Posts Tagged ‘Tooley St’

2015 March for Homes – Shoreditch to City Hall

Monday, January 31st, 2022

2015 March for Homes – Shoreditch to City Hall. A year before the march Against the Housing and Planning Bill featured in yesterday’s post there was another march about housing at the end of January, the March For Homes.

Outside Shoreditch Church

The event called by Defend Council Housing, South London People’s Assembly and Unite Housing Workers Branch involved two separate marches, one coming from Shoreditch in north-east London and the other from the Elephant & Castle in south London converging on London’s City Hall close to Tower Bridge for a final rally.

Max Levitas, a 100 year old communist veteran of Cable St

I couldn’t be in two places at once and chose to go to Shoreditch, partly because I knew people from several groups I had photographed at a number of housing struggles would be marching from there. The event was certainly enlivened by the arrival of activists who had marched from Bethnal Green, including supporters of Class War, Focus E15 and other groups.

Many couldn’t get into the churchyard

The Shoreditch Rally was held in a crowded area in Shoreditch churchyard at the front of St. Leonard’s, Shoreditch, the ancient parish church of Shoreditch, and I took the opportunity to go inside and have a look at the church before the rally. The list of speakers there showed the wide range of community support for fairer housing policies, including more social housing desperately needed in London and included Jasmine Stone of Focus E15, Lindsey Garratt from New Era, Paul Turp, vicar of St Leonards, Nick from Action East End, Paul Heron of the Haldane Society of Socialist Laywyers, Max Levitas, a 100 year old communist veteran of Cable St, a speaker from the ‘Fred and John Towers’ in Leytonstone and Tower Hamlets Mayor Lutfur Rahman.

Tower Hamlets Mayor Lutfur Rahman

Tower Hamlets benefits from having been formed from some of the London Metropolitan Boroughs with the best records of social housing – such as Poplar, where in the 1920s councillors went to jail to retain more money for one of London’s poorest areas. Unfortunately Rahman, the borough’s first directly elected mayor was removed from office in April 2015 after he was found personally guilty of electoral fraud in his 2014 re-election. Many of the other charges made against him in the media were dismissed by police after investigation.

It was raining slightly as over a thousand marchers set off for City Hall behind the March For Homes banner.

As the march came to the junction with Aldgate High St, Class War split off for a short protest at One Commercial St, where they had held a lengthy series of weekly ‘Poor Doors’ protests against separate entrances for residents owning or leasing at market rates and the smaller section of social housing tenants who had to enter through a door down a side alley. Class War had suspended their 20 weeks of protest for talks with a new owner of the building a month or so earlier, but these had broken down without a satisfactory resolution and the protests there restarted the following week.

As the march approached the Tower of London it was met and joined by Russell Brand riding a bicycle,

and on Tower Bridge, Class War came up to lead the march.

I rushed ahead to meet the South London march as it turned into Tooley Street for the last few yards of its march.

The rally in front of City Hall was large, cold and wet. By now the rain was making it difficult to take photographs, with drops falling on the front of my lenses as I tried to take pictures, and my lenses beginning to steam up inside. But I persisted and did the best I could, though the rain-bedraggled speakers in particular were not looking their best.

The rally was still continuing when some of the activists, including Class War and the street band Rhythms of Revolution decided they needed to do something a little more than standing in the rain listening to speeches. They moved onto Tooley Street and blocked the road. More police arrived and blocked the road even more effectively as the activists moved eastwards to protest at One Tower Bridge, a new development mainly for the over-rich next to Tower Bridge and then left for a long walk to the occupied Aylesbury Estate. But I decided it was time to go home.

More on My London Diary:
March for Homes: After the Rally
March for Homes: City Hall Rally
March for Homes: Poor Doors
March for Homes: Shoreditch to City Hall
March for Homes: Shoreditch Rally


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City Road & London Bridge

Monday, November 8th, 2021

My last walk in May 1988 ended around the City Road which I walked down to catch the ‘drain’ back to Waterloo. In 1988 Bank Station on the Waterloo and City line still was a part of British Rail, and was one of the ‘London Termini’ for which my ticket from the suburbs was valid. Until it was transferred to London Underground in 1994 it provided a cheap route for me into to centre of the City.

Wesley statue, Wesley's Chapel, City Rd, Islington, 1988 88-6a-64-positive_2400
Wesley statue, Wesley’s Chapel, City Rd, Islington, 1988 88-6a-64

Wesley’s Chapel and Leysian Mission at 49 City Road calls itself the Mother Church of World Methodism. Wesley employed the surveyor of the City of London, George Dance the Younger as his architect and the builder was a member of his congregation; the church is Grade I listed despite considerable alterations in the Victorian era and later. When built it was Church of England Church, as Methodism only became a separate church after his death.

The best bit about the Grade II listed statue of Wesley, created in 1891 by Adams Acton is probably the plinth and the wording below the statue ‘THE WORLD IS MY PARISH’. I particularly liked the shadow of the lantern above the entrance on the door below.

Honourable Artillery Company, City Rd, Islington, 1988 88-6a-65
Finsbury Barracks, Honourable Artillery Company, City Rd, Islington, 1988 88-6a-65

This Grade II listed ‘castle’ on City Road was designed by Joseph A Jennings in 1857 as a barracks for the Royal London Militia. It later became the home for City of London Territorial Army and Volunteer Reserve, and since 1961 has been part of the Honourable Artillery Company estate.

When I was very young I had a very secondhand and battered toy fort for my toy soldiers, and either it was based on this building or this building had been based on it.

Lakeside Terrace,  Barbican, City, 1988 88-6a-56-positive_2400
Lakeside Terrace, Barbican, City, 1988 88-6a-56

I think there had just been a shower of rain – and perhaps I had walked into the Barbican to shelter from it and perhaps view the exhibitions in its free spaces. Though I did go also to the major photographic shows that were held there, often taking students to see them. But this walk was in the Whitsun half-term.

But the terrace is clearly wet and there are no people sitting on the many chairs, although a few perch on the low brick walls. At right is the City of London School for Girls.

London Bridge, Southwark, 1988 88-6a-36-positive_2400
London Bridge, Southwark, 1988 88-6a-36

My rail ticket could also take me to London Bridge, and my first walk in June on Saturday 8th began there. I went to London Bridge but didn’t cross it, instead staying on the south bank, and taking this slightly curious picture in which the River Thames appears only as a thin rectangle underneath the white rectangle of Adelaide House. When completed in 1925 this now Grade II listed building was the City’s tallest office block, 43 metres – 141 ft – high.

London Bridge, Southwark, 1988 88-6a-33-positive_2400
London Bridge, Southwark, 1988 88-6a-33

Looking up into the office block at 1 London Bridge Street it’s hard to distinguish reflection from reality as I’m sure architects John S. Bonnington Partnership intended. Completed two years earlier in 1986 it was still a rather startling building.

London Bridge, Southwark, 1988 88-6a-24-positive_2400
London Bridge, Southwark, 1988 88-6a-24

The steps to the riverside walkway go through the corner of 1 London Bridge and over them are some buildings from the Victorian era on the opposite side of Borough High St and the pinnacles of Southwark Cathedral. I seem to have chosen another rainy day for a walk.

Tooley St, Abbots Lane, Southwark, 1988 88-6b-61-positive_2400
Tooley St, Abbots Lane, Southwark, 1988 88-6b-61

I walked east not on the riverside walk, but along Tooley St and photographed this building on the corner of Abbots Lane, a street that has now more or less disappeared and is simply a vehicle entrance to PricewaterhouseCoopers buildin in More London. This former Fire Brigade Headquarters built in 1879, architect George Vulliamy, was for many years the model for other fire stations and the headquarters of the Metropolitan Fire Brigade and its training centre for firefighters. It now houses the Brigade Bar and Kitchen, opened in September 2011 by Chef Founder Simon Boyle, a social enterprise which together with the Beyond Food Foundation gives apprenticeships to people who have been at risk of or have experienced homelessness.

It had been the great fire of Tooley Street in 1861 that led to the formation of the Metropolitan Fire Brigade in 1862, the greatest fire in London since 1666. Many of the riverside warehouses went up in flames over two days and the man in charge of the firefighters, Mr James Braidwood, was killed when a building collapsed. There have been many fires in Tooley St since, and in 1971 Wilson’s Wharf was the site of the ‘Second Great Fire of Tooley St’, with 50 pumps fighting the fire that started in an unoccupied refrigerated warehouse. The area destroyed is now the site of Southwark Crown Court.

Tumonte House, Tooley Hotel, Tooley St, Southwark, 1988 88-6b-62-positive_2400
Tumonté House, Tooley Hotel, Tooley St, Southwark, 1988 88-6b-62

These were fairly typical of the tall warehouse buildings that line much of Tooley Street. I’m unable to identify the exact locations of these buildings which don’t quite seem to match any of those left standing. The negative has been badly damaged at bottom right and since it only affects the roadway and a car I’ve not bothered to try to repair it.

Anchor Brewhouse, Butlers Wharf, Tower Bridge, Southwark, 1988 88-6b-63-positive_2400
Anchor Brewhouse, Butlers Wharf, Tower Bridge, Southwark, 1988 88-6b-63

The picture shows the large amount of building work that was taking place along this section of the bank by Higgs and Hill and McAlpine. It seems too that barges were being used to take away some of the rubble.

Tower Bridge, Control Room, Tower Hamlets, Southwark, 1988 88-6b-64-positive_2400
Tower Bridge, Control Room, Tower Hamlets, Southwark, 1988 88-6b-64

I have never understood why quite so many levers were needed to raise two sections of roadway to open the bridge for river traffic. There seem to be two handles to turn around at the end furtherst from my camera and a superfluity of dials at top left.

I think I crossed Tower Bridge and made my way to Tower Gateway for the DLR. The station had opened the previous August and my walk continued from Crossharbour on the Isle of Dogs – in another post. Before the opening of the Jubilee Line this was probably the quickest route there.


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