Posts Tagged ‘TQ31’

South of the River

Sunday, June 28th, 2020
Cafe, Norwood Rd, Herne Hill, 1991 TQ3274-001
Café, Norwood Rd, Herne Hill, 1991

I think I only took my first pictures on colour negative film in 1985. When I began in photography at the start of the 1970s it was quite clear that colour neg was just for amateur snaps and social photography, but real photographers – if they stooped to colour – did it on transparency film.

Cafe, Loughborough Junction, 1989, TQ3275-001
Café, Loughborough Junction, 1989

Most publications – books, magazines, newspapers etc – . still used only – or mainly – black and white, and when colour was used it was almost invariably from colour transparency. Images taken on colour neg were only used at a last resort, and usually then duped onto transparency for repro, or occasionally printed onto black and white paper to be used. You could get special panchromatic black and white paper which gave some chance of normal tonality, but it was a pain to use as normal darkroom safelights fogged it, and often normal black and white paper was used despite the often very poor tonality it gave.

Shops, Flaxman Rd, Loughborough Junction, 1987 TQ3276-002
Shops, Flaxman Rd, Loughborough Junction, 1987

Though colour transparency was great for repro, making prints from it had its limitations – as did using transparency film. I found myself too often having images with empty black shadow areas or unusably blown highlights as it the film had a limited exposure range. You could get great punchy saturated colour prints, fine for advertising (which was never my scene) but it was difficult to achieve subtlety. Fed up with telling printers what I wanted and being told it wasn’t possible I began making my own prints, working at times with complicated unsharp masking for Cibachromes. My German project I deliberately printed on outdated Agfa direct reversal paper.

Shops, Denmark Hill, Camberwell, 1989 TQ3276-004
Shops, Denmark Hill, Camberwell, 1989

In the 1980s, Fuji shook up colour negative (and, to a lesser extent transparency film), producing new film and print materials that gave greater fidelity, longer print life and greater flexibility in the darkroom. Seeing the prints that other photographers were making (and the fact I wasn’t actually selling my slides professionally) was a conversion experience. Since then I don’t think I’ve ever taken pictures on slide film.

Hairdresser, Coldharbour Lane, Camberwell, 1989, TQ3276-007
Gee P. Johnson, The People’s Salon, Coldharbour Lane, Camberwell, 1989,

At the same time I was beginning a major black and white project to photograph the fabric of London, and saw my colour work as separate to that, but dependent on it. I don’t think I ever went out to visit a place or area to take colour pictures, but simply did so when opportunities arose as I visited various areas.

I didn’t have a particular interest in cafes or hairdressers, but saw these and other shops and offices as example of small businesses with relatively low start-up costs which reflected both the aesthetic of their owners and of the people of the area which they served. Gee P Johnson’s unisex ‘The People’s Salon’ for me expressed that sense well.

TQ3276-013
Daneville Rd, Camberwell, 1989, Southwark,

Filing selected trade prints in albums according to their grid references was a way to explore the differences between different areas across London – and I chose to do so in these 1km wide south-north strips. It was also a kind of cataloguing system for my work, though not always as well documented on the prints it should have been.

Garage, Camberwell Station Rd, Camberwell, 1989 TQ3276-017
Garage, Camberwell Station Rd, Camberwell,

These examples come from the first thirty or so images in my Flickr album TQ32 London Cross-section, which contains a little over 300 pictures. I’ll perhaps look again at some more shortly.


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.


TQ31 – North London

Friday, June 19th, 2020

There are many pictures on the fourth and last page of my album TQ31 London Cross-Section I’d like to show you and say a little about, though in most cases they need little text, but it can sometimes add interest. But my time is limited and I’ll leave you to discover most of them for yourselves.

Andreas, Hairdresser, Hornsey Rd, Lower Holloway, 1989 TQ3185-005

I think Andreas’s Barber Shop on the Hornsey Road had probably ceased trading by the time I took this picture, as there is no light bulb in the socket just to the left of the centre of the window. There is a notice in the door that gives its opening times, but where it says ‘Closed’ I think this may have been permanent.

As I was still working full-time, many of my pictures were made at the weekend, often like this one on Sunday mornings, when most shops would have been closed. The building is still there, but not the shop or its shopfront; the whole row of shops present when I was taking pictures has now been converted to residential use.

Hoo Hing Ltd,  Drayton Park, Highbury, 1989 TQ3185-008

Rather to my surprise, this industrial/commercial building is still there on Drayton Park, and, at least until recently, the name ‘HOO HING LTD’ was still present above the doorway. The company still exists and is an importer of oriental food and catering products, but the site was reported as due to be cleared in 2006 for housing. However in 2019 it was still there; like many redevelopments it may have been halted by the financial crash.

Sisters Gowns, Seven Sisters Rd, Finsbury Park, 1989 TQ3186-015

Sisters Gowns was at the rear of a property at 216 Seven Sisters Road in Finsbury Park and this door was on Coleridge Rd. The property was demolished in 2008 (the sign had gone earlier), but the site was still empty in 2019.

Shop window, Fonthill Rd, Finsbury Park, 1989 TQ3186-021

Fonthill Rd in Finsbury Park, apparently known to locals as ‘The Font’ is possibly London’s best ‘fashion village’. On weekdays the trade is (or at least was) largely for the trade, but on Saturdays it becomes a busy retail fashion area, often packed with women on the lookout for a bargain. Fortunately most of the shops were closed when I went to take pictures on a Sunday morning.

Hairdresser,  Turnpike Lane, 1989 TQ3189-015

A unisex hairdressers at Turnpike Lane excited me in my hunt for heads, with a couple of fine examples as well as some photographs. I think I took rather more pictures than the three you can see here. A recessed doorway meant I could work from several angles.

Reflection, shop window, West Green Rd, West Green, 1989, Haringey TQ3189-010

Close to Turnpike Lane, down West Green Road, I came across another interesting shop window for a tailor’s shop, offering best styles made to measure at local prices. Working with a single lens reflex camera with its through the lens view meant that I could clearly see how the reflection and direct view combined, and could make small movements and sometimes deliberate shading to control the effect.

TQ31 London Cross-Section includes almost 400 pictures made in a small sliver of London, just a kilometre wide, which reflect the different areas it passes through from Norwood in the south to Wood Green in the north. The pictures come from just one of around a dozen such albums containing colour pictures I took when working around London between 1986 and 1992.


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.


City to Finsbury

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Brixton TQ31

Sunday, June 14th, 2020
Van, Rushcroft Rd, Brixton, 1987 TQ3175-001

There must be a reason for this van, parked at the junction of Rushcroft Rd and Vining St behind the large Foodstation building to have a horse on its cab roof, and I’d love someone to enlighten me. I think this is a classic Citroen H van, which were often adapted for use as catering or camping vans, and some are still in use and sell for high prices. There was even a special horse-box version.

Fishmongers, Shop, Atlantic Rd, Brixton, 1987 TQ3175-004

The much-loved fishmonger in the railway arches, one of a number of businesses recently lost to the relentless gentrification of Brixton, despite a long and hard-fought campaign.

Sculpture, Flats, Barrington Rd, Brixton, 1989 TQ3175-014

This sculpture and the mosaic panels were on Kemble House in Barrington Rd, and the pillar still has the mosaic, though the sculpture is long gone. I think both were added to the building in the mid-80s by Freeform Arts. The Loughborough estate was built by the LCC from 1954-70 to the designs of their architects department under Sir Leslie Martin, and provided 1,031 dwellings, including maisonettes in nine 11-storey blocks such as Kemble House. Since 1995 the estate has been run by the Loughbourough Estate Management Board.

Coldharbour Lane, Loughborough Junction, Brixton, 1989 TQ3175-018

An alley between shops on Coldharbour Lane still leads the Celestial Church of Christ at Loughborough Junction, and that strange post is still there in the middle of the pavement. The church “came into the world from heaven by DIVINE ORDER on the 29th of September 1947 in Porto Novo, Republic of Benin through the founder of the Church, the Late Reverend, Pastor, Prophet, Founder Samuel Bilehou Joseph Oshoffa. The Church is well known with Parishes, Dioceses all over the world with its International Headquarters in Nigeria.” More here.

Graffiti, Stockwell Ave, Brixton, 1989 TQ3175-026

I think this graffiti on Stockwell Avenue was on the side wall of 8 Bellefields Rd though it has long disappeared. A number of more official-looking murals had been painted in the area at the time, and one is still present on the facing wall, but this seemed to me to be more ‘Brixton’. The mural opposite was painted in 1987 by Sonia Martin of London Wall Public Art after consultations with local residents and was one of a series of Brixton murals painted after the 1981 Brixton riots with funding from Lambeth Council and the GLC.

More pictures from Brixton in TQ31 London Cross-Section.


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.


Norwood to Brixton: TQ31

Saturday, June 13th, 2020
House, Norwood Grove, Norwood,  1991 TQ3170-001

My pictures from TQ31, a 1km wide strip of London begin at Norwood Grove with a picture of the ‘White House’ there, a fine building dating from the early 19th century on the edge of Croydon. It’s a total mystery to me what I was doing there in 1991, but I did photograph this house again in 1996 but on a dull, overcast day. Possibly I was on a family walk and we had gone to look at its gardens which are listed with the house.

Barber, Norwood Rd, Tulse Hill, 1991 TQ3172-003

Hairdressers are a good example of businesses that can be set up with relatively little capital expenditure, and are often quite individual in the furnishing of their shops and window displays. I don’t think there are any real chains or franchises in the trade, either for barbers, unisex or ladies salons. And given the nature of the business the windows often include representations of heads – drawn and photographed (as in this case) or even three-dimensional, making them of great interest to me. Something that the differential fading of the colour image at the right only added to.

Tailor, Dulwich Rd, Herne Hill, 1991, Lambeth Tailor, Dulwich Rd, Herne Hill, 1991 TQ3174-020

It was definitely the colour that attracted me to this cafe on the Dulwich Rd at Herne Hill, set off by the white porcelain ashtray. Getting the colour right in the darkroom (it wasn’t on the enprint) proved a little difficult, but the ashtray and the CocaCola box were good reference points and this was one of the pictures I exhibited in the 1990s

Repairs, Railton Rd, Brixton, 1991 TQ3174-005

Brixton was a place I loved to visit for its colour and vibrancy. Back in the early days I went there quite frequently to buy cheap outdated photographic paper from A.W.Young Photographic in Altantic Rd. Later I used to go to Photofusion in Electric Lane to go to exhibition openings and take in pictures for their photo-library. This was Sherlock Electrical Repairs in Railton Rd, and they seemed to specialise in vacuum cleaners.

121 Centre, Railton Rd, Brixton, 1991 TQ3174-019

I bought some pamphlets and magazines from the 121 Centre in Railton Rd, on the corner of Chaucer Rd. It was a squatted anarchist social centre, and later in 1999 I went to at least one party in the street outside when it was threatened with eviction.

The centre had been squatted in 1973 by Olive Morris and became and anarchist social centre around the time of the 1981 Brixton riots, when Railton Rd was the “front line!, later gaining an international reputation for the groups and events it hosted. Set on fire by right-wing thugs in 1993, it recovered but was evicted by Lambeth Council in 1999 despite a determined and well-organised campaign of resistance. Property values in the area had risen dramatically and Lambeth who perhaps hadn’t been worried when Brixton property was almost worthless decided to take the property back.

More from Brixton in a later post. You can see these and other pictures in the Flickr album TQ31 London Cross-section. As I write there are still more pictures to add of TQ31 north of Stockwell.


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.