Posts Tagged ‘London Cross-section’

More City colour

Thursday, July 2nd, 2020

Some more pictures from my Flickr album made from en-prints of pictures taken in 1986-92 in the 1km wide strip of London in defined by the National G id reference TQ32, TQ32 London Cross-section.

IBM, Basinghall St, City, 1986 TQ3281-026
IBM, Basinghall St, City, 1986

Standing on Basinghall St and looking into the doorway to the large office tower housing IBM I was intrigued by a neon display., which seemed to be rather similar to a scaffolding tower on the opposite side of the street, visible in the reflection. You can see part of me taking the picture at its centre, my shoulder, arm and camera bag, leg and top of my shoe visible.

I was puzzled slightly at first as I appeared to be carrying my bag to the right of me, something I’ve never done since back in the mid 1970s, after I suffered badly with back pain. Although the specialist I saw never really managed to find a reason or cure, we did eventually discover that I could avoid the crippling pain by carrying my bag on the left shoulder rather than my right. But of course this is a reflection, so what appears to be right is actually left.

Britannic House, Moor Lane, Ropemaker St, City, 1992 TQ3281-100
Brittanic Tower, Moor Lane, City

Britannic House, Moor Lane (now 1 Ropemaker St), City was built as a prestige City HQ for British Petroleum (later BP) in 1967. The name Britannic House had been used for its nearby HQ in Finsbury Circus, designed for the company by the UK’s leading architect Lutyens when it was still the Anglo-Persian Oil Company. That rather lower but much more impressive building from 1921-5 required special permission from the LCC because of its height of at 38 metres and also presented building problems because it was partly above the underground Moorgate station.

The name Britannic House passed back to the Lutyens building when BP returned to it in 1991, and the Moor Lane building, a 35 storey 122m tall slab, was renamed Britannic Tower. When built it was the first City building taller than St Paul’s Cathedral, which was 111m (365 ft.)

Brittanic Tower was refurbished in 2000 with a fancy top adding another 5 metres and renamed Citypoint and is now the tenth tallest building in the City according to Wikipedia and the 54th tallest in Greater London. I think this particularly pointless piece of decorative sculpture at its base was lost in the refurbishment.

Carters, Umbrella Repairs, Royal Exchange, City, 1986 TQ3281-052
Carters, Umbrella Repairs, Royal Exchange, City, 1986

The case is still there outside 30 Threadneedle St on the north side of the Royal Exchange but is now empty and the shop is no longer Carters, but Pretty Ballerinas, a “fun and fashionable outlet store” offering a “wide range of colourful ballet flat shoes” as well as other styles, all with commendably low heels if rather high prices.

The rolled umbrella was once a part of the uniform of the City gent, but there are rather few of them around now. And umbrellas have become cheap and disposable, probably impossible to repair.

Simpsons, Ball Court, City, 1992 TQ3281-077
Simpsons, Ball Court, City, 1992

Simpsons is still there in Ball Court, one of a maze of alleys south of Cornhill, and still offering – at least after the current closure “traditional food served in ample portions with the 250 year old custom of set Daily Specials“. Although not cheap, it isn’t an expensive place by London standards. I’ve never eaten there but perhaps I might treat myself one day if I go to London again.

Bank of England, Bank, CIty, 1987 TQ3281-047
Bank of England, Bank, City, 1987

The London Troops War Memorial and beyond it, the Bank of England, which Google tells me is temporarily closed, and is certainly no longer a safe place to put your gold if you are a left wing South American country. Over the past years I’ve photographed several protests calling on the bank to let Venezuela have it gold kept here, which the Bank is refusing to release due to US sanctions.

Venezuela’s central bank, controlled by President Nicolas Maduro, is currently seeking an order in the English High Court to force the Bank of England to hand over the over $1 billion of Venezuelan gold reserve in its vaults which the country need to fight the coronavirus pandemic.

More from the City in a later post. You can see more pictures now in TQ32 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.


TQ31 – North London

Friday, June 19th, 2020

There are many pictures on the fourth and last page of my album TQ31 London Cross-Section I’d like to show you and say a little about, though in most cases they need little text, but it can sometimes add interest. But my time is limited and I’ll leave you to discover most of them for yourselves.

Andreas, Hairdresser, Hornsey Rd, Lower Holloway, 1989 TQ3185-005

I think Andreas’s Barber Shop on the Hornsey Road had probably ceased trading by the time I took this picture, as there is no light bulb in the socket just to the left of the centre of the window. There is a notice in the door that gives its opening times, but where it says ‘Closed’ I think this may have been permanent.

As I was still working full-time, many of my pictures were made at the weekend, often like this one on Sunday mornings, when most shops would have been closed. The building is still there, but not the shop or its shopfront; the whole row of shops present when I was taking pictures has now been converted to residential use.

Hoo Hing Ltd,  Drayton Park, Highbury, 1989 TQ3185-008

Rather to my surprise, this industrial/commercial building is still there on Drayton Park, and, at least until recently, the name ‘HOO HING LTD’ was still present above the doorway. The company still exists and is an importer of oriental food and catering products, but the site was reported as due to be cleared in 2006 for housing. However in 2019 it was still there; like many redevelopments it may have been halted by the financial crash.

Sisters Gowns, Seven Sisters Rd, Finsbury Park, 1989 TQ3186-015

Sisters Gowns was at the rear of a property at 216 Seven Sisters Road in Finsbury Park and this door was on Coleridge Rd. The property was demolished in 2008 (the sign had gone earlier), but the site was still empty in 2019.

Shop window, Fonthill Rd, Finsbury Park, 1989 TQ3186-021

Fonthill Rd in Finsbury Park, apparently known to locals as ‘The Font’ is possibly London’s best ‘fashion village’. On weekdays the trade is (or at least was) largely for the trade, but on Saturdays it becomes a busy retail fashion area, often packed with women on the lookout for a bargain. Fortunately most of the shops were closed when I went to take pictures on a Sunday morning.

Hairdresser,  Turnpike Lane, 1989 TQ3189-015

A unisex hairdressers at Turnpike Lane excited me in my hunt for heads, with a couple of fine examples as well as some photographs. I think I took rather more pictures than the three you can see here. A recessed doorway meant I could work from several angles.

Reflection, shop window, West Green Rd, West Green, 1989, Haringey TQ3189-010

Close to Turnpike Lane, down West Green Road, I came across another interesting shop window for a tailor’s shop, offering best styles made to measure at local prices. Working with a single lens reflex camera with its through the lens view meant that I could clearly see how the reflection and direct view combined, and could make small movements and sometimes deliberate shading to control the effect.

TQ31 London Cross-Section includes almost 400 pictures made in a small sliver of London, just a kilometre wide, which reflect the different areas it passes through from Norwood in the south to Wood Green in the north. The pictures come from just one of around a dozen such albums containing colour pictures I took when working around London between 1986 and 1992.


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.


City to Finsbury

Thursday, June 18th, 2020
Blades, Hairdresser, New Bridge St, Blackfriars 1992 TQ3181-065

I found this head in a barber’s window on New Bridge St fascinating if rather revolting and made several pictures of it and a similar head in another of the shop’s windows. At £11.95 for Mens Shampoo Cut and Finish back then (£25 at today’s prices) this was an establishment catering for the relatively wealthy, though women may think it still a bargain compared with what they pay. The company which had a number of shops is still in business but not at this address.

The Queen's Head, Ludgate Broadway, 1992 TQ3181-070

Curiously this little area of central London remained largely as it had been left after the war when I photographed here in 1992. The Queen’s Head was left alone after bombing in 1940 destroyed its neighbours, the Blue Last pub, the Ventura Restaurant and a stamp dealer in Ludgate Broadway. Fifty two years later their empty spaces only in use for car parks. Although I’ve labelled it on the enprint as Ludgate Broadway, a sign on the boarding around the bomb site reads Blackfriars Lane, but the view continues down f Ludgate Broadway to Pilgrim St. The size of the tree in the bomb site gives some indication of how long this site has been empty, though I think the ground level was some way down on the other side of the fence. The red building in Pilgrim St is still there, the 1891 City Bank with a frontage on Ludgate Hill, and had recently been restored at the time of the picture. A year later Ludgate Court on its west side was renamed  Pageantmaster Court. The ugly block to the left of the City Bank has since been replaced by an even uglier one, but both this and the Old Bailey are no longer visible from where I was standing after the bomb site was redeveloped, I think around 2000.

B W Bellgrove, Meat, Eagle Court, Farringdon, 1986 TQ3181-010

Apart from the colour which seemed appropriate for the trade, I was certainly attracted by the painted brickwork around the door and the signs, both for ‘B. W. Bellgrove (Meat) Limited – Wholesale. Retail & Catering Butcher’ which seemed unusually explicit, and also for the street name, Eagle Court, which made the location clear. Eagle Court is a short distance to the north of Smithfield Market, and runs between Britton St and St John’s Lane.

Wells House, Spa Green Estate, Rosebery Ave, Finsbury, 1992 TQ3182-017

Designed by Berthold Lubetkin in 1938, the foundation stone was laid in 1946 and the scheme completed in 1949, the Spa Green Estate between Rosebery Avenue and St John St in Clerkenwell is perhaps the most complete realisation of the modernist approach to social housing and a power expression of the new welfare state. It’s special status, confirmed by Grade II* listing in 1998 has enabled the estate, which had begun to deteriorate as government policies turned against council housing and made it difficult for local authorities to properly maintain it, has enable the TMO now responsible to carry out internal refurbishments to modern standards (and in many ways the original was well ahead of its times) and to restore the exterior to reflect Lubetkin’s original vision.

Wigton House, Agdon St, Finsbury, 1992 TQ3182-019

Wigton House on Agdon St in Finsbury. The street used to be called Wood’s Close, but at the start of the 20th century was renamed Northampton St, and then in 1939 the Marquess of Northampton (whose Compton family were the local landowners) was asked to suggest a new name for it and suggested Agdon St after property his family owned in Warwickshire. Back in the middle of the eighteenth century people apparently used to gather here to travel with an armed escort into London because of the danger of being robbed.

This was the rear entrance to Wigton House, whose frontage was on St John St. It was built by John Laing & Son Ltd in 1936-8 as a speculative development and named after Wigton in Cumbria, the area where the company came from. The building was converted into flats shortly after I took this picture in 1992 and renamed Paramount House. The frontage on St John St was altered but this side remains clearly identifiable.

The album TQ31 London Cross-section contains many more pictures from the City and Finsbury as well as areas both to the south and north, all made in the 1km wide strip with Grid reference beginning TQ31, all made between 1986 and 1992.


More from TQ31

Tuesday, June 16th, 2020

A few pictures recently posted to my Flickr album TQ31 London Cross-section from colour pictures taken in 1979-85. These come from National Grid squares TQ3176 – TQ3181, part of the 1km wide south-north strip TQ31 through London.

Church & Mural, Angell Rd, Angell Park Gdns, Angell Town, 1989 TQ3176-008

Angell town got its name from the family who owned it in the 18th century, and in particular John Angell who died in 1550 and whose self-made will and various litigious claims due to his eccentricity and inflexible obstinacy resulted in years of legal argument after his death, and more after the death of John Angell, junior, in 1784. There were few houses on the land until it was fully developed in the 1850s by the redundantly named Benedict John Angell Angell, mainly with substantial semi-detached properties for middle-class families. St. John’s Church, Angell Town was consecrated in 1853.

Most of the estate around it was demolished and replaced by a council estate built by Lambeth Council in 1974-78. A combination of unfortunate design, typical of the time, and poor maintenance quickly led to the estate becoming a haven for drug dealers and other criminals. A comprehensive redevelopment in the mid-1990s led to some improvement but the estate later deteriorated, partly because of lack of support from Lambeth Council, and became the home turf of one of London’s most notorious teenage street gangs.

Ideal, Cafe, London Rd Newington, 1987 TQ3179-014

This café, the “IDEAL” was on the west side of London Road, north of the Elephant and Castle and just south of St George’s Circus. In the reflection you can just see a part of the Duke of Clarence pub, still there though now the Clarence Centre for Enterprise and Innovation of London South Bank University. The row of shops containing the café is still there but the shop fronts have changed and I can’t positively identify exactly which has replaced this.

When I put this project together, beginning around when I took this image in 1987, I was interested in the way that colour negative film and the cheap en-prints that were the normal way most of its users experienced it presented reality and distorted it. I liked the way images were often printed with strong colour casts and sometimes slightly out of focus, though this batch was one of the better in terms of print quality. Some processors also put little stickers on prints giving advice where they thought there were technical problems, one of which I’ve failed to remove entirely from this image at bottom left. I’m sorry I didn’t leave it on, as I can now only imagine what it said. I think either a warning about reflections or possibly against double-exposures – which of course this isn’t.

Bridge Piers, River Thames, Blackfriars,1987 TQ3180-002

Joseph Cubitt who designed Blackfriars Bridge also designed the railway bridge which until a few years before I took this picture ran across the top of these piers, and had to make both bridges with the matching spans and piers, though those on the road bridge have a very different finish. His rail bridge for the London, Chatham and Dover Railway was opened in 1864 and the road bridge five years later.

The railway bridge to the east, on the left of the picture was opened some years later in 1886 and is still in use. But the station (originally called St Paul’s Station, but since 1937, Blackfriars) became less important when the Southern Railway was formed in 1924, with its main-line services being moved to Waterloo and the older bridge was no longer much used. In 1985 the superstructure was removed as it had become too weak to support modern trains, but these massive pillars were left, with some being used to support an extension of the station platforms across the Thames.

The Blackfriar,  Queen Victoria St, 1992TQ3180-014

The Blackfriar is a remarkable example of a Victorian pub, Grade II* listed, on Queen Victoria St. Originally built in 1875 on the site of a medieval Dominican friary it was extensively remodelled in several stages beginning in 1903 in a jolly arts and crafts manner by Herbert Fuller-Clark, with sculptures by Nathaniel Hitch, Frederick Callcott, Henry Poole, and Farmer and Brindley. Their work was completed by 1925, but the large figure of a black monk over the corner door was only added a year or two before I took these pictures.

The pub was saved from demolition in the 1960s by a public campaign led by Sir John Betjeman.

Wig & Pen Club, Strand, 1991 TQ3181-053

The Wig and Pen club at 229 Strand was in a building from 1625, built on Roman ruins which claimed to have been the only building in the Strand to escape burning in the Great Fire of London in 1666.

Opposite the Royal Courts of Justice in its early years it was occupied by the Gatekeeper from Temple Bar, just along the street on whose spikes severed heads of traitors were displayed, and began to sell food and drink to the crowds who came to view them.

The club was formed as a meeting place for lawyers and journalists probably around the start of the twentieth century, and closed around ninety-five years later in 2003. Business dropped drastically as the newspapers moved out of Fleet St, but there were also changes in social behaviour making the lengthy and very liquid lunchtimes that were once the norm largely a thing of the past. It tried to keep going by making the lower floor restaurant open to the public, but even this failed to generate enough to keep the club going. Eventually after being vacant for several years it was sold by the landlords to a restaurant chain with the upper floor of this and the adjacent building being converted into a house.

The George, Strand, 1991, TQ3181-063

The George Hotel, 213 Strand, was George’s Coffee House from up 1723 to the 1820s, becoming the George Hotel in the following decade. The building was on the site of an older building and was I think rebuilt in the Victorian era as a handsome stone-faced block on four floors with a balustrade across the front of the roof.

That building was ‘tarted up’ in 1930, with various additions to the woodwork of the ground floor, a half-timbered frontage and a pitched roof. I suspect that most of the antique internals also date from that facelift.

As a coffee house it claims many great historical writers as regulars, including Horace Walpole, Oliver Goldsmith and Samuel Johnson, and its basement is said to be haunted by a “Laughing Cavalier” or “Roundhead”, according to some accounts headless.

No-one seems to know why the additions to its frontage include an apparently naked man chasing half a dozen pigs or the monk with cat and barrel, though they are possibly copies from some older pub in what was something of a movement to recreate the old inns of England.

More pictures in TQ31 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.


Brixton TQ31

Sunday, June 14th, 2020
Van, Rushcroft Rd, Brixton, 1987 TQ3175-001

There must be a reason for this van, parked at the junction of Rushcroft Rd and Vining St behind the large Foodstation building to have a horse on its cab roof, and I’d love someone to enlighten me. I think this is a classic Citroen H van, which were often adapted for use as catering or camping vans, and some are still in use and sell for high prices. There was even a special horse-box version.

Fishmongers, Shop, Atlantic Rd, Brixton, 1987 TQ3175-004

The much-loved fishmonger in the railway arches, one of a number of businesses recently lost to the relentless gentrification of Brixton, despite a long and hard-fought campaign.

Sculpture, Flats, Barrington Rd, Brixton, 1989 TQ3175-014

This sculpture and the mosaic panels were on Kemble House in Barrington Rd, and the pillar still has the mosaic, though the sculpture is long gone. I think both were added to the building in the mid-80s by Freeform Arts. The Loughborough estate was built by the LCC from 1954-70 to the designs of their architects department under Sir Leslie Martin, and provided 1,031 dwellings, including maisonettes in nine 11-storey blocks such as Kemble House. Since 1995 the estate has been run by the Loughbourough Estate Management Board.

Coldharbour Lane, Loughborough Junction, Brixton, 1989 TQ3175-018

An alley between shops on Coldharbour Lane still leads the Celestial Church of Christ at Loughborough Junction, and that strange post is still there in the middle of the pavement. The church “came into the world from heaven by DIVINE ORDER on the 29th of September 1947 in Porto Novo, Republic of Benin through the founder of the Church, the Late Reverend, Pastor, Prophet, Founder Samuel Bilehou Joseph Oshoffa. The Church is well known with Parishes, Dioceses all over the world with its International Headquarters in Nigeria.” More here.

Graffiti, Stockwell Ave, Brixton, 1989 TQ3175-026

I think this graffiti on Stockwell Avenue was on the side wall of 8 Bellefields Rd though it has long disappeared. A number of more official-looking murals had been painted in the area at the time, and one is still present on the facing wall, but this seemed to me to be more ‘Brixton’. The mural opposite was painted in 1987 by Sonia Martin of London Wall Public Art after consultations with local residents and was one of a series of Brixton murals painted after the 1981 Brixton riots with funding from Lambeth Council and the GLC.

More pictures from Brixton in TQ31 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.


Norwood to Brixton: TQ31

Saturday, June 13th, 2020
House, Norwood Grove, Norwood,  1991 TQ3170-001

My pictures from TQ31, a 1km wide strip of London begin at Norwood Grove with a picture of the ‘White House’ there, a fine building dating from the early 19th century on the edge of Croydon. It’s a total mystery to me what I was doing there in 1991, but I did photograph this house again in 1996 but on a dull, overcast day. Possibly I was on a family walk and we had gone to look at its gardens which are listed with the house.

Barber, Norwood Rd, Tulse Hill, 1991 TQ3172-003

Hairdressers are a good example of businesses that can be set up with relatively little capital expenditure, and are often quite individual in the furnishing of their shops and window displays. I don’t think there are any real chains or franchises in the trade, either for barbers, unisex or ladies salons. And given the nature of the business the windows often include representations of heads – drawn and photographed (as in this case) or even three-dimensional, making them of great interest to me. Something that the differential fading of the colour image at the right only added to.

Tailor, Dulwich Rd, Herne Hill, 1991, Lambeth Tailor, Dulwich Rd, Herne Hill, 1991 TQ3174-020

It was definitely the colour that attracted me to this cafe on the Dulwich Rd at Herne Hill, set off by the white porcelain ashtray. Getting the colour right in the darkroom (it wasn’t on the enprint) proved a little difficult, but the ashtray and the CocaCola box were good reference points and this was one of the pictures I exhibited in the 1990s

Repairs, Railton Rd, Brixton, 1991 TQ3174-005

Brixton was a place I loved to visit for its colour and vibrancy. Back in the early days I went there quite frequently to buy cheap outdated photographic paper from A.W.Young Photographic in Altantic Rd. Later I used to go to Photofusion in Electric Lane to go to exhibition openings and take in pictures for their photo-library. This was Sherlock Electrical Repairs in Railton Rd, and they seemed to specialise in vacuum cleaners.

121 Centre, Railton Rd, Brixton, 1991 TQ3174-019

I bought some pamphlets and magazines from the 121 Centre in Railton Rd, on the corner of Chaucer Rd. It was a squatted anarchist social centre, and later in 1999 I went to at least one party in the street outside when it was threatened with eviction.

The centre had been squatted in 1973 by Olive Morris and became and anarchist social centre around the time of the 1981 Brixton riots, when Railton Rd was the “front line!, later gaining an international reputation for the groups and events it hosted. Set on fire by right-wing thugs in 1993, it recovered but was evicted by Lambeth Council in 1999 despite a determined and well-organised campaign of resistance. Property values in the area had risen dramatically and Lambeth who perhaps hadn’t been worried when Brixton property was almost worthless decided to take the property back.

More from Brixton in a later post. You can see these and other pictures in the Flickr album TQ31 London Cross-section. As I write there are still more pictures to add of TQ31 north of Stockwell.


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.


Romeo & Heads etc – TQ30

Tuesday, June 9th, 2020

The Grid reference TQ30 continues north of Kings Cross and Pentonville up through Lower Holloway, Holloway and Upper Holloway and on to Hornsey, taking in a few areas to the side on its way. You can see my colour pictures from this strip of North London on page 4 of TQ30 London Cross-section.

Romeo Trading, Roman Way, Lower Holloway, 1990 TQ3084-018

I think it was largely the name which attracted me to the rather run-down premises of the Romeo Trading Co Ltd which gave no indication of what their business had entailed, and I could only speculate. Perhaps its name was connected with its address which was on Roman Way. The company still exists, though now in Edmonton and has a web site which includes the following text:

“Since its establishment in 1941, forming strong roots in military surplus, Romeo Trading Co Ltd has developed into a company with a manufacturing facility for all military and casual wear, together with its related products.”

Hornsey Rd had a number of interesting shops and provided some examples for various series of shops I was working on.

Hairdresser, Hornsey Rd, Holloway, 1990 TQ3086-011

One of these was collecting heads, and this Hairdressers shop window had a couple of fine examples.

TQ3088-005

and there was another further north in Hornsey itself.

Clothes, Shop, Crouch Hill, 1989 TQ3087-003

Fytos Fashion was another business that attracted me in part because of its name, which I read it as ‘Photos’ (but is really a Cypriot name.) But there was also the rather strangely bagged garments hanging in the window (no doubt to protect them from dust) and the large text below ‘WE SELL RETAIL BRIDALS, BRIDESMAIDS, CHRISTENING, HOLY COMMUNION’. Unfortunately you can no longer buy a bridesmaid here as this is now a nail care shop.

Cafe, Hornsey Rd, Upper Holloway, 1989 TQ3087-022

Another series I was taking was of cafés, and there was another fine example further north on Hornsey Rd.

Shoe Repair, Tottenham Lane, Hornsey, 1989 TQ3088-006

And some really odd reflections in a shop offering shoe repairs.

These are just a few of the pictures on the page, which also includes a number of factory and workshop premises – mainly in a block now occupied by new flats, shopfronts and shop windows, houses, a view of north London rooftops, and ends with a distant view of Alexandra Palace and a less distant view of a gasholder.

Page 4 of TQ30 London Cross-section

TQ30 Covent Garden

Friday, June 5th, 2020
Legs, Great Queen St, Covent Garden, Camden, 1987TQ3081-017

Continuing the one kilometre wide strip of London TQ30 north from Westminster leads to Covent Garden, which by the time I took these pictures around 1989 had already become a tourist Mecca. The market had closed and moved to Nine Elms a dozen years earlier in 1974 and many trendy businesses had moved into the area.

Cactus, Entrance, Russell St, Covent Garden, 1991 TQ3081-042

Among them were many clubs and eateries joining those that there already in an area of theatres and of course the Opera House. Opposite that was Bow Street Magistrate’s Court, still in business (it closed in 2006), one of London’s best-known legal landmarks, where many famous and infamous had come to trial.

Young Dancer, Enzo Plazzotta, Broad Court, Covent Garden, 1991 TQ3081-041

Just to its north is a wide alley, Broad Court, with a fine row of red telephone boxes and a statue of a young dancer, though I’m not sure why facing the Opera House was thought to be an appropriate position for her.

Elvis, Great Queen St Holborn, 1991 TQ3081-043

Elvis was not far away, in Great Queen St. It was had to tell from many of the shop windows exactly what business they were in, but one of the strangest was in Betterton St – The Albanian Shop, where you could buy the thoughts and probably a bust of ‘The Iron Fist of Albania’ and which doubled as ‘The Gramophone Exchange’. It is alas no longer with us.

Albanian Shop, Betterton Street, Covent Garden, 1991 TQ3081-052

Doubtless there is still much of interest in Covent Garden, if in normal times you can see any of it for the hordes of tourists. It’s an area of London I now tend to avoid, but back then was always an interesting and often surreal experience.

Gloves, shop window, Judd St, St Pancras,1986 TQ3082-015

More pictures mainly on the second page of 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.


TQ30

Tuesday, June 2nd, 2020
Shop, Brixton Hill, Brixton, 1991TQ3074-001

Back in 1986 I began a serious attempt to photograph London. Serious but not entirely credible I set out the photograph the whole of the city. Of course I never thought I could photograph everything, but set out a number of principles or themes that would govern my project, or rather a series of projects that I continued to work on for the next ten or 15 years.

Streatham High Rd, 1990 TQ3071-002

The larger part of this work was in black and white, and concentrated on buildings and streets, the physical infrastructure of London, with the goal of photographing every built structure I thought significant, as well as representatives of the typical across the city. You can see a little of this on Flickr in the album 1986 London Photographs, which contains over 1300 photographs, perhaps a third of those I took in the first six or seven months of the project.

Heads & Dummy, Shop,Streatham High Rd, Streatham, 1990TQ3072-010

In colour I was largely concerned with a more intimate level, or how individuals arranged their surroundings and how this reflected their differing social and cultural values. Some of the more obvious reflections of this came in small businesses with the face they displayed toward the public, particularly in shop windows and interiors, which feature strongly in this work.

Bedford Rd, Clapham, 1992 TQ3075-025

The previous year I had abandoned colour transparency and moved to working with colour negative film which provided much greater flexibility. For some years this was entirely trade-processed, and to cut costs (I had a young family to support) I used cheap processing companies aimed for the amateur market. Technically these were rather variable (even from the same company) and the prints I received back, usually 6×4″ ‘enprints’, were extremely variable in quality.

Shop, South Lambeth Rd, South Lambeth, 1989 TQ3077-005

As the stack of fat envelopes containing the negative strips and prints grew I wondered how to make some order of them, and came up with the idea of a traverse of the city with pictures filed together representing a number of ‘vertical’ north-south 1km wide strips of London based around the National Grid.

Cafe, Plato Rd, Brixton, 1989 TQ3077-009

Prints from negatives that interested me were then filed in a series of A4 files, labelled with the first 4 digits of the six figure grid reference which I had begun to mark on the prints. The pictures in this post are all from ‘TQ30’, and the 1km wide strip starts at Streatham and goes north from there. I started scrap book style, pasting the prints onto cartridge paper, but soon moved to using plastic file pages which held four prints on each side, arranging the prints roughly in order of their ‘northings’ in kilometre squares.

From these albums – a longish row of A4 files on my shelves – I was able to select images that were worth printing larger, keeping costs down by printing and processing in my own home darkroom. I’d discovered that Fuji colour paper not only gave cleaner looking prints but enabled the kind of dodging and burning that I’d become used to in black and white without the unwelcome colour shifts of other papers. I’ve had one set of prints from a show in the mid-80s framed on the wall beside the stairs since that show. They are out of direct sun and 35 years later show little of no sign of fading.

Bicycle, Shop, Kennington Lane, Vauxhall, 1989 TQ3078-005

I began putting images from this project on Flickr several months ago, and at the start tried to replicate the layout of the albums – and the vagaries of the prints in terms of colour balance, exposure, saturation etc. Having done several 1km strips like this I’ve decided it doesn’t really work to well, and although I’m still scanning the prints in their sheets of four have separated them into individual images – still roughly in the same order – for TQ30. And while some of the defects of those trade-processed prints are still evident (and occasionally rather a lot of dust on the plastic sleeves) I’ve tried to improve the colour balance etc where necessary. But they are still showing enprints enlarged on screen and this makes some problems more visible.

So far I’ve put just over 100 prints into the album TQ30, from Streatham to Westminster, with another 250 or more to follow, taking the ‘slice’ north to Hornsey. You can view them on Flickr.


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.