Posts Tagged ‘peter Marshall’

Holland Park, Earls Court & West Kensington: 1987

Tuesday, March 23rd, 2021

Melbury Rd, Kensington, Kensington & Chelsea, 1987 87-12c-13-positive_2400
Melbury Rd, Kensington, Kensington & Chelsea, 1987

Grade II listed 18 Melbury Road is now distinguished by two blue plaques, neither of which appear in my picture. Like many houses in this street in Holland Park it was home to a noted artist, in this case William Holman Hunt (1827-1910), one of the founders of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood in 1848. The house was built in 1877, but Hunt only moved here in 1903 and it was here that he died. His widow was still living here when the plaque to him was added to the front of the house in 1923.

Cetshwayo (c.1832-1884) King of the Zulus enjoyed a rather shorter stay, arriving in August 1882 after his defeat and capture in the Anglo-Zulu War of 1879, an entirely uncalled for attack on Zululand by British forces, who at first suffered an ignominious defeat at Isandhlwana before finally winning the war and taking Cetshwayo prisoner. He was brought to London together with his chiefs, where he was welcomed by inquisitive crowds and met with both the Prime Minister and Queen Victoria, and they agreed to re-instate him as King of Zululand, to where he was secretly returned the following January.

His reinstatement did not go well and he returned to a bloody civil war and had to seek refuge in a British reserve. He died, officially of a heart attack, but possibly poisoned in February 1884 and two months later his heir became king. The English Heritage blue plaque commemorating his stay, just above that of Hunt’s was only unveiled in 2006, long after I took this picture.

Tower House, Melbury Rd, Kensington, Kensington & Chelsea, 1987 87-12c-15-positive_2400
Tower House, Melbury Rd, Kensington, Kensington & Chelsea, 1987

In 1875 noted architect William Burges began the building and furnishing of the Tower House in a French Gothic Revival style as his home, but died as it was more or less completed in 1881 and was inherited by his brother-in-law, who later sold it. After several owners and tenants, and Grade I listing in 1949 John Betjeman inherited the remaining lease in 1962, but found the property needed expensive repairs and moved out without extending the lease. He claimed that after this it was deliberately left empty and left it to rot and be vandalised, hoping to be allowed to demolish it and develop the site.

Lady Jane Turnbull bought the house in the mid-60s to save it and began its restoration, selling it to actor Richard Harris for £75,000 in 1969 who continued the work. Three years later he sold it to Jimmy Page of Led Zeppelin (who outbid David Bowie for the property) for £350,000 and Page still owns it and has in recent years carried out a long legal battle with his neighbour Robbie Williams over his plans for underground excavations to develop his property that might threaten the structure of Tower House.

Earls Court Rd, Kensington, Kensington & Chelsea, 1987 87-12c-35-positive_2400
Earls Court Rd, Kensington, Kensington & Chelsea, 1987

Christmas was coming as I took these pictures in December as the multi-lingual messages on The Canning School suggest.

Moscow Mansions, Cromwell Rd,  Kensington, Kensington & Chelsea, 1987 87-12c-44-positive_2400
Moscow Mansions, Cromwell Rd, Kensington, Kensington & Chelsea, 1987

Pineapples, brought to Europe by Christopher Columbus soon became a symbol of wealth and status – and were apparently available for hire to be displayed (but now consumed) at posh dinner parties in the 18th century. Only the incredibly rich could afford to eat them at around the equivalent of £5,000 a fruit. And although they are now commonplace in supermarkets and market stalls, back in my working-class youth they only came in tins as rings or chunks. They can be seen on many buildings across London from St Paul’s Cathedral down – and here on the gateposts of Moscow Mansions.

Hoarding, car, West Cromwell Rd,  Kensington, Kensington & Chelsea, 1987 87-12c-54-positive_2400
Hoarding, car, West Cromwell Rd, Kensington, Kensington & Chelsea, 1987

The queues of traffic dawdling into London on the A4 were greeted by a car in an unusual parking place on this hoardiing.

87-12c-55-positive_2400
Railway, West Cromwell Rd, Kensington, Kensington & Chelsea, 1987

Looking over a wall or fence you can still see these railway lines, at left is now the London Overground going down to West Brompton Station, but in 1987 this line was only in use for goods trains, with passenger services only being resumed in 1994 and the Network Rail platforms at West Brompton only coming into use in 1999. At lower level is the District Line of the London Underground, coming from Olympia behind me and West Kensington at right. Behind that is the Lillie Bridge Railway and Engineering Depot; missing now from the right of centre is the large bulk of Earls Court Exbition Centre, but the Metropolitan Police tower at right is still present.

87-12c-56-positive_2400
Ashfield House, London Underground, West Cromwell Rd, Kensington, Kensington & Chelsea, 1987

Out of the previous picture to the right is Ashfield House in West Kensington, a block of offices for London Underground, which now includes a mock Underground Station, West Ashfield, used for training purposes. The building was purpose-built for London Underground and opened in 1983. It is likely to be demolished as a part of the redevelopment plan for the area.

Clicking on any of the pictures above will take you to a larger version on my Flickr album 1987 London Photos from where you can browse through over 750 black and white pictures I made that year – these are all on Page 8.


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

All photographs on this and my other sites, unless otherwise stated, are taken by and copyright of Peter Marshall, and are available for reproduction or can be bought as prints.


Back to Kensington – 1987

Thursday, March 18th, 2021

Iverna Court, Kensington, Kensington & Chelsea, 1987 87-11e-32-positive_2400
Iverna Court, Kensington, Kensington & Chelsea, 1987

I returned to Kensington and took a few more pictures in November 1987. In my project on London I liked to go back to walk around areas a second time, often walking along the same streets in the opposite direction or on the opposite side of the streets to perhaps see things I had not noticed on my walk. There were some areas too that I found of more interest that I’d return to every few years, and others that I visited regularly for reasons other than photography, perhaps to visit friends or go to particular shops etc.

Scarsdale Place, Kensington, Kensington & Chelsea, 1987 87-11e-34-positive_2400
Scarsdale Place, Kensington, Kensington & Chelsea, 1987

I can’t at this remove remember what took me back to Kensington only a short time after I’d previously walked there. It may have been that there were some pictures I’d taken that I wasn’t entirely happy with, though there were probably plenty I thought that about. Perhaps I had some business not far away, or an exhibition I went to see, and it’s an area not far from where a friend had a studio. But what impresses me now is the variety of the architecture I found there.

Cheniston Lodge, Cheniston Gardens, Kensington, Kensington & Chelsea, 1987  87-11e-35-positive_2400
Cheniston Lodge, Cheniston Gardens, Kensington, Kensington & Chelsea, 1987

Cheniston Gardens was given its name by its developers and derives from the spelling of Kensington in the Domesday Book when ‘Chenesitone’ had18 villagers, 7 slaves and one priest. Chenistone Lodge, the single red brick and terracotta Queen Anne building in a sea of stucco was the last building to be completed on the street in 1885. It was on the site of Abingdon House, where in 1874 Archbishop Manning set up a Catholic University College run by Thomas Capel, which was a failure as wealthy Catholics preferred to continue to get special dispensation to send their sons to Oxbridge, and because of Capel’s poor finanacial management, which led to his bankruptcy in 1878. More problems were to follow for him, and the following year Monsignor Capel was found guilty of having sex with three women (one a servant of one of the others); on his appeal to Rome there was no verdict on his guilt or innocence but he was sentenced to continue his career in the Catholic Church in the United States. Abingdon House was sold to the developers in 1879.

Cheniston Lodge was let to a number of tenants in the years up to the First World War and later had two longer term residents, probably as private owners. In October 1940 Kensington Council purchased the freehold for £2000 to use it as an air raid materials store, and after the war it became Kensington Registry Office. It was Grade II listed shortly before they sold it to a developer in 1981 for £250,000 to be converted into offices. In around 2012 it was converted back into a single residence.

St. Sarkis, Armenian Church, Iverna Gardens, Kensington, Kensington & Chelsea, 1987 87-11e-46-positive_2400
St. Sarkis, Armenian Church, Iverna Gardens, Kensington, Kensington & Chelsea, 1987

Not far from Cheniston Lodge is the Grade II* listed St. Sarkis Armenian Church in Iverna Gardens which is the only church in the country in the traditional Armenian style, inspired by a 13th century monastery which looks remarkably similar but rather squatter, but it was designed by English architect Arthur Joseph Davis. The building was a gift of the oil baron Calouste Gulbenkian in 1922–23, and conveniently his father had been named after the Armenian St Sarkis the Warrior and it was built as a memorial for his parents, and apparently contains sculptures of his family members inside. Like Cheniston Lodge it was also listed in 1981, possibly as a part of the comprehensive review after developers Trafalgar House demolished the art deco Firestone Tyres building on the Great West Road during the August Bank Holiday in 1980 to prempt its listing the following day.

Baptist Church, Kensington Place, Kensington, Kensington & Chelsea, 1987  87-11e-61-positive_2400
Baptist Church, Kensington Place, Kensington, Kensington & Chelsea, 1987

Rather plainer than St Sarkis is Bethesda Baptist Chapel in Kensington Place, suitably austere for ‘strict bapists’.

It was The Chapels Society ‘Chapel of the Month in May 2017, where Dr Jennifer Freeman writes:

The Church in Kensington Place was built in 1866 for baptised believers who subscribe to ‘Restricted Communion’ ( i.e. with communion being exclusively available to professing, baptised Christians), to ‘Particular Redemption’ and to the teachings of the Authorised Version of the Bible, under the oversight of a Pastor.

Apparently the facade is now illuminated: “in the evening delicate floodlighting pinpoints the building“, though when I photographed it there was only a broken light fitting over the door – and I think it had once been for a gas lamp. Inside Dr Freeman describes it as “dignified modest and reverent, in spirit with Baptist thinking.”

Kensington Church St area, Kensington, Kensington & Chelsea, 1987  87-11e-63-positive_2400
Kensington Church St area, Kensington, Kensington & Chelsea, 1987

Although at first sight these long Victorian stucco terraces look the same, closer inspection shows significant differences, enough for me to decide that this is not any of the Kensington streets I’ve looked at. But it is number 15 on a street in Kensington – and if you can be sure which street please click on the image to go into it in my Flikr album and write a comment to let me know.

HyperHyper, Kensington High St, Kensington, Kensington & Chelsea, 1987 87-11e-66-positive_2400
HyperHyper, Kensington High St, Kensington, Kensington & Chelsea, 1987

I don’t think I had any real reason to revisit Hyper Hyper and photography these leftover caryatids from its previous incarnation as an antiques supermarket as my previous image was I think satisfactory. But when you are in the area and walk past something like this it isn’t easy or even necessary not to indulge in another photograph.

These images are all from page 8 of my Flickr album 1987 London Photos.


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

All photographs on this and my other sites, unless otherwise stated, are taken by and copyright of Peter Marshall, and are available for reproduction or can be bought as prints.


Around High St Stratford

Tuesday, January 19th, 2021

St Thomas's Creek, Cook's Road, Stratford, Newham, 1983 35q-34_2400
St Thomas’s Creek, Cook’s Road, Stratford, Newham, 1983

There is and long seems to have been some confusion about the naming of this part of the canal system that links the main line of the Lea Navigation at Bow Bridge to the City Mill River and City Mill Lock. On some maps (including Google’s) it is simply referred to as ‘Bow Back Rivers’ but I find it less confusing to give it the more local name, St Thomas’s Creek, sometimes written as St Thomas Creek. The creek got its name from St. Thomas’s Mill, sometimes called ‘Pudding Mill’, I think because of its shape, which also gave its name to the small stream the Pudding Mill River and was actually on that stream on Pudding Mill Lane. For those interested there is a good map of the area before the flood relief works of 1931-5 on British History Online.

Yardley's Box Factory, Stratford High St, Stratford, Newham, 198336m-63-positive_2400
Warton House, former Yardley’s Box Factory, High St, Stratford, 1983

The earliest connection of the Yardley name to soap-making was in the first half of the 17th century, when a Yardley was given the concession to produce soap for the whole of London, but the company dated its founding as ‘Clever Brothers’ to 1770. This company making soaps and perfumes was taken over by William Yardley in 1823 and passed on to his son Charles when he died the following year. The company moved from Bloomsbury to a large factory on Carpenters Road Stratford in 1904 and bought land on Stratford High St in 1918. In 1913 they had trade-marked a picture by Francis Wheatley from his 1793 series, the ‘Cries of London’ to use in their advertising, replacing the primroses in his picture by lavender, and when they built a new art deco box factory in 1938 this was installed at a large scale on the building. Yardleys moved to Basildon in 1966, needing large premises, but in 1967 were taken over by British American Tobacco who sold the business to Beecham in 1985, who again sold it on after they merged to be SmithKlein Beecham. The company went into receivership in 1998. Parts of the box factory – including this section on the High St next to the Northern Outfall Sewer and the Waterworks River are still there, all that is left of Yardley’s in Stratford.

Stratford High St area, Stratford, Newham, 1983 36m-14_2400
Stratford High St area, 1982

I cannot remember exactly where I took this or the next picture, though from other exposures on the same films both are clearly somewhere not far from Stratford High St. I think the canal seen at right here is probably St Thomas’s Creek.

Timber yard, Stratford, Newham, 1982 32v-22_2400
Timber yard, Stratford High St area, 1982

Timber was the main product carried on the Lea Navigation in the later years of its use, and I think this timber yard was probably close to the main stream of the navigation. My attempts to find it again in later years were unsuccesful.

Cafe, Stratford market, Stratford, Newham, 1983 36p-35_2400
Cafe, Stratford market, Stratford, Newham, 1983

The notices on the door offer not just ‘Jellied Eels’ but ‘Best Jellied Eels’, along with ‘Loch Fine Kippers’. My contact sheet puts its location as Stratford Market in Burford Road, just off High St to the south.

Barge, Lea Navigation, Bow Bridge, Bow Flyover, Tower Hamlets, Newham, 1981 29t-26p_2400
Barges, Bow Bridge, October 1981

These last two pictures were some of the first I took in the area after I heard on a radio interview that commercial traffic on the Lea Navigation was to come to an end in a few weeks time.

I think it was the same day that I picked up my camera bag and got on the train to come to look for and photograph any remaining activity. It was a slow journey to Bromley-by-Bow from where I spent an hour or so walking along beside the navigation between Bow Locks and Bow Bridge, where I found three barges loaded with cut timber, photographing all three from the bridge and going down onto the wharf for another picture.

Barge, Lea Navigation, Bow Bridge, Tower Hamlets, Newham, 1981 29t-25_2400
Barges, Bow Bridge, October 1981

I find it hard now to understand why I took so few pictures – only around 30 exposures on the entire visit, and just these two where I found evidence of any remaining commercial traffic.

More pictures from the area on page 3 of my Flickr album River Lea – Lea Navigation 1981-1992.


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

All photographs on this and my other sites, unless otherwise stated, are taken by and copyright of Peter Marshall, and are available for reproduction or can be bought as prints.


Deep in the Olympic Area

Friday, January 8th, 2021

Footbridge, Carpenters Lock, Old River Lea, Stratford Marsh, Newham, 1983 35p-33_2400
Footbridge, Carpenters Lock, Old River Lea, Stratford Marsh, Newham, 1983

I titled my self-published book put together in 2010 on the Lee Valley ‘Before the Olympics‘ because many of the pictures in it were taken in an area that was then being largely destroyed for a few weeks of sporting activities in 2012.

Footbridge, Carpenters Lock, Old River Lea, Stratford Marsh, Newham, 1992 92-8e51_2400
Footbridge, Carpenters Lock, Old River Lea, Stratford Marsh, Newham, 1992

It was an area that over the previous 25 or so years had held a particular fascination for me as a post-industrial wilderness close to the centre of London, one of the world’s greatest cities. Within a few yards of busy major roads I could find myself struggling to walk along overgrown paths – and sometimes having to climb over or around fences to do so. For months a pair of secatuers were needed in my camera bag to cut through the brambles that barred my progress (though when I wrote earlier about this I slightly exagerrated them as a ‘machete’.)

Old River Lee, Waterworks River, Stratford Marsh, Newham, 1983 33x-24_2400
Old River Lee, Waterworks River, Stratford Marsh, Newham, 1983

At times I spent hours wandering the area without meeting or seeing another living soul, or only across rivers, perhaps working in one of the many small businesses still at work, often in ramshackle buildings with smoke or steam emerging though ventilators or cracks. Or I would emerge from under a bridge or around a corner to see large industrial structures such as oil storage tanks.

Old River Lea, Stratford Marsh, Newham, 1983 35p-34_2400
Old River Lea, Stratford Marsh, Newham, 1983

It was of course an area that was bound to change, but not in the way it has. And the old was in some respects dystopian. Many of the remaining businesses were the kind that we like to hide away on the fringes, perhaps necessary but best kept out of sight. The River Lea was during the worst years of the development of industry the outer boundary of London, inside which there was a long history of restrictions to curb the activities of the most noxious and polluting industries; across that boundary almost anything went and factories were set up to enjoy that licence to pollute.

Old River Lee, Waterworks River, Stratford Marsh, Newham, 1983 33x-36_2400
Old River Lee, Waterworks River, Stratford Marsh, Newham, 1983

Those years of largely unfettered industrial activity had left their toxic legacy in the soil, though some plants seemed to thrive on it. There were schemes to tidy up the area in the 1990s, with some streams and paths being cleared and the route beside the Waterworks River being decorated with art from junior schools in the area, but nature soon took it back , and a few years later I was again struggling through shoulder-high weeds.

Waterworks River, Marshgate Lane, Stratford Marsh, Newham, 1992 92-8e44_2400
Waterworks River, from Marshgate Lane, 1992

The Olympics were terra-forming, with tons of soil from the area being sterilised, tons being dumped elsewhere in landfill, and virgin soil brought in, in part from building work on the Channel Tunnel Rail Link. A new landscape emerged, retaining the watery outlines of the old, along with the Greenway and the major rail routes but with different land, and none of what was previously present on the rest of its surface, though with new white elephants fast being constructed.

Waterworks River, Marshgate Lane, Stratford Marsh, Newham, 1983 35p-43_2400
Waterworks River from Marshgate Lane, Stratford Marsh, Newham, 1983
Waterworks River, Marshgate Lane, Stratford Marsh, Newham, 1992 92-8e32_2400
Waterworks River, 1992
Footbridge, Stratford Marsh, Newham, 1983 35p-32_2400
Stratford Marsh, 1983
Marshgate Lane, Stratford Marsh, Newham, 1983 35p-36_2400
Marshgate Lane, 1983

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

All photographs on this and my other sites, unless otherwise stated, are taken by and copyright of Peter Marshall, and are available for reproduction or can be bought as prints.


4000 Posts

Tuesday, January 5th, 2021

I’m not a big one for anniversaries and so on. But I’ve just noticed that today this is the 4000th post on >Re:PHOTO since I began this site on December 1st 2006. That first post has been edited since then to reflect the reason I began posting here, which was to provide an audience for my writing about photography (and also my photography.) I’d been writing professionally about photography on the web since 1999, and it was becoming clear that I was likely to lose my position before long – for the offence of writing too much about photography.

That first post was just an introduction to me, though a second post that same day was a short opinion about Paris Photo, which I’d attended the previous month. Here is its in full:


Paris Photo

Paris was full of photographs in November, and there were some great ones at Paris Photo. But there were things that were hard to take too. Large empty wastes of dollar-rich nothingness covering the walls of some galleries. Vintage prints pulled from some photographers waste-bins and awarded stupendous price-tags. I found it hard not to burst out laughing when a dealer came up to the person next to me and told her the price of one rather ordinary ’60s fashion print was 20,000 euros. A couple of years ago we would have though 200 rather steep, and 2000 definitely well over the top.

Still, all good news for investors, and for the minority of photographers who have a place on the gravy train. There were a few other photographers around, trying to talk to dealers, but this wasn’t the place for it. “Best if you e-mail us” they were politely brushed off.

The first day I had a panic attack of sorts as the place got more and more full of people, all there for the free opening party, and had to rush out and up from the bunker into the fresh air above. The next day things were better, less crowded, but still more a place for millionaires than photographers.

But fortunately, there was much more in Paris than Paris Photo.


Then there was a long gap, with my next post not appearing until May 2007, around the time I finally got the push. Most of those early posts were about things I would not have put on the commercial site I wrote for. >Re:PHOTO was and is my own personal site and I can say and write what I like without having to worry about upsetting editors or readers or maintaining the broad church approach which I had originally been hired to pursue.

Being entirely my own site also freed me from some other restraints. Although my articles and notes had ranged widely over photography across the world (another crime in my new editors’ views) I was unable to write about and promote my own work or that of my friends. Occasionally I did use one of my pictures, but mainly to illustrate some technical point, and these were very seldom of any real interest. The pictures in this post are all ones I took in the month >Re:PHOTO began at a protest in Dagenham against the racist BNP, none of which could be posted on the commercial site.

Politics was another area where I often had to restrain or moderate my views, though I think sometimes they were fairly apparent. But most of my photography at the time was highly political. And certainly at times I’ve treated readers here to something of a political rant.

Jeremy Corbyn photographer

>Re:PHOTO has changed over the years, and back in its early years I was still very constrained by the fact that most of those accessing it were doing so with relatively low bandwidth. So images were few and far between in those early posts, while today most have at least half a dozen.

Jeremy Corbyn speaking at Dagenham

There are also many more photography sites and photography blogs than 13 or 14 years ago, and I feel less need for me to discuss wider photographic issues here. I’ve also come to a stage in my own work where I’m increasingly re-evaluating my own photography from the previous century and thinking about its future as my own is drawing closer to a close. That virus has sharpened my own thinking, particularly as I’m in groups designated as vulnerable both from age and illness and has given me time to think and to scan old work. I’ve had to give up taking new photographs (except for a few during exercise bike rides and the odd walk close to home) and stay at home – and have put over 11,000 old pictures onto Flickr, a few of which I’ve shared here.

All of those 4000 posts are still available on this site – and you can find them by month in the archive list at right or by a search for particular topics. This feature has taken longer to write than it should have, as I spent some time reading my several posts about important photographers who were omitted from what I felt was a rather disappointing 2007 V&A show,  ‘How We Are: Photographing Britain, along with some other things I came across.


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

All photographs on this and my other sites, unless otherwise stated, are taken by and copyright of Peter Marshall, and are available for reproduction or can be bought as prints.


Hackney Wick (1)

Friday, January 1st, 2021

Waterden Rd, Hackney Wick, Hackney, 1982 32z-65_2400

Thinking about the New Year – or about the past one – simply makes me feel angry and depressed, and though I started to write something I couldn’t finish it. There is plenty of stuff already on the web and in print about it. So I decided to continue writing and posting pictures about my project from the 1980s on the Lea Valley. And so to Hackney Wick.

Eastway/Waterden Rd, Hackney Wick, Hackney, 1982 32z-66_2400

Not that Hackney Wick presented an encouraging face back in 1982. It had been an important industrial area in previous years, but now industry was in terminal decline, with Thatcher abandoning the idea of manufacturing in favour of services, accelerating its decay, driving to a post-industrial future.

Hackney Wick, Hackney, 1982 32k-31_2400

There was a bleakness too in the Greater London Council’s Trowbridge Estate, with its seven 21 storey blocks completed between 1965 and 1969. It provided much-needed housing but by the 1980s was showing evidence of neglect, but there was still considerable local opposition to the series of demolitions which began in 1985 three years after I took this picture in 1982. By 1987 three blocks had been demolished, and they were all gone by 1996, with some spectacular pictures and video being taken of some of them being blown up – not always very effectively.

Hackney Stadium, Waterden Rd, Hackney Wick, Hackney, 1982 32z-52_2400

Hackney Greyhound Stadium only finally closed in 1997, but was struggling for some years. Going to the dogs had gone out of fashion. It had begun in the UK in the late 1920s, an import from the USA where it had started in California in 1919, and its heyday was in the 1930s, with the Hackney Wick Stadium having its first race meeting on April 8th 1932. Later the stadium was also used for Speedway and Midget Car racing. I never went to Hackney Stadium and my only visit to dog racing was by mistake at Wimbledon Stadium around 1960 where I went on several occasions with a friend who was a speedway fan, and one week he got the dates mixed. I didn’t enjoy it.

BRONCO, British Patent Perforated Paper Co, Atlas Works, Berkshire Road, Hackney Wick, Hackney, 1982 32k-46_2400

Among the many products which previous generations relied on Hackney Wick for was toilet paper, which for many years was made at the Atlas Works by the British Patent Perforated Company, better known as Bronco. We now live in softer times and their less porous and more hygenic product went out of favour. This was first patented in the USA in 1870, but Hackney Wick can claim to be the source of many inventions.

Wallis Rd, Hackney Wick, Hackney, 1983 36n-44_2400

Before Bronco, the Atlas Works were home to dyestuffs company Brooke Simpson Spiller who had taken over the company set up by the founder of the synthetic dyestuff industry William Henry Perkin. There they employed several of the leading organic chemists of the late 19th century who developed a number of new dyes. My own very brief and much less illustrious career as an industrial chemist also began (and very soon ended) in dyestuffs, but at a west London company – and the lab there was still using some samples signed on the bottle by Perkin himself.

Queens Yard, Whitepost Lane, Hackney Wick, Tower Hamlets, 1992 92-8d26_2400

It was in Hackney Wick that the first synthetic plastic, Parkesine was manufactured, and where oil distillers Carless, Capel & Leonard marketed the first product to be given the name Petrol, and also where dry-cleaning came to the UK thanks to Achille Serre. But the largest and best-known of the Wick’s industries was Clarnico (until 1946 Clarke, Nickolls,Coombs until 1946) who opened a jam factory here in 1879 and went on to produce many well-known sweets – a total of over 700 varieties – in what became the largest sugar confectionary factory in Britain, but closed in 1973. You can read about it at the Wick Curiousity Shop site, which also has a photograph of me and a few from my web site.

Kings Yard, Carpenters Road, Hackney Wick, Hackney, 1992 92-8d15_2400

Other products from the Wick you may have eaten include Fray Bentos pies, produced here by a part of the huge Vestey meat company from 1958. The pie business was sold on to Brooke Bond, acquired by Unilever and finally sold to Campbell’s Soup in 1993, when they promptly moved production away from Hackney.

More from Hackney Wick in another post.


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

All photographs on this and my other sites, unless otherwise stated, are taken by and copyright of Peter Marshall, and are available for reproduction or can be bought as prints.


Clapton – Lea Valley 1982

Thursday, December 31st, 2020

2020 is a year I don’t think I want to look back on, so I’ll eschew that traditional filler and instead look back rather further to continue my series on walks in the Lea valley in the 1980s.

Works, Upper Clapton or South Tottenham, Hackney or Haringey,1982 32c-42_2400

This time of year it has been a tradition for at least some of my family to get together to go on sometimes fairly lengthy walks, usually somewhere in the country. It’s something that has rather tailed off over the years, with both my sons now having young children, and also as my own legs getting old and tired, making anything over six or seven miles something of an ordeal.

Flats, Anchor & Hope, High Hill Ferry, Clapton, Hackney, 1982 32c-41_2400

This year things have become even more difficult, with us all under Tier 4 restrictions on travel etc and in different parts of the country, so our meetings have only been virtual. And although Linda and I have managed some short walks – around 5 miles on Boxing Day – these have all started and finished at our home. But at least I can take a digital walk in the Lea Valley.

Playing Field, Leyton, Waltham Forest, 1982 32c-44_2400

These pictures were not all taken on the same walk, which is one I did several times when working on my Lea Valley project and have repeated parts of rather more times since, sometimes riding on my Brompton folder. Parts of it have changed dramatically over the years, and wherever in these pictures you see a timber yard, factory or power station there is probably now several blocks of flats.

Clapton, Hackney, 1982 32u-64_2400

So many changes make it difficult for me to pinpoint the exact locations of some of these pictures, though others have very recognisable landmarks – such as the railway viaduct in the background above, now with a blue plaque celebrating the work of Alliott Verdon Roe, the first man to build and fly an entirely British aeroplane, built here in one of its arches, back in 1909.

Latham TImber, Clapton, Hackney, 1982 32c-31p (2)_2400

But Latham Timber is long gone, along with its neighbouring yard and the fences on which ‘The Gruesome’ staked their territorial claim and on which P & R pledged their ‘Forever True’ love in white paint on 16-8-82. Where are they now I wonder as I look at these pictures? Though so far as I’m aware I never saw any of them back in 1982 either.

33a-54_2400

The Gruesome Clapton, Hackney, 1982 33a-65_2400

The Gruesome Clapton, Hackney, 1982 33a-63_2400

Latham TImber, Clapton, Hackney, 1982 32c-56_2400

Middlesex Wharf, Clapton, Hackney, 1982 33a-52_2400

More pictures at River Lea – Lea Navigation 1981-1992. My next post in this series will look a little downstream.


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

All photographs on this and my other sites, unless otherwise stated, are taken by and copyright of Peter Marshall, and are available for reproduction or can be bought as prints.


Lea Valley 1993 – Around Tottenham Hale

Tuesday, December 29th, 2020

Stonebridge Lock, Northumberland Park, 1983 37c-22_2400

Continuing my pictures from walks along the River Lea and Lea Navigation in 1983 which are in my Flickr album River Lea – Lea Navigation 1981-1992.

Tottenham Hale station on the Victoria Line was a convenient starting point for walks both north and south along the Lea navigatiion, which is crossed by Ferry Lane around 200 metres from the station.

Stonebridge Lock is around 3/4 miles north up the path from Ferry Lane, where steps lead down to the towpath immediately after you cross Pymmes Brook. The view above is looking south back towards Tottenham Hale.

Lea Navigation, Tottenham, 1983 34l-51_2400

Thames Water Sludge Mains Bridge No 3 crosses the Navigation closer to Ferry Lane, and as well as a crudely painted landscape also carried racist graffiti from the National Party, a splinter group of the National Front which was active from 1976-83.

Ferry Lane, Tottenham, 1983 34l-64_2400

A lone tree behind a gate somewhere on Ferry Lane (or its eastern continuation, Forest Road.)

Flood Channel, Leyton, Waltham Forest, 1982 32d-46_2400

The Lee Flood Relief Channel at Forest Rd. There are now tall recently built blocks of flats replacing the inustrial units and garage in this picture.

Ferry Lane Wharf, Tottenham Hale, Hackney, 1982 32d-56_2400

This extensive range of warehouses fronting the navigation immediately south of Ferry Lane has now been demolished and replaced by housing.

Ferry Lane Wharf, Tottenham Hale, Hackney, 1982 32d-55_2400

There is a channel here from the River Lee Diversion which takes excess water from the river and navigation north of Enfield, though usually most of the flow in this rejoins the navigation around half a mile further south.

Ferry Lane Wharf, Tottenham Hale, Hackney, 1982 32d-53_2400

The pattern of waterways it the Lea Valley is difficult to understand and as well as the diversion there are also various flood channels, as well of course as tributaries such as the Pymmes Brook and Dagenham Brook. In the old days there were various man-made channels to feed water mills, while more recently, particularly in the twentieth century various projects to control flooding in the area.

Flickr album River Lea – Lea Navigation 1981-1992.


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

All photographs on this and my other sites, unless otherwise stated, are taken by and copyright of Peter Marshall, and are available for reproduction or can be bought as prints.


Brasilia 2007

Tuesday, December 22nd, 2020

Cyclists protest. Critical Mass 10th anniversary, South Bank, London, April 2004.

Thirteen years ago in 2007 I was not in London but in Brasilia, where I had gone for the opening of my show on environmental protests in London, part of Foto Arte 2007, a huge photography event that stretches on for 3 months with over 20 international shows and more than a hundred individual and group shows from Brazil, apparently in 57 locations across the city. The theme of the festival was ‘Natureza, Meio Ambiente e Sustentabilidade‘ or in English, ‘Nature, The Environment and Sustainability’ and my contribution representing the UK was a set of 24 colour pictures of environmental protests in London – including a picture of Brazilians leading the last mile of a 1000 mile Christian Aid ‘Cut the Carbon’ march past Tower Bridge.

My work was in show in a local community centre in one of the ‘Quadra’ which make up the living quarters of the city around its central core. My show was backed by the British Embassy and they had also arranged for me to give a lecture – and provided simultaneous translation for my Portuguese speaking audience.

‘No Fumes Here’. World Naked Bike Ride, London, June 2006.

Because I was very aware of the planned nature of Brasilia, a new capital city built from scratch, which I described as “really the ultimate flowering of the modern movement in architecture and planning, planned by Lúcio Costa (1902-98) and with many buildings by the famous architect Oscar Niemeyer, 100 on December 15, 2007 and still working” I had decided my talk would be about my own photographs around London and more generally about “the photography of the urban environment and some of the changing ideas in planning, and how the invention of the car had completely altered our cities. Ideas about Garden Cities at the end of the nineteenth century had been overtaken by urban sprawl.”

‘London Underwater 2050 Tour of the G8 Climate Criminals’, European Social Forum, London, October 2004.

During my stay I also got to see all the other shows then taking place, and also was treated to several of the finest restaurants in the city (including a lunch with the Ambassador and the director of the festival) and was taken around the various sites of the city – including the many Niemeyer buildings by a daughter of one of Costa’s team of planners. It was an exciting few days, though very stressful at times.

One of Niemeyer’s most famous buildings, the cathedral in Brasilia – Fuji FinePix F31fd

I’d known I would have a busy time with little chance for any serious photography and had taken with me just a small pocketable digital camera, a 6Mp Fuji FinePix F31fd, and used it as a notebook during my stay. A few of the almost a thousand pictures I took are on My London Diary, but there are many more which I now find of some interest, and perhaps I’ll upload more onto Flikr shortly.

Uncle Sam’ as the Grim Reaper in Trafalgar Square, Kyoto Climate March, London, February 2005

I wrote quite a few posts about the visit here on >Re:PHOTO, including brief review of some of the other exhibitions in Foto Arte 2007, starting with one just before I caught the plane, Foto Arte 2007 Brasilia with my full set of 24 pictures and continuing after I arrived home and into January 2008.


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

All photographs on this and my other sites, unless otherwise stated, are taken by and copyright of Peter Marshall, and are available for reproduction or can be bought as prints.