for Ecocide Law

BEIS workers begin indefinite strike
East London Extinction Rebellion March
Vegan for Life Parade
Belgian Army Cenotaph Parade
IWGB welcome new Vice Chancellor
XR East London marches for clean air
IWGB demand living wage at LouLou’s
Bring Back unlawfully deported ‘PN’
London’s Sinister Arms Trade
Pride is a Protest
Give Me Five days
Protest French police attack on XR
XR Carmen’s Carbon Procession
End Inhuman Electroshock treatment

London Images

Facebook Shame

Thursday, August 22nd, 2019

I’ve written recently about Facebook’s censorship of posts and many of my friends who are on Facebook (and more who I don’t know but are ‘Facebook Friends’) seem regularly to disappear for a few days or even permanently having been banned from FB. (Though most of those who have been permanently removed seem to reappear in a few days under a slightly different name.

Often their ‘offences’ seem to have been trivial or non-existent, sometimes just sharing a link to an article in the mainstream press seems to be enough to generate a ban. At times FB’s arbiters seem excessively prudish, objecting to the kind of language that is commonplace in many groups in our society, or in their obsessive fear of women’s nipples.

FB’s censorship reached a shameful new low a few months ago, when they blocked people recording ‘Likes‘ on the site of Access Ability who have a Facebook help line to empower people with disabilities. When this was queried on a phone call, the site was told the action had been taken by FB because “some people find it disturbing to see pictures of disabled people“.

Together with a colleague I went to photograph a protest by disabled friends from DPAC (Disabled People Against Cuts) outside Facebook’s London HQ against this discriminatory treatment by Facebook of disability-related pages, and you can see my pictures of their protest. During the protest they played a recording of the phone call which the above quote came from, and there were other similarly disturbing statements.

But what you can’t see pictures of is a meeting which I think took place between the protesters and a manager from Facebook about the ban. FB were clearly so ashamed about their behaviour that they were unwilling for this to be recorded. Their security manager came out and told DPAC that a manager would only come out and talk with them if the meeting was not photographed, videoed or recorded in any way.

My colleague had already left, deciding he had enough pictures of the protest for his newspaper which had asked him to cover it. I decided not to prejudice the outcome of the event for the protesters and felt that reporting the prohibition was a more powerful admission of FB’s guilty shame than any photographs of the meeting could be and left.

More pictures at Disabled protest against Facebook


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

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.

There are no adverts on this site and it receives no sponsorship, and I like to keep it that way. But it does take a considerable amount of my time and thought, and if you enjoy reading it, a small donation – perhaps the cost of a beer – would be appreciated.