Posts Tagged ‘Smithfield’

London 1986 – Page 11

Wednesday, June 24th, 2020
Temple Bar, Royal Courts of Justice, Strand, Fleet St, City, Westminster 86-9h-34_2400
Temple Bar, Strand

Page 11 of my album London 1986 has some of my favourite black and white pictures I took that year, at least in London, and is centred around the City of London, with pictures from its northen extremities in Moorgate, Smithfield and the Barbican and close to the City in the surrounding London Boroughs, particularly Islington, where my walks took me around Farringdon, Clerkenwell, Old St and Finsbury.

Atlas Paper Works, Newington Causeway, Newington, Southwark 86-9q-31_2400
Atlas Paper Works, Newington Causeway, Newington, Southwark

I drifted into Camden around Kings Cross, Lambeth close to Waterloo, Southwark at Newington and The Borough, Covent Garden, Temple and Strand in Westminster and Whitechapel and Aldgate in Tower Hamlets.

Wig & Pen Dining Club, Strand, Westminster 86-9h-35_2400
Wig & Pen Club, Strand, Westminster

Those who have been following the colour work I’ve posted in the series of slices through London will recognise a number of the places in these pictures, particularly in the album TQ31- London Cross-section which I’ve written about recently. One of them is the Wigt & Pen club on the Strand, still very much in business back in 1986, but which closed in 2003.

Lloyd's Diary, Amwell St, Kings Cross, Islington 86-9o-55_2400
Lloyd’s Diary, Amwell St, Kings Cross, Islington

Occasionally the black and white and colour versions show a similar viewpoint, but usually in black and white I was more concerned with documenting a building or place as a part of the city while the colour work was often more concerned with detail and particularly colour. The black and white is generally more of a document, more objective and the colour more personal, more of a response to the subject.

Frazier St, Lower Marsh, Waterloo, Lambeth 86-9r-11_2400
LowerMarsh, Waterloo, Lambeth

The routes that I researched and plotted were determined by my desire to try to document the whole of London, and to photograph its significant and typical buildings, streets, squares etc. I think it was largely for practical reasons that I did this in black and white, partly because of cost, but more that black and white was able to handle a much higher dynamic range than colour film.

King James St, The Borough, Southwark  86-10a-21_2400
King James St, The Borough, Southwark

But black and white back then was still the primary medium of photography, both in camera and in publication and exhibition. I’d worked for over 15 years primarily as a black and white photographer and almost all of my published work had been in black and white. Looking at the pictures now it is usually the black and white that still interests me most. Things have very much changed, particularly with the move to digital. I only work in colour and can’t ever see myself going back to black and white. And I seldom see black and white by other photographers – particularly not by younger photographers who have never really served their time with black and white – without thinking it would have been better in colour.

Page 11 of my album London 1986.

City to Finsbury

Thursday, June 18th, 2020
Blades, Hairdresser, New Bridge St, Blackfriars 1992 TQ3181-065

I found this head in a barber’s window on New Bridge St fascinating if rather revolting and made several pictures of it and a similar head in another of the shop’s windows. At £11.95 for Mens Shampoo Cut and Finish back then (£25 at today’s prices) this was an establishment catering for the relatively wealthy, though women may think it still a bargain compared with what they pay. The company which had a number of shops is still in business but not at this address.

The Queen's Head, Ludgate Broadway, 1992 TQ3181-070

Curiously this little area of central London remained largely as it had been left after the war when I photographed here in 1992. The Queen’s Head was left alone after bombing in 1940 destroyed its neighbours, the Blue Last pub, the Ventura Restaurant and a stamp dealer in Ludgate Broadway. Fifty two years later their empty spaces only in use for car parks. Although I’ve labelled it on the enprint as Ludgate Broadway, a sign on the boarding around the bomb site reads Blackfriars Lane, but the view continues down f Ludgate Broadway to Pilgrim St. The size of the tree in the bomb site gives some indication of how long this site has been empty, though I think the ground level was some way down on the other side of the fence. The red building in Pilgrim St is still there, the 1891 City Bank with a frontage on Ludgate Hill, and had recently been restored at the time of the picture. A year later Ludgate Court on its west side was renamed  Pageantmaster Court. The ugly block to the left of the City Bank has since been replaced by an even uglier one, but both this and the Old Bailey are no longer visible from where I was standing after the bomb site was redeveloped, I think around 2000.

B W Bellgrove, Meat, Eagle Court, Farringdon, 1986 TQ3181-010

Apart from the colour which seemed appropriate for the trade, I was certainly attracted by the painted brickwork around the door and the signs, both for ‘B. W. Bellgrove (Meat) Limited – Wholesale. Retail & Catering Butcher’ which seemed unusually explicit, and also for the street name, Eagle Court, which made the location clear. Eagle Court is a short distance to the north of Smithfield Market, and runs between Britton St and St John’s Lane.

Wells House, Spa Green Estate, Rosebery Ave, Finsbury, 1992 TQ3182-017

Designed by Berthold Lubetkin in 1938, the foundation stone was laid in 1946 and the scheme completed in 1949, the Spa Green Estate between Rosebery Avenue and St John St in Clerkenwell is perhaps the most complete realisation of the modernist approach to social housing and a power expression of the new welfare state. It’s special status, confirmed by Grade II* listing in 1998 has enabled the estate, which had begun to deteriorate as government policies turned against council housing and made it difficult for local authorities to properly maintain it, has enable the TMO now responsible to carry out internal refurbishments to modern standards (and in many ways the original was well ahead of its times) and to restore the exterior to reflect Lubetkin’s original vision.

Wigton House, Agdon St, Finsbury, 1992 TQ3182-019

Wigton House on Agdon St in Finsbury. The street used to be called Wood’s Close, but at the start of the 20th century was renamed Northampton St, and then in 1939 the Marquess of Northampton (whose Compton family were the local landowners) was asked to suggest a new name for it and suggested Agdon St after property his family owned in Warwickshire. Back in the middle of the eighteenth century people apparently used to gather here to travel with an armed escort into London because of the danger of being robbed.

This was the rear entrance to Wigton House, whose frontage was on St John St. It was built by John Laing & Son Ltd in 1936-8 as a speculative development and named after Wigton in Cumbria, the area where the company came from. The building was converted into flats shortly after I took this picture in 1992 and renamed Paramount House. The frontage on St John St was altered but this side remains clearly identifiable.

The album TQ31 London Cross-section contains many more pictures from the City and Finsbury as well as areas both to the south and north, all made in the 1km wide strip with Grid reference beginning TQ31, all made between 1986 and 1992.


City, Whitechapel and Wapping 1986

Sunday, May 31st, 2020

Page 7 of my black and white work in 1986 London Photos begins in the City but then gravitates east to Aldgate, Whitechapel and Wapping.

Holborn Viaduct, Farringdon St, West Smithfield, City  86-7v-12_2400

Holborn Viaduct which carries the road over the Fleet valley – Farringdon St – is a remarkable piece of Victoriana, and a considerable feat of engineering at the time as well as well as a remarkable example of city planning. The scheme, which included the buildings at the four corners of the bridge as well as roads around including Holborn Circus, streets leading to Smithfield Market, as well as provision for gas, water, sewage and other services cost around £2 million in 1863-69 and has been described as “the most ambitious and costly improvement scheme of the [nineteenth] century” and as the world’s first flyover. You can read a detailed account of it at The Victorian Web.

What interested me most were the sculptures which adorn the bridge and I’ve photographed them on various occasions over the years. In 1986 I could only bring myself to stop taking pictures when I came to the end of a cassette of film and also photographed the bridge from below and the corner buildings. I’ve only put two of the 18 frames I took onto Flickr.

Smithfield Market, City 86-8r-45-Edit_2400

There are a number of pictures from the area around Smithfield Market, though I’ve never got up early enough to photograph the market truly in progress – and other photographers have done so pretty well so I didn’t feel I needed to make the effort.

Albion Buildings, Little Britain, City 86-8r-64-Edit_2400

Little Britain remains a fascinating street though now I think only the facades remain and the area behind has been destroyed. I came across it a little too late when demolition of much of it was already underway and by 1986 I think it was well advanced. These properties in Albion Place, for Overbury & Sons Limited at 7 and 8 and John Lovegrove & Co Ltd at 6 had long been closed.

Hessel St, Whitechapel, Tower Hamlets 86-8s-55-Edit_2400

Hessel St in Whitechapel was a remarkable street full of old shops, some now junk shops, others Bangladeshi grocers but with some still retaining the names and descriptions of their earlier Jewish shops. As well as these black and white picture I also photographed some of the shops in colour.

These pictures were made in August 1986 and I returned some time later hoping to take more but I think then most of the street had disappeared.

Prescot St, Aldgate, Tower Hamlets 86-8s-61-Edit_2400
Prescot St, Aldgate, Tower Hamlets 86-8s-64-Edit_2400

Prescott Street now looks a little different, though a number of the older buildings have survived, including a fine pub. But most are now in very different uses and in rather better condition than when I took these pictures in 1986.

Discovery Walk, Wapping Lane, Wapping, Tower Hamlets Discovery Walk, Wapping Lane, Wapping, Tower Hamlets 86-8s-23-Edit_2400

My street map describes this as ‘Ornamental Canal’ and I think that the redevelopment of the London Docks in Wapping is perhaps the least successful of all docklands redevelopment in retaining any real impression of the former dock with the exception of just a small area at its southwest and Shadwell New Basin. Wapping outside the dock area has fared a little better too, though it is sometimes only skin deep.

Page 7 1986 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.