Posts Tagged ‘Stratford’

Church Hall, Station, Shops, Hospital – Leytonstone 1989

Monday, June 10th, 2024

Church Hall, Station, Shops, Hospital – Leytonstone 1989 – more from my walk on Sunday September 3rd 1989.

Dossetter Printcrafts, Leytonstone Rd, Maryland, Stratford, Newham, 1989  89-8p-13
Dossetter Printcrafts, Leytonstone Rd, Maryland, Stratford, Newham, 1989 89-8p-13

I think this was built as the church hall for Trinity Presbyterian Church. The church was founded in 1863 and the hall was built the following year, the church coming later in 1870. The church closed in 1941 and both church and hall were used as factories. The church burnt down in 1953. This building was certainly still in use by Dossetter in the 1970s but since I photographed it has been replaced by flats. The block at left is still there.

Leytonstone Rd, Maryland, Newham, 1989 89-9a-61
Leytonstone Rd, Maryland, Newham, 1989 89-9a-61

Another view of the former church hall. The road layout was altered at least twice sinc I made this pictre and there is now a pedestrianised area with a 10m spiral tower by Malcolm Robertson carrying a clock.

Maryland Station, Leytonstone Rd, Maryland, Newham, 1989 89-9a-65
Maryland Station, Leytonstone Rd, Maryland, Newham, 1989 89-9a-65

Maryland Station was opened as Maryland Point Station in 1873 by the Great Eastern Railway, 34 years after the line was built. It was renamed as simply Maryland in 1940 and the new buildings were built during the war years in LNER Art Deco style, designed by Sir Thomas Penberthy Bennett, then Director of Bricks at the Ministry of Works. Later he was to be the main architect for Crawley New Town and Stevenage. Network SuuthEast, created in 1982, later added their sign which I think fits reasonably well with the rest.

Shops, Leytonstone Rd, Maryland, Newham, 1989 89-9a-66
Shops, Leytonstone Rd, Maryland, Newham, 1989 89-9a-66

I could not walk by Scorchers, a 24hr Ironing Service without photographing their signage. I think their 24hrs was the turnaround time rather than suggesting people might have an urgent need for some ironing at say, 3am which they would rush to deal with, though I did have a vision of a van with flashing blue lights and an ironing board rushing through the streets. I cannot now find the exact location and think these buildings may have been on a side street and have probably since been demolished.

Church Hall, Station, Shops, Hospital - Leytonstone 1989

I wouldn’t normally post this in these posts as it is only a very slight variation on an image from my previous post. I’d turned around and taken the pictures above and then came back to this place to make a further six frames – a very unusual thing for me, but I was determined to get this exactly as I wanted it. And here it is with the text that came with it on the web site for my ‘1989’ project.

Again from ‘1989’

Church Hall, Station, Shops, Hospital - Leytonstone 1989
Langthorne Hospital, Thorne Close, Leytonstone, Waltham Forest, 1989 89-9a-56
Langthorne Hospital, Thorne Close, Leytonstone, Waltham Forest, 1989 89-9a-56

This splendid building is still there just a little off Leytonstone Road in Thorne Close and was built as the Board Room block for the West Ham Union Workhouse around 1870. In 1930 West Ham Borough Council renamed it the Central Home Public Assistance Institution and it was again renamed when it became art of the NHS as Langthorne Hospital. It continued to specialise in geriatric care and had the motto ‘fiat jucunda senectus’ – let there be the delights of old age. It was finally closed in 1999. The older buildings on the site are all Grade II listed.

Langthorne Health Centre, Langthorne Rd,  Leytonstone, Waltham Forest, 1989 89-9a-41
Langthorne Health Centre, Langthorne Rd, Leytonstone, Waltham Forest, 1989 89-9a-41

The Langthorne Health Centre is still at 13 Langthorne Road, though it appears now to be run by L L Medical Care though still giving NHS treatment.

Church Hall, Station, Shops, Hospital - Leytonstone 1989

Another from the web site – though these images without the text are on Flickr. Here I’m presenting the images in the order they were taken, but in the book and web site they were thoughtfully sequenced – and perhaps make a little more sense. The book preview shows around half of the book’s 20 pictures.

More from this walk to come.


FlickrFacebookMy London DiaryHull PhotosLea ValleyParis
London’s Industrial HeritageLondon Photos

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


Maryland My Maryland, Stratford 1989

Wednesday, June 5th, 2024

Maryland My Maryland, Stratford 1989: It was not until the beginning of September 1989 that I found time to return to London, starting my walks there again on Sunday 3rd September at Stratford in East London and walking from the station towards Maryland.

Shop, St Peter & St Paul, Church, Flats, Holgate Ave, Plough Rd, Battersea, Wandsworth, 1989 89-8c-76
Tom Allen Centre, Grove Crescent Rd, Stratford, Newham, 1989 89-8p-21

Nobody is absolutely sure why Stratford has an area called Maryland but it could be that this is an unusually named after Maryland Point on the Potomac River in Virginia. Richard Lee (1617-1664) emigrated to the then colony around 1640, making a fortune as “a tobacco planter, trader, an owner and trader of slaves, and an employer and importer of English indentured servants.” Returning to England in 1658 he bought land in Stratford and owned a large house there. The name Maryland Point is first known to have appeared on a map in 1696.

Trinity College Oxford set up a College Mission “in connexion with the Great Eastern Railway Works at Stratford le Bow” around 1890 and it continued there until destroyed by a German air-raid in 1941.

Tom Allen came to work at their mission in Bermondsey while still studying at Trinity in 1909 where he obtained a “Fourth in History” and a Rugby Blue. From 1911 to 1914 he was Warden of the Stratford mission but when the war broke out enlisted as a private in the Grenadier Guards, but was soon offered a commission in the Irish Guards. The following February he went to France “where less than one month later, in the firing trenches near La Bassée he was killed instantaneously by a shell.” He was only 27. The centre named for him was built in 1957.

It is now The Sanctuary, home to The Redeemed Christian Church of God.

Shop, St Peter & St Paul, Church, Flats, Holgate Ave, Plough Rd, Battersea, Wandsworth, 1989 89-8c-76
Maryland Works, Grove Crescent Rd, Stratford, Newham, 1989 89-8p-22

I can’t make out the name of the company once engraved on the building of the Maryland Works at 20/22 Grove Crescent Road as it is partly covered by the later sign board for ( I think) ‘MTM ties around the world of B J Bass & Co Ltd.’ It and the offices beyond are long gone, replaced by blocks of flats, backing on to the railway.

The Grove Picture Theatre, The Grove, Maryland, Stratford, Newham, 1989 89-8p-23
The Grove Picture Theatre, The Grove, Maryland, Stratford, Newham, 1989 89-8p-23

Built in 1910 by Frazzi Fireproof Construction Ltd of Whitechapel the Grove Picture Palace later became a billiards hall. Although unused and in a rather poor stage it still retained its original decoration and railings in 1989, though its signage above the ground floor had gone. The sign ‘READ GOD’S WORD THE BIBLE’ was on the wall belonging to the Central Baptist Church next door,

The Grove Picture Theatre, The Grove, Maryland, Stratford, Newham, 1989 89-8p-24
The Grove Picture Theatre, The Grove, Maryland, Stratford, Newham, 1989 89-8p-24

You can see pictures of it as built and as a surgery on Arthur Lloyd’s Theatres in Stratford East page.

The Grove Picture Theatre, The Grove, Maryland, Stratford, Newham, 1989 89-8p-25
The Grove Picture Theatre, The Grove, Maryland, Stratford, Newham, 1989 89-8p-25

Another image of the former cinema. It appears now to have been restored very much to its original state despite not even being locally listed.

Bacchus's Bin, Leytonstone Rd, Maryland, Stratford, Newham, 1989 89-8p-11
Bacchus’s Bin, Leytonstone Rd, Maryland, Stratford, Newham, 1989 89-8p-11

Leytonstone Road starts at the north end of The Grove after it crosses the railway and runs parallel to the tracks to Maryland Station before turning north.

These buildings at 7-13 Leytonstone Road are still there but a little altered with the roof of Bacchus’s Bin (now BAR ONE and Thailander Restaurant) having had its gables and the half barrels and sign at first floor level removed. The Chevy Chase pub at No 11 closed in 2010, was until 2014 a restaurant and after being empty for a couple of years is now a solicitors.

Church, Francis St, Maryland, Stratford, Newham, 1989 89-8p-12
Church, Francis St, Maryland, Stratford, Newham, 1989 89-8p-12

This is Emmanuel Hall and is now the Without Borders Church. It has lost its large cross and most of the row of windows along its side since I made this picture.

Maryland Video, Maryland, Stratford, Newham, 1989 89-8p-15
Maryland Video, Maryland, Stratford, Newham, 1989 89-8p-15

This picture on the corner looking north where Leytonstone Road turns north with the tower block of Henniker Point in the distance was the first image in the body of my Blurb book, ‘1989’, ISBN: 978-1-909363-01-4, published in 2012 and still available both as softcover or PDF. I had previoiusly published the work on the web in 2006 and it was exhibited in the 2010 London International Documentary Festival – I think the first occasion on which this festival featured still photography.

This is one of only two books of mine which are image/text pieces, though others have some separate texts. For the text I misappropriated the name ‘Upton Sinclair’, an American write and political activist who died in 1968, but I was thinking of nearby Upton Park and the well-known psychogeographic writer Iain Sinclair whose works on London I had long admired. After all there are hundreds if not thousands of us ‘Peter Marshalls’ so why not one more Upton Sinclair?

The blurb on Blurb about ‘1989’ states: ” ‘1989′ claims to be Chapter 1 of a book based on the notes made by the photographer on a walk through the streets of north-east London with a well-known author of ‘psycho-geographical’ works.

But the author is entirely fictional, and the notes, written in 2005, after his death and sixteen years after the pictures were taken are in part a gentle spoof on psycho-geography but more importantly a reflection on photography and the documentary process.”

Parts of it I still find quite funny and it really is one of my favourites among my books.

More from this walk on a later post.


FlickrFacebookMy London DiaryHull PhotosLea ValleyParis
London’s Industrial HeritageLondon Photos

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


Conscientious Objectors, Olympics, Cleaners, Iraq & An Opening – 2008

Wednesday, May 15th, 2024

Conscientious Objectors, Olympics, Cleaners, Iraq & An Opening – Back in 2008 I had rather more stamina than now and my day on Thursday 15 May 2008 included three protests and a walk around the outskirts of the closed Olympic site, ending with attending an exhibition opening in Brixton.


International Conscientious Objector’s Day – Tavistock Square

Conscientious Objectors, Olympics, Cleaners, Iraq & An Opening

I’ve just checked on a web site which events are marked on 15th May, and although it lists nine, including National Nylon Stocking Day, it fails to mention the most important of all, that this is Nabka Day remembering the Palestinian Catastrophe, the violent ethnic cleansing of Palestinians from their land, belongings and homes following the establishment of Israel in 1948.

Long commemorated by supporters of Palestian rights, the commemoration of the 75th anniversary in 2023 was recognised by a UN General Assembly resolution. Today many are marking this around the world with events in many UK workplaces and Saturday 18th May there is a national march in London for Nabka 76 calling for and ent to the genocide in Gaza and for the UK to stop arming Israel.

Conscientious Objectors, Olympics, Cleaners, Iraq & An Opening

Less well known (and also not mentioned on that web site), May 15th is International Conscientious Objector’s Day, first observed in 1982 as a European day and in 1985 adopted by War Resisters’ International. In London today (15 May 2024) there will be a ceremony in Tavistock Square as there was in 2008, though starting an hour later at 1pm.

In 1987 the United Nations Commission on Human Rights recognised “the right of everyone to have conscientious objection to military service as a legitimate exercise of the right of freedom, thought, and religion“. However in many countries around the world this right is still denied.

Conscientious Objectors, Olympics, Cleaners, Iraq & An Opening

Tavistock Square has a number of memorials including at the centre of the garden a statue of Mahatma Ghandi given to the city of London in 1967 by the Indian High Commissioner, and a cherry tree planted by the then mayor of Camden Millie Miller in 1967 to commemorate the victims of the Hiroshima bombing, as well as a memorial to the holocaust. On the railings of the square is a memorial plaque to those killed in the bus destroyed in the square by the London suicide bombing of 7 July, 2005.

At the north end of the garden, close to the cherry tree, is a large grey rough-hewn boulder of Cumbrian slate was unveiled in 1994 as a memorial to conscientious objectors by composer Sir Michael Tippett, himself a conscientious objector, and people gathered on the grass in front of this.

Conscientious Objectors, Olympics, Cleaners, Iraq & An Opening

After speeches and songs Bill Hetherington of the Peace Pledge Union read out the names and gave brief details of individual COs, past and present, from over 80 countries around the world, as a small representation of those who, as the words engraved on the memorial read, “…have established and are maintaining the right to refuse to kill.

As the names were read, those taking part brought up white carnations – a symbol of the peace movement – and laid them on the stone. Each had on it a label with the country and name of a CO. The inscription on the stone continues: “Their foresight and courage give us hope.”

On My London Diary at International Conscientious Objectors’ Day you can read more about the speakers and the event.


Stratford – Bow: Olympic Site

I had time before the next protest to go to Stratford and make my way around the southern edge of the Olympic site, now surrounded by a tall blue fence.

I went as far as the Lea Navigation where I photographed the notice closing the entrance to the Bow Back River channels which run through the site to navigation.

From the Greenway I could see huge piles of earth which are having to be processed because of their contamination from years of industrial production on the site. The site area was more or less unrecognisable although the City Mill River still flowed through it. It was a dismal day, with light rain or drizzle and everything looked bleak.

More pictures Stratford – Bow: Olympic Site.


Justice for cleaners demonstrate at AON

Justice for Cleaners brought together London’s largely migrant cleaners in a campaign for a living wage, sick pay, holidays, trade union rights and respect and was backed by major unions including Unite (and the TGWU which had then recently merged with Amicus to form Unite.)

On May 15th 2008 they had planned a protest outside the RBS offices in Bishopsgate, where cleaners were employed by Pall Mall, but negotiations had led to some success and the demonstration had been switched to AON in Devonshire Square, EC2, a short walk away.

AON, based in Chicago, is one of the world’s leading companies in insurance, with a first quarter net income for 2008 recently announced as $218 million. The cleaners at its City of London offices take home less than it takes to live on in London.

Their offices are on private property where I’d previously been prevented from taking pictures by security officers, and the protest took place in front of the gates on the street.

Noisy public protests such as these are effective because they draw attention to the shameful way these workers are treated even though they work to clean the offices of prestigious companies – which is why the Tories brought in highly restrictive laws in an attempt to stop them.

Watching them through the gates were a number of security men as well as City of London police. Workers in Devonshire Square were walking post the protesters and those inside the offices will have been able to hear the protest which took place with a lot of whistle blowing, shouting and a powerful megaphone used to express the cleaners’ demands.

Although Unite were supporting the cleaners here, migrant workers in London soon largely lost confidence in them and other major unions, who they felt were at times making deals with management that were not truly reflecting their interests, particularly in some workplaces where they seemed to be more interested in preserving wage differentials than getting good deals for the poorest workers. The cleaners – and many other low paid workers – are now largely represented by grass roots unions such as United Voices of the World.

Justice for cleaners demonstrate at AON


Iraqi Democrats Against the Occupation – US Embassy

Stop the War Coalition and Iraqi Democrats Against the Occupation protested at the US Embassy in Grosvenor Square calling for an end of actions against the Iraqi people and the withdrawal of US forces.

They handed in a letter condemning the continuing US occupation which had caused an “unimaginable level of death and destruction to the people and country in the past five years” and noting the similarity between US actions and the Israeli repression of Palestinians, with the building of concrete walls to divide Baghdad into what Pentagon sources have described as “30 killing zones“.

Iraqi Democrats Against the Occupation


Photofusion opening – Changing Spaces

On my way home I took a few pictures of Brown Hart Gardens in Mayfair before going to Brixton to view the opening of the ‘Changing Places‘ show.

This picture wasn’t posed – I just walked up to look at the photograph by Simon Rowe and saw the young woman standing there with her head at a very similar angle. You can see a few more picture from the opening on My London Diary.


FlickrFacebookMy London DiaryHull PhotosLea ValleyParis
London’s Industrial HeritageLondon Photos

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


Walking the Olympic Area – 2012

Sunday, April 21st, 2024

Walking the Olympic Area – Unless my memory has failed me (which it often does these days) the two day course I ran on Saturday 21st April 2012 and Sunday 22nd was my last formal teaching session. I think I have turned down a few requests to run workshops since as they are rather tiring.

Walking the Olympic Area - 2012

I can’t remember exactly how the course came about, but the venue was the View Tube, now run by Poplar HARCA for the local community, which had opened on the Greenway overlooking the London Olympic site in 2010, as a cafe and education centre. A set of bright yellow boxes it then had an upper floor viewing area overlooking the building site.

Walking the Olympic Area - 2012

I’d been photographing the area on and off since 1982 – and you can see many of the pictures I took on a web site, The Lea Valley. I think the course will have begun with me showing some of those pictures and talking about them before taking the participants out for some fairly short walks around Stratford and Stratford Marsh, or at least those areas still open to the public. The pictures here are all from the two days of the course.

Walking the Olympic Area - 2012

Travelling across London to the area I had to give myself plenty of time in case there were any travel delays, so I arrived well before the course was due to start on both days and was able to walk around and make a few pictures then.

Walking the Olympic Area - 2012

While leading the students around the area I was mainly involved with facilitating them making images, but did manage to make a few for myself, and I think I also stayed on a little after the day finished for some more.

On the Saturday we went along the southern edge of the site and into Stratford Westfield and up to the John Lewis viewing area before returning for a lunch break for the students when I made some panoramas close to the View Tube while eating my sandwiches. Parts of the area were quite crowded with others who had come to view the site. Fortunately there were considerably fewer on the workshop than in this picture.

After lunch I took everyone along the Greenway, into Fish Island, across Old Ford lock, down the towpath to Bow Flyover and then to Pudding Mill Lane station.

We met again on Sunday morning at Pudding Mill Lane station. Again I’d arrived early and had already made some pictures before the walk began up the Greenway to Hackney Wick, through Fish Island to White Posts Lane before returning over Old Ford Lock to the View Tube.

I had requested those taking part to work with digital images – and I think almost all had done so. Lunchtime gave them a chance to review the pictures they had made and we then were able to see and discuss the work, though unfortunately we could only see the pictures rather dimly as the teaching area, although it had a nice large touch screen, had no blinds on its windows.

You can see more of the pictures I made on the two days on My London Diary, including some of the panoramic images. All my pictures were taken on a Nikon D700 camera, I think all with the laser-sharp Nikon 16-35 f4.0 lens. The panoramas were made with the same lens, taking a series of 5-10 exposures and digitally stitching these together using PTGui software, probably the most powerful and flexible photo stitching application available. Photoshop now does a decent job with simple panoramas but has fewer options.

Panoramic images don’t display well on this blog, so apart from the one at the top of the post showing the View Tube you will need to go to My London Diary to see more. Most of those I took showing the actual Olympic site on these two days are panoramic.
Olympic Course Day 1
Olympic Course Day 2


FlickrFacebookMy London DiaryHull PhotosLea ValleyParis
London’s Industrial HeritageLondon Photos

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


Palestine, Pancakes, Post, Olympics & Zombies 2009

Saturday, February 24th, 2024

Palestine, Pancakes, Post, Olympics & Zombies – Tuesday 24th February 2009 was a long and varied day for me and included some serious issues that are still at the forefront of current news as well as some lighter moments – and I ended the day enjoying a little unusual corporate hospitality with some free drinks for London bloggers.


Al-Haq Sue UK Government – Royal Courts of Justice

Palestine, Pancakes, Post, Olympics & Zombies

First came Palestine, with Palestinian human rights group Al-Haq filing a claim for judicial review before the High Court of England and Wales challenging the government’s failure to fulfil its obligations with respect to Israel’s illegal activities in Palestine.

They were calling on our government – then New Labour under Gordon Brown – to publicly denounce Israel’s actions in Gaza and the continuing construction of the separation wall, to suspend arms related exports and all government, military, financial and ministerial assistance to Israel and to end UK companies exporting arms and military technology.

They also asked them to insist the EU suspends preferential trading with Israel until that country complies with its human rights obligations, and for the government to give the police any evidence of war crimes committed by any Israelis who intend to come to the UK.

Palestine, Pancakes, Post, Olympics & Zombies

Of course the court refused Al-Haq’s case, declining to deal with the UK government’s compliance with its international legal obligations and stating that their claim would risk the UK’s diplomatic “engagement with peace efforts in the Middle East“, something which seemed at the time to be absolutely zero if not negative. They also refused Al-Haq any right to bring the claim because it was not a UK-based organisation and “no one in the United Kingdom has sought judicial review of United Kingdom foreign policy regarding Israel’s actions in Gaza“.

Al-Haq Sue UK Government


Worshipful Company of Poulters Pancake Race – Guildhall Yard

Palestine, Pancakes, Post, Olympics & Zombies

It was Shrove Tuesday and I couldn’t resist the Pancake Race organised by the Worshipful Company of Poulters, and held – with the permission of the Chief Commoner, in the Guildhall Yard.

Palestine, Pancakes, Post, Olympics & Zombies

As I said, “It’s a shame that the Pancake Race is unlikely to feature in the London 2012 Olympics, because it’s perhaps the one sport in which Britain still leads the world, and we seem to have plenty of talent in training.

Poulters Pancake Race


Keep the Post Public – Parliament Square

Postal workers came out from a rally in Methodist Central Hall against government plans to privatise Royal Mail. The government argued they needed to do this to protect pensions and modernise the service.

Postal deliveries had been deliberately made uneconomic by earlier measures which have allowed private companies to cream off the easily delivered profitable parts of the service, while leaving the Royal Mail to continue the expensive universal delivery service – including the delivery of its competitors post at low regulated prices to more difficult destinations.

The government picked up the responsibility for the pensions when the post was privatised and the privatised post office has been allowed to fail on its delivery obligations. We now get deliveries on perhaps 3 or 4 days a week rather than 6, few first class letters arrive on time, and the collection times for most pillar boxes are now much earlier in the day – now 9am rather than 4pm at our local box. While privatisation was supposed to result in more investment it largely seems to have resulted in large dividends and higher pay to managers and the Post Office is in a worse state than ever.

Keep the Post Public


London 2012 Olympic Site – Stratford

I had time for a brief visit to the publicly accessible areas in and around the Olympic site where a great deal of work was now taking place with the main stadium beginning to emerge.

There were some reports at the time that the landmark building Warton House, once owned by the Yardley company with its lavender mosaic on Stratford High Street was to be demolished, but fortunately these turned out to be exaggerated, with only a small part at the rear of the building being lost. But all the buildings on the main part of the site had gone. Some others south of the mainline railway were also being demolished for Crossrail.

Olympic Site Report
London Olympic site pans


March of the Corporate Undead – Oxford St

I made my way back to Oxford Circus for the ‘March of the Corporate Undead’, a Zombie Shopping Spree complete with coffins, a dead ‘banker’, posters, various members of the undead and a rather good band.

Police watched in a suitably deadpan manner (I did see one or two occasionally smile) as the group assembled and applied large amounts of white makeup before making its way along the pavement of Oxford Street, to the astonishment (and often delight) of late shoppers and workers rushing home.

We stopped off at Stratford Place, opposite Bond Street Station to toss some fried bankers brains in the frying pans and then there was a pancake race, holding up a Rolls Royce that was prevented by the police from driving through while we were there.

The parade continued, stopping for a minute or two under the bright lights of Selfridges before continuing to Tyburn, or at least Marble Arch, with more zombies joining all the time.

Hanging the already dead banker seemed a great idea, but getting a rope up over the arch was tricky. Eventually a severed hand gave sufficient weight to enable a rope to be thrown over the ornamental iron-work and the banker was soon hoisted up to dangle over the continuing revels below.

March of the Corporate Undead

This was an anticapitalist event and in particular aimed against bankers and the huge amounts of cash given to them to in the aftermath of the 2007-8 financial crisis which was seen as rewarding the very people who had caused the mess the system was in. The mass of the population was having to suffer cuts in services under a severe austerity programme while bankers were still pigs in clover. The UK has become a very unequal society over the years since 1979 when Thatcher became Prime Minister. The the top 10% got 21% of the UK income, by 2010 it was around 32%.

I left to go to a meeting of London bloggers – and enjoy a few free drinks thanks to Bacardi. The blue and green Breezers seem to me just right for zombies, though I’m afraid after tasting one I went for the beer instead. But I think the zombies on Oxford Street were more alive than those in the corporate world.


FlickrFacebookMy London DiaryHull PhotosLea ValleyParis
London’s Industrial HeritageLondon Photos

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


Focus E15 Mothers Party Against Eviction – 2014

Wednesday, January 17th, 2024

Focus E15 Mothers Party Against Eviction: Ten years ago today, on Friday 17th January 2014 I went to Stratford to photograph and support mothers threatened with eviction from their hostel.

Focus E15 Mothers Party Against Eviction

Focus E15 Mothers Party Against Eviction – East Thames Housing, Stratford

Focus E15 Mothers Party Against Eviction

The eviction threat came when Newham Council withdrew funding from the Focus E15 Foyer run by East Thames Housing Association. Rather than accept the evictions and be rehoused by the council in private rented flats in far-flung areas of the UK – including Wales and Liverpool, the women in the hostel decided to join together and fight.

Focus E15 Mothers Party Against Eviction

They fought to be rehoused near to friends, families and support including nurseries close to their local area to avoid distress and dislocation for themselves and their children – and eventually they won.

Focus E15 Mothers Party Against Eviction

The fight by Focus E15 brought national publicity to the scandals around local authority housing, and was a inspiration to others around the country. They continue their fight with their ‘Housing For All‘ campaign and remain an active campaign against evictions in Newham, including a weekly street stall every Saturday on Stratford Broadway.

Their campaign against Newham Council and its right-wing Labour Mayor Robin Wales who seemed to regard the London borough as a personal fiefdom led to some devious and at times illegal attempts to silence them and was almost certainly a factor in fomenting the revolt by Labour Party members that eventually led to him being deposed. Though his replacement as Mayor, Rokhsana Fiaz, is perhaps only a slight improvement.

All local authorities have suffered under cuts by central government, and in particular attacks on social housing provision, begun under Thatcher and continued by all governments since. The cuts made by the Tory-led coalition following on from the financial crash of 2008 tightened the screw on them still further.

Newham under Robin Wales appears to have decided that they needed to attract a wealthier population to the area and get rid of some of their existing population and had decided in the early 2000s to sell off a well-located and popular council estate close to the centre of Stratford to whoever they could. They began the process of ‘decanting’ people from the Carpenters estate around 2004, with many properties being left empty for years despite having – together with Lambeth – the largest housing waiting lists in Greater London – around 3.5 times the average among London authorities.

One of the Focus E15 slogans was ‘Repopulate the Carpenters Estate’ and it was in part due to their actions, alongside those of other campaigners, that the estate was not sold off and demolished. The estate is now being regenerated by the council although Focus E15 find much to criticise in the council’s plans.

The Focus E15 had begun in September 2013 and the action ten years ago was one of their earliest. I met with them and supporters, including those from the Revolutionary Communist Group, on a street corner near the offices of East Thames and walked with them into the large foyer, where they posed for a photograph for one of the local newspapers.

Then some of the mothers and children moved into the show flat at the front of the offices, with others remaining on the street outside with banners and placards, handing out leaflets to people walking by and using a megaphone to explain why the mothers were protesting.

The member of East Thames staff who had been dealing with the mothers came to talk with them. He assured them that they would be allowed to remain until satisfactory accommodation had been found for them.

The mothers pointed out that East Thames had large numbers of homes available, including many on the former Olympic site in Stratford, but were told that East Thames could not allocate affordable properties directly, but had to work with Newham council.

He seemed genuinely suprised to hear from the mothers that Newham had made offers involving rehousing away from London, in Hastings, Birmingham and elsewhere, away from friends, families, colleges, nurseries and support networks, and stated that East Thames intended to see them rehoused in London.

Later the Group Chief Executive of East Thames, June Barnes arrived and talked with the mothers telling them the same. East Thames seemed clear that the real problem was with Newham Council and not with them, though the campaigners were not really convinced.

You can read a longer account of the protest and party with many more pictures on My London Diary at Focus E15 Mothers Party Against Eviction.


FlickrFacebookMy London DiaryHull PhotosLea ValleyParis
London’s Industrial HeritageLondon Photos

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


A Table, COP21, Refugees and Santas – 2015

Tuesday, December 12th, 2023

A Table, COP21, Refugees and Santas On Saturday 12 December 2015 I started at the ‘Free the Focus E15 Table’ protest in Stratford, came to Westminster where climate activists were protesting on the final day of the COP21 Paris talks, then to a solidarity vigil for refugees at Downing Street. Since Christmas was approaching there were also santas on the streets, including some on BMX bikes taking part in a charity ride as well as others taking part in the annual Santacon.


Free the Focus E15 Table – Stratford

A Table, COP21, Refugees and Santas - 2015

Focus E15 had since they began over two years earlier been a major irritant for Newham Council, drawing attention to the failure of Newham Council to sensibly address the acute housing problem in the borough, which has around 5,000 people living in temporary accommodation.

A Table, COP21, Refugees and Santas - 2015

At the same time 400 council homes in the Carpenters Estate close to the centre of Stratford have remained empty, some for over ten years as the Labour council under Mayor Robin Wales have been trying to sell it off.

A Table, COP21, Refugees and Santas - 2015

Focus E15 have opposed, at first on their own behalf and later for others in their ‘Housing For All’ campaigns the council policy they label ‘social cleansing’, which attempts to force those needing housing out of London and into private rented property in towns and cities across the country- Hastings, Birmingham, Manchester etc – and even in Wales.

A Table, COP21, Refugees and Santas - 2015

As well as organising protests, opposing evictions, demanding the borough meet its statutory obligations to house homeless individuals by going with them to the housing office they had for over two years held a weekly street stall every Saturday on a wide area of pavement on Stratford Broadway, speaking, providing advice and handing out leaflets.

On the previous Saturday in a clearly planned operation, Newham’s Law Enforcement officer John Oddie assisted by several police officers, confronted the campaigners and told them they were not allowed to protest there, and that unless they immediately packed up their stall, sound system, banners and other gear it would be seized. Council and police cited legal powers that were clearly inapplicable to this situation and this was clearly an illegal act.

When Focus E15 stood their ground, police took the table they were using and threw it into the back of their van and drove away with it. It was probably on the advice of their lawyers that a couple of days later the council wrote a letter to the protesters asking them to reclaim the table; Focus E15 asked them to return it to them on Stratford Broadway this Saturday – but it didn’t arrive.

But there were plenty of tables there when I arrived with several groups coming to show solidarity and defend the right to protest including Welwyn Garden City, South Essex Heckler, Basildon and Southend Housing Action, Clapton Ultras, East London Radical Assembly, Anarchist Federation, Carpenters Estate, Aylesbury Estate Southwark, Squatters & Homeless Autonomy and more. Some came with tables and Focus E15 had also brought a replacement.

The protest was lively with speeches, singing and dancing, and although the local paper, too much in the council’s pocket, was ignoring ‘Tablegate’ a BBC local crew did come and film a few interviews. Police and Newham Council seemed to have learnt from the previous week’s farce and kept away.

Free the Focus E15 Table


Climate Activists Red Line protest – Westminster Bridge

Campaign against Climate Change protested by carrying a ‘red line’ across Westminster Bridge against the inadequate response to global temperature rise reached at COP21 which was on its final day.

Many climate activists were still in Paris, so the protest was rather smaller than usual. They met for a sort rally opposite Parliament in Old Palace Yard before marching behind the Campaign against Climate Change banner and a trumpeter on to the pavement across Westminster Bridge.

There they unrolled a 300m red length of cloth, carrying it above their heads across the bridge as a ‘red line’. For many countries, a maximum global temperature rise of more than 1.5°C will mean disaster, and the Paris talks have not committed to this nor have they set up any real mechanism for holding countries to the more limited commitments they have made.

The world needs a far more urgent change to renewable energy, with fossil fuels being left in the ground – or only extracted for use a chemical feedstock. But huge vested interests in the fossil fuel lobby are still dominating the thinking of most governments – and the annual COP meetings.

The protest called for the UK government to reverse the anti-Green measures introduced since the 2015 election, and to get behind green jobs, energy use reduction measures and renewable energy and t abandon its plans for carbon burning technologies and fracking in particular. Vital for the future of the world, these changes would also aid the UK economy.

More at Climate Activists Red Line protest.


Christmas Solidarity Vigil for Refugees – Downing St

As darkness fell refugees, solidarity campaigners and Syrian activists came to a Downing St vigil demanding justice for refugees, opening of EU borders to those fleeing war and terrorism and a much more generous response from the UK government.

A strong and gusty wind made it hard to keep candles alight and they had to be pushed through the bottom of plastic cups to provide windshields to stay alight.

As well as Syrians, there were other refugees from around the world, as well as some of the many British who are disgusted at the miserable response of the Tory government. Despite much lobbying which forced David Cameron to increase the UK response, the UK still only agreeing to take 20,000 refugees in the next five years, while Canada will take more – 25,000 – in a single year.

Christmas Solidarity Vigil for Refugees


Santas in London

While I was photographing the climate ‘red line’ on Westminster Bridge a large group of Santas rode past on BMX bicycles on a charity ride and I rushed across in time to photograph a few of them. These BMXLife ‘Santa Cruises’, in 2023 in their 9th year, have now raised over £135,000 for Children’s Heart charity ECHO. The 2023 ride starts from Leake Street at 11am on 16th December.

After the Refugee Vigil I walked up to Trafalgar Square where santas were beginning to arrive at the end of a long day walking around London in the annual Santacon, an alcohol-fuelled annual fun event which describes itself as “a non-profit, non-corporate, non-commercial and non-sensical parade of festive cheer.” This year’s event was last Saturday, 9th December.

More pictures at Santas in London.


Our Flag & Olympic Site 2007

Friday, November 17th, 2023

Our Flag & Olympic Site – On Saturday 17th November 2007 I had a more varied day than usual, beginning with a march my football supporters, then a walk around the outside of the then fenced off Olympic site followed by an Olympic-related symposium. I can’t remember anything about the symposium, though I think it was almost certainly critical of what was being done to London, its future being sacrificed to a highly commercial sports festival.


March For Our Flag – Westminster

Our Flag & Olympic Site 2007

A few months earlier in February 2007 I’d photographed and written about a ‘March for Our Flag’ organised by football supporters, particularly Tottenham fans. The main group backing that – and the repeat march this month through Westminster – was the United British Alliance. There was a suggestion that, although a patriotic event, it was at least trying to detach itself from the racism of the far right.

The UBA web site described itself as “a multi-ethnic, multi-faith organisation with a passionate interest in reclaiming our once proud nation from the grip of international terror and political correctness gone-mad,with a view to re-installing some pride in our communities and way of life.”

Our Flag & Olympic Site 2007

As I commented in November 2007:

Although individuals may well be sincere in these attempts, it isn’t so easy to shake off this impression. Some of the links on the [UBA] web site are to people and groups who I would consider as having extreme views, and the discussion you can find on football forums and elsewhere seems clearly Islamophobic.

Our Flag & Olympic Site 2007

Although there were even fewer supporters this time – well under 200 – there did seem to be a slightly calmer attitude and a slightly wider range of people attending, although still only one or two black faces.

Our Flag & Olympic Site 2007

Curiously enough, on the UBA web site galleries, all the marchers have their faces – or at least their eyes – blacked out. The only people not given this treatment are the police escorting the event.

Our Flag & Olympic Site 2007

As I’ve often said, the only way to protect our freedom is by being free. That includes standing up for what you believe – and being seen to do so. So I’m totally opposed to this kind of censorship of the news. Freedom of expression is a part of the British heritage of which I’m proud. As too are Morris Dancing, Association and Rugby football along with the many other things, including the way we have successfully integrated elements from other cultures and religions into our way of life over the years – and continue to do so.

My London Diary

My pictures from the 17th November do show one or two families and their children took part and I can see just one darker face among the young men. In view of recent events and the behavior of Suella Braverman my final two sentences are very appropriate and very relevant: “We all need far more positive messages and actions from our politicians to lead us all – including Britain’s muslims to a new and united vision of our society. Islamophobia needs combating, not encouraging.”

More pictures on My London Diary


Stratford – Olympic Edge

I walked out of Stratford Station and across the footbridge leading to the Carpenters Estate and on to Bridgewater Road, a dead end with a bridge across the tidal Waterworks River.

The road to Hackney Wick is firmly closed and so too was the Greenway just a few yards from the entrance on Stratford High Street.

You could walk down it just a few yards, and I took another picture looking back along the Waterworks River towards Bridgewater Road where I had been standing earlier.

I took a few pictures around the edge of the area, then walked back along the High Street towards the centre of Stratford.

The Log Cabin pub had been here at 335-337 High Street, Stratford as a coaching inn since at least the mid-18th century, though it was known as The Yorkshire Gray before being renamed around 1997 when the hiddeous green excresenes were added. The building was Grade II listed in 2003, almost certainly saving it from demolition and is thought to date from around 1740, and though parts were rebuilt in the late nineteenth century much of the interior had survived more or less intact. It closed in 2001 and is now a hotel.

My final picture was at The Working Mens Hall and Club Rooms on Romford Road, founded in 1865 and rebuilt in 1905, with the motto Labor Omnia Vincit (Work Conquers All). Perhaps it was here that the symposium was held, and I have a very vague recollection of a talk by Iain Sinclair, although that could have been on quite a different occasion.

A few more pictures here.


Roma, Olympic Park and Mind – 2016

Tuesday, October 31st, 2023

Roma, Olympic Park and Mind: After a morning protest by Roma at the Czech Embassy in Kensington I took a walk around the Olympic Park in Stratford before joining the Mental Health Resistance Network (MHRN) and Disabled People Against Cuts (DPAC) who were holding a Halloween Demo at the national office of Mind.


Roma protest Czech Murder – Czech embassy, Kensington

Roma, Olympic Park and Mind

Ladislav Balaz, Chair of the Roma Labour Group and Europe Roma Network and others had come to hand in a letter calling for the murder of a young Romani man by neo-Nazi skinheads in Žatec to be properly investigated.

Roma, Olympic Park and Mind

The man who had lived in the UK until a year ago was a second cousin of Balaz. He was set upon as he went to buy cigarettes at a pizzeria.

Roma, Olympic Park and Mind

Most cases of murders of Roma in the Czech Republic are dismissed by police as accidents and they have already issued false stories about the victim, claiming he was mentally ill and attacked people. The Roma demand justice and equality for everyone in Czech Republic and the elimination of any double standards of justice. Several of the protesters made speeches in Czech as the letter was presented.

Roma protest Czech Murder


A Walk in the Olympic Park – Stratford

Roma, Olympic Park and Mind

I had several hours between the protest outside the Czech Embassy and a protest in Stratford High Street and decided it was a good occasion to take another walk in the park at Stratford which had been the site of the 2012 London olympic games and to make some more panoramic images.

It was a year since I had been there, and four years since the Olympics and I had hoped to see the park in much better condition than I found it. Considerable progress had been made in the buildings which are shooting up around it and many of the ways into the park are still closed.

I walked around much of the southern area of the park and found it still “largely an arid and alienating space composed mainly of wide empty walkways rather than a park.”

I took rather a lot of pictures, both panoramic and more normal views before it was time to make my way back through the Westfield shopping centre into the centre of Stratford.

Many more pictures at A Walk in the Olympic Park.


Against Mind’s collusion with the DWP – Stratford

Paul Farmer, Mind’s chief executive came out and spoke to the protesters

The Mental Health Resistance Network (MHRN) and Disabled People Against Cuts (DPAC) came for a Halloween Demo at the national office of mental health charity Mind in Stratford.

They complain that Mind failed to mention the effects of welfare reform, sanctions, or benefit-related deaths in its latest five-year strategy and has dropped its support for the long-running court case aimed at forcing the government to make WCA safer for people with mental health conditions.

Mind’s policy and campaigns manager Tom Pollard had been seconded to work as a senior policy adviser to the DWP and was to start the following day and they demanded the resignation of Mind’s chief executive, Paul Farmer.

Farmer came out to meet the protesters on the pavement and told them that Mind was still working for people with mental health problems and not for the DWP, and that Pollard’s decision had been entirely a personal one in order to gain more insight into the workings of government rather than to assist them in the any discrimination against the disabled.

The protesters were unconvinced and after he had finished speaking several spoke about how local Mind groups were working against the interests of those with mental health problems. They claimed the local managers were often more interested in empire building than in the welfare of benefit claimants.

More pictures at Mind’s collusion with the DWP.


Climate March & Open House 2014

Thursday, September 21st, 2023

Climate March & Open House: On Sunday 21st September 2014 I photographed the so-called ‘Peoples Climate March’ in central London before going to party with Focus E15 Mothers on the Carpenters Estate where they celebrated a year of their fight to be rehoused in the area.


Peoples Climate March – Embankment

Climate March & Open House

As in this week in 2023, a Climate Summit was taking place in New York in September 2014 and marches were taking place in London and elsewhere to demand divestment in fossil fuels and an end to the domination of politics by the fossil fuel industry which has blocked action against climate change.

Climate March & Open House

Little has actually changed in the 9 years since then. More empty words and promises but too many governments including our own in the UK continuing to encourage exploration for more gas and oil and even approving new coal mines. And carbon levels continue to rise, with at least a 2 degree rise in global temperature now seeming inevitable.

Climate March & Open House

What has changed is that we are all much more aware that climate change is real and are feeling its effects. While many in the Global South have been suffering for years, we in Europe and North America have now felt the new record high temperatures and seen the increasing wild fires and unstable weather caused by global temperature rise.

Last Saturday I photographed another Climate March in London, and it had a rather more serious and committed air than the 2014 event, not just because it was organised by Extinction Rebellion, but because the global situation has worsened, with new an disturbing reports coming out almost weekly.

Climate March & Open House

Back in 2014 I wrote about some length about the march and how it “seemed to have been rather taken over by various slick and rather corporate organisations rather than being a ‘people’s march’ and seemed to lack any real focus.”

Climate March & Open House

Then I commented that “There was one block – the ‘‘Fossil Free Block’ that I felt was worth supporting, and what the whole march should have been about. We have to stop burning oil, coal, gas. We are certainly on our way to disastrous climate change if we fail to severely cut carbon emissions, and probably need to actually reverse some of the rise that has already occurred. Drastic action really is needed.”

The 2023 march was behind a banner ‘NO NEW FOSSIL FUELS’ and another read ‘BIG OIL HAS FRIED US ALL’. But it didn’t get the kind of corporate support of the 2014 event and I don’t think there were any celebrities on the march, though I think some spoke at the rally afterwards, but I had left before this.

Worryingly in 2023 it was much smaller than the 2014 March. Back in 2014 I still felt there was time to avert catastrophe, but now I’m rather less optimistic. It may be too late. I have a feeling that in another nine years time we will be marching again, world leaders will still be talking and doing little and the world will be descending into chaos. Given my age it may still see me out but I worry about those younger.

More on My London Diary at Peoples Climate March.


Focus E15 Open House Day

I left well before the end of the march in 2014 too, catching the Underground to Stratford to get to the Carpenters Estate in Stratford where Focus E15 Mothers were celebrating the first anniversary of their fight against LB Newham’s failure to provide local housing for local people.

It was a year since Newham Council had cut funding for their hostel in Stratford run by East Thames Housing and they had been given eviction notices. Newham, which had a statutory duty to rehouse them told them it would be in private rental property miles away in Birmingham or Hastings or Wales but they wanted to stay within reach of families, jobs support services and friends in London.

Unlike many others they decided to fight the council, and launched an active and successful campaign, later widening their personal fight into “a wider campaign for housing for all, for social housing in London and an end to the displacement of low income households from the capital, with the slogan ‘Social Housing not Social Cleansing’.”

Despite the desperate shortage of social housing in Newham, the council led by Mayor Robin Wales had been trying to sell off its Carpenters Estate for ten years, moving people out and leaving good homes empty. The estate is next door to Stratford Station and Bus Station and so has excellent transport links making it very desirable for development. It is a post-war estate with large numbers of good quality low-rise housing along with three tower blocks. By 2014, most of the properties had “been boarded up for years, empty while thousands wait on the council’s housing list.

Carpenters Estate June 2014

In June 2014 I’d come with Focus E15 to the estate and had photographed them pasting up large photographs of themselves on some boarded up flats with slogans such as ‘This home needs a family‘ and ‘This family needs a home‘ and ‘These homes need people‘. I’d been told something intersting might happen at the party and wasn’t surprised when after a noisy session by a samba band to mask the sounds of removing some of the metal shutters at the rear of the flats we saw some of the E15 mums and supporters waving at us from a first floor window.

“It was Open House Day in London and courtesy of the Focus E15 Mums, 80-86 Dorian Walk was now one of the houses open to the public, even if not on the official lists, and we formed an orderly queue in best Open House tradition to go in and look at the four flats.

I was surprised to see what good conditions the flats were in, “fitted kitchens and bathrooms still in good working order – with running water, wallpaper and carpets almost pristine, and the odd piece of abandoned furniture. In one of kitchens, the calendar from 2004 was still on the wall, a reminder that while Londoners are desperate for housing, Newham council has kept this and other perfectly habitable properties empty for ten years.”

Focus E15 occupied the flats for a couple of weeks, leaving after the the Council issued legal eviction notices but their fight continued. Most of them have been rehoused in London and they have supported many others in Newham and neighbouring boroughs to get proper treatment from the council and prevent evictions. Their actions saved the Carpenters Estate and it is now being regenerated, although the plans don’t satisfy many of the groups demands. Their campaigns for housing for people in Newham continue.

More on My London Diary at Focus E15 Open House Day.