Posts Tagged ‘Mayfair’

Back to Mayfair 1987

Thursday, September 17th, 2020
Culross St/Park Lane area, Mayfair, Westminster, 1987 87-7a-12-positive_2400

Logically you might expect Wood’s House to be in Wood’s Mews, and it may well have been, but if so is no longer there. The frame before I took two pictures of this rather pleasant 1930s building was a view of the side in Wood’s Mews of a house in Park Lane, and the frame after is of another house further south on Park Lane on the corner of Culross St.

I suspect a building with only two stories became yielded a huge profit to developers in being built as an ugly but considerably taller block, but it would be nice to be proven wrong and to find this still tucked away in a corner.

129 Park Lane, Mayfair, Westminster, 1987  87-7a-36-positive_2400

I think this rather splendid marble (I think) steps are still there on Park Lane behind the high wall that now keeps them out of view of the hoi polloi who often crowd the area around the bus stops close to this corner with Green St.

Perhaps walls like that which now hides these steps and the view from the pavement of the houses behind are a result of the increase in inequality in our society and reflect an increasing unease among the elites. Though there have been few signs of the London mob in recent years. More likely the owners got fed up with finding people sitting on them waiting for buses.

Eagle Squadron, memorial, Grosvenor Square, Wesminster, 1987 87-7a-41-positive_2400

Before the US joined in the Second World War at the end of 1941, 244 US citizens volunteered to join the RAF and served in the RAF, flying Spitfires and Hurricanes in three three Royal Air Force Eagle Squadrons, despite US laws which meant losing their citizenship for fighting for a foreign power The squadrons were transferred to the USAF in 1942 and the pilots were pardoned in 1944.

The bronze eagle on the top of the column is by Elizabeth Frink, and the memorial was financed by US newspaper owner William Randolph Hearst. It was unveiled here by Margaret Thatcher in 1986.

US Embassy, Upper Grosvenor St, Mayfair, Westminster, 1987 87-7a-43-positive_2400

Grosvenor Square was chosen as the site for the Eagle Squadron memorial because of the US Embassy which occupied the entire west end of the square. It was then a fine example of modern architecture and lacked the high fences, ugly lodges and patrolling armed police that made it a rather grim feature in more recent years. I think the long queue is of people queuing to enter the embassy to get US visas.

Car, Gilbert St, St Anselm's Place,  Mayfair, Westminster, 1987 87-7a-64-positive_2400

I have to admit to knowing nothing about cars. But this one parked in Gilbert Street was obviously a little out of the ordinary and I imagine very expensive. It looked to me like something out of a black and white film noir, and perhaps the setting would have served too. I’m sure there will be people who see this picture and can immediately recognise the make, model and date – and if so I hope they let me know in a comment.

To me it looks American, and the style seems to belong to the late 1930s, though it could be a modern replica, possibly one made for use in a film. It has an engine that doesn’t quite fit in the bonnet, perhaps 8 cylinders. The number plate NGF786Y no longer appears to exist. This is also a picture I seem to have missed retouching and there are more than usual number of scratches and dust spots.

Davies St, Mayfair, Westminster, 1987 87-7a-65-positive_2400

It isn’t hard to identify this building as the Grosvenor Works of John Bolding and Sons in Davies Street, as their name is proudly displayed on a plaque at bottom left and on the building at top right, with the initials JBS featuring twice in the centre of the picture. The company was founded by Thomas Bolding in 1822 in South Molton St and they were at first brass founders.

By the 1870s they had moved into the business they became famous for as providers of high-class sanitary equipment. They moved to this site in the late 1880s and these premises were built as a showroom for their goods, with a foundry elsewhere in London. The architects were Wimperis and Arber; John Thomas Wimperis had been appointed as one of the Grosvenor Estates approved architects in 1887 and his assistant William Henry Arber became a partner in 1889.

In 1963 Boldings bought up the business of their rather better-known rival Thomas Crapper. But a few years later in 1969 Boldings was wound up, while Thomas Crapper & Company Limited, founded in 1836, continues in business based in Huddersfield, offering ” a small yet extraordinarily authentic set of Victorian/Edwardian sanitaryware.”

The River Tyburn runs through the basement of the building which is now occupied by Grays Antiques, established in 1977. The river is a tourist attraction with large goldfish swimming in it.

Park Lane, Mayfair, Westminster, 1987 87-7b-66-positive_2400

93 Park Lane, a small part of which is visible at extreme right was a speculative rebuild of 1823-25 by builder Samuel Baxter and is Grade I listed primarily because it “was Benjamin Disraeli’s London residence from 1839 to 1872; Coningsby, much of Sybil and other novels by Disraeli were written here”, whereas the others are all Grade II. 94 to its left was also rebuilt by Baxter at the same date. Next left, 95 was rebuilt in 1842-4 by John Harrison in plain brick with stucco only on the ground floor; the rounded 96 was rebuilt in 1826 as was its more angular neighbour 97. Almost entirely out of sight at left, 98 from 1823-5 was from 1888-94 the residence of Frank Harris, “author and adventurer”, and the final house in the terrace, not in my picture, was also built then by Jon Goldicutt and was the home from 1826-85 of philanthropist Sir Moses Montefiore.

Many other photographers have photographed these houses, including Bill Brandt, who made his picture on a Spring afternoon in 1932 from behind railings across the south-bound carriageway, with a London bus in traffic behind a rather grander horse-drawn carriage driven by two top-hatted men. On page 27 of ‘Camera In London’ it appears with the simple title ‘Mayfair’. The Tate website lists it as “Regency Houses, Park Lane, Mayfair – c.1930–9, later print” and apologises “SORRY, COPYRIGHT RESTRICTIONS PREVENT US FROM SHOWING THIS OBJECT HERE”, but you can view it on Artnet where it is captioned “Park Lane (Mayfair, London) , ca. 1960”. I increasingly think that our current copyright law needs review.

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.

Mayfair & St James’s 1987

Monday, September 7th, 2020
St George St, Mayfair, Westminster, 1987 87-5n-52-positive_2400

J C Wells Ltd at 12 St George St, founded in 1829, were one of a number of small tailors in this and surrounding streets not far from Saville Row, and already served an international clientèle, selling suits in the USA since 1927 when they merged with Cooling Lawrence and Wells and Cordas and Bright to become ‘Wells of Mayfair’ around 1976. For a while there were one of Saville Row’s most succesful tailors, but went out of business in 1992 and were acquired in Davies & Son.

The photograph is of Wells of Mayfair’s premises around the corner at 47 Maddox St. I was attracted particularly by the map of the world showing the many places where their suits dressed the wealthy. Their bespoke tailoring did not come cheap, but it was certainly not ‘fast fashion’ and some are still worn – and sold – fifty years after they were made.

Conduit  St, Mayfair, Westminster, 1987 87-5n-53-positive_2400

I found empty windows like this rather more interesting than when they were full of goods, and they had a rather eerie quality, emphasised here by what appears to be the ghost of a necklace on the central stand. I’m not sure if that was really visible when I took the picture – either where a necklace has shaded the material from being darkened by the sun or as a reflection in the window through which I made the picture. It could even be a fault caused in the film processing. But whatever it was caused by it adds to the image.

I took a second frame of another of the shop’s windows with a similar empty jewellery stand, but with what appears to be a ghostly hand and arm in the picture (presumably for displaying bracelets, watches and rings.) You can find this, along with other pictures, in my album 1987 London Photos – linked here.

Conduit  St, Mayfair, Westminster, 1987 87-5n-55-positive_2400

Although my contact sheet states Conduit St, I think this is Jack Barclay on the corner of Bruton Place and Berkeley Square, part of H R Owen who also deal in Rolls Royce, Ferrari and other expensive gas guzzlers.

John “Jack” Donald Barclay was one of the wealthy British motorists who drove Bentley sports cars in the 1920s to victories, though his career was cut short as his mother would only settle a huge gambling debt he had run up in Le Touquet on condition he stopped racing. He had previously been selling Vauxhalls as Barclay & Wyse and in 1927 opened the shop named after him, dealing in both Bentleys and Rollers. It moved to Berkeley Square in 1953 and is the world’s oldest and most famous Bentley dealership.

King St, St James's, Westminster, 1987 87-6a-22-positive_2400

I think this part of King St has since been demolished with a new prestige office block in place of both Silks cocktail bar and the art dealer next door.

I felt an immediate sympathy with the running man at right, trying to get away from the West End and its conspicuous wealth, though doubtless on sale for some obscene sum, but it was the jockey walking into the cocktail bar, his arm outstretched, that made me take two more or less identical frames. I’d made the first when another man, possible a waiter, came to stand in the doorway and watched me around the corner. I’m not entirely sure he improves the scene.

Crown Passage, St James's, Westminster, 1987 87-6a-25-positive_2400

Crown Passage, also in St James’s, was more my kind of street, one where you could actually buy something of use, with a sandwich shop, an ironmongers, Early Birds Fine Foods, a tobacconist and sweet shop and a pub and more.

The Red Lion is still there, but I think most of the other shops have changed hands and the street has been rather tidied up.

Jermyn St, St James's, Westminster, 1987 87-6a-41-positive_2400

Wiltons restauarant, begun by George William Wilton as a shellfish-mongers off Haymarket in 1742, is still at 55 Jermyn St and reopens after COVID-19 on Monday 7th September, coincidentally the day I intend to publish this post.

In the early 19th century the stall changed its name to Wilton’s Shellfish Mongers and Oyster Rooms and set up in a series of locations in St James’s having to move as the area was redeveloped. By 1868 it was established in King St where the Prince of Wales was a loyal customer and it received 868 its first Royal Warrant as Purveyor of Oysters to Queen Victoria and the Prince of Wales.

The family sold the shop in 1889 and it moved larger premises, and there were several later owners and moves. On Wilton’s site you can read the story of how the then owner Mrs Bessie Leal got so fed up with wartime bombing that she “folded her tea towel, unpinned her apron and then proclaimed that she no longer wished to live in London during the War and wished to sell Wiltons”. The only customer dining at the time, a regular, Mr Olaf Hambro told her to “put the restaurant at the end of the bill!”

Under Hambro’s ownership and the manager he appointed, Jimmy Marks, Wiltons became a world-famous institution, moving in 1964 to Bury St, and in 1984 to this shop in Jermyn St, dressing its waitresses like nannies who treated the aristocratic customers like children in a nursery.

You might like to book and try a half dozen Loch Ryan Natives No2 for £30, or perhaps 30g of Beluga Caviar for £180, washed down perhaps with a glass of Taittinger “Comtes de Champagne” 2006 at £45.00

Sculptures, Economist Plaza, St James's St, St James's, Westminster, 1987 87-6a-43-positive_2400

The buildings for the Economist group in 1960-64 are the only remaining London buildings by Alison and Peter Smithson, two of the UK’s most influential post-war architects. They were listed Grade II* the year after I made these pictures. The plaza was refurbished in 2018 and renamed as Smithson Plaza.

The plaza has exhibited a wide range of sculpture by prominent sculptors over the years. I’ve forgotten who these were made by.

Economist Plaza, St James's St, St James's, Westminster, 1987 87-6a-46-positive_2400

From the Plaza, and below, from St James’s St.

Boodles Club, Economist Building, St James's St, St James's, Westminster, 1987 87-6a-54-positive_2400

The Economist site is next door to Boodle’s, perhaps the most ludicrously named of London’s clubs for wealthy men. Often called ‘gentlemen’s clubs’ though many of the members were not. Boodle’s, a Private Members’ Club was founded in 1762 by the Earl of Shelburne, later the Marquess of Lansdowne and Prime Minister. Originally at 49-51 Pall Mall, it moved to 28 St. James’s Street in 1782. It got its silly name from its Head Waiter, Edward Boodle.

Boodle’s owned a part of the land needed for the Economist site and released it being given a part of the new building and now has its entrance in the Economist Plaza. Among former members have been Beau Brummel, Winston Churchill, Ian Fleming, Edward Gibbon, David Hume, Adam Smith, the Duke of Wellington and William Wilberforce.

More from 1987 London Photos later.

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.

Still Mayfair – 1987

Sunday, September 6th, 2020
New Bond St, Mayfair, Westminster, 1987 87-5k-11-positive_2400

A shop window display that could be in an art gallery, but one that I think might now be very questionable, with its three black women, one holding her bikini top in her hand roped and held by hands (also black) coming up from the floor. I thought of the slave trade, and also of bondage and it gave me much the same uncomfortable feeling as the photographs of Helmut Newton.

This is a display of expensive ‘Beachwear‘, in “the department store of note for shoppers of exceptional taste since 1882“. The cossie at left would set you back £55 – around £155 allowing for inflation – and does not look as if it is designed for swimming. And although the three ‘mannequins’ are barefoot, they are all up on their toes as if wearing high heels rather than in a natural pose.

New Bond St, Mayfair, Westminster, 1987 87-5k-23-positive_2400

This building was Grade II listed in 1970, but the listing text gives little information about it, describing it as ‘commercial premises, ca 1900 and mentioning its ‘carved decoration to apron panels and arches’.

The architects were Leonard Martin (1869-1935) and Henry John Treadwell (1861–1910), responsible for a number of fine commercial buildings in London from 1890-1910, like this one in a fin de siècle art nouveau style. The ‘architectural sculpture’ is possibly by J. Daymond & Son, and its grapevine motif suggests this may have been built as a pub, but I’ve not been able to find more detail.

Woodstock St, Mayfair, Westminster, 1987 87-5k-31-positive_2400

Woodstock St is just off New Bond St, and this picture shows the Woodstock Tavern, still a pub (and still a pub at least until recently, though for some time it was a Japanese bar) and clearly built as such. It was one of around 400 pubs across London and the surrounding areas of the Cannon Brewery Co. Ltd based at their brewery in Clerkenwell. Founded around 1720, this had 110 pubs in 1895; it was taken over by Taylor Walker in 1930, but brewing continued in Clerkenwell until 1950.

The pub was here from 1841, and for a time in the 1840s and 50s was run by Mrs Ann Harding and known as Harding’s Tavern. The current building is from 1876.

The building at left, the Bonbonierre Restaurant, is another by Martin & Treadwell.

New Bond St, Mayfair, Westminster, 1987 87-5k-35-positive_2400

Another Mayfair man, who I appear to have given wings, and who has a face made of playing cards. The suit carries a label for the Parisian fashion house founded by Nino Cerruti.

'May the 4th be with you', Marble Arch, Westminster, 1987 87-5k-52-positive_2400

Marble Arch with a banner ‘MAY THE 4TH BE WITH YOU’ presumably for ‘Star Wars Day’, a feeble pun on the catchphrase “May the Force be with you”.

The Royal Arcade, Old Bond St, Mayfair, Westminster, 1987 87-5l-25-positive_2400

The Arcade, linking Old Bond St and Albemarle St was built as an upmarket shopping centre in 1879 and is London’s oldest purpose-built shopping arcade.

The Royal Arcade, Old Bond St, Mayfair, Westminster, 1987 87-5l-11-positive_2400

It became ‘The Royal Arcade’ after Queen Victoria bought shirts from shirtmaker William Hodgson Brettell at No 12 in 1880. Though I rather doubt she went there in person or wore his shirts. Other shopkeepers in the arcade have also been awarded the Royal Warrant, and she apparently still gets here chocolates there from Charbonnel Et Walker.

More from Mayfair (and some other parts of London) in my album 1987 London Photographs – these pictures are on page 4.

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.

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

More Around Mayfair 1987

Saturday, September 5th, 2020
South Audley St, Mayfair, Westminster, 1987 87-5i-52-positive_2400

Mayfair is one of my least favourite areas of London, and one where I often felt uncomfortable photographing. And one where I often had to point out to people that the law allows photography in public places including taking pictures of people and private property. But it was an area I felt I had to photograph, and where there is a great wealth of architecture and architectural detail. These pictures are just a few from page 4 of my album 1987 London Photos.

South Audley St, Mayfair, Westminster, 1987 87-5i-53-positive_2400

Many of these buildings will have been photographed many times before, but I think some have been overlooked, and what pictures are available don’t always show them well or in their setting.

New Bond St, Mayfair, Westminster, 1987 87-5j-43-positive_2400

As well as buildings, these are also pictures of cityscape, and arguably bad buildings have as much place as good ones in a record of the city. Since I took these pictures there have been changes, both in the city and also so far as images of it are concerned. Around the Millenium, volunteers from the Royal Photographic Society photographed most of our listed buildings for the National Building Record – with very mixed results, but more comprehensively we now can all view the streets though Google’s roving camera – of great use to me for finding the locations where I photographed. But useful though this is, it often does not include the exact view I want to see or which shows the subject best – and certainly never penetrates the alleys and off-street viewpoints of many of my pictures.

Brook St, Mayfair, Westminster, 1987 87-5j-46-positive_2400

Excessive wealth seldom seems to come with a great sense of taste, as the shops of Mayfair (and some of its buildings) bear witness. And in one shop window I found a dummy that seemed to me to express the arrogance of wealth so clearly. Of course in some of the art dealers there were paintings and prints which I admired, and I did go into a few of the galleries to see more.

South Audley St, Mayfair, Westminster, 1987 87-5j-01-positive_2400
Brook St, Mayfair, Westminster, 1987 87-5j-34-positive_2400
Mount St, Mayfair, Westminster, 1987 87-5j-53-positive_2400
Mount St, Mayfair, Westminster, 1987 87-5j-65-positive_2400

There is a long tradition of photographers taking self-portraits, and in one shop window I couldn’t resist giving myself a new head and making the square of the plinth below seeming to be in my hands as a large plate camera. It took a little guesswork to get it right, and ideally I should have been just a few inches closer so that my hair wasn’t visible as a small crescent above the head in the window., but I was surprised to get it as close as I did.

Mount St, Mayfair, Westminster, 1987 87-5j-55-positive_2400

Nowadays a flip-down screen on the back of the camera would let me line this up without problems. Then I had to look through the viewfinder to try and get myself in the right position, then lower the camer and hope. You can see the reflection of my camera lens and camera in the middle of the plinth, and also the unintended tilt of the image as I failed to keep the camera completely level.

More on page 4 of my album 1987 London Photos.

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.

May and Mayfair 1987

Monday, August 24th, 2020
The Fountains, Hyde Park, Westminster, 1987 87-5g-41-positive_2400

I’ve tried on several occasions to photograph the Italian Fountains in Kensington Gardens, an ornamental garden said to have been a gift from Prince Albert to Queen Victoria in around 1860, designed by James Pennethorne and incorporating ideas from their holiday home at Osborne House on The Isle of Wight. There are five main designs on the urns there, including the ram’s heads you see a few times in this picture, a swan’s breast, woman’s head, dolphin and oval. Taken in May when I think the trees in the background are at their best, some in leaf and others still showing their structure. The garden has been renovated since I made this picture.

Connaught Place, Bayswater, Westminster, 1987 87-5g-61-positive_2400

There seems to be a gate to the pavement of Connaught Place in Bayswater, probably to keep out the riff-raff like you and me, and I clearly chose to photograph through it as a frame to the formal architecture of the line of grand porches beyond. Although there are extremely expensive properties in a prestigious address, I find them rather dull, these heavy porches uneasy add-ons to the bland five-storey plain brick behind – which I chose not to include in my picture. But despite the porches, these are really the back doors of these building.

Bayswater Rd, Bayswater, Westminster, 1987 87-5g-63-positive_2400

The houses may have their doors in Connaught Place but the clearly face to Hyde Park, where the row has these magnificent balconies. I also photographed them in landscape format, but need to replace that image on Flickr as I find the negative moved at left to give a double image when I was making the digital camera ‘scan’, probably because the negative holder was not fully closed.


Shepherd Market in Mayfair describes itself as “a charming small square and piazza with a variety of boutique shops, restaurants and impressive Victorian pubs” and ” A hidden gem known for its wonderful relaxed village-like atmosphere.” It gets its name from Edward Shepherd who developed the area in 1735-46 on open ground where the annual May Fair had been held. Wikipedia comments “It was associated with upmarket prostitutes from its building up until at least the 1980s” and they were still in business when I made these pictures in the area. In 1987 it still retained something of the shabby charm from its really run-down times when it was popular with artists and writers 60 years earlier. The area is something of a maze of streets and alleys and I no longer recall exactly where this picture was taken.

Shepherd Market, Mayfair, Westminster, 1987 87-5i-35-positive_2400

You can still find Da Corradi’s Italian Restaurant and Ye Grapes in Shepherd Market though I think both have changed somewhat are there are now more tables in the narrow street.

Hertford St, Mayfair, Westminster, 1987 87-5h-64-positive_2400

Hertford St runs from Park Lane to Shepherd Market and then takes a turn north to Curzon St. This building is still there on the corner with Shepherd St and I think is a part of an expensive and exclusive private member’s club outside which I’ve recently photographed protests calling for kitchen staff to get a living wage and better conditions of service. The club is on five floors and includes a nightclub, four restaurants, four bars, a private dining room, cigar shop, a courtyard and a roof terrace and has a dress code which prohibits ‘sportswear of any kind’, t-shirts, shorts, sandals and dirty trainers. Personally having watched the kind of people who go into it I’m pleased not to be a member.

Hertford St, Mayfair, Westminster, 1987 87-5h-35-positive_2400

Towering above the western end of Hertford St is the ugly bulk of the London Hilton in Park Lane, the first Hilton to open in the UK in 1963. 331 Feet tall it overlooks Mayfair, Hyde Park and, more controversially at the time of building, Buckingham Palace and its gardens. The hotel is on 28 floors and has 453 rooms and according to Wikipedia is now the 84th equal tallest building in London, though around twenty still under construction will soon edge it out of the top 100, though I think it will remain one of the tallest in the West End – only Centre Point and the Millbank Tower are taller.

Mainly Marylebone

Sunday, August 23rd, 2020
The Evangelical Library, Chiltern St, Marylebone, Westminster, 1987 87-5e-16-positive_2400

The Evangelical Library on Chiltern St in Marylebone was built as a school for the Portman Chapel in 1859 by Christopher Eales with minor alterations in 1880 and was Grade II listed in 1994 as “an early surviving example of a church school in a city centre an early surviving example of a church school in a city centre”.

The Library began as the Beddington Free Grace Library, housed at first in sheds and later a brick building in Beddington, before moving to South Kensinton in 1945 and then here in 1948. It grew to contain around 80,000 books and periodicals relating to Protestant and Reformed Evangelical Christianity including many rare and valuable Puritan texts. Over the years the Grade II listed building deteriorated and the the costs of renovation to prevent damage to the volumes led to the library moving out in 2010 to cheaper premises in Bounds Green.

Meacher, Higgins & Thomas, Chemists, Crawford St, Marylebone, Westminster, 1987 87-5e-43-positive_2400

You can still see this shopfront of Meacher, Higgins & Thomas, established in 1814 as chemists in Crawford St, Marylebone, and it has changed little from when I took this picture, though it has a larger illuminated sign at right and those large glass containers of coloured water which marked out every dispensing chemist in my youth disappeared from the upper windows a few years ago.

Marble Arch, Westminster, 1987 87-5f-25-positive_2400

It was a warm day in May and the closely cropped grass by the fountains at Marble Arch seemed a good place to have a rest. I think I probably sat on a bench or wall to eat my sandwiches and afterwards probably made my way down the steps to the public toilets and then under the subway into Hyde Park. Both now gone.

Hertford House, Manchester Square, Marylebone, 1987 87-5f-53-positive_2400

Hertford House, Manchester Square, Marylebone. Hertford House was originally called Manchester House, as it was built in 1776-88 for the 4th Duke of Manchester who apparently wanted to live here for the duck shooting. Presumably he had exterminated them all by 1791 when it briefly became the Spanish Embassy, and then in 1797 it became the home of the 2nd Marquess of Hertford who held many grand parties there, including a Ball celebrating the defeat of Napoleon. Despite this in 1836 it was let to the French as their embassy until 1851.

Hertford House, Manchester Square, Marylebone, 1987 87-5f-55-positive_2400

The 4th Marquess of Hertford preferred to live in Paris, but used the house to store his art treasures, and when the Commune took over Paris briefly in 1871, his illegitimate son Richard Wallace moved back into the house and renamed it Hertford House. He had the house extended in all directions to fit in all the stuff he brought back with him, and what we see now, including the portico, is largely the result of these modifications by architect Thomas Ambler. After his death in 1890 the house was converted into a public museum, The Wallace Collection.

I visited it many years ago and found it a rather depressing experience, but the interior has recently undergone a considerable refurbishment and the experience may well be less oppressive.

Hinde House, Hinde St, Marylebone, Westminster, 1987 87-5f-65-positive_2400

Hinde St runs west out of Manchester Square and the impressive church at the right of this picture is Hinde Street Methodist Church. The first church was built here in 1807-10 but this was largely or wholly demolished and a new Wesleyan church, designed by James Weir, opened in 1887. It remains one of London’s leading Methodist Churches.

Hinde House is a block of expensive leasehold flats, where a two bed flat might cost you a million or two.

Ukrainian Catholic Cathedral, Duke St, Mayfair, Westminster, 1987 87-5g-11-positive_2400

Another place where I’ve often eaten my sandwich lunch in Central London is Brown Hart Gardens on Duke St in Mayfair. The extravagant building opposite this raised stone garden is the former Kings Weigh House Chapel by Alfred Waterhouse, built 1888-91 as a Congregational Church. It is a far cry from the more restrained and often classical church buildings I associate with this non-Conformist denomination. Congregational Churches in the past were staunchly independent, their life ruled by the decisions of the members, reached always by consensus, and I think most that I’ve been familiar with would be far too proud of their Puritan origins to have considered such a design. It seems to me very much more suited to its current use as London’s Ukrainian Catholic Cathedral.

Brown Hart Gardens, Mayfair, Westminster, 1987 87-5g-24-positive_2400

Brown Hart Gardens started life as a real garden between large blocks of working-class dwellings built by The Improved Industrial Dwellings Company in 1886-7, Balderton Buildings and Chesham Building. These were taken over by the Peabody Trust in the 1970s. On Chesham Building is a plaque to the first Duke of Westminster Hugh Lupus, recording that through these and other buildings he provided accommodation for “nearly 4000 persons of the working class’ and naming him “The Friend and Benefactor of His Poorer Brethren”.

The land was a part of the Grosvenor Estate, and the buildings were part of an extensive slum clearance programme in the area. The Duke of Westminster insisted on a garden being created between the two streets of flats, then called Brown St and Hart St, and this was created in 1991.

It didn’t last long. In 1902 the site became an electricity sub-station, and this was built with domed pavillions at each end and completed in 1905. The Duke of Westminster insisted that a paved ‘Italian Garden’ be provided for local residents to compensate for the loss of the former garden, and this remained open to the public until shortly after I took these pictures in May 1987. The London Electricity Board then closed the area. It was refurbished from 2007 on and reopened to the public in 2013, with a cafe around the pavilion at the west end.

You can see more pictures on Page 4 of 1987 London Photos

Rich despise the poor

Tuesday, January 14th, 2020
Security escort a member into the club past protesting union members

The rich or at least a significant proportion of them are really not very nice people. It’s perhaps why some of them are rich, making deals and evading tax without any concern for others just for their own profit. It was the rich who made millions from the slave trade and the plantations, the rich who are still profiting from exploiting people in mines, from dispossessing people of their lands, polluting their water. The rich who profit from fossil fuels that are killing the planet, the rich who profit from asset-stripping and putting workers out of their jobs.

The street was sealed off by red barriers at both ends with security staff who let club members through

Of course most of us gain a little from such activities, with investments by our pension funds and other similar ways, but its the rich whose naked greed drives the process and who gain most massively. And while the country may lose billions through Brexit, the rich will keep their tax dodges and clever investments to keep and increase their wealth, congratulating themselves on having persuaded over half of the country to vote against their own interests.

Security staff help a club member who had assaulted protesters and tried to walk through the club’s barriers on the street

Inequality – the gap between the rich and the poor – has increased greatly in the UK over my lifetime. Studies of incomes show us becoming more equal until around 1979 and then increasing since then, with a small blip in 2008. According to the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, four million British workers are now living in poverty, half a million more than five years ago. Not only are the rich becoming richer, but policies including Universal Credit and benefit sanctions are making many of the poor destitute. On the streets we see an increasing gap, with more people homeless and reduced to begging, while the wealthy have become more ostentatious, and nowhere is this more evident than in Mayfair.

A club member is escorted past the protesters

Of course it is inexcusable that an exclusive private club such as LouLou’s which charges high prices for membership and services should pay workers less than the living wage, but what I find even more disgusting is the attitude shown towards the protesting workers and their supporters by some members as they go past the protest, and by the managers and staff of the club. Rather than talk to the union and pay a proper wage they employ extra security to confront the protesters.

Ian Bone asks a police officer why they are siding with the club owner who is refusing to pay a living wage

A large proportion of those now in poverty in the UK are in work – but also have to claim benefits to keep alive. These benefits are paid for by other tax-payers, essentially a subsidy from us to low-paying organisations and also to landlords, many of whom are extremely rich. Everyone in full-time work deserves a living wage, and we should have minimum wage rates that ensure this. In London that means the ‘London Living Wage’, determined each year and not the much lower government figure.

Police warn a Jane Nicholl she will be arrested if she continues to shout using bad language while a legal observer looks on

Police at the event seemed to adopt a rather aggresive approach towards the protesters from the IWGB Cleaners and Facilities Branch and supporters, threating some with arrest, while ignoring some rather aggresive action by the security. They also refused to take any action when the protesters pointed out that the security staff were not wearing a visible SIA licence as required by the Private Security Industry Act 2001. The protest was loud and at least one protester was threatened with arrest for shouting at members going into the club because of the language she used.

More at LouLou’s stop exploiting your workers

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.

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Mayfair Mayhem

Saturday, November 30th, 2019

I don’t like going to Mayfair. Too much conspicuous consumption on display, too much affluence and waste. It isn’t envy – mostly I wouldn’t want those excessively expensive things you see in shops and through windows, nor the expensive menus etc. I’m largely a man of simple tastes, and happier to share expensive works of art in the National Gallery rather than hang them on my own private wall.

In part its the people. Though I’ve known and liked some who are wealthy there are too many who are obnoxious, who look on the people who work for them as dirt, or just couldn’t give a jot about others. Of course there are poor people who are obnoxious too, but generally in ways that are less obtrusive.

Clubs like LouLou’s with a ‘exclusive’ tag and a membership (in 2017) of £1,800 and described by a fawning article on the Observer website as “the place to be for royals, billionaires, A-list celebrities and socialites” seems to be a magnet for the uncaring and obnoxious, run by the son of Lady Annabel Goldsmith who has given more than £268,000 to Nigel Farage’s UKIP and donated £20,000 to Boris Johnson’s leadership campaign.

But despite this huge wealth, LouLou’s pays its kitchen porters a pittance, and the IWGB has been supporting their claim for the London Living Wage of £10.55 per hour and for decent terms and conditions of service such as sick pay. Currenly the porters who are mainly migrant workers get only £9 per hour. This was I think their second protest outside the club.

Henry Chango-Lopez, President of the IWGB, said:
“It is unfair that the porters who allow billionaires to wine and dine in luxury and secrecy are left hung out to dry. The porters can see straight through 5 Hertford Street’s bribes and know that outsourcing will only lead to further exploitation. The restaurant needs to give justice to its workers and put them all under the same banner.”

I think it was a genuine accident when police knocked one of the protesters to the ground, an officer walking backward into him. But the whole attitude of the police was deferential to the club owners, their security men and guests but hostile towards the protesters, two of whom were arrested.

More at IWGB demand living wage at LouLou’s .

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.

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, please share on social media.
And small donations via Paypal – perhaps the cost of a beer – would be appreciated.

Against the Sultan

Friday, July 12th, 2019

I got to the protest rather late because I stopped on the way to meet the people from Class War who were going to attend the protest. Of course they were in a pub, and the pub they had selected to meet was quite a walk from the Dorchester Hotel outside which the protest was taking place.

It took a while to finish our drinks and to get moving, and eventually I gave up waiting for them, especially when some decided they needed to get a bus., though it was only half a mile to walk. I left with one of the more active members and we hurried, getting there in well under ten minutes.

The ruling by the Sultan of Brunei to make stoning to death the sentence for gay sex, adultery and blasphemy had enraged people around the world, and protests were planned in many cities outside the luxury hotels he owns, including the Dorchester Hotel in London’s Mayfair.

There was a large crowd of protesters, but at some distance from the hotel entrance, on the pavements of the minor street that runs around the front of the building and its large yard which allow taxis to drive to its doors. There really wasn’t enough room for protesters on the pavements, but police were trying to keept the roadway clear, arguing with protesters who were reluctant to move.

Although I was over half an hour late for the start, I was still in time to photograph the two major speakers, Shadow Foreign Secretary Emily Thornberry and human rights activist Peter Tatchell, as well of course as many of the protesters and their posters and banners.

Class War turned up with their two banners almost half and hour after me, and for a while stood with them on the roadway (which the police by this time had given up the impossible task of keeping clear.) Their late arrival was probably timed to ensure they missed the speeches.

After standing for a few minutes holding the banners, Class War sized up the situation decided it was time for some more definite action. They pushed aside the barriers around the hotel yard and with the ‘Women’s Death Brigade’ banner led a rush past police and security to protest on the steps of the hotel.

They shouted for the others to follow them, and a few came immediately. Eventually most of the rest of the crowd joined them for a long and noisy protest on the steps of the hotel. There were a few arguments with police who came to stand in front of the doors, but no arrests before I left three-quarters of an hour later.

Many more pictures at Brunei Sultan gay sex stoning protest

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, please share on social media.
And small donations via Paypal – perhaps the cost of a beer – would be appreciated.

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.

To order prints or reproduce images