Posts Tagged ‘peter Marshall’

Alma Grove & Grange Road, Bermondsey, 1988

Monday, July 4th, 2022

My previous post on this walk, West Lane & Spa Road Bermondsey 1988, ended in the Longfield esate on Fort Road.

Man, Pickaxe, Bermondsey, Southwark, 1988 88-10m-51-Edit_2400
Man, Pickaxe, Bermondsey, Southwark, 1988 88-10m-51

I met this man working I think somewhere on the Longfield Estate, and as often happens he was interested in seeing me wandering around with a camera and stopped his work to pose for me.

Alma Grove, Bermondsey, Southwark, 1988 88-10m-55-Edit_2400
Alma Grove, Bermondsey, Southwark, 1988 88-10m-55

Streets such as Alma Grove and one I had walked down earlier in the area Balaclava Rod clearly show that this area was built up around the time of the Crimean War of 1853-6. when Britain and its allies, France, the Ottoman Empire and Piedmont-Sardinia defeated Russia. It was a war largely about Palestine (then part of the Ottoman Empire) and the relative religious rights there for the Orthodox Church, backed by Russia and the Roman Catholic Church, but also against imperial expansion by Russia as the Turkish Ottoman empire was declining. The Allies landed in Crimea won a battle at Alma in September 1854, then managed to repel a Russian counterattack in October at Balaclava, but with heavy British losses.

The Crimean War was an important milestone in the history of photography as the first to be widely recorded in photographs, taken using the cumbersome wet-plate process by Roger Fenton, whose work was also a part of what was probably the first major mass propaganda exercise aimed at the growing British middle class and industrial working class.

The infamous Charge of the Light Brigade took place at Balaclava, and Lord Lucan who passed on the misleading order which led to it had his home close to where I now live. Though the local Lucan Arms pub named in his family’s honour is now ironically renamed ‘The Retreat’.

Grange Cafe, Grange Rd, Bermondsey, Southwark, 1988 88-10m-24-Edit_2400
Grange Café, Grange Rd, Bermondsey, Southwark, 1988 88-10m-24

Walking westwards along Southwark Park Road takes you, after the junction with Dunton Road into Grange Road, where I admired the frontage of the Grange Café. THis later became the Jasmine Garden Chinese take-away and is now Chicken World, but has long since lost its interesting frontage, though the pillars at each end remain.

F T W, Motorcycles, Grange Rd, Bermondsey, Southwark, 1988 88-10m-25-Edit_2400
F T W, Motorcycles, Grange Rd, Bermondsey, Southwark, 1988 88-10m-25

Although there was once a magazine ‘Forever Two Wheels’ or ‘FTW’ I suspect the name of this motorcycle shop on Grange Road probably came from the initials of its owner. Ii think this shop and the row of houses has since been demolished. As well as selling motorbikes it was also a bike breaker, stripping down bikes no longer in working order to sell as spare parts.

The Look In, Grange Rd, Bermondsey, Southwark, 1988 88-10m-26-Edit_2400
The Look In, Grange Rd, Bermondsey, Southwark, 1988 88-10m-26

The Look In offering House Clearances and Removals was very firmly shuttered and closed when I made this picture in 1988. Certainly I couldn’t look in. It was next to F T W motorcycles. The shop at left appears to be number 85, but numbering in Grange Road is difficult to follow. I think these shops were shortly after replaced by a rather anonymous housing block.

F T W, Motorcycles, Grange Rd, Bermondsey, Southwark, 1988 88-10m-12-Edit_2400
F T W, Motorcycles, Grange Rd, Bermondsey, Southwark, 1988 88-10m-12

As I was photographing the shop fronts this man came out from FTW Motorcycles and we talked for a few minutes, after which I asked him if I could take his photograph. I took two frames and both are just a little sharper on the shopfront than on his face.

I went on from here to take a number of pictures of the Alaska Works, where my next post on this walk will begin.


FlickrFacebookMy London DiaryHull PhotosLea ValleyParis

London’s Industrial HeritageLondon Photos

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


Haringey Residents protest housing sell-off

Sunday, July 3rd, 2022

Angry residentshold up placards and posterson the glass wall of the Civic Centre

Haringey Residents protest housing sell-off – Wood Green, London. Monday 3 July 2017.

One of the London Labour councils whose housing policies were causing much local distress was Haringey, where the council was in process of setting up the Haringey Development Vehicle (HDV), Britain’s biggest collaboration yet between a local authority and a property developer, which will demolish a third of Haringey’s social housing, handing over half of an estimated £2 billion worth of publicly owned housing estates, schools, public facilities and private housing acquired through compulsory purchase orders to developer Lendlease.

Time to march from Duckett’s Common

Many feel that the cabinet system for local government is anti-democratic, removing decisions from the elected councillors as a whole to small highly selected groups for the convenience of administration. It means that ideas such as the HDV are not properly debated, and in this case it was about to be imposed without any real public consultation, and to many its only real purpose appeared to be to hand huge profits to the developer.

Marching through Wood Green shopping centre

The scheme to build 6,400 new homes would result in the demolition of many existing properties, and would have the consequence of driving many existing tenants and leaseholders out of the area as they would be unable to afford to buy the new properties or afford the rents. It would mean a massive wave of social cleansing.

Police & security stop all but a few entering

The formation of the HDV was opposed by many in the borough’s Labour Parties, trade unionists, Greens, tenants, small businesses and community groups and well over 500 of them came to make their opposition clear.

A large crowd at the front of the CIvic Centre

They had met at Ducketts Common and then marched through the centre of Wood Green, stopping briefly to block traffic on a road junction before moving on to the front of the Haringey Civic Centre where the council was meeting later to approve the HDV. They soon pushed aside the barriers which had been set up in front of the building to continue their noisy protest, with a row of police standing across the entrance.

But others went around to protest in front of the large glass windows at the back

After an angry and noisy protest outside some made a rush to get into the building though a side entrance. I decided not to try and enter with them, and security and police managed to stop all but a few and then locked the building, leaving even some of the councillors coming to attend the meeting unable to enter.

Many of the protesters moved the to the rear of the building and banged noisily on doors and large glass windows, and at one point the large glass panes began to flex by almost half an inch as people pushed against them and I moved back fearing they might shatter.

Eventually police came and pushed the people away from the glass

It looks from some of the pictures I took as if the protesters were actually inside, but they were on the outside of these large glass panels which gave a good view of the interior. Eventually police arrived and pushed the people back, forming a line in front of the glass.

A rally continued in front of the building entrance

I moved back to the front of the building where a rally was taking place with a number of mainly local speakers. This was still continuing as I left and the noise would have been very noticeable to councillors inside who were voting to go ahead with the scheme to give away around £2 billion to the Australian developers Lendlease.

Although this battle was lost, the war was at least partly won. The HDV was a major issue in the next set of council elections in the following May, with the many councillors from the left of the Labour Party strongly opposed to it getting elected, and the new council quickly voted to scrap the scheme to redevelop the Northumberland Park council estate with Lendlease. Instead Haringey set up its own housing company, Haringey Homes, and will carry out developments – including some with private developers such as Lendlease – in a way that avoids some of the social cleansing and retains more affordable and social rented properties. It has met some of the issues raised by the campaigners but by no means all.

The council’s new approach was in part made possible by a government decision to remove the cap on councils’ borrowing in their Housing Revenue Accounts (HRA) and also by a funding grant from the Mayor of London. But they still need to build some properties for market sale, though they state they are committed only to do this so they can deliver the “greatest possible number of council-rented homes.”

More at Haringey Residents protest housing sell-off.


FlickrFacebookMy London DiaryHull PhotosLea ValleyParis

London’s Industrial HeritageLondon Photos

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


XR Carmen’s Carbon Procession

Saturday, July 2nd, 2022

Carmen leads the XR Carbon Procession at Hyde Park Corner

Extinction Rebellion had obviously put in a lot of thought and effort into their Carmen’s Carbon Procession on July 2nd, 2019, and there were quite a few photographers and videographers who came to photograph it. Doubtless all of us filed our pictures with the agencies or publications, but I don’t know how many got published. Probably the only pictures used came from later in the day when they ended the event with a protest in Trafalgar Square close to where a large audience had gathered to watch the opera.

Protests in the UK seldom get reported, unless they result in considerable disruption, violence or involve celebrities behaving badly. So far as most editors are concerned they are not ‘news’. Of course much of the press and media is owned by a small group of billionaires whose interests those editors have to bear in mind even where there is not explicit direction. But more generally they operate under a general restraint of upholding the status quo and from their personal position as part of the well paid middle class – something which has been very apparent in the coverage of the recent RMT strikes.

But overall Extinction Rebellion have done much to bring the climate crisis into a wider public consciousness, and I applaude them for this even if I agree with some of their left and anarchist critics. And perhaps an opera-based protest exemplifies the middle-class nature of the organisation. But mobilising such a large middle-class movement is certainly an acheivement, and many of their harshest critics are those who have failed to mobilise more than a tiny fraction of the working class. Though nothing at the moment suggests that XR’s efforts will result in any of the decisive action needed to be anything but too little too late.

Relatively few people actually see protests on the streets, and most who do are too intent on getting on with their life, shopping or hurrying to meetings or to catch trains to take much notice. Much of XR Carmen’s Carbon Procession in any case took part on fairly empty back streets and it was more an event staged for the media than a protest.

The protest took place on the day that BP, a company which began life in 1909 as the Anglo-Persian Oil Company, Ltd, a part of our imperial exploitation of Iran’s vast oil reserves was greenwashing its polluting and climate-damaging activities through sponsorship of a Royal Opera House performance of Carmen to be relayed to 13 BP giant screens in major cities across the UK.

An opera singer performs a little from Carmen

It toured the offices of oil companies belonging to the Oil and Gas Climate Initiative (OGCI) urging them to abandon the pretence they can combat global warming without a huge cut in oil production and delivering copies of the Extinction Rebellion Handbook ‘This is Not A Drill’.

As well as Carmen in costume, there was a fine opera singer and a group of musicians, XR drummers to draw attention to the event and a team who marked out the company offices as crime scenes.

The procession found a floral arch in Grosvenor Square

The event met on Ebury Bridge before marking to perform in front of the nearby offices of Italian petroleum company ENI, on an otherwise rather empty street in Pimlico. They then moved on for another performance on a busy lunchtime street corner in Eccleston Square and then the China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC) close to Victoria Station. By then they needed a rest in Hyde Park before going through Mayfair to the offices of Saudi Aramco at 10 Portman Square.

And an illegally parked symbol of the kind of extreme wasteful consumption that has got the planet in such a mess

It had taken them around three and a half hours to get there, and I decided I’d taken enough pictures and was getting tired. But probably the parts of the event more likely to be featured as news in the UK were to come. Their next planned performance was outside BP in St James’s Square, from where they were going on to protest close to the giant screen in Trafalgar Square, hoping to make clear to the audience there that the Royal Opera House should end their greenwashing sponsorship by BP.

Security at Saudi Aramco take a copy of the XR Handbook ‘This is not a Drill’

More at XR Carmen’s Carbon Procession


FlickrFacebookMy London DiaryHull PhotosLea ValleyParis

London’s Industrial HeritageLondon Photos

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


Tories Out March – 1st July 2017

Friday, July 1st, 2022

Class War wrap a march steward in their banner at the start of the march

Tories Out March – 1st July 2017: Five years ago, shortly after the Labour right working inside the party had managed to prevent a Corbyn victory by sabotaging the campaign for the 2017 General Election, the People’s Assembly Against Austerity organised a march through London calling for Theresa May and the Conservatives to go.

Of course they didn’t go, and later when Boris Johnson called an election over Brexit, he gained a landslide victory, rather than the close call in 2017 which left Theresa May having to bribe the Northern Irish DUP, a deeply bigoted party with links to Loyalist terrorists to support her.

This reliance on the DUP has eventually led to the current problem over the Irish Sea border arrangements which Boris Johnson persuaded the EU to adopt as a vital part of his Brexit deal, and which the government is now pushing through a bill to enable us to renege on.

And the Johnson administration has continued and worsened the Tory policies which in 2017 should have resulted in a Labour victory. In my account of the protest march 5 years ago today I wrote

“The election showed a rejection of … austerity policies and the Grenfell Tower disaster underlined the toxic effects of Tory failure and privatisation of building regulations and inspection and a total lack of concern for the lives of ordinary people. The protesters, many of whom chanted their support of Jeremy Corbyn, say the Tories have proved themselves unfit to govern. They demand a decent health service, education system, housing, jobs and living standards for all.”

Rev Paul Nicolson from Taxpayers Against Poverty rings his bell

The full facts of the sabotage of the Labour election campaign from inside the party had not then come to light – and we are still waiting for the Forde inquiry into the leaked report which exposed the racism, hyper-factionalism and electoral sabotage by party officials as well as the misguided attempts of the Corbyn leadership such as the expulsion of Jackie Walker and the resignations of Chris Williamson and Ken Livingstone.

But although this was largely a march of Labour supporters there were still a number of groups on the march who were critical of Labour’s policies and the practices of London Labour councils, particularly on housing, where councils are “demolishing council estates and colluding with huge property developers to replace them with expensive and largely private housing. It is a massive land grab, giving away public land often at far below market value and pricing the former residents out of London in what they call ‘regeneration’ but is quite clearly a process of social and ethnic cleansing.”

It is also a process that has resulted in considerable personal financial advantage for some of those who have led it, with councillors and officers either leaving to work for the developers or in organisations set up by councils to manage their estates. Setting up organisations such as the TMO responsible for the unsafe condition of Grenfell Tower has enabled these bodies to hide information about such activites as using consultants to advise them on circumventing adequate fire inspections outside of the purview of Freedom of Information requests.

Most obvious among these groups was Class War, alway ready to make their views known and to challenge authority. At the start of the march close to the BBC they had a little run-in with the march stewards, which resulted in them briefly wrapping their banner around one of him – though of course they soon released him. Later at the rally in Parliament Square I unfortunately missed a confrontation in which Lisa McKenzie stood in front of both Len McCluskey, General Secretary of Unite the Union and Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn and loudly asked them the simple question ‘When are you going to stop Labour councils socially cleansing people out of London?’. Both men simply ignored her and walked away.

Much more about the event and many more pictures at Tories Out March.

Independent Living Ends, Robin Hood Gardens

Thursday, June 30th, 2022

Independent Living Ends, Robin Hood Gardens. On Tuesday 30th June 2015 I joined disabled people at Downing St marking the ending of the Independent Living Fund before going to Robin Hood Gardens, a brutalist estate in Poplar doomed for demolition.


DPAC’s ILF Closing Ceremony – Downing St to Old Palace Yard

Disabled people and supporters of DPAC, Disabled People Against Cuts, met outside Downing St to bring a petition with over 25,000 signatures calling for a continuation of this essential support for the disabled.

Sophie Partridge, disabled Actor, Writer & Workshop artist

The Independent Living Fund which was coming to an end on that day had given them to money to employ support to enable them to live with dignity and for many to continue in work and make a contribution to society. Without it they fear they will simply be shut away and left to rot, many fearing they will now be left for many hours at a time in incontinence pads.

Paula Peters

Outside the gates of Downing Street they wrote slogans on incontinence pads; Paula Peters of DPAC had a message for Iain Duncan Smith, then Secretary of State for Work and Pensions responsible for the ending of support, ‘I want dignity – I want to be treated as a human – You wear one of these I. D. S. They are awful’.

A campaigner dressed as Brittania was among those who had come to hand in the petition which had gained support from a video by the stars of Coronation Street and the Graeae Theatre Company’s 2014 UK Tour of The Threepenny Opera. One of those stars spoke in front of the gates of Downing Street.

John Kelly as Schimmel leads the march

From Downing Street the campaigners marched the quarter mile or so to Old Palace Yard opposite the Houses of Parliament, led by John Kelly as Schimmel, the equine star and proud battle horse of the Threepenny Opera.

Here they were joined by others including Labour MP John McDonnell who spoke at the rally marking the end of the Independent Living Fund, at the end of which a wreath with the message’s ‘RIP ILF’ was laid.

DPAC’s ILF Closing Ceremony


Robin Hood Gardens – Poplar

Two walls of flats protect an inner garden area

The ILF protest had ended a little before 1pm and it was a fine day and I decided to take another visit to Robin Hood Gardens in Poplar, where demolition had begun after the refusal to list the site. Listing had been recommended for listing by the advisory committee of English Heritage in 2009, but the then Minister of Culture Andy Burnham had issued a certificate of immunity against listing which expired in 2014.

These are large and desirable properties, but often have been used to house difficult residents

A further attempt was then made to have the site listed, supported by almost every well-known British architect, but Historic England, now responsible for listing buildings rejected this.

A wall at left screens the estate and there is a lower service and parking area

An open letter signed by many leading architects including Richard Rogers made clear the value of the site, and I quoted from this in My London Diary.

The buildings, which offer generously sized flats that could be refurbished, are of outstanding architectural quality and significant historic interest, and public appreciation and understanding of the value of Modernist architecture has grown over the past five years, making the case for listing stronger than ever.”

The end of the ‘street in the sky’

The refusal to list on both occasions was clearly a political one, almost certainly driven by the huge profits demolition and rebuilding on the site would make for the developers.

As with the award-winning Heygate Estate in Southwark, and the fine Central Hill Estate at Gypsy Hill, Lambeth, the local council, Tower Hamlets, was keen to get rid of the estate and had carried out what I described as “a well funded campaign of vilification“, seeing it “only as a large area with potential for redevelopment at a higher density“, working with “developers who see any area of social housing in London as rich pickings for redevelopment and sale to the rich.”

A large enclosed playground at the south end of the site

By the end of June 2015 most of the west block seemed empty and boarded up and I was unable to gain entry. But I could roam the large garden in the centre of the estate, now let to grow wild, and went inside the still occupied east block, going up to the highest public level, a ‘street in the sky’ built rather less wide than the architects had originally intended, overlooking the Blackwall Tunnel approach. From there I took a number of pictures of the views from the block looking towards the east.

The south end of Robin Hood Gardens was on Poplar High St

As on a couple of previous visits I talked briefly with some of the residents who all told me they were pleased to be living in the block and sad they would have to leave – though some did complain about the lifts (I think only one of the two at the entrance I went in was working.)

Knocking down buildings like these which are structurally in good condition is inexcusable in terms of the huge carbon footprint involved in their construction, demolition and rebuilding. The estate could and should have been refurbished at relatively low cost and would have continued to provide good quality homes for many years. Its replacements – the west section already built – are of lower quality and will almost certainly not last as long as this could have done. The advantage of their roughly three times higher density is at the expense of possible amenity.

As well as walking in and around the estate I also took some pictures of it from the surrounding area, and some other pictures you can see on My London Diary, including a few when I stopped at Canning Town station and took a few pictures of people on the new footbridge across Bow Creek.

Robin Hood Gardens


FlickrFacebookMy London DiaryHull PhotosLea ValleyParis

London’s Industrial HeritageLondon Photos

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


West Lane & Spa Road Bermondsey 1988

Wednesday, June 29th, 2022

My previous post on this walk was Thames, Rotherhithe & Wapping 1988 and ended next to the isolated former offices of Braithwaite & Dean, close to the Angel pub on the bank of the Thames.

Servewell Cafe, West Lane,Bermondsey, 1988 88-10l-34-Edit_2400
Servewell Cafe, West Lane,Bermondsey, 1988 88-10l-34

I walked a short distance west by the river, photographing some recent flats on Bermondsey Wall East and the riverside warehouse at Corbett’s wharf, since discretely refurbished (not digitised) before turning down West Lane where there was more new housing and finding The Evangelical Church of the Deaf which I think was where there is now a new block of flats on Paradise Street.(also not digitised.)

The Servewell Cafe was then at number 14, and is now a few doors down in larger premises, its former site now an Indian Takeaway. The barbers on the corner remains a Gents Hairdresser, but the wool shop is now ‘glue bermondsey’ creative space.

Bermondsey & Rotherhithe, War Memorial, West Lane, Jamaica Rd, Bermondsey, Southwark, 1988 88-10l-35-Edit_2400
Bermondsey & Rotherhithe, War Memorial, West Lane, Jamaica Rd, Bermondsey, Southwark, 1988 88-10l-35

The Bermondsey & Rotherhithe War Memorial is immediately in front of the shops on West Lane, close to its junction with Jamaica Road on a wide area of pavement. It was erected here replacing a temporary memorial in 1921 “to the honoured memory of the men of Bermondsey and Rotherhithe who fell in the great war 1914 – 1918” and later inscriptions were added for the Second World War, including “In remembrance of all those civilians and members of the civil defence and fire brigade services who lost their lives in this community 1939 – 1945.” The coat of arms is that of the former Metropolitan Borough of Bermondsey with its motto ‘Prosunt Gentibus Artes‘ (arts profit the people). Among the sponsors of the memorial was the then owner of Peak Freans, Arthur Carr.

Scott Lidgett Crescent, Bermondsey, Southwark, 1988 88-10l-36-Edit_2400
Scott Lidgett Crescent, Bermondsey, Southwark, 1988 88-10l-36

John Scott Lidgett (1854-1953) was a Methodist minister, educationalist and politician who was at various times the first President of the Methodist Conference, vice-chancellor of the University of London. He played an important role in the development of women’s colleges and university support for teach training. He became an alderman of the London County Council and led the Progressive Party on the LCC from 1918-28.

In 1891 he established the Bermondsey Settlement, the only Methodist settlement, and became its warden. Among those that this attracted to devote themselves to come and live and work in the community were Ada and Alfred Salter. The settlement closed in 1969.

These solidly built houses were a part of the continuing redevelopment of the area which had been begun by Bermondsey Council – with the Salters as councillors and later Mayor and MP respectively, beginning at Wilson Grove in 1927. In the ten years after the war, the council and the LCC built 9,600 homes.

Salvation Army, Hostel, Spa Road, Bermondsey, Southwark, 1988 88-10l-11-Edit_2400
Salvation Army, Hostel, Spa Road, Bermondsey, Southwark, 1988 88-10l-11

The Salvation Army Social Services Hostel for Men on Spa Road was much needed in one of the country’s most deprived areas when this ‘elevator’, designed to both house men and provide some paid work to prepare them for work outside, opened in 1899. It was a waste paper depot and the men were employed in sorting the waste – recycling is nothing new.

Back in my childhood, before going to church my father would sort all the waste paper which had found its way into our house, flattening the sheets, piling them on top of each other before rolling them up and tying the roll with string, to be put out next to the dustbin for the council to collect.

The Spa Road hostel also housed some Belgian refugees in the First World War and Italian prisoners of war at the end of WW2. A laundry was added in the 1920s. By the time I photographed it the laundry had closed but the centre also offered other work, including basket-weaving, carpentry, candle-making, and picture-framing. It finally closed in 2001 and was demolished in 2003. The site is now occupied by a large block of flats.

Bermondsey Municipal Offices, Spa Road, Bermondsey, Southwark, 1988 88-10l-14-Edit_2400
Bermondsey Municipal Offices, Spa Road, Bermondsey, Southwark, 1988 88-10l-14

Bermondsey Town Hall was only Grade II listed 10 years after I made this picture. It was built as an extension to the existing Victorian Bermondsey Town Hall in 1928-1930, architect Henry Tansley indulging in a deliberate recreation of the 19th century Greek Revival. I’ve not digitised the picture I took of its grand frontage, but only this image showing a detail of the building, including some of its listed railings.

Planning permission was granted in 2012 for the conversion of the building into 41 homes and is now rather confusingly called Old Town Hall Apartments.

BermondseyCentral Library, Spa Road, Bermondsey, Southwark, 1988 88-10l-15-Edit_2400
Bermondsey Central Library, Spa Road, Bermondsey, Southwark, 1988 88-10l-15

Similarly I’ve yet to digitise the more overall image of the library which is in the background to this picture. The gate pier and railings are all that remains from another municipal building, the old Bermondsey Town Hall which was heavily damaged by wartime bombing and demolished in the 1960. The gate was kept when a new ‘One Stop Shop’ replaced the ruins, and it was retained when this was in turn demolished and replaced by ‘The Exchange’ around 2013. Its ground floor is now a Sainsbury’s Local.

Flats, Fort Rd, Bermondsey, Southwark, 1988 88-10m-65-Edit_2400
Flats, Fort Rd, Bermondsey, Southwark, 1988 88-10m-65

I wanders a little around the area by Spa Gardens making an image of new housing in Hazel Way and old in Balaclava Rd and then this which I think is Dartford House in Fort Road, part of the Longfield Estate.

To be continued…


FlickrFacebookMy London DiaryHull PhotosLea ValleyParis

London’s Industrial HeritageLondon Photos

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


Sick Pay, Holidays And Pensions – End Outsourcing

Tuesday, June 28th, 2022

Sick Pay, Holidays And Pensions – End Outsourcing – Nine years ago on Friday 28th June 2013 I photographed a protest by low-paid workers at the University of London who with their supporters ran into the Senate House and protested noisily inside the building for sick pay, holidays and pensions for all workers at the University.


I’ve spent some time over the past few days thinking about strikes and industrial actions, partly because of the rail strikes. My local station is one of the few that still has a train service, but out of solidarity with the workers I won’t be using it on strike days, and on the days in between it is still likely to be unreliable.

The campaigners met up at SOAS before the protest

Of course I support the strikers, many of them low paid workers and all of whom have seen the value of their wages cut over the last few years. And these have been years when for all the problems that politicians and media state many of the wealthy have got considerably wealthier – and some made huge fortunes over Brexit and profited greatly (and not always legally) over Covid. We are living in an increasingly unfair society, and with a government which despite claims about levelling up is doing its damnedest to make the rich richer while making the poor poorer.

After marching quietly past university buildings they dashed towards Senate House

The government and train operating companies make much of the need to modernise the railways and I can only agree with them. We desperately need to get back to a sensible structure for running railways, to reverse the breakup of the system into small pieces, each with its highly paid management, caused by the doctrinaire privatisation of the 1990s. And yes, there are other changes which could greatly improve the system, but what the companies mean by modernisation is largely slashing the additional rates for overtime, weekend and night work. It’s ‘we’ll give you more pay if we can cut your wages at the same time’.

and were all inside the building before security noticed

June 28th is said to be the date on which new restrictions on the right to protest pushed through parliament in the last session come into effect. I think the protest by the IWGB on behalf of low paid workers employed by contract companies at London University on Friday 28th January 2013 would clearly have been illegal in several ways had this law been in place then. And it would be precisely those aspects that made this and most other protests over low pay effective that could have resulted in arrests.

They swarmed up the stairs towards the Vice-Chancellor’s office

I don’t know how (or even if) the police will enforce the new laws. Although I think they will have little appetite to do so, there will be considerably political pressure on them. And while the large unions will worry about the huge impact legal measures would have on their funds and largely play safe, perhaps the small grass-roots unions who have been so much more effective for low paid workers will feel they have less to lose.

They held a noisy protest outside the Vice-Chancellor’s office

Back in 2013, the low paid workers who keep London University running were taking part in a ‘Summer of Action’, supported by the grass roots IWGB union (Independent Workers of Great Britain) and the students of the ULU (University of London Union.)

making sure he and his staff could hear why they were protesting


Many of the the cleaners, security guards and catering staff who work in the same buildings as other service staff employed by the university have brutally inferior conditions of service as they employed on behalf of the university by contracting companies who give them none of the kind or working conditions that any considerate employer would provide.

They then returned to the large lobby below to tell those attending conferences why workers were protesting.

Often they are not provided with proper safety equipment and expected to work in unsafe ways to get the job done, and may have to put up with harsh and unreasonable demands over workload, derogatory treatment and even racism from the managers employed by contract companies.

But this ‘3 Cosas’ protest was largely about three things, sick pay, holidays and pensions, on which these outsourced staff often have to fight even to get the rock-bottom statutory minimum provisions. Statutory sick pay is so low that few workers can afford to take time off when they are sick. Even at the height of Covid, many who were unwell had to drag themselves into work, putting their own health and that of others at risk to pay their rent and feed their families.

They continued a noisy protest in the lobby and its balconies for a few minutes

It took many protests such as this to persuade the University and other bodies to end the unfair outsourcing – even when studies showed there were considerable advantages in having a properly employed workforce and little if any financial loss. At SOAS, where the protesters met before the protest the Justice for Workers Campaign led by SOAS Unison branch began in 2006 and was only finally successful in 2018.

and then decided it was time to leave, pleased that the protest had gone so well.

The IWGB is still campaigning against outsourcing at University College London (UCL) and London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM) as well as other campaigns. A few days ago I photographed them outside the London offices of the world’s largest healthcare multinational Health Corporation of America (HCA) Healthcare, who run the private London Bridge Hospital, and they also support other groups of low-paid workers, including foster carers, delivery drivers, minicab drivers and cycling instructors.

More about the 3 Cosas protest at Cleaners Surprise Senate House Invasion.


FlickrFacebookMy London DiaryHull PhotosLea ValleyParis

London’s Industrial HeritageLondon Photos

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


Pride, Class War Protest and Paedophiles

Monday, June 27th, 2022

Pride, Class War Protest and Paedophiles – Saturday 27th June 2015 in London. And a rather fine stencilled grafitti which I’ve not seen elsewhere – and I suspect was very quickly removed. Banksy couldn’t have done a better job, though I could perhasp have got the bottom of the image in my picture. And I would have preferred a red bus, though at least the blue one means the bus stop stands out better.


Pride Parade – Baker St

Pride in 2015 had a little more political edge than in recent years as this was the 30th anniversary of the support it gave to the miners strike and there were rather more trade union and other groups trying to reclaim the event as the radical festival it was until around the late 1990s.

My photographs from 2015 reflect this, and as usual I paid little attention to the large corporate groups who now provide sponsorship which enables them to dominate the parade and advertise their services to the crowds who line the route.

Despite this, as I wrote in 2015, ” It seems a long way from the event when I first photographed it in the early 90s when Pride was a protest.”

Pride is also a considerably over-photographed event, with people with cameras and yet more with mobile phones swarming over the area before the parade starts. I don’t object to this as photography is very much a democratic medium, but it would be nice if rather more of them were polite enough not to walk in front of me when I’m taking pictures.

I note in one of the captions, “I got the queen to pose for me with a friend. And found I now had collected another ten photographers at my shoulders“. This is one of the few events where I do occasionally ask people to pose. This is something I think has little or no place in photographing protests and documenting events, but at Pride many pose as soon as they see the camera pointed at them, so I feel OK to sometimes ask them to perform a little differently, perhaps with a different background, as in the picture above.

I didn’t stay as long as usual photographing people before the parade began as I wanted to go and meet Class War who were planning a little diversion.

Pride Parade


Class War protest ‘corporate pinkwashing’ – Piccadilly Circus and Pall Mall

While many criticised the corporate takeover of Pride, and some had tried to oppose it by joining in the march as protesters, Class War had decided it was time for a more direct approach.

I met them outside a pub close to Piccadilly Circus and photographed them as they protested outside Barclay’s Bank at Piccadilly Circus against corporate sponsorship of Pride in London, briefly closing the branch as the parade approached. After this short protest which hardly attracted the attention of the police, they rolled up the banner and ran, following along the route and looking for opportunity to protest at the march itself.

On Pall Mall they found a place where the crowds were thinner and they could take over a section of the barriers along the road for the event. And as the flag bearers at the front of the parade came in sight they pushed those barriers aside and rushed out onto the street with their banner.

I rushed out with them and photographed them as for a minute or so they led the parade until Pride Marshals and police guided them back behind the barriers again.

They continued to protest with megaphone and banner for a few minutes as the parade arrived, but when they saw a squad of officers heading towards them they rolled up the banner and hastened away. I followed some down into the subway where they lost the police, coming out at another subway entrance. They began to discuss further interventions at the event, but I think probably went to a nearby pub after I said goodbye and left. Later I heard police had continued to follow some of the others for half an hour or so, but made no arrests.

Class War protest ‘corporate pinkwashing’


Victims & Survivors call for Justice – Downing St

It’s hard to assess some of the claims made by conspiracy theorists about paedophiles in high places and the activities of the family courts. Clearly the activities of people such as Jimmy Saville and Sir Cyril Richard Smith MBE MStJ DL have provided plenty of fire behind the clouds of smoke and many of those at this protest had very disturbing personal stories to tell.

So while many prominent claims have been found to be false, there also seem to be many cover-ups and failures to properly investigate; all too often the response by the authorities appears to be to close ranks, make false claims against the complainants and deny the realities.

Someone once said that around 30% of conspiracy theories turn out to be true. I’ve no idea whether this figure is accurate, but certainly it reflects the truth that some are. Its just very difficult to decide which.

While we can be confident that there are no chem trails (just atmospheric conditions that make normal combustion products visible), that Magna Carta doesn’t give us much in the way of freedoms now, that 9/11 actually happened and Trump lost the election some others are less certain. And while there are clearly not 76 paedophile MPs, there may well be a handful or so still lurking in the House of Commons, and certainly there have been some very questionable decisions made by family courts – or at least they would be very questionable if we were allowed to know about them.

Victims & Survivors call for Justice


FlickrFacebookMy London DiaryHull PhotosLea ValleyParis

London’s Industrial HeritageLondon Photos

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


Dangleway, Silvertown and Stratford Marsh

Sunday, June 26th, 2022

Dangleway, Silvertown and Stratford Marsh: My day out on Wednesday 26 June 2013 began by taking the tube to North Greenwich and then walking to the cablecar for the ride across the Thames.

Back then I commented “Given the huge losses it is sustaining I can’t see it remaining open too much longer, so if you’ve not taken a ride don’t leave it too long“, and I’m surprised to find it still running 8 years later. But perhaps not for much longer, as the sponsorship deal with the Emirates Airline comes to an end this month, and no other company has come forward to pick up the tab, even though TfL have offered a huge reduction for the privilege.

Never a sensible contribution to London’s travel network it remains one of London’s cheaper and more interesting tourist attractions. I’m not sure whether the fact that it now lands on the north bank spitting distance from London’s now misplaced County Hall adds to its chances of retention, but it could make it more likely to be brought within the normal London fare structures.

There are already fare reductions for people with Travelcards, and frequent users can buy a ticket which reduces the cost to make it a viable part of a commute to work, particularly as you can take a bike with you for free. However I suspect the number of ‘frequent fliers’ is probably only in two figures. Its also a service which is more affected by weather than surface transport, closing down in high winds.

But it does have the height to give some splended views, even if the surrounding area is perhaps less rich than that of London’s other aerial attraction, the London Eye. Actually for me is considerably more attractive, and it’s an area which is now rapidly developing on both sides of the river, with new residential developments replacing old industrial and commercial uses.

The dangleway is also a part of the East London sculpture trail, The Line, which vaguely follows the Greenwich Meridian, from North Greenwich to Stratford and makes an interesting walk, although this will become a more interesting walk once the riverside path from Cody Dock to the East India Dock Road is opened, something we have been waiting for around 20 years. One day it might even extend past Canning Town station to Trinity Buoy Wharf, but we may not live that long.

Although you can see the riverside from above, little of it is now publicly accessible, though I walked along Bow Creek and a little of the Thames here back in the 1980s taking photographs now on Flickr. But back then the Royal Victoria Dock was largely fenced off and you can now walk around it and over a high-level bridge which also has interesting views.

Or at least you can most of the time. But the area becomes a high security zone with the bridge closed when the Excel Centre is full of arms dealers selling often illegal arms to repressive regimes around the world – every other September. Fortunately it was June, though I was back there for the DSEI protests in September – and in other years.

The DLR also runs through the area on a viaduct, and from the train and the stations you also get some interesting views, though the train windows are often rather to dirty for taking photographs. That you are looking south from the line can also mean the sun is shining directly into the lens.

This is the Woolwich branch of the DLR and at Canary Wharf I changed onto a train towards Stratford, alighting at Pudding Mill Lane to walk up onto the Greenway. I arrived just too late to go into the View Tube there so I had to be content with making pictures from the Greenway which runs high through the area.

I’d begun making photogrfaphs here back in the 1980s, and had published some of these on my my River Lea/Lee Valley web site – and in the Blurb book ‘Before The Olympics‘, returning to the area occasionally and photographing it as it changed and particularly as the Olympic site developed. Progress on restoring the area to some useful purpose appeared to be very slow

More on My London Diary where the pictures are also larger – though you can see these ones larger by opening the images in their own window.
Stratford Greenway Olympic Revisit
Victoria Dock and Silvertown
Emirates ‘Airline’ – Arab Dangleway


FlickrFacebookMy London DiaryHull PhotosLea ValleyParis

London’s Industrial HeritageLondon Photos

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


Migrant Rights & Anti-Racist Pride 2016

Saturday, June 25th, 2022

Migrant Rights & Anti-Racist Pride 2016: Movement for Justice organised a Migrant Rights & Anti-Racist Pride march to the official Pride London procession and joined the main procession at the extreme end along with other protest groups who were relegated to the rear of the long parade.

Many feel the the official Pride event has been taken over by corporate sponsors such as Barclays and BAE systems and is a parade rather than a protest, no longer representing its roots and that the organisers deliberately marginalise any political groups.

At 12.15 they began their march on Oxford St, going along with others including London in Solidarity with Istanbul LGBTI Pride protesting the banning of Istanbul Pride, Lesbians and Gays Support the Migrants.

They walked along to Regent Street, turning north and going up towards Portland Place were the main Pride march was gathering and I went with them, stopping to photograph others on the way.

As usual there were some rather strange costumes worn by some of those taking part, and I photographed some of these, but avoided the more corporate aspects of the event.

There were sections of the march that were still very recognisably protests, and some were marching with banners and placards which could have been on any protest against racism, homophobia and standing up for the rights of refugees.

Gay Muslims on the march with the messages ‘I exist for the expansion of your mind’ and’Halal Babe’.

Stonewall as ever where there to protest, with a range of red t-shirts, some with the message ‘Some People are BI’ or GAY or TRANS, but all ‘Get Over It!’

I took a lot of pictures as usual, and there are over a hundred on them on My London Diary, though the selection I made concentrates on those taking part in Pride as a protest, and perhaps misses some of the more outré images.

I didn’t bother to photograph the actual march but was still photographing the groups at the back who had not moved well over an hour before the parade began. By the time they got on the route many of the spectators will have given up watching and have left for drinks or food.

Pride London 2016
Migrant Rights & Anti-Racist Pride


FlickrFacebookMy London DiaryHull PhotosLea ValleyParis

London’s Industrial HeritageLondon Photos

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