Posts Tagged ‘Nagasaki’

Hiroshima Day – 6th August

Saturday, August 6th, 2022

Hiroshima Day – 6th August

Hiroshima Day - 6th August
Rev Nagase, Japanese monk from the Battersea Peace Pagoda, 2011

While I was still teaching full-time I was usually away from London in August, often in Paris or on holiday with friends in different parts of England. But since 2004 I’ve usually been in London on August 6th and attended and photographed the annual Hiroshima Day Ceremony organised by London CND close to the Hiroshima Cherry Tree in Tavistock Square. The first year for which I used a digital camera was 2004, when the event was compèred by local MP Jeremy Corbyn and among those attending were Michael Foot and Tony Benn. There was a significant non-attender too, Mordechai Vanunu had been invited to come from Jerusalem where he is under house arrest for having made public Israel’s nuclear weapons, but was prevented from coming by the Israeli government.

Hiroshima Day - 6th August
Tony Benn, 2011

Back then I think the processing of digital files left something considerable to be desired, and the images on-line are rather dull, though I think could now be greatly improved if I found time to reprocess the raw files.

Hiroshima Day - 6th August
Bruce Kent, 2009

By the time photographed the ceremony in 2009, the pictures looked much better. Jeremy Corbyn was again introducing the speakers, who included CND stalwart Bruce Kent.

Bruce Kent spoke again in 2011, as did Tony Benn, but the star of the event was Hetty Bower who had begun her campaign against war in 1914 when she was a young schoolgirl, almost nine. Her’s was a remarkably powerful performance from a 105 year old who 97 years later was still taking part in every major UK anti-war march.

Nobo Ono, 2013

Hetty Bower was there again in 2013 and made a short speech. Other speakers included Bruce Kent, Peter Tatchell, Jeremy Corbyn, Walter Wolfgang, amd Green Party Leader Natalie Bennett as well as several peace activists, among them Val Brown from the London Guantanamo Campaign who talked about their work and the regular protests at the US Embassy, and Nobo Ono who spoke about the nuclear disaster at Fukushima and the weekly protests organised by Japanese Against Nuclear UK.

In 2014 my train to London was held up and I arrived after the event began, when a speaker was reminding everyone of the long life as a peace activist of Hetty Bower, and a several of those present were wearing t-shirts with her picture.

As usual, towards the end of the event there was a period of silence in memory of the dead and wreaths and flowers were laid at the Hioroshima Cherry Tree, planted in the garden here by the then Mayor of Camden in 1967.

In 2015, because of the Labour leadership contest, the event which usually attracts only a small handful of press was attended by several TV crews and a large number of photographers, many of whom more or less ignored anything but Jeremy Corbyn, seen in my picture standing for a few moments in thought after laying a sunflower at the foot of the tree.

Cllr Nadia Shah, Mayor of Camden lays a wreath, at left Anthony Flaum who had sung earlier, 2016

It was back to the usual lack of media interest in 2016, but the event was well attended with a number of familiar faces among the speakers, performers and the audience. Walter Wolfgang and Kate Hudson of CND, Mohammed Kozbar from Finsbury Park Mosque and Shahrar Ali from the Green Party were among those who spoke, and there were fine and very different perfomances from opera singer Anthony Flaum, radical folk singer Jim Radford and rap artist Potent Whisper, as well as the Raised Voices choir who as usual both performed on their own and led those at the event in singing some well-known peace songs.

Among the more memorable speakers in 2017 was writer A L Kennedy – but as usual all were worth listening to.

You can also see pictures and read the accounts from 2018, 2019 and 2021 on My London Diary.

I hope be again in Tavistock Square for today’s London CND Hiroshima commemoration – Saturday 6th August 2022 – starting at noon.


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Pimlico & Battersea 1988

Saturday, September 18th, 2021

Railway Bridge, River Thames, Battersea Power Station, Grosvenor Rd, Pimlico, Westminster, 1988 88-5f-62-positive_2400
Railway Bridge, River Thames, Battersea Power Station, Grosvenor Rd, Pimlico, Westminster, 1988 88-5f-62

These seven pictures all come from the same film I took at the end of a fairly long day’s walk around Chelsea on Sunday 8th May 1988 which had taken me down to the Thames on Grosvenor Road. I spent some time wandering around on the road and also where it was possible to get onto the riverbank, though most was fenced off.

Railway Bridge, River Thames, Battersea Power Station, Grosvenor Rd, Pimlico, Westminster, 198888-5f-64-positive_2400
Railway Bridge, River Thames, Battersea Power Station, Grosvenor Rd, Pimlico, Westminster, 19888 8-5f-64

The views today are rather different, although the railway bridge carrying the main line to and from Victoria is still much the same. In the pictures you can see some work being carried on in Battersea Power Station, but now new flats hide most of the building apart from the chimneys from here, and the gas works have completely gone.

Railway Bridge, River Thames, Battersea Power Station, Grosvenor Rd, Pimlico, Westminster, 1988 88-5f-51-positive_2400
Railway Bridge, River Thames, Battersea Power Station, Grosvenor Rd, Pimlico, Westminster, 1988 88-5f-51

You may still see lighters moored in the river here, but I think this rather odd structure close to the mouth of the vestigial Grosvenor Canal here has gone. I wasn’t absolutely sure why there was this wooden platform with what looked to me like small dog-kennels on it, but perhaps as the rope shows they were simply for mooring barges waiting to use the canal. Technically I think this is a dolphin, as the picture below shows.

Chelsea Bridge, River Thames,Grosvenor Rd, Westminster, 198888-5f-52-positive_2400
Chelsea Bridge, River Thames,Grosvenor Rd, Westminster, 1988 88-5f-52

The first bridge here was built in 1858 when Chelsea Embankment was being built and was a suspension bridge intended to give the large population of Pimlico access to the new Battersea Park – if they could afford the toll – though it was made free on Sundays. It was then called Victoria Bridge, named like the station after the Queen. It became even less popular after Albert Bridge was built at the other end of the park in 1873. It was bought by the Metropolitan Board of Works in 1877 and they abolished the tolls in 1979. It was a narrow bridge and found to be structurally unsound, so fearing it might embarass the Queen if it collapsed they renamed it Chelsea Bridge. It didn’t collapse and apparently took several years to demolish when they decided to replace it with the current bridge which opened in 1937.

As the picture shows, the main cables are attached to the end of the bridge rather than on solid ground on the banks, and it was the first such ‘self-anchored’ suspension bridge in Britain. The LCC couldn’t afford to fund the entire cost and the Ministry of Transport only agreed to stand 60% oof the cost on the condition that all the materials used came from the British Empire.

When Billy Strayhorn named his most famous composition ‘Chelsea Bridge’ it was not this structure that he had in mind, but something more ethereal, probably Whistler’s Nocturne: Blue and Gold – Old Battersea Bridge.

Grosvenor Canal, entrance, River Thames, Pimlico, Westminster, 1988 88-5f-53-positive_2400
Grosvenor Canal, entrance, River Thames, Pimlico, Westminster, 1988 88-5f-53

I wrote at some length in a previous post about the Grosvenor Canal, London’s last working canal, still in use when I took this picture. You can see part of one of the barges still in use to carry Westminster’s rubbish downriver through the bridge.

Chelsea Bridge, River Thames, Battersea Power Station, Chelsea Embankment, Kensington & Chelsea, 1988 88-5f-43-positive_2400
Chelsea Bridge, River Thames, Battersea Power Station, Chelsea Embankment, Kensington & Chelsea, 1988 88-5f-43

The pictures here (and on Flickr) are from around 20 exposures I made on this small area of riverside, though many of the others are very similar. There were very few boats around moving on the river at the time.

Pagoda, Battersea Park, River Thames, Chelsea Embankment, Kensington & Chelsea, 1988 88-5f-34-positive_2400
Pagoda, Battersea Park, River Thames, Chelsea Embankment, Kensington & Chelsea, 1988 88-5f-34

I walked upriver along Chelsea Embankment on my way to catch a bus across Battersea Bridge to take me to Clapham Junction for the train home. On my way I took a few pictures of the impressive late-Victorian houses – which haven’t made it to my Flickr album – and four pictures across the river of the Battersea Park Peace Pagoda, this one of which has. I’m not sure about the framing and I think it would perhaps be better in a square format but I felt it had a suitably Japanese feel to it.

Reverend Gyoro Nagase at Hiroshima Day, Tavistock Square, 2019

After the destruction of Hiroshima and Nagasaki by US atom bombs in August 1945, Nichidatsu Fuji who had in 1917 founded the Japanese Buddhist movement, Nipponzan Myohoji, in 1947 decided they would set up Peace Pagodas around the world to promote peace and non-violence. The first opened in Japan in 1954 and the London Peace Pagoda was built by Nipponzan Myohoji monks and opened in 1985, shortly after Nichidatsu Fuji died aged 100. Since 1978 it has been looked after by Reverend Gyoro Nagase who I have met and photographed at many events calling for peace. There are also Peace Pagodas in Milton Keynes and Birmingham among over 80 around the world.


Click on any of the black and white images to go to a larger version in my album 1988 London Photos from where you can browse to other images.


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.


Hiroshima Day – August 6th

Friday, August 6th, 2021

2018

On 6th August 1945 a US B-29 bomber dropped a atomic bomb, code name ‘Little Boy’, from a height of 31,000 ft over the Japanese city of Hiroshima. It took almost 45 seconds to fall to a height of 1,900 feet where it detonated, by which time the bomber, Enola Gay was over 11 miles away.

2014

Hiroshima was a large city, a port with many industrial and military sites and a population of around 350,000. Because it had been selected as a target for a nuclear bomb it had not suffered the intensive conventional bombing of most other Japanese cities. The USA wanted to be able to see clearly the damage an atomic weapon could cause.

2019

Around 70,0000 people, 30% of the population were killed by the initial blast and firestorm which was caused, with around the same number badly injured. Around 70% of the city’s buildings were destroyed, an area of almost 5 square miles devastated. Those killed included over 90% of doctors and medical staff who were concentrated in the central area of the city.

2017

Two days later on August 8th the US decided to drop the second atomic bomb, one of a different design using plutonium rather than uranium, code-named ‘Fat Boy’. The intended target was Kokura, an ancient Japanese city with a huge arsenal, but dark clouds obscured the city, and the B-29 ‘Bockscar’ diverted to the city which was the secondary target, Nagasaki.

2016

The black clouds may have come from the the previous days US conventional fire-bombing of nearby Yahata, but workers at the steel works in Kokura had apparently decided to burn coal tar to try to make a smokescreen. Or it could just have been bad weather or some combination of all three than saved Kokura and condemned Nagasaki.

2009

There were clouds over Nagasaki too, but a patch of clear sky allowed the bomb to be dropped. The plutonium bomb was almost one and a half times more powerful than that which devastated Hiroshima but it exploded over a valley which slightly contained its effects. At least 35-40,000 were killed immediately, almost all of them civilians, including many foreign workers. Unlike in Hiroshima there was no firestorm as the area it was dropped on was less intensively developed.

2009

Although it was the US who dropped the bomb, the British government was deeply involved. Under the 1943 Quebec agreement between Roosevelt and Churchill which brought scientific development of atomic weapons by the two countries together, the consent of the UK was needed for these weapons to be used.

2011

Of course deaths continued after the explosions. Acute radiation syndrome killed many who survived the initial attack, mostly within 20-30 days. Radiation induced cancer and leukemia takes longer to emerge, reaching a peak around 6-8 years later. Radiation also causes miscarriages and birth defects.

2014

Around 650,000 people were recognised by the Japanese government as ‘hibakusah’, survivors affected by the bombs, and around 1% of these had illnesses attributed to their radiation exposure.

2015

Ceremonies in the two cities and around the world remember the bombings and call for the outlawing of nuclear weapons, a total of around 13,000 of which are now held by China, North Korea, France, India, Israel, Pakistan, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States. The Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) was adopted by the UN in 2017 and entered into force on 22 January 2021. Countries voting for its adoption included two former nuclear states, South Africa and Kazakhstan, who gave up their weapons voluntarily and North Korea. So far 55 states have ratified or acceded to the treaty.

2016

The pictures, taken in various years, come from the annual Hiroshima Day event held every 6th August in Tavistock Square in London organised by London CND. The square is in the London Borough of Camden and take place next to the Hiroshima cherry tree planted there in 1967 by the then Mayor of Camden.


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.

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.


No More Hiroshimas

Thursday, August 6th, 2020
A prayer by Japanese monk Rev Nagase, from the Battersea Peace Pagoda, 2011

Most years if I am in London at the start of August I attend the London CND Hiroshima Day commemoration in Tavistock Square. This year, the 75th anniversary, I will be at the online event.

The US bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki was a war crime on a massive scale and lacked any real military justification. So far, despite a huge number of atomic weapons being manufactured and many billions spent on them and their delivery systems none have been used, though we now know that it was only the refusal of one Russian soldier to obey orders that saved us from nuclear annihilation.

The theory of nuclear deterrence never made sense, and over the years more countries have created their own nuclear weapons, mainly as a status symbol. US, UK, Russia, France, China, India, Pakistan, Israel and North Korea currently have them. South Africa is the only country which has given them up (several soviet republics handed them back to Russia when the USSR broke up) but around 190 countries including South Africa have now signed up the the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, confirming they will not develop them.

The Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons opened for signature at United Nations headquarters in New York on 20 September 2017 having been passed with 122 countries in favour – but none of the nuclear states or other NATO members voted and the Netherlands was the sole vote against. So far only 40 states have ratified the treaty.

The London 75th Anniversary event is one of many around the world you can join in or view online. I’ve posted a few of my pictures from earlier years here, but there are many more on My London Diary – for 2004, 2009, 2011, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018 and 2019.

Jeremy Corbyn introduces the Mayor of Camden, Cllr Faruque Ansari, 2009
Hetty Bower, 105, holds up a Peace Card given her by a primary school class, 2011
Tony Benn speaks, 2011
CND Chair Kate Hudson, 2014
Flowers are laid at the Hiroshima Cherry Tree in Tavistock Square, 2015

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.


Hiroshima & Nagasaki

Thursday, January 16th, 2020
The Mayor of Camden Cllr Maryam Eslamdoust lays the first wreath at the Hiroshima cherry tree

Back on the 8th of August 1967, that year’s Mayor of Camden Cllr Millie Miller planted a cherry tree in Tavistock Square in memory of the victims of the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima twenty two years earlier on August 8th 1945. A second bomb was dropped two days later on Nagasaki.

By then Japan had lost the war and surrender could only have been a few days away. There was no pressing military reason to use these monstrous weapons, but they had been under development in the Manhattan Project which began in 1939 but only got into full swing in 1952. The scientists had developed two different types of bomb, a uranium-235 bomb codenamed ‘Little Boy’ and the plutonium based ‘Fat Man’.

Baroness Jenny Jones

The ‘Fat Man’ device, involving an explosion to compact a plutonium sphere to provide the critical mass for an explosion was complex, and it was decided a test was necessary to determine if it would work. This test, the world’s first nuclear explosion, took place on the 16 July 1945 in a remote desert area in New Mexico.

Planning for dropping the two bombs began in serious in November 1943 and was complex. Specially modified aircraft were needed because of the size of the bombs and a special base was built for the missions on a Pacific island. Originally Kyoto had been selected for a target for the first bomb, but the US Secretary of War ruled it out because of its cultural and historic significance and Hiroshima was selected in its place.

Shigeo Kobayashi, Japan Against Nuclear, reads the English translation of today’s speech by the Mayor of Hiroshima at the commemoration there

The Hiroshima bomb was the logical end of years of planning and scientific effort and was needed more to validate that whole process than for any particular military purpose. There was even less reason for the second bomb on Nagasaki given the destruction the first bomb had caused. Over two thirds of Hiroshima’s buildings had been destroyed, almost a third of its population killed immediately and another third injured. More were to die later from radiation.

Nagasaki was not even the intended target for the second bomb; cloud over Kokura saved it from destruction and instead ‘Fat Man’ was dropped on Nagasaki. It was roughly 1.5 times more powerful than the Hiroshima bomb but hills protected parts of the city and the destruction and death toll were lower with an estimated 35,000–40,000 people killed and 60,000 injured.

Rev Gyoro Nagase, Buddhist monk from the Battersea Peace Pagoda

The commemoration takes place every 6th August in Tavistock Square, with Camden’s Mayor taking part, as well as peace activists. It is the largest of several events in London and I now usually attend and have photographed it a number of times.

Hiroshima Bomb victims remembered


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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