Posts Tagged ‘Vauxhall’

Pimlico to Parliament 1987

Sunday, November 1st, 2020
Churchill, statue, Big Ben, Westminster, 1987 87-8m-01-positive_2400

I had my doubts about including this picture in my London album, not because of my opinions about Churchill, but because it is very much a cliché. But at least I think it is a fairly well done version, and the two men with the motorbike add just a little interest.

Churchill was a great leader in wartime, not least because his first action as Prime Minister was to invite Attlee, Sinclair and Chamberlain – the leaders of the Labour, Liberal and Conservative parties – to serve in a Coalition Government. I was too young to vote in the 1945 election (just over two months old) but clearly the nation wanted a change and saw that his strengths were no longer relevant to its future. His return to power in 1951 was something of a disaster for the country, made more clear by his protégé and successor Eden.

Nine Elms Cold Store, RIver Thames, Nine Elms, Vauxhall, Pimlico, Westminster, 198787-9a-12-positive_2400

All of these buildings at Nine Elms, seen from across the River Thames, have now been demolished. None was I suppose a great loss, but together I think they made an interesting ensemble. The cold store, brutally functional but with the elegant spiral staircase at its centre, presumably a fire exit, the curving horizontal of 95 Wandsworth Rd, for long occupied by Cap Gemini, demolished in 2018 and I think the site now owned by a Chinese property developer, and the two tower blocks at the right have also gone.

Riverside flats, Pimlico, Westminster, 1987 87-9a-15-positive_2400

Taken on the riverside path opened up in front of Crown Reach in Pimlico and now a part of the Thames Path. This view of the building looks to me like an Escher drawing, but for real, and I liked the contrast in shape and style with the rounded and decorated riverside lamp post.

Locking Piece, Henry Moore, sculpture, Riverside Walk Gardens, Millbank, Westminster 87-9a-22-positive_2400

Another picture of Henry Moore’s Locking Piece in the Riverside Walk Gardens on Millbank, again with the River Thames, Vauxhall Bridge, Nine Elms Cold Store and Market Towers in the distance. A figure walking past gives some sense of the scale of the piece, and the view is tightly cropped (I think the negative probably just contains the right edge of the plinth at its extreme edge.) I deliberately stood where a small area of sky was visible through the centre of the sculpture.

Millbank Tower, Millbank, Westminster, 1987 87-9a-42-positive_2400

Another example of very deliberate framing at the left and top edges of this view of the buildings around the base of the Millbank Tower.

Millbank Tower, Millbank, Westminster, 1987 87-9a-46-positive_2400

I wasn’t able to quite do the same when I made another exposure including the whole of the tower, but I think it makes effective use of the curvature of the building.

Thorney St, Westminster, 1987 87-9a-56-positive_2400

I think this picture in Thorney St shows the rear of the rather oddly shaped Millbank Tower building, but I think the concrete spiral ramp has been replaced by a garden.

John Islip St, Westminster, 1987 87-9a-54-positive_2400

And my final picture, taken in John Islip St, is something of a mystery to me, because of the reflections in the large polished stone triangular section fins on its surface. I found two of these fairly close together and the reflections make it almost impossible (at least for me) to see this building as it actually was rather than some optical illusion. If I start at the bottom of the frame where there is less reflection I can force myself to see it as it was.

Abell House and its neighbour Cleland House were I think built as government offices by TP Bennet around 1930, and were over-clad in 1985 using matching dark brown marbleised granite cladding, with a highly polished surface. I’m not sure which of the two is in this picture. Both were demolished around 2011-2 and replaced by taller residential towers with the same names, completed in 2016. The replacements look over-fussy to me, but would be rather easier to photograph.


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.


Nine Elms from across the Thames

Wednesday, October 28th, 2020

I sometimes wonder how many times I have photographed Battersea Power Station over the years. I still look out of the window of my train to see it in the distance, and when I’m sitting on the top deck of a bus going over Vauxhall Bridge, on my way to or from the station.

Battersea Power Station, from Pimlico, Westminster,1987 87-8a-11-positive_2400

Occasionally I’ll walk across Vauxhall Bridge too, perhaps on my way to the Tate Gallery or the Home Office, and see it in the distance, often taking a picture. The riverside walk from Vauxhall Bridge upstream on the Surrey bank is one I’ve walked along many times, open years before we had a Thames Path, which it now forms a short part of. Back in 1977 when I first began walking much beside the Thames, the proposed long-distance path – then called the Thames Walk – only began a few miles upstream at Putney.

Locking Piece, Henry Moore, sculpture, Vauxhall Bridge, Vauxhall, from Millbank, Westminster, 1987 87-8b-56-positive_2400
Henry Moore’s ‘Locking Piece’, Vauxhall Bridge, Nine Elms Cold Store and Market Towers

Recently, with the US Embassy having moved to Nine Elms, I have another reason to walk beside the river here, on my way to photograph protests there, or, more often when the light is so good that I can’t stop myself from making a little detour on my way home from one. But at the moment, this is just wishful thinking, as I’m still staying home and away from London and Covid-19.

Nine Elms, River Thames, from Pimlico, Westminster, 1987 87-8a-16-positive_2400

But even in earlier days, my trips along the Middlesex bank here were rare. There was back in the 1980s relatively little riverside path, a little chance to get away from the busy Grosvenor Rd, though a short stretch of riverside path became available some time after the completion of Nick Lacey’s Crown Wharf in 1983.

Bolton & Fairhead Ltd, Rochester Wharf, Grosvenor Rd, Pimlico, Westminster, 1987 87-8b-02-positive_2400
River Thames, Nine Elms, Battersea, from Pimlico, Westminster, 1987 87-8b-01-positive_2400
William Huskisson, memorial, Pimlico Gardens, Grosvenor Rd, Pimlico, Westminster, 1987 87-8a-15-positive_2400

Further on the small Pimlico Garden opens on to the riverside and also has a memorial to William Huskisson, the first widely reported victim of a railway accident, who was killed when he got down from the special train carrying the the Duke of Wellington and his guests on the official opening of the Liverpool and Manchester railway which had stopped at Parkside station in the middle of the line. He got down from the train to speak with the duke, ignoring the warnings of the railway company, and was hit and fatally injured by George Stephenson’s famous engine ‘Rocket’ pulling a train in the opposite direction.

River Thames, Gravel Wharf, Nine Elms, from Pimlico, Westminster, 1987 87-8a-24-positive_2400

Closer to the power station on the opposite bank, Grosvenor Rd runs beside the riverside and gives good view of the power station. A little downstream from it was a small gravel wharf, where until some time in this century a small ship came daily on the tide with shingle from the estuary. On one walk a few years ago as I photographed the ship I had a talk with the captain who, with his mate brought the ship up the river; I regret I failed to make a portrait of him. He told me then that this would be one of his last trips as the wharf was to close.

River Thames, Gravel Wharf, Nine Elms, from Pimlico, Westminster, 1987 87-8a-21-positive_2400
Battersea Power Station, from Pimlico, Westminster,1987 87-8a-22-positive_2400
87-8a-35-positive_2400

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.


TQ30

Tuesday, June 2nd, 2020
Shop, Brixton Hill, Brixton, 1991TQ3074-001

Back in 1986 I began a serious attempt to photograph London. Serious but not entirely credible I set out the photograph the whole of the city. Of course I never thought I could photograph everything, but set out a number of principles or themes that would govern my project, or rather a series of projects that I continued to work on for the next ten or 15 years.

Streatham High Rd, 1990 TQ3071-002

The larger part of this work was in black and white, and concentrated on buildings and streets, the physical infrastructure of London, with the goal of photographing every built structure I thought significant, as well as representatives of the typical across the city. You can see a little of this on Flickr in the album 1986 London Photographs, which contains over 1300 photographs, perhaps a third of those I took in the first six or seven months of the project.

Heads & Dummy, Shop,Streatham High Rd, Streatham, 1990TQ3072-010

In colour I was largely concerned with a more intimate level, or how individuals arranged their surroundings and how this reflected their differing social and cultural values. Some of the more obvious reflections of this came in small businesses with the face they displayed toward the public, particularly in shop windows and interiors, which feature strongly in this work.

Bedford Rd, Clapham, 1992 TQ3075-025

The previous year I had abandoned colour transparency and moved to working with colour negative film which provided much greater flexibility. For some years this was entirely trade-processed, and to cut costs (I had a young family to support) I used cheap processing companies aimed for the amateur market. Technically these were rather variable (even from the same company) and the prints I received back, usually 6×4″ ‘enprints’, were extremely variable in quality.

Shop, South Lambeth Rd, South Lambeth, 1989 TQ3077-005

As the stack of fat envelopes containing the negative strips and prints grew I wondered how to make some order of them, and came up with the idea of a traverse of the city with pictures filed together representing a number of ‘vertical’ north-south 1km wide strips of London based around the National Grid.

Cafe, Plato Rd, Brixton, 1989 TQ3077-009

Prints from negatives that interested me were then filed in a series of A4 files, labelled with the first 4 digits of the six figure grid reference which I had begun to mark on the prints. The pictures in this post are all from ‘TQ30’, and the 1km wide strip starts at Streatham and goes north from there. I started scrap book style, pasting the prints onto cartridge paper, but soon moved to using plastic file pages which held four prints on each side, arranging the prints roughly in order of their ‘northings’ in kilometre squares.

From these albums – a longish row of A4 files on my shelves – I was able to select images that were worth printing larger, keeping costs down by printing and processing in my own home darkroom. I’d discovered that Fuji colour paper not only gave cleaner looking prints but enabled the kind of dodging and burning that I’d become used to in black and white without the unwelcome colour shifts of other papers. I’ve had one set of prints from a show in the mid-80s framed on the wall beside the stairs since that show. They are out of direct sun and 35 years later show little of no sign of fading.

Bicycle, Shop, Kennington Lane, Vauxhall, 1989 TQ3078-005

I began putting images from this project on Flickr several months ago, and at the start tried to replicate the layout of the albums – and the vagaries of the prints in terms of colour balance, exposure, saturation etc. Having done several 1km strips like this I’ve decided it doesn’t really work to well, and although I’m still scanning the prints in their sheets of four have separated them into individual images – still roughly in the same order – for TQ30. And while some of the defects of those trade-processed prints are still evident (and occasionally rather a lot of dust on the plastic sleeves) I’ve tried to improve the colour balance etc where necessary. But they are still showing enprints enlarged on screen and this makes some problems more visible.

So far I’ve put just over 100 prints into the album TQ30, from Streatham to Westminster, with another 250 or more to follow, taking the ‘slice’ north to Hornsey. You can view them on Flickr.


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 Complete – Page 2

Wednesday, April 22nd, 2020
Varden St, Whitechapel, Tower Hamlets 86-5d-11_2400

Images in this post are embedded from Flickr where you can view them at a large size by clicking on the image. You will need to use your browser back button to return to this post. Or you can right-click and select ‘Open link in new tab’.

My album 1986 London Photographs is now complete on Flickr, and this is the second of a short series of posts pointing out a few of my favourite images from the year.

Fashion St, Spitalfields, Tower Hamlets 86-4r-16_2400

Several things come out strongly to me as I look through these pictures, mostly taken around Brick Lane and other areas of Whitechapel. One of the major themes that has run through much of my photography is the writing on the wall, whether graffiti or signs and posters. Language is such an important aspect of our social interactions and its inclusion in these images makes them into a record of how people lived and thought.

Brick Lane, Spitalfields, Tower Hamlets 86-5a-01_2400

In 1984 London was rapidly becoming the multicultural city we now know, though of course it had been so on a lesser scale for many years if not centuries. Spitalfields where some of these pictures were made had long been a home for new communities moving to London and there was still abundant evidence of its Jewish population as well as the Bangladeshis who had by then largely replaced them.

Commercial Rd, Whitechapel, Tower Hamlets 86-5c-64_2400

Housing, then as now, was an important issue in London in particular, and some of these pictures reflect this and other issues such as racism. Although I think some of these pictures are well-composed and even attractive compositionally, I’ve always considered the formal aspects – line, shape, tone, texture, form etc to be the means to communicate a message rather than an end in themselves. I aimed to make photography that had something to say and said it well rather than to produce well composed, attractive or even striking or popular images.

Limehouse, Tower Hamlets 86-5h-66_2400

There are another 95 pictures on the second page of the album, all with a location, taken from the usually rather incomplete information I recorded on the contact sheets. I’ve tried to check these before posting, but corrections and other comments are always welcome. I’m happy for these pictures – with suitable attribution – to be shared on social media, but they remain copyright and any commercial or editorial use requires a licence from me.


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.


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London October

Monday, March 16th, 2020

I don’t go out a great deal at night now, and mainly its when I’m out with friends and taking few pictures. I like to be at home and sitting down to a good dinner and a glass or two of a decent red wine. I quite like eating out, but the food at home is usually better and the wine almost always so, even at prices for a bottle you might pay for a large glass in a restaurant.

I’d hoped to be at home and at table by the time I left the protest in Chalk Farm. I left partly because there wasn’t a great deal going on, but mainly because the light had sunk to levels where working without flash had become more or less impossible and I was hungry. I don’t like winter and shorter days, but at least you don’t have to stay out so late if you want to take night pictures.

There is I think only one picture taken from the train as it goes through Vauxhall or Nine Elms in this month’s selection; perhaps the train windows were dirtier this month. But there are other pictures of the fast-changing area still under development, even the one above on Vauxhall Station itself. It gives a good idea of how vertical parts of the city are becoming.

There are several of Vauxhall and Lambeth across the river, including one with this Henry Moore piece in the foreground. I think the only thing still visible from when I first walked this way is Vauxhall Bridge itself, even the walkway and the river wall have been rebuilt.

London’s buses give a unique viewpoint on the city, and there is no need to spend large sums on open-top private operators to enjoy it. London’s buses are cheap, and a travelcard gives you a day’s unlimited access, though pictures like that above will fall foul of TfL’s over-zealous legalistic protection of its copyright symbol. Were I making some commercial use of it rather than posting an image on a non-commercial blog there might be a case to answer.

Many more pictures, including some slightly different views of a few well-known landmarks as well as some of London’s more obscure streets, such at the one above.

London Images


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.