Posts Tagged ‘signs’

More from Southwark

Monday, June 29th, 2020

I recently added these pictures (and many others) to my Flickr album TQ32 – London Cross-section.

Church, Councillor St, Camberwell,1989 TQ3277-014
Church, Councillor St, Camberwell,1989

Enter In To His Gates With Thanksgiving‘, the sentiment over a church door in Camberwell had two missing letters. It perhaps wasn’t surprising that the door was firmly closed and the gate locked, as I took this picture on a Friday, May 5th 1989. Nothing much special happened that day, but the previous day had been the 10th anniversary of Margaret Thatcher becoming prime minister, whose policies had a great effect on my photography, causing much of the dereliction and empty factories I was recording.

I was still a full-time teacher, but at a sixth-form and community college which then offered a wide range of evening as well as daytime courses. As a union rep I’d won a local agreement on timetabling which limited the number of sessions within which staff could be required to work, as well as national agreements to the number of contact hours. For me that meant my teaching finished at noon, and if I rushed to the station I could be in London taking pictures around an hour later.

Cafe, Southwark Bridge Rd,The Borough, 1991 TQ3279-012
Cafe, Southwark Bridge Rd,The Borough, 1991

I photographed this cafe on several occasions from 1986 to 1992, and though it never looked very open, I think it must still have been in business in the earlier years. In 1991, the street number 108 is painted large, and this was 108 Great Guildford Street, in a little tangle of streets on the edge of Southwark Bridge Road. It was once the Fox and Hounds public house, re-built in 1884 – and according to ‘Pubwiki’, its address over the years has over the years before its current one variously been ‘Little Bandy Leg Walk’, 118 Southwark Bridge Rd and 19 Little Guildford Street.

The building is still there, but the ground floor frontage is much changed. As well as these colour details I find photographed the entire building from across the street in 1992 (and possibly in earlier years.) I think few of the buildings which can be seen reflected in its windows have gone.

Bankside, 1986, Southwark TQ3280-017
The Jones-Wilcox Patent Wire-Bound Hose Co Ltd 47-48 Bankside, 1986

Walter Henry Wilcox established his company in 1876-8 selling engineering supplies and lubricating oils and moved from Uppper Thames St across the river to 36 Southwark St in 1880, and first advertised his wire-bound hose, the first of its type in 1888. The wholly-owned subsidiary, the Jones-Willcox Patent Wire Bound Hose Co, was set up in 1897 and was in business on Bankside until 1976 when it moved to Peacock Street. Their Bankside works was demolished around 1986 for the building of the replica Globe Theatre.

Grace’s Guide has condiserable information about the company, including reproductions of many advertisements and a long quotation about the widespread use “thoughout the Empire” of these hoses for petrol and other oils “constructed in an extensive Factory … from specially prepared canvas”. Their hoses contained no rubber which petrol and oils rapidly destroy. https://www.gracesguide.co.uk/1930_Industrial_Britain:_W._H._Willcox_and_Co

Mural, Porlock St, The Borough, 1992 TQ3279-021
Mural, Porlock St, The Borough, 1992

“… and he ascended into heaven” says the text at the bottom of this mural, the words I think coming from the head to their left. It may well have been a representation of the priest of St Hugh’s Church, part of a settlement founded in 1885 by former pupils of Charterhouse School to bring education and enlightenment to the deprived communities of Bermondsey and built in 1896. Probably the other figures represented local residents. The mural was I think on the tall wall of the building, part of the settlement premises that then stood on the corner of Porlock St and Crosby Row.

This later became known as the ‘Rainbow Building’ from a later mural on it, a rather primitive representation of a mis-coloured rainbow on a bed of grass with two trees and in the blue sky above a large yellow sun and a larger crude representation of the earth, presumably based on a child’s painting.

Church and ‘Rainbow Building’ were demolished in 2011 and replaced by flats with a new St Hugh’s Church in the basement which opened in 2013.

Park St, Southwark, 1992 TQ3280-042
Granary, Park St, 1992

This corner of Park St next to the railway bridge is still entirely recognisable. This image shows some of the problems of reproducing from a poor quality enprint and at some point I will try to find the negative to make a clearer image. But its defects give it a particular patina.

Painted signs, faded, label 15 Park St as a Granary, and it was apparently in use around 1900 for agricultural produce from Kent farms. There is more largely illegible signage around the right hand door. Some time after I made this picture the carefully faded text ‘PEROT EXPORTATEUR’ was painted over the doorway – presumably for some film – and Banksy and other graffitists later added contributions, including the text ‘BANKSY WOULD BE NOBODY WITHOUT BLEU LE RAT’ to the right-hand side.

Among the films which this building has appeared is as the gang hideout in Guy Ritchie’s 1998 crime comedy film ‘Lock Stock And Two Smoking Barrels’. The street also puts in an appearance in quite a few other films, including Howards End, 102 Dalmations, Keep the Aspidistra Flying, Entrapment


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.


1986 Complete – Page 2

Wednesday, April 22nd, 2020
Varden St, Whitechapel, Tower Hamlets 86-5d-11_2400

Images in this post are embedded from Flickr where you can view them at a large size by clicking on the image. You will need to use your browser back button to return to this post. Or you can right-click and select ‘Open link in new tab’.

My album 1986 London Photographs is now complete on Flickr, and this is the second of a short series of posts pointing out a few of my favourite images from the year.

Fashion St, Spitalfields, Tower Hamlets 86-4r-16_2400

Several things come out strongly to me as I look through these pictures, mostly taken around Brick Lane and other areas of Whitechapel. One of the major themes that has run through much of my photography is the writing on the wall, whether graffiti or signs and posters. Language is such an important aspect of our social interactions and its inclusion in these images makes them into a record of how people lived and thought.

Brick Lane, Spitalfields, Tower Hamlets 86-5a-01_2400

In 1984 London was rapidly becoming the multicultural city we now know, though of course it had been so on a lesser scale for many years if not centuries. Spitalfields where some of these pictures were made had long been a home for new communities moving to London and there was still abundant evidence of its Jewish population as well as the Bangladeshis who had by then largely replaced them.

Commercial Rd, Whitechapel, Tower Hamlets 86-5c-64_2400

Housing, then as now, was an important issue in London in particular, and some of these pictures reflect this and other issues such as racism. Although I think some of these pictures are well-composed and even attractive compositionally, I’ve always considered the formal aspects – line, shape, tone, texture, form etc to be the means to communicate a message rather than an end in themselves. I aimed to make photography that had something to say and said it well rather than to produce well composed, attractive or even striking or popular images.

Limehouse, Tower Hamlets 86-5h-66_2400

There are another 95 pictures on the second page of the album, all with a location, taken from the usually rather incomplete information I recorded on the contact sheets. I’ve tried to check these before posting, but corrections and other comments are always welcome. I’m happy for these pictures – with suitable attribution – to be shared on social media, but they remain copyright and any commercial or editorial use requires a licence from me.


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.

There are no adverts on this site and it receives no sponsorship, and I like to keep it that way. But it does take a considerable amount of my time and thought, and if you enjoy reading it, please share on social media.
And small donations via Paypal – perhaps the cost of a beer – would be appreciated.


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1986 Complete – Page 1

Saturday, April 11th, 2020

Images in this post are embedded from Flickr where you can view them at a large size by clicking on the image. You will need to use your browser back button to return to this post. Or you can right-click and select ‘Open link in new tab’.

Commercial St, Tower Hamlets 86-2d-51_2400

My album 1986 London Photographs is now complete on Flickr, and this is the first of a short series of posts pointing out a few of my favourite images from the year.

Of course the 1370 pictures in the album are not all I took that year, but perhaps about a quarter or a fifth. Quite a lot more than I would have selected or shown back in 1986, but the content has aged well, even if sometimes the actual physical negatives have deteriorated. Images that might have seemed a little mundane when I first saw them on the contact sheets have often gained considerably in interest as historical records.

There is a little redundancy in those 1370, and I’ve sometimes included several pictures of the same subject, where I’ve tried different ways to approach it. But the great majority of subjects were treated to only a single frame.

Crosby Row, Southwark 86-4f-11_2400

Many of those not included still have interest and value as historical records, but preparing them to go on line is tedious and time-consuming, particular as some need quite extensive digital retouching after the ‘scanning’ stage – mostly done by photographing the negatives with a Nikon D810 and Nikon 60mm macro lens. Some of my negatives were damaged by minute insects in search of gelatine, leaving their track as they chewed their way across them and depositing their frass and occasional body parts and complete restoration isn’t always possible.

Reuter, Royal Exchange, City 86-4l-66_2400

I’ve also been having problems in getting even lighting at the negative edges. This isn’t a problem with mounted slides, where the image is cropped, but I want the whole image, and possibly the problem is with light diffusing from the clear film edges. But it does mean every frame needs correction in Photoshop – rather like the little bit of edge-burning we used to do under the enlarger.

Courtenay Square, Kennington, Lambeth 86-4q-45_2400

I was working on a number of themes at the time and as well as recording buildings that interested me was particularly interest in sculptures, shopfronts, shop window displays and trees in the city. The first page of pictures on Flickr (100 images) includes work mainly from Southwark, the City of London and Spitalfields.

Brick Lane area, Spitalfields, Tower Hamlets 86-4p-55_2400

I took very few pictures of people at this time, partly because I was rather shy, but more that I had been affected by some feelings being strongly expressed by some at the time about privacy and arguments that it was wrong to photograph people without first seeking their permission. I was never convinced by these, but they were off-putting, and I was sometimes shouted at when taking pictures. Perhaps more importantly I wanted to direct attention to the things being photographed, and was aware that people almost always steal the frame.

There are another 95 pictures on the first page of the album, all with a location, taken from the usually rather incomplete information I recorded on the contact sheets. I’ve tried to check these before posting, but corrections and other comments are always welcome. I’m happy for these pictures – with suitable attribution – to be shared on social media, but they remain copyright and any commercial or editorial use requires a licence from me.


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.

There are no adverts on this site and it receives no sponsorship, and I like to keep it that way. But it does take a considerable amount of my time and thought, and if you enjoy reading it, please share on social media.
And small donations via Paypal – perhaps the cost of a beer – would be appreciated.