Posts Tagged ‘photographs’

Harold Evans

Friday, September 25th, 2020

Harold Evans, certainly one of the greatest newspaper men of the second half of the twentieth century and the early years of this, died aged 92 on 23 September 2020. Many obituaries have appeared about him in print and online, and there is little point in my repeating the details of his life.

One thing that his career does illustrate is the malevolent power of Rupert Murdoch and the undue influence of him (and other billionaire newspaper proprietors) on what we are allowed to read. Murdoch appointed Evans as Editor of The Times when he took over the newspaper group in 1981, but the following year Evans resigned because of policy differences relating to editorial independence.

Like many photographers I have a well-used copy of his 1978 book ‘Pictures On A Page‘ written when he was Editor of The Sunday Times and in association with the paper’s Design Director Edwin Taylor. It was Book IV in a series of 5 volumes in the series by Evans, Editing And Design, “Published under the auspices of the National Council for the Training of Journalists“. It was a work I made extensive use of when I taught photography. It’s worth reading if you have any interest in photography or being a photographer, not simply for journalists.

I never met Evans, but Graham Harrison did, and on his Photohistories site is a fine piece on the man and the book Harold Evans and Pictures on a Page which I firmly recommend you to read.

The book has gone through several editions and revisions since its original publication and if you don’t already have a copy is well worth buying. You can find later editions secondhand for around a fiver as well as rather more expensively, though I’ve not found anything to match the £5,710.07 plus delivery that Harrison found on Amazon in 2015.


More West End 1987

Tuesday, September 8th, 2020
Dover St, Mayfair, Westminster, 1987 87-5l-35-positive_2400

I can offer little explanation for this rather sad looking bust, odd cup and plates which my contact sheet says I photographed in Dover St. I think the odd cup in the foreground is actually an extremely naff clock, with the lower snake’s head pointing to the hour and the upper head to a disk showing minutes. In the unlikely event it was working I took this picture at around 11.58. What it lacks is a rod coming out of the top with an arm holding a small bird or fly whizzing around for the seconds.

I guess the guy in the background could be Titus or Vespasian; most of the other Emperors had fancier hair, at least in their busts. This one looks around life-size and could well be the sculptor’s grandfather but more likely a copy of an older figure. From the number of similar busts around I have a picture of circles of student sculptors around a bust in a gallery at perhaps the V&A, each chipping away at a block of marble as an exam piece. Whoever did this one would have deserved a decent grade.

Berkeley St, Mayfair, Westminster, 1987 87-5l-56-positive_2400

More sculptures with two young stone ladies pretending to hold up a porch in Berkeley St. It looks a rather boring job. But although both seem to be scratching their heads they don’t appear to be putting a great deal of effort into it.

Ukrainian RC Cathedral, Duke St, Mayfair, Westminster, 1987 87-5m-24-positive_2400

Whenever I see this building it amazes me that this gaudy and extravagant edifice was built as a Congregational Church, the King’s Weighouse Church, built in 1889-91 to the designs of Alfred Waterhouse, better known for his Natural History Museum in South Kensington. Congregationalists are Puritans, tracing their heritage back to the Brownists and the London Underground Church of the 1560s. Rejecting the ecclesiastical trappings at the centre of the Anglican Church – cathedrals, bishops, vestments, formal liturgies, priests, the sign of the cross and more – they espoused a simple austere faith based on the priesthood of all believers.

Of course over the years there was some back-tracking. But most Congregational church buildings remained suitable austere, often with at least a hint of the Classical – and some did it very finely but without great ornament. Sadly their practices deteriorated to the extent of allowing church choirs, though these consisted of adult members who considered they could sing, and organs. But as someone raised in the tradition (though no longer involved) I still fine the ornate nature of this building surprising.

Perhaps it was becuase the King’s Weighouse came from an older – and Royal tradition, tracing its ancestry back to Queen Matilda’s ‘Free Chapel’ at the Tower of London, founded by her in 1148 and not subject to the rule of any bishop. When the 1662 Act of Uniformity made the Book of Common Prayer and other aspects of Anglican practice compulsory almost the entire congregation left and shortly after began to worship as an independent congregation in an ancient building on Cornhill where foreign goods coming into London were weighed – the King’s Weigh House. They kept the name when they built their own chapel where Monument station now is, and later in other buildings, bringing it to Mayfair where they combined with a congregation already on this site and then built a new church.

Perhaps it was the influence of this building which in the 1920s led the church, then led by Rev Dr W. E. Orchard to moving towards Rome and developing what became known as ‘Free Catholicism’. The church never really recovered from wartime requisition and bomb damage and closed in the 1950s. Since June 1968  it has been the Ukrainian Catholic Cathedral of he Holy Family of Exile, which seems a far more suitable use for the building. You can read more about it on the Cathedral web site, from which much of the above comes.

Air St, Piccadilly, Westminster, 1987 87-5m-33-positive_2400

In Air Street we could almost be inside a cathedral. The rebuilding of the area around Piccadilly Circus was a subject of various proposals, plans and debates from around 1886 until 1928 which you can read in some detail in British History Online and possibly make more of than me. It involved many of the UK’s leading architects of the era, including Richard Norman Shaw and Sir Reginald Blomfield. I think that this section was built to Blomfield’s designs in 1923-8, but by that point in the text my eyes were fully glazed.

Regent St, Westminster, 1987 87-5m-34-positive_2400

In Regent St I was faced with the problem of photographing something which I find rather bland and boring – like most of the more monumental architecture of that period.

I found another curve to go with the two of the street, but I think it is no longer there – and many other details of the shops etc have changed. Bus Stop C is still there, but no longer served by Routemasters.

Christ Church, Cosway St, Marylebone, Westminster, 1987 87-5m-36-positive_2400

Christ Church in Cosway street, Marylebone was no longer a church when I took this picture having been made redundant in 1978 and converted into offices. This Grade II* church was built in 1824-5 by Thomas Hardwick and his son Philip Hardwick, one of the more interesting of the many cut-price Commissioner’s Churches built from 1820-1850 to cope with the rapid expansion of the urban population.

Despite the appearance it is a largely brick building with stone dressing. It was altered in 1887 by Sir A W Blomfield but I think this did not affect the portico or tower, a rather unusual construction, “3-stage tower with square Ionic peristyle with cylindrical core rising into octagonal cupola with volutes.”

More on page 4 of my album 1987 London Photos.


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

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


Still Mayfair – 1987

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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


Sharp Pictures

Thursday, August 27th, 2020

Jack Sharp, (1928-1992), born in Bedfordshire became an engineer and moved in 1955 to take up a job at CERN , the European Organization for Nuclear Research which had been founded the previous year and is based in Geneva, Switzerland. CERN is now best known for investing the World Wide Web and as the home of the Large Hadron Collider, but this large scientific community also – at least then – had an amateur photographic club, which Sharp joined and which stimulated an interest in photography that lasted at least until 1970 when, for reasons unknown, he apparently stopped taking pictures.

In a self-portrait he looks a typical scientist of the time, with carefully brushed hair and bow tie, looking into the eyepiece of his tripod-mounted Asahi Pentax SLR camera, his other eye closed as he presses the short cable release. Sharp was obviously a man who took his photography very seriously – as you might expect from his scientific training – with details of each frame taken noted on index sheets.

Of course records such as this were common practice at the time, with photographic magazines and books publishing shutter speeds and aperture in the photo captions. There were special photographer’s Notebooks sold, and filing sheets to hold film negatives in binders often came together with paper sheets to record the details. Photography at this time was largely taught as a science rather than an expressive practice. At the end of Bill Brandt’s ‘Camera in London‘ (1948) is a section of technical data, listing his cameras, lenses and films and with a fold-out table listing each picture in the book with ‘Subject’, ‘Camera’, film speed, ‘Stop’, ‘Exposure’ (time), year and lighting conditions.

Even when I began to get pictures published you would often be asked for such details, though by the 1970s I think most of us simply looked at the picture and made them up. But when I started I carried little cards on which to record exposures even if I seldom used them.

I first read his story in a PetaPixel post, Man Inherits Treasure Trove of Unseen Street Photos From His Grandfather, which tells the story of how Sharp’s grandson, Dylan Scalet, a marketing professional who came to England 8 years ago to take a university photography course had time on his hands because of COVID-19 and started to look at and digitise some of his grandfather’s collection and found some truly interesting images.

You can see these images larger on the web site set up by Scalet, who is also publishing a new image each day on Instagram. Scalet estimates he has inherited over 5,000 of his grandfather’s images and has bought an Epson V850 flatbed to scan them. It isn’t a bad scanner for scanning film, though more suitable for larger formats than the 35mm used by Sharp. But I’ve made several books for friends scanned using this or a similar Epson model and used it to scan some of my own work.

Though much faster than a dedicated film scanner, using the Epson is considerably slower than photographing negatives using a macro lens and digital camera – and can’t match either the resolution or quality. But it is simpler and more or less foolproof and comes with reasonable software.

Sharp’s work – or what I’ve seen so far of it – is often interesting and certainly technically very competent as you would expect. It isn’t work that is going to change our view of the history of photography, fitting well into the general run of photography in the times that he worked and at least sometimes a delight to look at. But it does certainly bear out my often voiced opinion that the photography we know and admire is just the tip of a very large iceberg.


1987: More Soho

Sunday, August 2nd, 2020
Dance shop, Charing Cross Rd, Soho, 1987 787-2k-41-positive_2400
Dance shop, Charing Cross Rd, Soho, 1987

It’s always difficult to know where London’s districts begin and end, and sometimes it is rather a matter of personal opinion. There are some definite boundaries – postal districts and borough boundaries – though these seldom coincide with our perception of place, and most people – unless they actually live there are unaware that in central London you may be in Camden or Westminster etc. The City is a little more obvious, with its borders on some main streets clearly marked, but who would know when crossing the Charing Cross Road you might move from Westminster into Camden.

Poland St,  Soho, Westminster, 1987 87-2j-64-positive_2400
Poland St, Soho, Westminster, 1987

Names too change with the years. Fitzrovia for example only began to be used in the late 1930s, and other older area names are now seldom used. Building tube stations led to many of their names being used for areas which previously went under other names, and estate agents are notorious for promoting properties into nearby more salubrious areas – or inventing new area names, often by adding the word “village” to an existing name.

Never Park Here, Falconberg Mews, Soho, Westminster, 1987 87-2j-23-positive_2400
Never Park Here, Falconberg Mews, Soho, Westminster, 1987

Soho is perhaps one of the more clearly defined of all London areas, though some might quibble slightly at Googles definition, clearly bounded by major roads – Oxford St, Regent St, Shaftesbury Ave and Charing Cross Road. Many of us would also include Chinatown in its ambit, perhaps going south down Haymarket as far as Orange St to include Leicester Square. And perhaps some of the fringes just across Oxford St might qualify…

Carnaby St, Soho, Westminster, 1987 87-2i-21-positive_2400
Carnaby St, Soho, Westminster, 1987

On the streets themselves, the more modern street names – since the mid 1960s – include the borough name, but many London streets have proudly retained their older signs, sometimes with a postal district (though sometimes the earlier version.)

Taylors Buttons, Silver Place, Soho, Westminster, 1987 87-2h-35-positive_2400
Taylors Buttons, Silver Place, Soho, Westminster, 1987

Like all things, Soho is defined by what it isn’t. It isn’t Mayfair or Fizrovia or Bloomsbury or St Giles or Covent Garden or Westminster (the area not the Borough – which all or almost all of it is inside) or St James. And it’s not just a matter of geography, but also of character.

Walker's Court, Soho, Westminster, 1987 87-2h-25-positive_2400
Walker’s Court, Soho, Westminster, 1987

And it was that character which was uppermost in my mind as I made these pictures.

You can see more of them on page 2 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.


Goole 1983

Thursday, July 23rd, 2020

When I told my mother-in-law, a life-long Hull resident, that I was taking a day trip to photograph Goole she shook her head in disbelief, asking me whyever I would want to do that. She wasn’t a great fan of my pictures of Hull either, thinking I dwelt far too much on its less salubrious areas and on those old and dilapidated warehouses and derelict docks.

Goole 83goole168_2400

My only regret looking back is that I didn’t visit Goole more often. True its name isn’t inspiring – but then neither is Hull, perhaps why its more prosperous residents like to remind you it is really called Kingston upon Hull. For some reason the name Goole on Ouse has never been considered, though perhaps it should be Goole upon Dutch River or Don, which was diverted to meet the Ouse here in 1629 by Cornelius Vermuyden, not for the benefit of the few villagers of Goole, but to improve the hunting at Hatfield Chase for King Charlea I. But Goole got a bridge over the new river and barges could carry coal along it from the South Yorkshire coalfield at it could then be transferred to sea-going vessels.

Goole  83goole148_2400

In the 1820s the Aire and Calder Navigation opened a connection to the Dutch River and began the construction of docks and a new town at Goole. The canal opened in 1826 and in 1827 Goole became an official port with custom facilities, its docks able to handle vessels up to 400 tons. It’s main export remained coal until Thatcher closed the mines, with a system of compartment boats – the ‘Tom Puddings’ and special hoists giving a very efficient means to transfer the coal into seagoing ships. Timber was the main import, in part for use as pit props.

Goole 83goole161_2400

Railways first came to Goole in 1848 with a line to Pontefract and Wakefield, but it after the North Eastern Railway line from Doncaster to Hull was built in 1870 that the railway really became important. It was this route from Doncaster that I travelled on many times from and to the south between 1970 and now through Goole; sometimes the train stopped there, but more often travelled through at a leisurely pace, giving time to appreciate its landmark ‘salt an pepper’ water towers before swinging east to cross the River Ouse. But I never got off there until my first day trip in 1983.

The Victorian ‘New Goole’ seemed to have survived reasonably well, and gave a remarkable access to the docks (in those days they were a little less fettered by health and safety), and I spent a full day wandering around and taking pictures, particularly in black and white, but with some in colour too. I’ve returned more recently and it is still an interesting place to visit, though a little less so.

More colour pictures of Goole on Page 3 of Hull Colour 1972-85.

More black and white pictures on Hull Photos.

The Power of Photography

Tuesday, July 21st, 2020

One series of pictures posted through the current lockdown that has often interested or amused me is by Peter Fetterman; in ‘The Power of Photography‘. To see them all in the order he posted them, open the page and scroll down to the very bottom to see the first image, ‘The Wailing Wall, Jerusalem, C. 1860′.

But before you scroll, read his introduction at the top of the page which I reproduce here:

Dear Friends,

I am pleased to introduce a new online series called the Power of Photography, highlighting hope, peace, and love in the world. With every entry, I’ll share personal reflections on my favorite images. I invite you to enjoy and reflect on these works during this time.

Peace & Love,

Peter Fetterman

The Power of Photography

Clicking on each of the images will give you more details about it – in this case that it is by an anonymous photographer and is a 9.75×9.75 inch vintage albumen print – and rather curiously is “Copyright The Artist” who as well as being anonymous is certainly long dead and whose copyright will have expired many years ago.

The negative from which it was printed will I think have been made using the wet plate process, which while it had considerable limitations and required a great deal of manipulative skill was in some respects the absolute pinnacle of the photographic process, with detail and resolution limited only by the lenses of the day. You can enlarge the on-screen image by clicking on it, but it then seems rather soft. Since all printing was by contact, the demand on lenses was not extreme, though you can clearly see some softening towards the edges in this and many images of the time. The print appears to be in excellent condition for its age, though there is clearly some fading at top right, but digital representations are often misleading.

Actually I think the images like this are best seen in reproduction, when some discrete retouching can help to repair the minor ravages of time and restore as best we can the original vision of the photographer, which is of more interest to me than the object.

Strangely the second image of the series seems to be missing, though you will probably have little difficulty in bringing “The Steerage” into your mind. There are other iconic images too, such as Cartier-Bresson’s 1938 ‘On the Banks of the Marne’.

But not all of the pictures are well-known and quite a few entirely new to me and by photographers I have not previously heard of, such as the beautiful Small Apples, 1984 by Finnish photographer Kristoffer Albrecht.

I don’t always share Peter Fetterman’s enthusiasms, but it is good to read the comments of someone so obviously enthusiastic about our medium – and to discover we have at least something in common outside of our interest in photography. So here is a little piece of London he may recognise.

Dobells, Records, Tower Court, Camden, 1987 87-2d-63-positive_2400
Dobell’s Records, Tower Court, Camden, London 1987

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.


Hull Colour – 4

Tuesday, July 14th, 2020
Humber Bridge, Hull 80hull065
Humber Bridge, Hull ca.1980

I’m not sure from exactly where I took this view of the Humber Bridge under construction, but I was fortunate enough to go on a tour of the construction organised for a group of science teachers, and it could have been made during that visit, though I don’t remember taking any colour pictures then. The bridge took around 9 years to build and was completed and opened in 1981.

The mill visible on Hessle foreshore was built around 1810 to grind the chalk that was being quarried here into whiting, finely powdered chalk used as a filler in paint and, together with linseed oil to make putty, in whitewash, gesso and ceramic glazes etc. The windmill went out of use about a hundred years ago, losing its cap and sails and the quarry closed in 1970. The area is now a country park.

Humber Bridge, Hull 80shull062
Humber Bridge, Hull ca.1980

After the cables were spun the box-girder sections of bridge decking were added, beginning in November 1979 and this picture must have been made shortly after this. Wikipedia states “the Humber Bridge was the longest single-span suspension bridge in the world for 17 years.”

When our family was travelling to Hull by train in the 1980s we would look out for the Humber Bridge in the distance to know we were getting close to our destination. I always offered a small cash prize for the first of our party to spot it through the train window, but think I never had to pay it out as I always saw it before the others.

River Humber, Hull 80hull110
River Humber, Hull 1980

The Humber has always seemed more mud in motion than a river, always a dirty brown colour, and it is only the small waves that differentiate between the river and the shore in this view. The mud and sandbanks in the estuary are always moving, and for many years ships travelling up the river to Hull or Goole needed the services of the Trinity House pilots, who started offering their services in 1512 and in 1581 were granted a charter authorising them to examine and licence pilots and take charge of ships. Various Acts of Parliament followed to endorse and regulate their activities, but the 1984 Pilotage Act transferred responsibility to the ports. In 2002 Associated British Ports terminated the authorisations of all Humber Pilots and employed their own pilots directly.

You can now walk along an esplanade along what had been the river frontage of Victoria Dock and various ship-building and other related businesses but only as far as what was the Alexandra Dock and is now ‘Green Port Hull’, a a wind energy manufacturing plant and riverside quay. I think this picture was probably taken just a little further downriver than the path now takes you.

Humber Dock Side, Hull 80hull113
Humber Dock Side, Hull 1980

There were some blue sheds on the dock side of Humber Dock that were demolished when the dock was dredged and converted into Hull Marina, and these had painted steel columns and wooden sides. The marine air had over the years produced this incredible rusting, lifting up the thick painted layers.

The buildings at the right of the picture are still there, though considerably altered on Humber Place at its junction with Wellington St, and are now Francis House, the offices of an accountancy firm, though the Wellington St building at extreme right has been demolished.

Railway Dock, Hull 80hull114
Railway Dock, Hull 1980

Although Hull lost some of its most impressive warehouses to a road scheme which split the Old Town from the city centre to take the heavy traffic for the King George Dock to the east of the city, some of those beside Railway Dock were retained, with the three gables shown here still visible, though the mass at the extreme right has been demolished.

KIng Billy, Market Place, Hull 80hull115a
Railway warning, Hull 1980

King Billy, King William III or William of Orange, successfully invaded Britain in 1688 in what is sometimes called the ‘Glorious Revolution’. James II was unpopular, largely because he was a Catholic and was seen to be changing Britain to a Catholic country, suspending anti-Catholic measures by decree when Parliament refused to do so and prosecuting Anglican bishops for seditious libel. His actions prompted anti-Catholic riots and many leading political figures of the day invited William to come and take over the country. But there were also leading Catholic members of the aristocracy who defended James and the ‘divine right of kings’ to overule all others, including Parliament. One of them was the governor of Hull, Lord Langdale, who took the military to occupy the city of Hull, fearing that William of Orange might try and land there. But instead of coming across the North Sea, William’s fleet went down the Channel and landed at Brixham on Novermber 5th, marching from there to London. The army deserted James and he fled to France on December 11th.

Hull had remained under Catholic control until December 3rd, when Protestant officers, hearing of a plot to imprison them, got together and arrested Langdale and his Catholic supporters. The day was celebrated in Hull for many years as ‘Town Taking Day’ when many wore orange sashes and celebrated with a procession, church service and fireworks in the Market Square – and around the statue of King Billy after it had been erected there in 1734.

Market Place is very much a backwater in the Old Town now, on the edge of the busy A63 and with one side occupied by some of the city’s most tedious buildings, as well as the rear end of Holy Trinity. Since the listed public toilets under King Billy closed there are few reasons to go there.

Railway warning, Hull 80hull116
Re-used Railway warning notice, Hull. 1980

A dockside building with a doorway closed with boards from a notice that was once beside one of the swing bridges, probably that taking Wellington St across the Humber Dock lock, warning people it is an offence to pass the warning lights onto the bridge or be on it while it is moving.

A public footpath crosses the swing bridge into Albert Dock, and some time in the early 1980s while I was out walking with my family I notice that my wife and younger son in a push-chair were no longer following me. I turned around an looked for them, eventually spotting them on the bridge which was turning around to admit a ship to the dock. They had walked past the warning lights before they had been activated and the bridge operator, do doubt thinking only of the lorries which went across, had failed to spot a young woman already on the bridge with a baby buggy. She got a free ride and profuse apologies rather than a fine.

One of Hull’s minor tourist attractions, perhaps inspired by notices such as these, is now a footbridge across the River Hull on which people are allowed to ride. Unfortunately ship movements up the Hull are now extremely rare and the bridge almost never operates in anger, but there are scheduled tests most if not all weekends on which I’ve taken a couple of rides.


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.


From the Royals

Monday, July 13th, 2020

I find to my surprise that it is very nearly seven years since I self-published my book ‘The Deserted Royals‘ and wrote a little about it here. Some of you who follow me on Facebook may have seen the rather wider range of pictures from that project made back in 1984 that I’m currently posting daily as my ‘story’ there, though I find Facebook particularly adept in hiding those posts I’d like to see and instead feeding me cats and celebs.

The ‘Royals’ in question are of course the Royal Docks, and most of my work was on the Royal Albert and King George V Docks in North Woolwich, by then part of the London Borough of Newham. I’d tried to photograph them from publicly accessible locations (with the usual mild bit of trespassing) but had found this very limiting, and wrote to the Port of London Authority who still owned these two docks, requesting permission to photograph them from the inside. Rather to my surprise they replied and granted me the access I’d requested. A similar letter to the owners of the Royal Victoria Dock went unanswered.

As well as the daily release on Facebook I will shortly be adding these pictures, along with others I took of London in 1984 to my Flickr album London 1984. At the moment it has pictures I took earlier in the year, including some from the West India Docks. I decided at the start of this year to put pictures on Flickr at a relatively high resolution and high quality and to trust any commercial users to respect my copyright and contact me to pay for usage. Although it’s almost certainly over-idealistic, I don’t think I’m likely to lose any significant income. I’ve used these larger images in this post and if you right click and open them in a new tab you can see them larger than in the post.

Here are a few of the pictures I’ve recently posted on Facebook, along with the usually short texts which accompany them, beginning below with an introductory picture and ending with today’s picture, about which I wrote a little more than usual.


South Quay, King George V Dock, Newham 1984
84-7c-21.
I had obtained permission from the PLA to photograph inside the dock area they owned – the King George V and Royal Albert Docks two docks on two days, and made my first visit in July. The security men in the gate house were clearly surprised that anyone should want to come and take pictures, but not very interested in what I did. Once inside there was no security presence and I could wander freely on the south quay of the King George V dock and on the central peninsula between the two docks, though their was no access to the north side of Albert Dock.
I was not supposed to enter any of the buildings, which could be unsafe, but I did take a number of pictures through windows and doorways, and later did cautiously enter some of the smaller buildings that seemed safe. On my first visit I exposed around ten rolls of black and white film – 360 exposures as well as some colour transparencies over around six or seven hours of work.
Iason and Ion are the two ships which could be seen in the distance in some pictures posted earlier, at the west end of the north quay of the King George V dock. To the left is the dry or graving dock at the west end of the dock, full of water.

King George V Dock, Newham 1984
84-7e-63.
A bollard and a more substantial shed on the land between the two docks, now the runway for London City Airport, looking roughly east. The row of cranes is along the north side of the King George V Dock.

Office curtain, King George V Dock, Royal Albert Dock, Newham 1984
84-7l-53.
This was one of the few pictures, possibly the only picture, where I used flash to capture the curtain blowing in the wind and to balance the light inside the office with that outside. It was quite a pretty curtain, a landscape with trees and something of a Japanese feel, but it was the wall-paper that attracted me more with its groups of small fishing boats in front of a shore with what was probably meant to be a fortress but looked to me more like a cement works like those further down the Thames.
Obviously the scene outside the window with its cranes was vital to the picture, and balancing the light levels inside and outside was no simple matter. Nowadays modern cameras do this kind of thing automatically but back then it involved calculations using distance and the flash guide number, careful exposure measurements through the window and a great deal of luck. It was made more difficult by the slow flash sync speed of all SLR cameras of the time, limited by their focal plane shutters, in this case to 1/60th of a second. I think it was the first time I’d tried to do anything like this, though I had read about it in photographic magazines and I only took a single frame, so it was definitely a case of beginner’s luck

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.


Further North in TQ32

Saturday, July 4th, 2020
Swimming Pool, Golden Lane Estate, City, 1992 TQ3282-017
Swimming Pool, Golden Lane Estate, City, 1992

I don’t know why TQ32 didn’t take me very much into north London during the years 1986-92 as certainly in later years I spent more time in Canonbury, Stoke Newington and Enfield etc, but this particular 1km wide strip perhaps just avoids the areas of them that interested me most.

Dummies,  Old St, 1988, Islington TQ3282-005
Dummies, Old St, 1988, Islington

It’s just an accident of geography that while Green Lanes begins just on its west edge, as it goes north it moves just a little to the west, taking it out of the area. Another accident that much of what I photographed in Tottenham lies just a short way to its east. Of course the pictures I took of these areas still exist and are either already on line in other albums or will I hope soon be there as I get around to uploading other strips of the project.

Tin, Zinc, Iron & Copper Workers, Dufferin Ave, Old St, 1986  TQ3282-003
Tin, Zinc, Iron & Copper Workers, Dufferin Ave, Old St, 1986

TQ3282 begins on the edge of the city where both Islington and Hackney and meet it around Old St in Finsbury, Shoreditch and Hoxton. I don’t think there are now any Tin, Zinc, Iron & Copper Workers in Dufferin Ave, which seems largely now to be home to various financial organisations and I think this building close to Bunhill Fields may have been replaced by something more modern, or at least refronted.

SEFCO Ltd, Honduras St, Old St  1986 TQ3282-004
SEFCO Ltd, Honduras St, Old St 1986, Islington

Honduras Street is one of several short streets between Old St and Baltic St, just west of Golden Lane, and at one time was where Olympus Cameras had their service centre, which is probably why I walked down it and took this picture of SEFCO Ltd which will probably have been taken on an Olympus OM camera.

There was a company called SEFCO Ltd offering to supply specially shaped rubber pieces from an address in Rosebery Avenue in a small ad in the magazine Electrical Engineering in September 1955 who may possibly be the same company moved to a different but nearby address, but otherwise I can find no other information on the internet.

In later years I visited Honduras Street to go to exhibitions and events when it became the home of Foto8 magazine and the Host gallery from 2002 to 2012.

Mural, Caribbean House, Bridport Place, Hoxton, 1986 TQ3283-001
Mural, Caribbean House, Bridport Place, Hoxton, 1986, Hackney

Among the other pictures that I made in TQ32 were a few from Hoxton and Stoke Newington and the start of Green Lanes, including a fine travel agent’s window and several of a photographer’s shop.

Photographer, shop window, Newington Green, Green Lanes, 1988 TQ3285-008
Photographer’s window, Newington Green, Green Lanes, 1988

And further north there are some of interest you can find for yourself, including one with some particular resonance at the moment which I probably photographed at the time in part for its street name, Black Boy Lane.

You will find the pictures on Pages 3 and 4 of TQ32 London Cross-section.