Posts Tagged ‘Tower Bridge’

Tower Hamlets Against the EDL

Tuesday, September 7th, 2021

On Saturday 7th September 2013 the English Defence League led by Tommy Robinson tried to march into Tower Hamlets. Police had laid down strict conditions for their protest which included an exact route for their march, a limit on length of the rally in Aldgate and a prohibition on going across the border of the CIty of London into Tower Hamlets.

When I arrived well before their march was due to start those EDL supporters present were generally in a good mood and happy to pose for the press and we were able to move and photograph freely. Gradually things got a little edgier, though I was still able to photograph standing next to Tommy and the other leaders when they arrived.

Then the police arrived in large numbers, surrounding the marchers and moving the press away from them. Photography of the march when it began was difficult, with police stopping us going close to it. I was able to take some pictures with a longer lens than I like to use, but police kept moving us further and further away, preventing us from doing our job.

I gave up, and went away in search of the anti-fascists who I knew would be trying to disrupt the march, and had set off some smoke flares in the distance. Police had blocked their route with police vans and were keeping them kettled several hundred yards from the march route. The EDL were still some distance away when I walked out past the police at the north end of the group of protesters to go down a side street and join the EDL. I wasn’t stopped there but did have to show my press card to go through two other police lines before getting fairly close to the march.

I joined on to a small TV crew and we found a raised position from where we could photograph the marchers as they came up to Aldgate, and was then able to move to where I could see the rally beginning. Fortunately I managed to get close enough to make some decent pictures with my short telephoto zoom, working on DX format to get a longer equivalent focal length of arond 158mm. I liked using DX format on the full-frame Nikon D800E as it allowed me to see what was happening outside the image frame and still gave an entirely usable 15Mp image.

I soon tired of hearing the angry and ill-informed Islamophobic speech by Robinson (and the racist comments from the crowd) and moved away. It wasn’t easy to get past the half a dozen police lines between the rally and the people who had come to Whitechapel to oppose the march, even with a UK Press Card and I had to find a senior officer or try again on the other side of the road in some places to get through.

Here a large crowd had gathered including many from Tower Hamlets including the then mayor and many councillors as well as religious leaders, and they were supported by trade unionists and others from across London. The atmosphere here was so different from the hate a block to the west with people defiant but in good spirits and happy to be photographed.

The huge police presence kept the groups apart, and prevented all but a very few minor incidents, and without them there would certainly have been a great deal of violence on the streets with the EDL being heavily outnumbered and forced to flee. It would have been something like a repeat of the humiliating defeat of Mosley and his fascists in 1936 when the police tried to force the march through, but failed. Although this time the police did make the EDL march possible, they also very sensibly stopped it on the edge of the City before it could reach Tower Hamlets.

More text and pictures on My London Diary:

EDL March returns to Tower Hamlets (or rather it tried to but didn’t quite make it)
Anti-Fascists Oppose EDL
Tower Hamlets United Against the EDL


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


ATOS Olympics 2012

Friday, August 27th, 2021

Protesters outside the DWP where DPAC activists have occupied the lobby.

2012 was of course the year that London suffered the Olympics, which had been creating problems in East London since London was awarded the games in 2005. I’d photographed a number of event related to the games, both protests against it and others using it as a theme, as well as taking pictures around its perimeter and views into the site on Stratford Marsh, an area I’d photographed since the 1980s and which features strongly in my 2011 book ‘Before the Olympics‘.

With the games came the Paralympics, held a few days after the end of the main event on 29 August to 9 September 2012. Although these games were generally held to be a great success, and to have considerably raised the profile of disabled sport, there was criticism from many disabled groups about IT company Atos being the technology provider and sponsor of the games.

Atos Olympic medals and Atos Olympic flame

Atos was responsible for the work capability assessments for the Dept of Work & Pensions, and had clearly been both incompetent and discriminatory in this, finding many disabled people incorrectly fit for work to meet targets designed to cut the cost of benefits. Many who appealed the decisions were found to have been incorrectly assessed, but often shortly after this were called for another assessment and again wrongly found fit. It drove some disabled people to suicide.

Some disabled athletes obscured the Atos logo on their passes in protest, while activist groups led by Disabled People Against Cuts (DPAC) organised a week of action against Atos to coincide with the Paralympics, beginning with a spoof Opening Ceremony for the Atos Games in front of Tower Bridge.

DPAC made it clear that this is not a protest against sports or those taking part in the Paralympics, but against the government and Atos:

"We’re not against the Paralympics or the people taking part in it. We’re highlighting the hypocrisy of Atos, a company that soon may be taking disability benefits from the people winning medals for Team GB.

Ever since George Osborne announced he was slashing £18 billion from the welfare budget, the government has paid Atos £100 million a year to test 11,000 sick and disabled people every week, then decide whether they’re ‘fit for work’."
Tara Flood celebrates her second gold medal

One of those taking part in the opening ceremony was Tara Flood a Paralympic swimmer who won a gold medal in the 1992 Barcelona Paralympic games as well as 2 silver and 4 bronzes there and in the two other games she took part in. Along with two activists in wheelchairs she got on the podium and was awarded another gold medal and the others silver and bronze.

Paralympian gold medal winner Tara Flood is stripped of her gold medal and blue badge

Then along came an ATOS doctor who administered a fitness for work test, first on Tara. She was found fit to work and the gold medal was cut off and her disabled parking card taken away; the others were also found fit to work, losing their medals and benefits too.

The ATOS Games continued, and on Wednesday 29th I photographed DPAC deliver a coffin to the ATOS offices in Triton Square. Friday 31 saw them again outside the ATOS offices for the Closing Atos Ceremony which included the Atos Miracle Cure, making disabled people fit for work.

As the closing ceremony was coming to an end there was a special announcement that there would be another action elsewhere and eventually we learnt that some disabled activists had entered and occupied the lobby of the DWP.

I jumped on a bus, but should have taken the underground as the traffic was heavy in places, but I still got there before the main crowd who had travelled from the protest at the Atos offices. Police would not let them join the 20 or so who were inside so they protested on the pavement in front of the building. There were speeches and then a lot of minor scuffles when police tried to push the protesters back and I had to leave before the protest ended.

More on My London Diary:
DPAC Occupy Dept of Work & Pensions
Closing Atos Ceremony
Disabled Pay Respect to Atos Victims
Opening Ceremony for the Atos Games


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.


Spitalfields & Wapping 1987

Sunday, October 18th, 2020
Spitalfields 87-7m-12-positive_2400
Interior, Christ Church, Commercial St, Spitalfields, Tower Hamlets, 1987

I think I had gone to Liverpool St to see off some visitors from Germany who had been staying with us and we arrived at the station long before their train was due to leave for Harwich, so I took them to see Christ Chruch, which was then in the middle of building works. The air was rather dusty and the light a little dim, but the structure was still impressive, and we were greeted by one of the clergy who gave us a short conducted tour.

Interior, Christ Church, Commercial St,  Spitalfields, Tower Hamlets, 198787-7m-22-positive_2400

One of Nicholas Hawksmoor’s great pentagram of London churches much celebrated in the writings of Iain Sinclair, Peter Ackroyd and others it is a building I find more satisfying seen close too and at and angle as in this picture than in more prosaic and distant views.

Peach, Fashion, Commercial St,  Spitalfields, Tower Hamlets, 1987 87-7m-21-positive_2400

Close to the church in Commercial Rd was this builidng, housing Peach and several other fashoion and clothing firms as well as The Colour Assembly litho printers. But I didn’t have long to take pictures as our visitors had a train to catch and we made our way back to Liverpool Street.

St Katharine's Way, Wapping, Tower Hamlets, 1987 87-7n-23-positive_2400
St Katharine’s Way, Wapping, Tower Hamlets, 1987

Afterwards I walked down to St Katherine’s Way, where some of the old warehouse buildings were being gutted and turned into flats, while keeping the basic facades. Miller’s Wharf dates from 1865, but once beyond the front wall is mostly from 1989. A 2 bed flat with a river view is currently for sale at £1.6m should you be looking to move.

Tower Bridge, River Thames, Aldermans Stairs, Wapping, Tower Hamlets, 1987 87-7n-36-positive_2400
Tower Bridge, River Thames, Thames Path, Wapping, Tower Hamlets, 1987

Just a few yards east is a part of the Thames Path from which you can get similar views (though only at ground level) without the huge price tag. Somewhere around this time I went with a group walking along the north bank of the river with the person from Tower Hamlets responsible for footpaths and we found then a number of places where there was supposed to be public access to the river had their gates locked. More recently when I’ve walked along here I think I have been able to access most or all of them.

River Thames,  Rotherhithe, Wapping New Stairs,Wapping, Tower Hamlets, 1987 87-7n-31-positive_2400

I think this picture, which has police launches moored in the foreground is taken from Wapping New Stairs – which are of course very old.

Discovery Walk, Wapping Lane,  Wapping, Tower Hamlets, 1987  87-7n-53-positive_2400

Little remains of the old London Docks, with new housing covering much of the area, here alongside the ornamental canal which I think includes some sections of the old dock wall. I took two pictures from the road overlooking the canal, one concentrating on the south and the other the north side.

Ornamental canal, News International, Print Works, Wapping, Tower Hamlets, 1987 87-7n-55-positive_2400

The two pictures actually overlap and can be joined to make a narrow panorama, though I don’t think I particular intended this when I took them.

The right of the picture is dominated by the large Wapping printing works of News International, the site of a protests for over a year from 1986-7 by the print unions against Murdoch. The strike ended in what seemed an inevitable defeat for the unions who were trying to prevent the introduction of new technology, moving away from the hot metal of Fleet St which employed several thousand type setters to litho printing which allowed journalists to directly input there stories.

More pictures on page 6 of 1987 London Photos.


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

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


Southwark & City – 1986 page 9

Monday, June 8th, 2020
Tower Bridge, River Thames, pier, Hays Wharf, Southwark 86-8z-21-Edit_2400


Page 9 of my album London 1986, black and white pictures taken of the city that year, begins briefly on familiar ground in Southwark, close to the OXO tower, before going on to Clerkenwell and Finsbury. Because of my rather odd filing system the two areas interweave before I return to Southwark and Bermondsey.

Laystall Street, Clerkenwell, Camden 86-8x-32-Edit_2400
A plaque above a hairdresser’s shop commemorates Guiseppe Mazzini, founder of Young Italy, a secret society formed to promote Italian unification. He lived in London at various times between 1840 and his death in 1872 to escape arrest on the continent.
Tower Bridge, River Thames, Hays Wharf, Southwark 86-8z-22-Edit_2400

I crossed Tower Bridge briefly and returned south of the river. The riverfront between Tower Bridge and Southwark Crown Court , opened in 1983, has changed completely since I took these pictures, though many of the pictures away from the river have altered relatively little – the George Inn was last rebuilt in after a fire in 1677.

Hays Wharf, Pickle Herring St, Southwark 86-8z-41-Edit_2400
Pickle Herring St, Southwark  86-8z-55-Edit_2400

Later I went to the City, wandering the area around Bank and towards the Tower with page 9 ending with a second picture of Pepys on Seething Lane.

Lombard St, City  86-8aa-21-Edit_2400

The City is also an area where many older buildings have been preserved, despite some notable losses, though most date from the nineteenth or early twentieth centuries, and most that I photographed are still recognisable. But the environment has been altered and many are now somewhat overwhelmed by gigantic towers.


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 Page 8

Thursday, June 4th, 2020

Page 8 of my album 1986 London Photographs begins with pictures from Wapping in August 1986.

Wapping High St, Wapping, Tower Hamlets  86-8t-55-Edit_2400

I photographed some slogans in Russian on fences – left I understand from the making of a film, supposedly set in Russia, but actually filmed here.

Wapping High St, Wapping, Tower Hamlets 86-8t-54-Edit_2400

Wapping High Street never failed to interest me back then, though it has now lost a great deal of the old atmosphere. The doorway at the right of this picture now leads to the Captain Kidd pub, converted from an old warehouse which used to store various goods including coffee, edible gums, dried fruit and wool from Australia. Sam Smith’s have done some excellent conversions of a number of historic properties and this is now a pleasant place to sit on a terrace overlooking the river and enjoy a pint of Old Brewery Bitter in a pub blessedly without TV or canned music.

Hays Wharf, Tower Bridge, Bermondsey, Southwark 86-8u-61-Edit_2400

After making some pictures there I walked back to Tower Bridge and crossed it to wander around a little of Bermondsey and Southwark as I made my way back to Waterloo station. The view towards Guy’s Hospital from Tower Bridge is rather different now, with City Hall and More London almost hiding the hospital tower and a wide walkway along the river bank.

Gainsford St, Bermondsey, Southwark 86-8u-54-Edit_2400

As in Wapping, many of these pictures south of the river show evidence of the great deal of building work then taking place, with many buildings being reduced to street-facing facades. For many buildings keeping the facades is probably the only possible way – if done sympathetically – of retaining some of the atmosphere of the areas, though when done badly a complete modern replacement would be preferable; not all buildings deserve to be kept. Mostly I avoided people in making these pictures, but some were desperate to be photographed.

Southern 777, Steam Engine, Cannon St Station, City 86-8v-65-Edit_2400

Another day in August I went with my two young sons, both keen railway enthusiasts and members of a British Rail kids group ‘Railriders’ to an event taking place at Cannon St station, with vintage Southern Railway electric trains and a steam engine.

Skin Market Place, Southwark 86-8w-01-Edit_2400

The trains didn’t greatly interest me, but I took a few pictures before we left and went over Southwark Bridge for a walk around Southwark, again on our way to Waterloo. Bankside Power Station is now Tate Modern, but I think Skin Market Place and its council depot has disappeared without trace.

100 pictures at 1986 London Photographs Page 8


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.


More from May Days: 2016

Tuesday, May 12th, 2020

Clerkenwell Green was more packed than ever for May Day 2016, with the big attraction being a rally before the start of the march with Jeremy Corbyn as the main speaker, along with TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady.

While the event usually attracts little media attention, TV crews and photographers were out in force, with a crowd of photographers around the open-top bus from which he was speaking, and mobbing him as he arrived and left. The stewards became rather heated and there were some who threatened the photographers and a considerable amount of pushing from both them and the photographers. I was glad I had decided to keep well clear.

The march was much as usual, and I tried to photograph all the banners – and most of them are on My London Diary.

Having had the main speakers before the march started, the rally which followed was perhaps something of an anticlimax, though there was perhaps a wider range of speakers than usual having got the political big guns out of the way earlier. The event was enlivened by a colourful protest by Ahwazi Arabs against their repression over many years by the Iranian regime which has stolen their land and is trying to eradicate their culture.

I left for Altab Ali Park in Whitechapel, where the Bangladeshi Workers Council along with Red London, trade unionists, labour movement, political and community activists had organised a rally to commemorate and celebrate May Day.

 I met up with a small group from Class War at a pub in Aldgate and walked down with them to 1 Commercial St, the ‘Poor Doors’ tower block where the fourth in a series of anti-capitalist street parties organised by anarchists in East London was to start.

Several hundred turned up, some in fancy dress and others in black and the party got started. After partying and blocking Whitechapel High St the set off to protest elsewhere, first outside the sleazy misogynistic Jack the Ripper tourist attraction in Cable St, and then on to block Tower Bridge for a few minutes, where as well as the usual smoke flares we also get a show of fire breathing.

As they paused by the Southwark Council Offices in Tooley St I kept walking. I’d been on my feet for far too long and needed to rest on a train home. I had to take several days off before getting back to taking pictures.

F**k Parade 4: Ripper & Tower Bridge
Anti-Capitalist May Day Street Party
May Day Rally & Gonosangeet
May Day Rally
Ahwazi Protest at May Day Rally
May Day March
Day at Clerkenwell Green


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.


More from May Days: 2015

Monday, May 11th, 2020

My May Day started as usual with the march from Clerkenwell Green, dominated visually by members of the Turkish and Kurdish communities and with the usual mix of trade unionists and left-wing groups, perhaps even more international in nature than in previous years.

The march to Trafalgar Square was made a little livelier than usual by the presence of Class War and other anarchist and anti-capitalist protesters, some of whom took over the whole of the road rather than keep to one carriageway. Police tried hard to control them and made at least one arrest, which led to some scuffles.

One issue that dominated the rally in Trafalgar Square was the strike against privatisation at the National Gallery which overlooks the square, and in particular the victimisation by the management of Candy Udwin, the PCS rep there.

Later in the afternoon anti-capitalist protesters met up at Tower Hill, and led by lass War and their Lucy Parsons banner went on to block Tower Bridge this afternoon and blocked traffic, calling for social housing rather than social cleansing for Londoners and an end to cuts in foundation courses and other aspects of education. It was a lively event, and I left them when they marched off along Tooley St past London Bridge to protest in Westminster.

I walked back across Tower Bridge and on to Aldgate where Class War were organising their ‘Reclaim the Beats’ “epic street party” outside the tower block where they had held around 30 weekly ‘Poor Doors’ protests against the separate entrance down a side alley for the social housing tenants in the block.

A huge cheer went up as they unfurled a new banner showing leading politicians with the message “All Fucking Wankers”, a replacement for that seized by police at an earlier protest. Although it had later been judged to be an acceptable political comment, the police contrived to lose it rather than face the indignity of returning it to Class War.

A few minutes later a mobile sound system in the form of a small house on wheels with ‘Affordable Housing’ across its roof and the party really kicked off. After a few minutes people moved out to block the main road and then to march off to protest at Tower Bridge and in Bermondsey. I was too tired to go with them and instead went down the stairs into Aldgate East tube.

‘Reclaim the Beats’ at ‘Poor Doors’
Anti-Capitalists block Tower Bridge
May Day Rally supports National Gallery
May Day march against austerity and racism


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.


GLIAS 50

Wednesday, December 11th, 2019

I think I joined the Greater London Industrial Archaelogy Society (GLIAS) in around 1979, forty years ago, but it had then been going for 10 years. I’ve not been the most active of members, particularly in recent years when I’ve been too busy with other things, but over the years I’ve been on numerous walks, several outings, attended talks and lectures and even made some tiny contributions. I still enjoy reading the newsletters and occasional publications of the group.

The various walks usually took me back to areas of London I’d already explored when taking photographs, and they often made me much better informed about buildings I had already photographed. I’ve not been on any lately as they almost always take place when I’m now working. But in previous years, the walks were often followed by the publication of small walk leaflets giving the route and pointing out the IA features.

The first of these walk leaflets was for Tower Hill to Rotherhithe and this anniversary event more or less retraced its steps, led by one of the two original authors, Prof David Perrett, now Chairman and Vice-President of GLIAS. It was a walk I’d first taken – without the aid of the leaflet – in the opposite direction back in 1983 (though I’d photographed parts of the area previously) and quite a few pictures from that are now online on my London Photographs site.

This area on Bermondsey Wall has changed considerably since then, though the riverside of Wapping seen at the top of the image still looks much the same. Of course you can’t see it from this same point, which I think is now occupied by expensive flats.

Inspired by these walk leaflets I went on to produce one of my own, a folded A4 sheet printed on thin card by my laser printer, largely as an exercise in Desktop Publishing which I was then teaching a course on.

Over the next few years I made and sold over well over 500 copies, charging I think 20p for each of them, though I never got the cash for some that were sold locally in Bermondsey (it rankled though the money was insignificant.) My best paying customer was a local historian who used them for several years for the guided walks he did on the local area. I think it is now seriously out of date, but ‘West Bermondsey – The Leather Area‘ has for a long time been available as a free download. (PDF)

The first time I put images from the area on line was in a site called ‘London’s Industrial Heritage‘, designed for me by my elder son, and you can see some pictures from this area from the links on the Southwark page.

I haven’t put many of the pictures from the walk on My London Diary, but there are a few more at GLIAS 50th anniversary walk. If you live in or around London and have any interest in industrial archaeology you would find GLIAS worth joining – and it has a very reasonable annual subscription of £14 (£17 for family membership.)


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.