Posts Tagged ‘lorries’

Stowage, Deptford

Thursday, May 19th, 2022

Stowage, Deptford – Stowage is the place were things were stored and Stowage was from 1600 until 1782 a storage area for the East India Company who also built ships here. The name was not just for the street but for a wider area including the site of Deptford Power Station, the world’s first commercial-scale high voltage power station by Sebastian Ziani de Ferranti in 1889.

The Hoy, Deptford Power Station, Stowage, Deptford, Greenwich, 1988 88-10e-34-Edit_2400
The Hoy, Deptford Power Station, Stowage, Deptford, Greenwich, 1988 88-10e-34

The Hoy pub was open on the corner of Stowage at 193 Creek Road at least by 1840 but closed in 2008, becoming a café. Some reports say it lost its licence because of a large number of reports of drug use. It looked closed and unoccupied when I walked past a few months ago. Until the 1920s there were two pubs actually in Stowage, the Old George and the Fishing Smack, both open in the 1820s.

Stowage, Deptford, Greenwich, 1988 88-10e-35-Edit_2400
Stowage, Deptford, Greenwich, 1988 88-10e-36

The General Steam navigation Co Ltd established its shipyard on Stowage at the mouth of Deptford Creek in 1825, using it to build and maintain its paddle steamers. The site became part of Deptford Power Station for the Deptford East HP station which opened in 1953.

Stowage, Deptford, Greenwich, 1988 88-10e-26-Edit_2400
Stowage, Deptford, Greenwich, 1988 88-10e-26

The area has a long and interesting history. Stowage was the first base of Trinity House, who were close to St Nicholas’s Church at the west end of Stowage from 1511-1660 before moving to the City of London, and this was the location of the first Trinity House Almshouses. According to the entry in Pepys Diary for Friday 8 April 1664 he went with Sir William Batten, then the Master of Trinity House to see the new almshouses which were being built at Deptford. They were demolished around 1877.

Stowage, Deptford, Greenwich, 1988 88-10e-11-Edit_2400
Stowage, Deptford, Greenwich, 1988 88-10e-11

The walk District 45 created by the Royal Geographical Society is a fine introduction to the area and one I recently followed (with a few of my own additions) with a couple of friends. It is based on Charles Booth’s walk around the area with the local police in 1899 and you can read Booth’s notebooks on the LSE’s Charles Booth’s London web site (his handwriting is occasionally a little difficult) which provide some further notes to those in the RGS walk.

Stowage, Deptford, Greenwich, 1988 88-10e-13-Edit_2400
Stowage, Deptford, Greenwich, 1988 88-10e-13

In his notes, Booth described Stowage as “A stinking unpaved lane with wharves on north side until the bend is passed … occupied by a low rough waterside population. ” He went on to say “Most people living here work at one of the factories along the Creek. Besides the chemical works there are numerous business places employing a large number of ‘hands’. The Steam Navigation Company has a large yard in the Stowage.

All these works are busy and work is plentiful so that no man need be unemployed. Women work
in woodyard and laundry, girls in the tin factory or as ‘gut girls’ in the meat market cleaning the entrails of the slaughtered beasts
. “

Stowage, Deptford, Greenwich, 1988 88-10e-12-Edit_2400
Stowage, Deptford, Greenwich, 1988 88-10e-12

I walked along the short street on various occasions in the 1980s and 90s, and it seems to me that relatively little had changed, except there were rather fewer houses and people living on the streets. It was a street were there were often small groups of men who looked shifty and where I didn’t always feel able to stop and take photographs and where much that went on was perhaps on the edge of the law. Often there were fires burning and foul smoke, perhaps getting rid of rubber and plastic from various scrap metal objects.

Stowage, Deptford, Greenwich, 1988 88-10f-64-Edit_2400
Stowage, Deptford, Greenwich, 1988 88-10f-64

I wrote “It was also an area where anyone with a camera aroused suspicion, if not outright hostility. If you were lucky people just asked accusingly “You from the council?”, but there were others who made rather more direct threats. it was an area where there were dodgy deals, stolen cars and other things going on that it wasn’t healthy to poke your nose into. Most of the time I kept my Olympus OM1 under my jacket as I walked along.”

Stowage, Deptford, Greenwich, 1988 88-10f-65-Edit_2400
Stowage, Deptford, Greenwich, 1988 88-10f-65

Other photographers were less timid than me – and had rather different interests in the area. One I knew slightly was Jim Rice, and for his Deptford Creek project he got to know many of those in the area and made some striking portraits.

Stowage, Deptford, Greenwich, 1988 88-10f-51-Edit_2400
Stowage, Deptford, Greenwich, 1988 88-10f-51

FlickrFacebookMy London DiaryHull PhotosLea ValleyParis

London’s Industrial HeritageLondon Photos

All photographs on this page are copyright © Peter Marshall. Contact me to buy prints or licence to reproduce.


Refugee Children, Dead Cyclists & A Squat

Friday, February 11th, 2022

Refugee Children, Dead Cyclists & A Squat – 11th February 2017

Dubs Now – Shame on May

Five years ago, on Saturday 11th February 2017, a crowd of supporters of Citizens UK and Safe Passage joined Lord Alf Dubs at Downing St to take a petition to Theresa May urging her to reverse the decision to stop offering legal sanctuary to unaccompanied refugee children.

The Tory government had been forced into an unusual humanitarian response when Parliment passed the Dubs amendment, and they were then given a list of over 800 eligible children – although there were known to be more whose details were not recorded. And because of Lord Dubs, around 300 have been allowed into the UK. But although twice that number remain in limbo, many in the Calais camps, Prime Minister Theresa May decided to end the scheme.

Lord Dubs speaks

Among those who spoke at the protest before an emergency petition with over 40,000 signatures was taken to Downing St were speakers from four London Labour councils who all said they had told the government they would take more children but their offers had not been taken up.

Dubs Now – Shame on May


Invest in Cycling – Stop Killing Cyclists

Cyclists and supporters met in Trafalgar Square to march to the Treasury on the edge of Parliament Square to call for a significant increase in spending on infrastructure for cyclists and pedestrians on our streets.

That week five people were killed on London streets as a result of careless or dangerous driving – accidents are rare, but such deaths are made much more likely by a road system engineered around the needs of car and other vehicle drivers and cutting their journey times through the city. Facilities for cyclists and pedestrians have long been treated as secondary and chronically underfunded.

But these 5 killed, who were remembered in the protest and die-in are a small fraction of the numbers who die prematurely each week in London as a result of high and often illegal levels of air pollution – estimated at around 180 per week, as well as the much higher number of those whose lives are seriously affected by health problems – both figures including many who drive. Powerful lobbies for motorists and vehicle manufacturers have led to the domination of our cities by cars and lorries.

There are huge health benefits from cleaning the air by cutting down traffic and congestion, and also by encouraging healthy activities including walking and cycling. And the main factor discouraging people from taking to bikes for journeys to school, work and shopping etc is the danger from cars and lorries. Better public transport also helps, particularly in cutting pollution levels, and anything that cuts the use of petrol and diesel vehicles will reduce the major contribution this makes to global warming.

Invest in Cycling – Stop Killing Cyclists


ANAL squat in Belgravia

My final event that day was a visit to 4 Grosvenor Gardens, a rather grand house short distance from Buckingham Palace (and more relevant to me, from Victoria Station.) Squatting collective the Autonomous Nation of Anarchist Libertarians (ANAL) had taken over this house on February 1st after having been evicted from the Belgrave Square house owned by Russian oligarch Andrey Goncharenko which they occupied for a week.

I’d meant to go there a week earlier, but a domestic emergency had called me away earlier in the day from a protest at the US Embassy before a programme of workshops and seminars in the seven-storey squat had begun. There was nothing special happening on the afternoon I visited (though some things were happening in the evening) but I was welcomed by the occupiers, several of whom recognised me, and they were happy for me to wander around the building and take photographs.

Apart from being careful to respect the privacy of some of the occupiers who were sleeping or resting in a couple of the rooms I was able to go everywhere from the basement to the top floor, but the door leading onto the roof was locked, probably to stop any possible access from there by bailiffs. Like many other houses and hotels in the area it has a view into the grounds of Buckingham Palace, but I had to make do with the view from a rather dusty window, or the less interesting view from lower down where windows could be opened.

Few squats have blue plaques – this one for soldier and archaeologist Lieutenant General Augustus Henry Lane Fox Pitt-Rivers, but more recently it has been in use for offices, business meetings and conferences. The squatters have tried hard to cause no serious damage and had last week turned out some people who had come to make a mess of the place.

There are around 1.5 million empty buildings in the UK, many like this deliberately kept empty as investments, their value increasing year on year. The number is enough to enough to house the homeless many times over. ANAL say that properties like this should be used for short-term accommodation while they remain empty and they have opened it as a temporary homeless shelter for rough-sleepers.

It remained in use for almost month, with the squat finally evicted at 8am on 27th February. As I ended my post, “There clearly does need to be some way to bring empty properties back into use, and councils should have much greater powers than at present to do so. Until that happens, squatting seems to be the only possible solution.”

ANAL squat in Belgravia


FlickrFacebookMy London DiaryHull PhotosLea ValleyParis

London’s Industrial HeritageLondon Photos

All photographs on this page are copyright © Peter Marshall. Contact me to buy prints or licence to reproduce.


End Traffic Violence – 2014

Monday, November 15th, 2021

A few weeks ago I came to the end of a walk with friends and we stood at a bus stop on the edge of the A3 in south-west London with a relentless flow of traffic moving past in all four lanes in both directions. We were a few yards away on a slip road, but the noise was making my head throb and I could smell and taste the pollution, though I hope the Covid mask I was wearing might filter out some of the particulates. It was a horrible reminder of the mad dedication to traffic which is killing so many of us, poisoning adults and particularly children and playing a significant role in killing the planet through the huge carbon emissions in manufacturing vehicles, building yet more roads and of course burning fossil fuels. Fortunately our bus came earlier than expected.

The switch to electric cars will help a little, and reduce some of the pollution, though not its possibly most dangerous aspect, the particulates that come mainly from rubber tyres and from brakes. And there is still a huge carbon footprint from their manufacture – roughly equivalent to running around 150,000 miles of burning petrol or diesel, and much of the electricity used to power them will come from power stations burning gas or forest-destroying wood.

We can only have a sustainable future if we wean ourselves as a species away from travel, and take what journeys are still necessary by ways that reduce the carbon footprint as much as possible. Going on foot or by bicycle, using public transport and severely limiting the more polluting and high-carbon forms of transport. It means measures such as banning private cars in cities, giving priorities to buses, building more light rail and tram systems, ending subsidies to air travel, stopping new road-building and more. But also it means great changes in our way of life.

It’s something I realised over 50 years ago when I sold the only car I’d ever owned. Something I considered very carefully in choosing where to live and what jobs to take. And something which has constrained the holidays I’ve chosen to take and other aspects of my life, but not anything I really regret. I’ve only ever made three trips by air related to my work – where no real alternative was possible, and only taken two holidays which involved flights.

Of course there are some things and situations where cars are essential. It’s very hard to manage without one for those who live in more remote areas, and some need to. I’ve chosen always to live in towns or cities and have been healthy enough to be able to ride a bicycle or walk. In 2019, George Monbiot wrote for the Guardian a piece with the sub-head ‘Cars are ruining our lives. We should cut their use by 90% over the next 10 years’. Like other posts on his web site its worth reading and goes into much greater and well-argued detail than this piece.

Donnachadh McCarthy

On 15th November 2014 I photographed the ‘Funeral for the Unknown Victim of Traffic Violence’ organised by environmental campaigner Donnachadh McCarthy and ‘Stop Killing Cyclists’. It made its way through the centre of London from Bedford Square going along Oxford St, with a bagpiper playing and a horse-drawn hearse carrying a coffin for a mock funeral ceremony at Marble Arch.

It made the point that while too many pedestrians and cyclists are still killed and maimed by cars and lorries on a road system largely engineered for the convenience of motorised transport, their numbers are dwarfed by the many thousands of premature deaths each year caused by the pollution from road traffic, with pollution levels in many places being well above legal limits. After the funeral, there was a die-in by cyclists more or less filling the hard standing at Marble Arch, and a trumpeter sounded the Last Post.

Here is a list of the demands made by the protesters:

  1. Stop the Killing of Children with a national, multi-billion pound programme to convert residential communities across Britain into living-street Home Zones and abolish dangerous rat-runs.
  2. Stop the Killing of Pedestrians by a national programme to fund pedestrianisation of our city and town centres, including the nation’s high-street, Oxford Street.
  3. Stop the Killing of Pensioners from excessive speed with an enforced speed limit of 20 mph on all urban roads, 40 mph on rural roads/lanes and 60 mph on all other trunk roads.
  4. Stop the Killing of Cyclists, investing£15 billion in a National Segregated Cycle Network over the next 5 years.
  5. Stop the Killing by HGVs by banning trucks with blind spots, making safety equipment mandatory and strictly enforcing current truck-safety regulations; currently around 30% are illegally dangerous.
  6. Stop the Killing without liability with a presumed civil liability law for vehicular traffic when they kill or seriously injure vulnerable road-users, unless there is evidence blaming the victim.
  7. Stop the Killing from Lung, Heart and other Diseases caused by vehicular pollutants with mandatory for particulate filters that meet latest EU emission standards on all existing buses, lorries and taxis.
  8. Stop the Killing at Junctions with pedestrian crossing times long enough for elderly disabled to cross, filtered junction crossings by cyclists and strict legal priority for pedestrians and urgently provide physically protected left-hand turns for cyclists.
  9. Stop the Killing from Climate Crisis caused by CO2 emissions by insisting that all transport fuels are from truly environmentally-sustainable, renewable sources within 10 years.
  10. Focus on Life! with transport governance making safety and quality of life the top priority. Reform all council transport departments, the Department of Transport and Transport for London into Cycling, Walking and Transport Departments with formal pedestrian and cyclist representation.

Again you can read more detail and more evidence in Guardian posts by George Monbiot, available on his own web site such as Don’t Breathe.


FlickrFacebookMy London DiaryHull PhotosLea ValleyParis

London’s Industrial HeritageLondon Photos

All photographs on this page are copyright © Peter Marshall. Contact me to buy prints or licence to reproduce.