Posts Tagged ‘Nine Elms’

Kirtling Street to Battersea Power Station & the Dogs – 1989

Friday, December 22nd, 2023

Kirtling Street to Battersea Power Station & the Dogs continues my walk which began at Vauxhall on Friday 28th July 1989 with Nine Elms Riverside. The previous post was More from Nine Elms Riverside.

Works, Kirtling St, Nine Elms, Wandsworth, 1989 89-7l-36
Works, Kirtling St, Nine Elms, Wandsworth, 1989 89-7l-36

The riverside path still ends at Kirtling Street but Greenham’s aggregate wharf has now been replaced by the central site of the Tideway 25km London super sewer project underneath the River Thames due for completion in 2025, when it should prevent 95% of sewage spills in London entering the river. It was here that the two tunnel boring machines were lowered 50 metres below ground to make their way east and west to produce the central section of the tunnel between Fulham and Bermondsey.

T & W Farmiloe, paint factory, Cringle St, Nine Elms, Wandsworth, 1989 89-7l-21
T & W Farmiloe, paint factory, Cringle St, Nine Elms, Wandsworth, 1989 89-7l-21

This bricked up entry in a tall brick wall on the corner of Cringle Street was for many years all that remained of the 50-year-old glass, lead, paint and sanitary ware manufacturing company which had opened a large 4-storey factory here in 1884 with a frontage on Nine Elms Lane. The Farmiloe brothers had set up in business in Westminster in the 1840s as glass cutters and taken over the Island Lead Mills in Limehouse in 1885, and expanded with a brass foundry on Horseferry Road, a varnish works in Mitcham and this large warehouse in Nine Elms, producing everything a plumber could need. In the twentieth century their main business moved to sanitary ware and paint, including ‘Nine Elms’ white lead paint which was made at this white-lead factory built around 1910. I think the company which had trademarked ‘Nine Elms’ had long vacated the site before it was dissolved in 1988. The trademark passed to Akzo Nobel and expired in 2005.

Works, Sleaford St, Nine Elms, Wandsworth, 1989 89-7l-23
Works, Sleaford St, Nine Elms, Wandsworth, 1989 89-7l-23

Sleaford Street was on the eastern side of one of the earliest developments in the area, Battersea New Town, begun in the 1790s and was first developed on its west side the by Southwark butcher William Sleford. Apparently later “One side of Sleaford Street was formerly derided as Ginbottle Row, while the other was called Soapsuds Bay, presumably because it accommodated laundresses.”

I can find no signs of the building in this picture and most of the west side of Sleaford Street is now occupied by a large block of flats extending back from the corner with Nine Elms Lane completed around 2008. John Oswald and Sons had a foundry in the street from 1871 and this may be their building.

At the left of the picture you can see the Battersea gasholder, demolished 2014-7 and at right Battersea Power Station.

Battersea Power Station, Battersea Park Rd, Nine Elms, Wandsworth, 1989 89-7l-24
Battersea Power Station, Battersea Park Rd, Nine Elms, Wandsworth, 1989 89-7l-24

A slightly unusual view of the power station six years after its final closure. Planning permission was obtained for it conversion to a theme park, but the scheme was halted when money ran out in March 1989. By this time the roof had been removed, presumably by McAlpine whose name adorns the building, which led to considerable subsequent deterioration of the steelwork and foundations.

After various failed redevelopment plans the power station was eventually refurbished as an expensive tourist destination surrounded by new homes, a hotel, shops and restaurants and a new London Underground station. McAlpine was the construction manager for the final phase three of the development.

Battersea Power Station, Battersea Park Rd, Nine Elms, Wandsworth, 1989 89-7l-25
Battersea Power Station, Battersea Park Rd, Nine Elms, Wandsworth, 1989 89-7l-25

Another view of the wrecked power station, along with a rather unconvincing double at the right with a view of the abandoned scheme.

Battersea Dogs Home, Battersea Park Rd, Battersea, Wandsworth, 1989 89-7l-11
Battersea Dogs Home, Battersea Park Rd, Battersea, Wandsworth, 1989 89-7l-11

Then there was no way back to the riverside before reaching Chelsea Bridge at the north end of Queenstown Road. A long detour away from the river around the power station and gas works site took me past Battersea Dogs Home where I took this picture with one dog begging on the top of the wall and another emerging from the Exit to the building. There is now a rather larger building on the site and it has added ‘and Cats’ to its remit.

The description of my walk will continue in a later post.


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More from Nine Elms Riverside

Saturday, December 16th, 2023

More from Nine Elms Riverside: My walk on Saturday 29th July continued from yesterday’s post.

Libation, River Thames, Riverside Walk, Nine Elms, Wandsworth, 1989 89-7l-66
Libation, River Thames, Riverside Walk, Nine Elms, Wandsworth, 1989 89-7l-66

At the end of the William Henry Walk I photographed a small coastal vessel, the Libation, moored at a short pier.

Libation, River Thames, Riverside Walk, Nine Elms, Wandsworth, 1989 89-7l-51
Libation, River Thames, Riverside Walk, Nine Elms, Wandsworth, 1989 89-7l-51

As a took a few photographs the skipper of the vessel came up to talk with me. He told me that he and his mate brought the ship up on the tide every day with a load of gravel dredged from the estuary, where it was unloaded by the crane with a grab into the hopper at left of the picture. As soon as I ended the conversation and moved on I regretted I had not asked him if I could take his picture, but it was too late to go back.

The Battersea Barge, Bistro, River Thames, Nine Elms Lane, Nine Elms, Wandsworth, 1989 89-7l-41
The Battersea Barge, Bistro, River Thames, Nine Elms Lane, Nine Elms, Wandsworth, 1989 89-7l-41

The Battersea Barge is at the west end of this section of walk, immediately west of the Heathwall pumping station. And although the area around has changed completely the Battersea Barge is still there, a 1930s Dutch barge converted to a floating bar and restaurant, much in demand for private parties, though it now seems only to offer a bar to which people are welcome to bring their own food – and there are many local outlets which have now opened. And it now has a sister ship nearby, another converted Dutch barge, the Tamesis, a “walk-on neighbourhood bar, live music & events space” moored nearby.

Until around 2008 the path here was reached by an fairly narrow alley beside a warehouse, but the commercial properties along this side of Nine Elms Lane were replace from 2012 on by tall residential blocks, part of the immense development that has taken place in the Nine Elms area.

River Thames, Riverside Walk, Nine Elms Lane, Nine Elms, Wandsworth, 1989 89-7l-44
River Thames, Riverside Walk, Nine Elms Lane, Nine Elms, Wandsworth, 1989 89-7l-44

The dock here was originally Manor House Wharf and a dock ran into the gas works on the other side of Nine Elms Lane. The jetty at Imperial Wharf allowed larger ships to unload coal here.

Jetty, River Thames, Imperial Wharf, Nine Elms Lane, Nine Elms, Wandsworth, 1989 89-7l-31
Jetty, River Thames, Imperial Wharf, Nine Elms Lane, Nine Elms, Wandsworth, 1989 89-7l-31

The jetty for the Nine Elms Gas Works was rebuilt in 1952 to handle the flatiron coastal colliers which brought coal to the works. The gas works had begun here in 1858 and were taken over by the Gas Light and Coke Company in 1883 who ran them until nationalisation in 1949. The gas works closed in 1970 when the UK changed to natural gas.

There are now more houseboats moored here in what is now called Nine Elms Pier.

Pier, Riverside Walk, River Thames, Kirtling St, Nine Elms, Wandsworth, 1989 89-7l-34
Pier, Riverside Walk, River Thames, Kirtling St, Nine Elms, Wandsworth, 1989 89-7l-34

At the west end of the Tideway Walk I used the steps up to the jetty to take this and a landscape format image from the same position – below. Both are looking upstream towards Battersea Power Station at left and its jetties and cranes, and on the other side of the river the 1875 chimney for the Western Pumping Station on Grosvenor Road.

Pier, Riverside Walk, River Thames, Kirtling St, Nine Elms, Wandsworth, 1989 89-7l-35
Pier, Riverside Walk, River Thames, Kirtling St, Nine Elms, Wandsworth, 1989 89-7l-35

The Tideway Walk ends here, turning south to Kirtling Street, which leads back to the main road. The riverside here is still in industrial use as the Cringle Dock Solid Waste Transfer Station. Back in 1989 there was a long walk before you could access the river at Chelsea Bridge and Battersea Park, but now you can go down Cringle Street to the Battersea Power Station development.

My description of this walk continues in a later post towards Battersea.


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Nine Elms Riverside – July 1989

Friday, December 15th, 2023

Nine Elms Riverside – July 1989: One of the benefits of working as a teacher as I still was in 1989 was certainly the long Summer holiday and I spent quite a lot of these taking photographs as well as going away for several weeks with my family – though some years this was also a photographic opportunity. And most years we also spent a week or so in Hull where I was able to add a few pictures to the work that had resulted in my exhibition Still Occupied in the Ferens Art Gallery there in 1983.

But our travels around the country in the Summer of 1989 – which as well as Hull included a week with a group of friends in a large holiday cottage in Scotland – only began in August, and the day after my visit to Hackney on Friday 28th July 1989 I returned to take up my work where I had left off earlier in Nine Elms.

Brunswick House, Market Towers, Wandsworth Rd, Vauxhall, Lambeth, 1989 89-7k-13
Brunswick House, Market Towers, Wandsworth Rd, Vauxhall, Lambeth, 1989 89-7k-13

Tuuning west out of Vauxhall Station took me to the junction of Wandsworth Road and Nine Elms Lane. Brunswick House at right appeared in an earlier post on my walks in 1989. This mid 17th century house, extended in 1758, bought by in 1869 by “the London and South West Railway Company who used it as offices and a Scientific and Literary Institute. In 1994 it was sold to the railway staff association who again sold it in 2002. It is now a restaurant and the yard around it is used by an architectural salvage and supply company.

Market Towers was clearly a very much later building, or rather pair of buildings, the taller 290ft high with 23 floors, completed in 1975, with offices a pub, the Market Tavern, on the first floor. The pub was built to serve workers at the adjoining New Covent Garden Market completed in 1974 and its licence allowed it to open in the early hours. By the 1980s this had made it into “South London’s first gay pub with a 2am licence“.

According to Wikipedia, the buildings were bought by the misleadingly named property developer Green Property in 2008 and four years later they were given planning permission to redevelop. Instead they sold it to Chinese developer Dalian Wanda. It was demolished in 2014-5 who gained revised planning permission for two buildings containing 436 flats and a hotel, City Tower with 58 floors and 654ft tall and River Tower 42 floors and 525ft. The project was sold on to another Chinese company, and there were various problems over building contracts which delayed completion. The Park Hyatt London River Thames hotel is now predicted to open in mid-2024.

Nine Elms Cold Store, Nine Elms Lane, Nine Elms, Lambeth, 1989  89-7k-14
Nine Elms Cold Store, Nine Elms Lane, Nine Elms, Lambeth, 1989 89-7k-14

This tall, windowless monolith states across its top ‘NINE ELMS COLD STORE‘ and was built in 1964 on a former gas works site to store meat and other frozen goods brought by ship into the London Docks and transferred here by lighters. At its side was a large railway goods yard, from which these goods could be taken by rail as well as lorries from the site. But only a few years after its completion, London’s docks began to close and by 1979 it was redundant.

This gas works had closed in 1956 and the site was in use as a coach park when the cold store was built, and also included a small creek, Vauxhall Creek, which once had been the mouth of the River Effra, long culverted and diverted which was then filled in. After it ceased to be used as a cold store it stood for 20 years with various schemes for redevelopment coming to nothing. Part of the delay was caused by the huge cost of demolition, part by Lambeth Council not then wanting the kind of luxury riverside flats than now occupy the site, the 50 storey 594 ft St George Wharf Tower completed in 2014, as well as by some dodgy business dealings.

The cold store was used for various films as a dystopian urban location, was a dangerous gay cruising handily placed for the Market Tavern, as well as allegedly for “black magic, devil worship, sacrifices, and orgies” but was finally demolished in 1999.

River Thames, Riverside Walk, Nine Elms, Wandsworth, 1989 89-7k-15
River Thames, Riverside Walk, Nine Elms, Wandsworth, 1989 89-7k-15

I had crossed the border from Lambeth to Wandsworth and beyond the cold store the Riverside Walk had been opened up by the council as far as the Thames Water pumping station at Heathwall and after a short diversion past that to Kirtling Street, some years later in 1996 becoming a part of the new Thames Path.

This view from the path across the river past a moored lighter is from its start and there are now new buildings on the riverbank at the left, but the rest remain. These buildings are on Grosvenor Road, Pimlico. You can see the tower of Westminster Cathedral in the distance and I think to its left is the rather ugly block which contains Pimlico station.

A large brick arch on the riverbank is the ancient mouth of the River Tyburn, long since culverted. Plans for the resurfacing of the river by the Tyburn Angling Society seem limited to Mayfair and not to extend to the Thames, though the chances of it happening are as close to zero as can be imagined.

Battersea Power Station, River Thames, Riverside Walk, Nine Elms, Wandsworth, 1989 89-7l-02
Battersea Power Station, River Thames, Riverside Walk, Nine Elms, Wandsworth, 1989 89-7l-02

The bend of the river here makes it look as if I was walking on water to take this picture, but my feet were firmly on dry land. Battersea Power Station has since then been given something of a facelift, with the removal of some of the more interesting features of the riverfront, as well as now being surrounded on several sides by large blocks of flats and being turned into a wasteful luxury shopping centre.

The pair of distant chimneys just to its right are Lots Road Power Station. The nearer bridge is Grosvenor Railway Bridge taking trains into Victoria Station, but Chelsea Bridge just upriver can also be seen clearly.

Battersea Power Station, River Thames, Riverside Walk, Nine Elms, Wandsworth, 1989  89-7l-64
Battersea Power Station, River Thames, Riverside Walk, Nine Elms, Wandsworth, 1989 89-7l-64

Another view upstream from the riverside path, which shows all four chimneys of Battersea Power Station as well as the riverside path and some of the earlier flats built beside the river here, Elm Quay Court. This luxury flat development built in 1976-8 includes secure underground parking and a 47ft swimming pool, gym and sauna.

Elm Quay Court, 30 Nine Elms Lane, Wandsworth, 1989 89-7l-54
Elm Quay Court, 30 Nine Elms Lane, Wandsworth, 1989 89-7l-54

A view of the Elm Quay Court flats from the road. The new US Embassy was built opposite them. Neither building seems attractive to me. The best feature of the US Embassy is the moat which runs along only its north side, and the best feature of Elm Quay Court is the riverside walk, which enables the public to walk past it almost without seeing the building.

My account of my walk will continue in a later post.


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More From Stockwell & South Lambeth

Wednesday, November 8th, 2023

More From Stockwell & South Lambeth: My apologies that the previous post in this series from my walk on 19th July 1989, Tradescant, Old South Lambeth Rd and Caron, ended with a repeat of three images taken on Fentiman Road from my walk two days earlier.

After taking pictures on Old South Lambeth Road I probably simply walked to Vauxhall Station without taking more pictures. But I have now found a few more pictures I took probably at the start of the walk which began with Stockwell Park, Bus Garage, Tower and Mason, and also some at the end of my walk in Vauxhall.

Houses, 43-49, Lansdowne Gardens, Stockwell, Lambeth, 1989  89-7h-14
Houses, 43-49, Lansdowne Gardens, Stockwell, Lambeth, 1989 89-7h-14

These fine houses were built in the mid-nineteenth century and are Grade II listed. The closer and further houses are semi-detached pairs while 47 in the middle is detached. Behind them is the tower block Edrich House on Lansdowne Way.

House, 93, Priory Grove, Stockwell, Lambeth, 1989 89-7i-62
House, 93, Priory Grove, Stockwell, Lambeth, 1989 89-7i-62

Priory Grove runs south from Lansdowne Way (formerly Priory Road) and much of it is beside Larkhill Park. This four-storey block, with the name at the top Priory Building is close to its end at Larkhall Lane. In 1989 it had two doors, but now there is only one at the left giving access to the four flats inside. The ground floor has been coated with stucco eliminating the architraves which are a feature of the upper floors.

Larkhall Lane, Stockwell, Lambeth, 1989 89-7i-65
Larkhall Lane, Stockwell, Lambeth, 1989 89-7i-65

Larkhall Lane has a listed building and several on the local list, but all I chose to photograph were a couple of odd corners, the first perhaps showing something of the state of the property with a fine stone hidden pillar. I think this has now disappeared.

Larkhall Lane, Stockwell, Lambeth, 1989 89-7i-52
Larkhall Lane, Stockwell, Lambeth, 1989 89-7i-52

66 Larkhall Lane is now much improved rendering, a tidy garden and the anachronistic shutter removed. The tree has also gone and I suspect much of the interior has also been remodelled. A property listing on the web describes it now as “This is an attractive 2 bed, 1 bath semi-detached house in Lambeth, London. This efficient home is 753 square feet in size with 2 fireplaces and has been extended 3 times since construction before 1900” and estimates its value at £1m-£1.2m.

341-9, Wandsworth Rd, South Lambeth, Lambeth, 1989 89-7i-56
341-9, Wandsworth Rd, South Lambeth, Lambeth, 1989 89-7i-56

I think I took this rather rapidly through a gap in the traffic which perhaps accounts for its rather odd tilt. At left is a rather odd Gothic Grade II listed building trying to be a castle, with shops on the ground floor and an octagonal tower at each end. The building dates from the mid-19th century but the shops reaching out to the main road were added probably around 40 years later over what was originally a front garden and have since been much altered.

Tucked away in the centre of the picture is a slim building with some interesting polychromatic brickwork at No 345, small and rather unusual Victorian infill.

Wilbraham House,  Wandsworth Road, Nine Elms, Lambeth, 1989  89-7i-41
Wilbraham House, Wandsworth Road, Nine Elms, Lambeth, 1989 89-7i-41

Through the imposing three story vehicle entrance of Wilbraham House we can see Fosbrooke House behind. This long block of flats occupies most of the block between Thorncroft St and Wilcox Road. One web site helpfully tells me it was built between 1930 and 1949 and my guess would have been it was at the end of that period. Four impressive sets of steps on the frontage lead to the 36 flats, with glass bricks providing natural lighting for the stairs. Nine Elms underground station opened in 2021 is just a few yards up the road.

The Elephant And Castle, pub, South Lambeth Place, Vauxhall, Lambeth, 1989 89-7k-11
The Elephant And Castle, pub, South Lambeth Place, Vauxhall, Lambeth, 1989 89-7k-11

You get a good view of these elephants from trains going through Vauxhall Station on the Windsor and Reading lines I normally go to Waterloo on. This picture is taken from immediately outside Vauxhall Station entrance. The pub building is still there but closed in 1997 and is now a Starbucks, but its upper floors look much the same. The local list dates it as mid-late 19th century, but the building replaced an earlier one on the site.

The name Elephant And Castle thought to have been first used for pubs around 1770 in nearby Southwark probably derives from the coat of arms of the Cutler’s Company who adopted it in 1622. They used ivory to make knife handles. Though if so it may have been used first for a pub in the City for which we have no record.

I’ll post the other pictures I’ve found from the end of the walk in Vauxhall later.


Houses, Almshouses, A Pub and Cold Store

Wednesday, October 4th, 2023

Houses, Almshouses, A Pub and Cold Store: The end of my walk on 17th July 1989 which began with Back in Stockwell. The previous post was Stockwell Housing and Adventure.

Terrace, 195-203, Brixton Rd, Angell Town, Lambeth, 1989 89-7e-64
Terrace, 195-203, Brixton Rd, Angell Town, Lambeth, 1989 89-7e-64

This terrace is on the east side of Brixton Road, with 195 on the corner with Normandy Road. They were built on a part of the large Lambeth Wick estate which was owned by the Church of England but was developed by Henry Richard Vassall, the third Baron Holland, who had adopted his wife’s maiden name of Vassall in 1800. The manor was leased to him in 1820 with a building lease that specified he had to built “houses of at least the third rate” and keep them in good repair, painting outside wood and ironwork every 4 years “and offensive trades were prohibited.”

Vassall’s lease was for 99 years and he let out small plots such as this one to builders and speculators on 80 year leases. The lease for the plot for these three-storey terraces was granted to James Crundall in 1824, but the actual date of completion of Alfred Place as they were known may have been a little later. The Grade II listing simply states early-mid C19.

The end wall facing Normandy Road has no windows – its interior layout is presumably similar to those houses in the middle of the terrace, but what would have been a massive slab of brickwork is relieved by a central pilaster and blind windows.

House, 104, Fentiman Rd, South Lambeth, Lambeth, 1989 89-7g-62
House, 104, Fentiman Rd, South Lambeth, Lambeth, 1989 89-7g-62

I was now on my way home and walked quickly north up Brixton Road before cutting through Crewdson Road to Clapham Rd and then turning down Fentiman Road, heading for Vauxhall Station.

It wasn’t until I stopped opposite No 124 that I made my next picture. This was built on part of the large Caron House estate which stretched north from South Lambeth Road. Fentiman Road was laid out just to the south of the large house after it and its extensive grounds were sold to Henry Beaufoy in 1838 and this unlisted mid-19th century building probably dates from shortly after this.

There are a number of other interesting buildings on this section of the road, some listed I did not stop to photograph, and I think the reflection in the car and the shadow of the tree which occupy much of the lower part of the picture may have made me stop here.

Caron's Almshouses,  Fentiman Rd, South Lambeth, Lambeth, 1989 89-7g-63
Caron’s Almshouses, 121, Fentiman Rd, South Lambeth, Lambeth, 1989 89-7g-63

Sir Philip Noel Caron, Dutch Ambassador to King James I founded his almshouses in 1621 on what is now Wandsworth Road to house seven woman aged over 60, but by the 1850s these were, according to the Survey of London ‘“uncomfortable and unsuitable” for aged persons‘ and the site was sold to Price’s Patent Candle Company for their factory. They sold the site in 1865 to the Phoenix Gas Light and Coke Company, which later became part of the South-Eastern Gas Board.

The £1500 from the sale in 1853 was used to erect these new almshouses in a Tudor style in 1854 and they are now Grade II listed. Various charity amalgamations took place over the years and in the 1990s the Trustees granted a 50-year lease on the almshouses to the Family Housing Association. Modernised and repaired they were officially reopened by the Dutch Ambassador in 1997 and are still housing local women in need.

Builders Arms, pub, Wyvil Rd, Vauxhall, Lambeth 1989 89-7g-52
Builders Arms, pub, Wyvil Rd, Vauxhall, Lambeth 1989 89-7g-52

The pub was built in 1870 and an application for a licence refused in 1871 but it did open shortly afterwards, and remains open now, though under a different name. At some time in became Wyvils, then the Vauxhall Griffin, but after it was bought in around 2018 by Belle Pubs & Restaurants they renamed it the Griffin Belle. According to Camra, “Refurbished in contemporary style in 2017, with a further make-over in 2018, the interior now features varied seating, plastic foliage and an array of TV screens showing sport (can be noisy at times). Upper floor has been converted to hotel rooms.”

Still overshadowed by tall buildings (although those in my picture have been replaced by more recent versions) and on the edge of what has for some years been the largest building site in the country if not in Europe, stretching all the way to Battersea, its earlier name might have been more appropriate.

Nine Elms Cold Store, Brunswick House, Wandsworth Rd, Nine Elms, Lambeth, 1989 89-7g-53
Nine Elms Cold Store, Brunswick House, Wandsworth Rd, Nine Elms, Lambeth, 1989 89-7g-53

Brunswick House is still there on one of the busiest traffic schemes in the country, at the junction of Wandsworth Road and Nine Elms Lane close to Vauxhall Cross, but the Nine Elms Cold Store is long gone, replaced by St George Wharf, which isn’t a wharf but a “landmark riverside development spanning across 7 acres of London’s newest area of regeneration” with the 48 storey Tower which is the tallest solely residential building in the UK.

Some describe it as ‘magnificent’ but others think it hideous and I’m more inclined to the latter view. The Guardian in 2016 called it “a stark symbol of the housing crisis“, with two-thirds of the apartments in the Tower “in foreign ownership, with a quarter held through secretive offshore companies based in tax havens.” At its peak is a £51 million five-storey penthouse “ultimately owned by the family of former Russian senator Andrei Guriev“.

Brunswick House has a long article on Wikipedia. It dates back to the mid seventeenth century but was extended in 1758. In 1860 it was bought by the London and South West Railway Company who used it as offices and a Scientific and Literary Institute. In 1994 it was sold to the railway staff association who again sold it in 2002. It is now a restaurant and the yard around it is used by an architectural salvage and supply company.

The Nine Elms Cold Store was built in 1964, a huge windowless monolith erected on the site of the South Metropolitan Gas Works, ideally placed to take barge loads of frozen meat and other goods from London’s docks and store them in its 150,000,000 cubic feet of cold dark space for onward distribution from the adjacent railway yard or by lorry. But when the docks ran down it was redundant, only 15 years after its construction.

According to Kennington Runoff after it closed it became “used illicitly as a cruising ground, a recording studio, a performance space and even a convenient spot for devil worshiping.” It remained in place derelict until 1999 as it was extremely difficult to demolish and it provided a popular location for filming when desolate urban industrial landscapes were required.

Vauxhall Station was a short walk down the road and I was soon sitting on a train on my way home.


March 8th – Women Strike And Protest

Wednesday, March 8th, 2023

March 8th – Women Strike And Protest. Last year on International Women’s Day I published a long post, International Women’s Day Marches with images from my coverage of them from 2002 until 2020. This year I look back five years to Thursday 8th March 2018 when I covered a wide range of protests, most of which were linked to International Women’s Day


Shut Guantanamo at new US Embassy – US Embassy, Nine Elms

This was the first protest outside the new US Embassy where they intend to continue the regular monthly protests which they have had outside the old embassy in Grosvenor Square since 2007 until the illegal and immoral US prison camp is shut down and all the prisoners released.

Normally these protests take place on the first Thursday of every month, but in March 2018 the protest scheduled for March 1st was postponed for a week because of snow. Because of the change of date some regular protesters were unable to attend and the protest started a little later than usual as some had problems finding the new location. This was the only event not connected with International Women’s Day I covered on the day.

In March 2018, 41 prisoners remained held at Guantanamo. There was no evidence against most of those held and tortured there that would stand up in any court of law, often simply a matter of suspicion or hearsay or desperate statements made under extreme torture. Many were simply foreigners in the region seized to gain cash rewards from the US forces.

Shut Guantanamo at new US Embassy


Family Courts put on Trial – Old Palace Yard

March 8th - Women Strike And Protest

Global Women’s Strike had organised a mock trial of the UK Family Courts in an International Women’s Day protest in front of Parliament.

March 8th - Women Strike And Protest

Among those who spoke were mothers whose children had been unjustly taken away, and statements from others were also read out, along with some shocking comments made in court by judges.

The UK has the highest rate of adoptions in Europe, almost all without consent of their birth family. Families of colour, immigrants and disabled are all disproportionately affected and in some working class areas 50% of children are referred to social services.

Poverty, often the result of benefit cuts and sanctions and poor housing conditions especially in temporary accommodation is often mistaken for neglect and the help mandated under the 1989 Childrens Act is seldom available. Children are often simply taken into care and then put up for adoption even though they have mothers or grandmothers who are capable of good parenting and only need support.

The campaigners say that victims of domestic abuse are often accused of ‘failing to protect’ their children and vague charges such as putting children at risk of future emotional harm and neglect are used by the secret courts to remove children from mothers and grandmothers. They want hearings with proper public scrutiny and an end to the gagging of mothers and familys, a great use of kinship carers and the proper implementation of the 1989 Children Act, and the Care Act 2014 which entitles disabled mothers to extra help.

Parliamentary officer Black Rod sent police to try to shut down the protest, but the organisers showed them documents to say they had permission for the protest and to use a megaphone. They seemed puzzled but left.

Family Courts put on Trial


London Women’s Strike – Russell Square

This was the big event of the day and included speeches about a wide range of causes. As the organisers said the “Women’s Strike is a strike for solidarity between women – women of colour, indigenous, working class, disabled, migrant, Muslim, lesbian, queer and trans women” and “is about realising the power we already hold – activating and nourishing resistance.

Many of the women present went on to other protests elsewhere including several protests in support of cleaners at the TopShop and The Royal Opera in Covent Garden, and cinema workers at Picturehouse, calling for an end to immigration detention an in solidarity with the Yarl’s Wood hunger strikers, for Unilever to withdraw its investment in Myanmar where its presence supports a government that has brutally raped, tortured and killed many Rohingya, and supporting sex workers by calling for the decriminalisation of prostitution and I also went to cover some of these

Much more about this event on My London Diary: London Women’s Strike.


Solidarity with Yarl’s Wood hunger strikers – Home Office

At the Home Office protesters showed solidarity with those held in Yarl’s Wood on International Women’s Day, in particular with those who had began a hunger strike 15 days ago against their imprisonment and the conditions and treatment by the detention centre staff and the Home Office.

Since then the strike has gathered momentum and escalated into an all-out strike: work strikes, occupations, and a general refusal to cooperate, and long lists of the detainees demands have been published by Detained Voices.

More at Solidarity with Yarl’s Wood.


Reinstate the Royal Opera House 6 – Royal Opera, Covent Garden

Six members of grassroots independent workers union CAIWU were fired by cleaning services company Kier for their jobs at the Royal Opera House, another disciplined and a sixth was on final written warning. They were clearly being victimised folloing successful trade union action which had forced Kier to pay its workers there the London Living Wage.

The large and loud action with union members augmented by women from the Women’s Strike blocked Drury Lane for some minutes. Police arrived, talked to the protesters and then went inside to talk to the managers inside before emerging, carefully removing poster and fliers the protesters had left on their car before driving off. The protesters later moved back into Covent Garden Market leaving the road free.

More at Reinstate the Royal Opera House 6.


& Myanmar’s Rohingya genocide – Unilever House

Women from the Women’s Strike called on Unilever to disinvest from Myanmar where they have a $667 million investment.

The military government there are committing systematic rape and other torture with total impunity as part of their genocide against the Rohingya people. Unilever claims, especially in its marketing for Dove products to respect the dignity and rights of women and girls and says it “aims to improve safety for women and girls in the communities where they operate.”

More at Unilever & Myanmar’s Rohingya genocide.


Palestine, Nine Elms and London – Feb 1st 2020

Wednesday, February 1st, 2023

Three years ago on Saturday 1st February 2020 I went to London to photograph a protest against Trump’s ‘Deal of the Century’ plans which, according to the BBC,gives Mr Netanyahu all he wants – and offers Palestinians very little; a sort-of state that will be truncated, without proper sovereignty, surrounded by Israel’s territory and threaded between Jewish settlements.” When that finished I took a short walk along the Thames Path towards Battersea Power station before catching a bus back to Vauxhall for the train home.

Later in February I did quite a lot of walking and riding in buses and trains around London, and as in quite a few other months, gathered together some of the pictures I took on these journeys together with a link from the bottom of the page on My London Diary for the month.


Palestinians against Trump’s Deal – US Embassy, Nine Elms

Palestine, Nine Elms and London - Feb 1st 2020

Supporters of Palestine came to the US Embassy in Nine Elms in protest against Trump’s so-called peace plan, which they say aims to liquidate the Palestinian cause and minimise sovereignty for the Palestinian people across Palestine, marginalising them in isolated ghettos in a rigid implementation of the current apartheid regime.

Palestine, Nine Elms and London - Feb 1st 2020

The protest was supported by a wide range of organisations including the Palestinian Forum in Britain (PFB), the Palestinian Community Association in London, the General Union for Palestinian Students/British Branch, The Palestinian Youth Foundation in Britain “Olive” and Stop the war and supported by the Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC), Friends of Al-Aqsa (FoA) and the Muslim Association of Britain (MAB).

Palestine, Nine Elms and London - Feb 1st 2020

There were quite a few protesters of Palestinian heritage living in the UK, as well as many supporters from the wider British left at the protest.

Palestine, Nine Elms and London - Feb 1st 2020

A handful of some of the usual anti-Palestinian Zionists came to oppose the protest, shouting at the protesters. Police moved in to protect them when the protesters began shouting back and kept the two groups apart. There were also Jews present protesting on behalf of Palestine.

Among the protesters was one dressed as Saudi Prince Mohammad bin Salman,holding a bone saw, like that used to dismember Saudi dissident and journalist for The Washington Post Jamal Kashoggi by the team he sent to the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, Turkey on 2 October 2018. He posed with a man in a Trump mask who was handing him fistfuls of dollars to support the plan. There was also a giant inflatable of the Saudi prince, with large black horns.

There were a number of speeches supporting the Palestinian cause as well as a great deal of chanting against the Trump plan, which had no chance of being implemented but was largely a propaganda exercise to enhance Trump’s support among the Jewish population of the USA.

More pictures at Palestinians against Trump’s Deal.


Nine Elms

Nine Elms is one of the largest developments in Europe. The bank of the River Thames here was once crammed with wharves and full of varied industrial sites, but by the 1970s these had either closed or were about to close. At the end of the protest I took another short walk around the area.

In this area much of the land was taken up by railway yards and depots, but the area closer to the River Thames also had a jam factory and some paint and engineering works. and at the Vauxhall end, a giant cold store.

In 1971 the New Covent Garden Market began to move here from central London on Land that had formerly been a railway goods depots and an engine shed, and two markets, one for flowers and the larger for fruit and vegetables, south of the railway, opened for business in 1974. Both markets have been redeveloped since and are planned to move out to a site in Dagenham in the next few years.

The largest area north of the railway was occupied by Battersea Power Station, a relatively late-comer to the area. It occupied a site which had previously been a waterworks, taking water from the Thames. At its south end was a large Great Western Railway Goods Depot, and to the east a gas works. Another gas works occupied the site roughly where the US Embassy now stands.

In the nineteen-seventies there were a few new blocks of riverside flats but development of the area only really got into gear in this century and is still continuing. The power station, which finally closed in 1983 and lay derelict for some years, particularly after its roof was removed by an early development which failed, was only finally re-opened as an up-market shopping centretourist attraction with luxury flats at the end of 2022.

More pictures Nine Elms


London Images – February 2020

Most of these pictures come from several bus journeys from or to the station, from Waterloo Bridge, in Holborn and some in the City of London. Also a few from closer to my home in Staines and Laleham.

Some of you may like to try to identify these locations before you go to look at more in London Images on My London Diary, where captions reveal them.


A Small Landmark, Iran and Caste Discrimination

Thursday, January 20th, 2022

A Small Landmark, Iran and Caste Discrimination
Three of the protests I photographed four years ago on Saturday 20th January 2018.

US Embassy first protest – No to Trump’s racism

The US decision to move their embassy out of Grosvenor Square in central London to the rather more obscure area of Nine Elms was at least in part thought to be their hope that it would attract fewer protests and that these would be given less media coverage.

So I was very pleased to photograph what was I think the first protest at the new site, on the anniversary of President Trump’s inauguration. It was prompted by his racist description of African nations, Haiti and El Salvador as ‘shitholes’.

His use of this word provoked offence and outrage around the world, and was a new and more offensive aspect of the racist attacks on black communities, migrants, refugees and the Muslim community.

Through Trump’s campaign and first year of office he has kept up his racist demands for a wall to be built along the Mexican border to keep out migrants (and demanding that Mexico pay for it.) Stand Up to Racism called for a wave of protests across the country on the anniversary to ‘knock down the racist wall’. They built a wall in front of the new US embassy which opened for business earlier in the week and at the end of the protest they knocked this wall down.

Trump had earlier announced that he had cancelled his visit planned for the following month to open the embassy – which would have attracted massive protests. And as I commented, ” Few doubt that it was this that caused him to cancel his visit, though Trump tweeted that it was a lousy building in the wrong place – and with his usual accuracy blamed Obama for a decision that had been taken by Bush.”

Architecturally I think Trump perhaps had a point. Basically the building is a cube with a few plastic bits hanging on three sides, perhaps its main redeeming feature its moat, though being only along one side this is not particularly functional. Though the mediocrity of the luxury flats around it which will doubtless largely be overseas investments rather than homes does make it stand out. The Grosvenor Square building by leading modernist architect Eero Saarinen was London’s first purpose-built embassy when opened in 1960 and attracted almost universal criticism when built, but was considerably worsened by the 2008 security additions, now being removed as it is turned into a luxury hotel.

Break UK silence over Iran uprising

The anti-government protests which took place in Iran in December 2017 were the biggest since the crushing of the 2009 Green Movement by security forces. Protesters opposite Downing St called on Prime Minister Theresa May to break her silence and call for the immediate release of the thousands arrested and under threat of the death penalty.

Unfortunately Britain has little or no influence on the Iranian government and has for years slavishly followed the US lead in relations with the country. Our relations with the country since oil was first discovered (and exploited by the Anglo-Persian Oil Company, 51% owned by the British Government which much later became BP) have often been doubtful both before and after the 1979 revolution, which arguably came about largely as a consequence of US/UK policies.

The protest was organised and largely attended by members of the PMOI/MEK, an organisation which began in 1965 in opposition to the US-supported Shah and formed an armed militia. After the revolution it refused to take part in the constitutional referendum and in 1981 it was banned. The MEK sided with Iraq in the Iran-Iraq war (1980–88) and many MEK members were arrested, tortured and executed in the 1980s culminating in mass executions in 1988, when around 30,000 people were killed. MEK camps were bombed by the US during the invasion of Iraq and they were forced to surrender and disarmed, confined to a camp in Iraq. It was MEK provided information – some deliberately false – about the Iranian nuclear weapons programme – apparently given to them by Israel – that led to sanctions against Iran.

Indians protest Hindu caste-based violence

The Dr Ambedkar Memorial Committee GB organised a march from Parliament Square to the Indian High Commission which was supported by various Ravidass groups, Amberdkarite and Buddhist organisations, the South Asian Solidarity Group and others following attacks in India on the Dalit community by Hindu fundamentalists and the continuing illegal caste-based discrimination there.

Dalits celebrated the 200th anniversary of a historic victory by Dalit soldiers fighting for the East India Company in the Battle of Koregaon on January 1st 2018. The victory has been celebrated since 1927 when celebrations at the memorial pillar erected by the British were inaugurated by Dr Ambedkar, the principle architect of the Indian Constitution, which made caste discrimination illegal in India. This year’s celebration was attacked by Hindu fundamentalists with many injured and one boy killed and the unrest and attacks spread to Mumbai.

Caste-based attacks on Dalits have increased greatly since the election of the Hindu nationalist BJP party under Narendra Modi, whose central vision along with the linked violent Hindu Nationalist RSS movement is for Dalits to remain at the bottom of Indian society. Lobbying mainly by wealthy Hindus in the UK led the UK government to abandon a 2013 promise to include caste as an aspect of race under the Equality Act 2010.

I also photographed a protest similar to that described in yesterday’s post about 19th January 2019 by Bolivians against Evo Morales being allowed to run for a fourth term as President.

More on all these in My London Diary:
US Embassy – No to Trump’s racism
Break UK silence over Iran uprising
Indians protest Hindu caste-based violence
Bolivians protest for Liberty & Democracy


Class War v. Qatari Royals

Monday, February 8th, 2021

Three years ago today, on 8 Feb 2018, Class War had planned a protest outside London’s tallest building, the Shard, to point out the housing crisis, which is currently affecting many in London. They chose to protest at the Shard, because there are ten £50m apartments there which have remained empty since the building was completed.

We don’t actually have a housing shortage as there are more than enough properties for everyone to have a decent home. The problem is that current policies allow property to be left empty and encourage developers to build high priced flats which either remain unsold or are bought as investments and largely left empty for all or most of the time. There were then plans to build a further 26,000 flats in London costing more than a million pounds each, many on former council estates where social housing has been demolished at a time when London has a huge housing crisis with thousands sleeping on the street, and over 100 families from Grenfell were still in temporary accommodation.

The owners of The Shard, the Qatari royal family, went to court to seek an injunction against the Class War protest, seeking an injunction against Ian Bone and “persons unknown” and, despite their fortune estimated at over £250 million pounds, seeking legal costs of over £500 from the 70 year-old south London pensioner.

Fortunately barrister Ian Brownhill offered to conduct Bone’s defence pro bono and in the High Court hearing the Qatari royals were forced to drop the attempt to ban protests and the demand for fees but Bone accepted a legal restriction on him going inside the Shard and its immediate vicinity. But that meant the planned protest that evening could still go ahead, and Bone and his team emerged from the court victorious. His health issues meant that he was himself in any case unable to attend the protest.

At the protest there were large numbers of police and security, along with many in plain clothes and two officers with search dogs. The protest was always intended to be a peaceful one and the protesters were careful to remain outside the boundary of The Shard, marked with a metal line in the pavement. The police nonetheless harassed them, making a patently spurious claim that they were causing an obstruction to commuters attempting to enter London Bridge station and trying to move them further away from The Shard. Although the protest clearly wasn’t causing any serious problems to those entering or leaving the station, the larger numbers of police and security were.

Three years on, London still has a huge problem, with huge numbers of unaffordable flats still being built, particularly in the huge development area in Vauxhall and Nine Elms, including the developments around the US Embassy and the former Battersea Power Station. Some developments here include small areas of social housing, with ‘poor door’ entrances hidden away around the backs of some of the towers, the residents or which are excluded from the many facilities which are provided for the wealthy.

While blocks have large and well-furnished foyers with a concierge service for the rich, as well as some recreational facilities, social housing tenants typically enter a narrow bleak corridor with no space even for parcel deliveries. Just like the block in Aldgate where Class War’s long series of protests put the issue of ‘poor doors’, where poorer tenants are segregated from their wealthy neighbours on the national agenda back in 2014.

In July 2019, Communities Secretary James Brokenshire was “appalled” by the examples of segregation he had seen and promised to put an end to the use of “poor doors” in housing developments in England. It appears to have been a Broken promise, and Class War are thinking it is time for more action.

Class War protest at Shard
Class War victory against Qatari Royals


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.


Protesting Trump’s Deal: 1 Feb 2020

Monday, February 1st, 2021

A year ago I was out taking pictures of a protest at the US Embassy in Nine Elms, and it really does seem a huge age ago. I’ve got so used to staying at home, just occasionally going out for a little exercise. But last Thursday I had my first dose of the vaccine, and in a few weeks time I can perhaps be thinking about getting back to work, though until the current lockdown ends (and who knows when that will be) there won’t be many protests for me to photograph.

I never much liked the US embassy in Grosvenor Square, and what architectural attraction it had was rather spoiled when it got hidden behind some rather ugly security additions. The new embassy isn’t perhaps a great piece of architecture and the screen which covers three sides is rather a plastic add-on, but at least it does make it stand out from the buildings around, and the moat is rather a nice piece of landscaping. But I think the main motivation behind the move was to move the many protests at the embassy out of the public eye, away from the centre of London to a rather obscure location.

Protests here are invisible, hidden from any road and only seen by the armed guards patrolling the area and by people actually going into or out of the embassy. On a weekday there will be queues for visas, but at the weekend the area is deserted. Of course this does make filming and photography of any protests and the publication of these more important.

Although it is still very much of backwater London, the area around here is also the largest development area in London, with new flats already around the embassy and others going up to the east and the west where there is huge development around Battersea Power Station. It’s already easy to get to, with Vauxhall station, one of London’s larger transport hubs, just a few minutes away, but will be even more accessible once the Northern Line extension to Battersea opens – supposedly this autumn – with a station at Nine Elms.

The protest on Saturday 1 Feb was against Trump’s ‘Deal of the Century’ which they say is intended to liquidate the Palestinian cause and minimise sovereignty for the Palestinian people across Palestine, marginalising them in isolated ghettos in a rigid implementation of the current apartheid regime.

It was organised by various Palestinian groups in Britain and supported by the Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC), Friends of Al-Aqsa (FoA) and the Muslim Association of Britain (MAB), and there were many Palestinians among the several hundred taking part.

Also coming to protest against the Palestinians was a rather sad group of four Zionists who came to wave Israeli flags and try to disrupt the protest, shouting insults. Some of the protesters confronted them, shouting back, and police stepped in to keep the two groups a short distance apart while the main rally continued.

Among the many protesters were a couple posing as President Trump who handed a fistful of dollars to another dressed as Saudi Prince Mohammad bin Salman, who was holding a bone saw like that used to dismember Saudi dissident and journalist for The Washington Post Jamal Kashoggi by the team he ordered to the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, Turkey on 2 October 2018.

More at Palestinians against Trump’s Deal


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.