Posts Tagged ‘Whitechapel’

Bread & Roses, Morales & Russian anti-fascists – 2019

Friday, January 19th, 2024

Bread & Roses, Morales & Russian anti-fascists: Three events I photographed on Saturday 19th January 2019.

Bread & Roses is again relevant now in January 2024, with the release of a new version of the song a few days ago by the ‘Orchestra of Cardboard‘, part of the amazing ‘Every street a POWER STATION campaign‘, a project of Walthamstow’s community interest company Optimistic Foundation CIC set up by artist and filmmaker Hilary Powell and filmmaker and musician Dan Edelstyn. The recording is a part of their fundraising campaign and your can read, see and hear more about it and their other campaigns which are already having an effect in the area on their crowdfunder page.

But back to January 2019, five years ago today.


Women’s Bread & Roses protest

Bread & Roses, Morales & Russian anti-fascists - 2019

Inspired by the Bread & Roses protests which revolutionised workers’ rights for women in 1912, Women’s March London marched from the BBC to a rally in Trafalgar Square against economic oppression, violence against women, gender pay gap, racism, fascism, institutional sexual harassment and hostile environment in the UK, and called for a government dedicated to equality and working for all of us rather than the few.

Bread & Roses, Morales & Russian anti-fascists - 2019

The London march was part of an international day with women marching in many countries around the world, particularly in cities across the USA.

Bread & Roses, Morales & Russian anti-fascists - 2019

At the start of the march was opposite the BBC on the steps of Langham Place a few of the women organising the event were being directed and filmed by a BBC film crew. Supposedly this was a documentary but it seemed to be more a scripted drama closely controlled by the director and with the women involved holding orange folders from which they read.

Bread & Roses, Morales & Russian anti-fascists - 2019

But there were a rather larger group of women (and just a few men with them) standing around outside the BBC building and largely ignoring the filming that was taking place. Many had made placards especially for the event, with some using words from the poem ‘Bread and Roses‘ written by James Oppenheim and published at the end of 1911. The phrase ‘Bread and Roses’ came from a speech the previous year by Helen Todd, speaking about the need for laws to regulate wages, working hours and conditions.

A few days later a strike was started by textile workers, largely immigrants, in Lawrence, Massachusetts. The strike was organised by the IWW, the Industrial Workers of the World, led largely by women and they took up Oppenheims poem and sang it at their meetings and marches, as well as apparently marching with a banner ‘We want Bread, and Roses too!’ during their three-month strike.

Eventually, when the BBC had finished making their movie the women gathered for a march and I walked with them to Trafalgar Square.

Many more pictures on My London Diary at Women’s Bread & Roses protest.


Bolivians protest against Morales – Trafalgar Square

A small group of Bolivians had come to protest following a decision in December by the Electoral Commission that President Evo Morales could stand for a fourth term in office in the October 2019 elections which were starting with primaries at the end of January 2019. But I was not convinced that this was truly a protest about democracy rather than simply against his socialist policies.

Morales, Bolivia’s first president to come from the indigenous population was first elected in 2005. He supported the 2009 constitution which allowed only two consecutive terms in office but was able to stand for a third term as his first term had been before the limit was imposed. In 2016 tried to increase the limit to three terms by a referendum which was narrowly defeated. But after this the courts ruled that the limitation infringed the human rights of citizens, allowing him to stand for a further term.

Morales won the October 2019 but their were widespread protests alleging electoral fraud, although later investigations suggested he had indeed gained the 10% lead required for a first-round victory. But the protests grew and he was endangered by armed groups; eventually he resigned on 10th November 2019, fleeing to Mexico where he was granted political asylum. Allegations made against him of sedition and terrorism were later found to be politically motivated and in 2020 a Bolivian court found his rights had been violated and judicial procedures breached.

His successful policies which reduced poverty and illiteracy and combated the influence of the USA and multinational companies made him very unpopular among the middle class and particularly the groups accustomed to running the country. Many in the USA encouraged and financed the opposition to him as he was widely seen to have shown a successful alternative to the growth of international capitalism.

Bolivians protest against Morales


Solidarity with Russian anti-fascists – Whitechapel

Finally I went east to the Cable Street Mural where anarchists and anti-fascists were meeting l to oppose racism, xenophobia, fascism and the upsurge of far-right populism and to show solidarity with Russian anti-fascists who have been arrested, framed and tortured in a brutal wave of repression.

Russian and Ukranian comrades spoke at the rally. telling us of the persecution taking place. The Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) arrested six in Penza in 2017, charging them with belonging to a non-existent organisation, ‘The Network’. Beatings and torture before their trial were used to make them give false confessions.

Two others were arrested in 2018 in St Petersburg and charged with belonging to the same fictional network and again tortured into making confessions and further similar arrests have followed. A total of 11 where then in prison for belonging to’The Network’, facing 5 to 25 years in jail.

The date for the protest was chosen as the anniversary of the brutal murder of two Russian anti-fascists, journalist Anastasia Baburova and lawyer Stanislav Markelov, by fascists in broad daylight on the streets of Moscow on January 19th 2009. Russian anarchists and anti-fascists hold events to remember them on this day every year.

There was then a march to a further rally in Altab Ali Park, named for the 24-year-old clothing worker murdered in a nearby street on 4 May 1978.

More pictures at Solidarity with Russian anti-fascists.


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Goodbye & Good Riddance 2023 – December

Monday, January 8th, 2024

Goodbye & Good Riddance 2023: Apart from a protest by Just Stop Oil against the way their protests are being policed and non-violent protesters being given lengthy prison sentences because of political pressure by our government which has continued to move away from our ideas of liberal democracy towards a police state, all but one of the other events I photographed were about the continuing genocide of the people of Gaza. More and more civilians – men, women and especially children – were being killed every day, more forced to move out of their homes with nowhere safe to go, and an increasing humanitarian crisis – with many workers for relief agencies also being killed by Israeli forces.

Goodbye & Good Riddance 2023 - December
Police Clamp Down on Just Stop Oil. London, 2 Dec 2023. I
Just Stop Oil met at New Scotland Yard for a peaceful non-violent march. As it was about to start one of the organisers was arrested and others were warned that if they stepped into the road they would also be arrested. After a short meeting the protesters marched through the crowded pavements of Westminster holding photographs of jailed JSO protesters behind a banner ‘NO PRISON FOR PEACEFUL PROTEST’ to a rally outside the Supreme Court. Some held large photographs of peaceful Just Stop Oil protesters who are in jail, some serving lengthy terms though some juries have refused to convict those standing up for the future of our planet.
Peter Marshall
Goodbye & Good Riddance 2023 - December
Police Arrest Young Teen at Brixton Gaza Protest. London. 2 Dec 2023.
At the end of a Gaza Ceasefire march to a rally in Brixton, a crowd surrounded a police van containing a young teenager arrested for an allegedly anti-Semitic poster, shouting “Let Them Go!” and preventing the van from leaving. Police argued with protesters for around 45 minutes, eventually bringing in almost a hundred officers who pushed the crowd back to the pavement so the van could leave.
Peter Marshall

The situation in Brixton was rather confused and I got different stories from different people. The police too were arguing with each other for much of the time before a Senior Commander arrived, stopped another officer who had been trying to calm the situation and brought in reinforcements. There were at least two arrests, one for carrying a placard which I think compared in some way the actions of Israel in Gaza with those of the Nazis and the second for damaging a police vehicle.

Goodbye & Good Riddance 2023 - December
Now We Rise Day for Climate Justice. London, UK. 9 Dec 2023.
Climate Justice Coalition protest at BP’s London HQ calling for climate justice. The UN COP28 climate summit in the UAE is presided over by an oil CEO and attended by a record number of fossil fuel lobbyists who togther saw we did not get the committment to phase out fossil fuels we need to survive. Our government too is blocking the path to a green transition, backtracking on cutting carbon and granting many new oil and gas licences despite record world temperatures and increasingly dire scientific predictions.
Peter Marshall
Goodbye & Good Riddance 2023 - December
National March for Palestine – Full Ceasefire Now. London, UK. 9 Dec 2023.
Neturei Karta Jews support the march. Hundreds of thousands march in London to call for a full ceasefire in Gaza where Israeli forces have killed over 17,000 people including more than 7,000 children. Bombing has made humanitarian aid and medical treatment impossible and widespread deaths from disease and starvation now seem inevitable. Marchers call for an end to the genocide and a political solution to bring peace and justice to Palestine under international law.
Peter Marshall
Gaza Ceasefire Rally, Elephant, London, 16 Dec 2023.
The Gaza Ceasefire Now! rally in Elephant Square was one of many across the country in a day of action for Palestine as rage grows over the increasing death toll, with over 18,600, mainly women and children, now having been killed by Israeli attacks. Hundreds came to a rally to demand a permanent Ceasefire now, and for an end to British complicity in Israeli apartheid before marching to join a vigil by medical staff at St Thomas’s Hospital.
Peter Marshall
Gaza Ceasefire Rally, Whitechapel. London 16 Dec 2023. The
Gaza Ceasefire Now! rally at the Tower Hamlets Town Hall was one of many across the country in a day of action for Palestine as rage grows over the increasing death toll, with over 18,600, mainly women and children, having been killed by Israeli attacks. Several hundred came to demand a permanent Ceasefire now, and for an end to British complicity in Israeli apartheid and were supported by many drivers who hooted as they drove past on the busy road.
Peter Marshall
Gaza Ceasefire March, Lewisham. London 16 Dec 2023.
The Gaza Ceasefire Now! march in Lewisham was one of many events across the country in a day of action for Palestine as rage grows over the increasing death toll, with over 18,600, mainly women and children, having been killed by Israeli attacks. A large crowd possibly around a thousand met at New Cross to march demanding a permanent ceasefire now, and for an end to British complicity in Israeli apartheid.
Peter Marshall
Vigil for the children of Palestine, Ilford. London 16 Dec 2023.
A vigil for the children of Palestine in Valentines Park was one of many events across the country in a day of action for Palestine as rage grows over the increasing death toll. Adults and children spoke, some reading poems and we heard about the lives of a few of the many murdered children. The protest condemned the genocide in Gaza, calling for a permanent ceasefire now, and for an end to British complicity in Israeli apartheid.
Peter Marshall

It was almost the end of the year. Christmas too was overshadowed by the news of new killings and increasing suffering in Gaza. Christmas festivities were cancelled in Bethlehem, and the Nativity scene at the The Evangelical Lutheran Church there showed the newborn Jesus wrapped in a kaffiyeh an a heap of rubble to show solidarity with the people of Gaza.

Like many others I greeted the passing of 2023 at the end of New Year’s Eve with thanks that 2023 was over and the hope that 2024 would see a better year for us all. But perhaps that hope was realistically only a glimmer.


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Free Speech & PFI Debt – 2013

Sunday, October 8th, 2023

Free Speech & PFI Debt – Ten years ago on Tuesday 8th October 2013 I photographed two protests in London, the first against a controversial law which prevents some campaigning by organisations in the year before a general election and the second over the effect of huge repayments of PFI debts that are severely affecting the ability to provide proper hospital services – a result of misguided policy decisions by previous governments and poor agreements made by civil servants.


Don’t Gag Free Speech – Parliament Square

Free Speech & PFI Debt

Campaigners in Parliament Square opposed the Transparency of Lobbying, Non-party Campaigning and Trade Union Administration Bill which was being debated that day in Parliament in what was somewhere between a staged photo-opportunity and a protest.

Free Speech & PFI Debt

The name of the Bill (and the Act which came into force in 2014) is something of a mouthful as it combined three quite different things. Establishing a register of consultant lobbyists seemed long overdue, although it seemed unlikely to reduce the scandalous effect of lobbying by groups such as fossil fuel companies on government policies – and clearly has not as recent decisions on Rosebank and other environmental issues has shown.

Free Speech & PFI Debt

But the restrictions on the campaigning activities by charities and other “third party organisations” in the year before a general election was extremely controversial. So controversial that it was opposed by an incredibly wide range of voluntary organisations, “including Action for Blind People, Action for Children, the British Heart Foundation, the Campaign to Protect Rural England, the Countryside Alliance, Guide Dogs, Islamic Relief UK, Hope not Hate, the National Federation of Women’s Institutes, the Royal British Legion, the RSPB and the Salvation Army.” All saw that their legitimate activities in pursuing their charitable and other aims could be limited by the new legislation at least one year in four.

Free Speech & PFI Debt

The third section of the bill would effect the ability of trade unions to play a full role in informing and advising members in ways that might influence how they should vote.

Many saw the bill as an attack on free speech and something that could be used to silence critics of the government in the run-up to general elections, while failing to address the problems of lobbying by vested interests which could continue so long as the lobbyists were registered.

Rather than the mouthful of its full name, the Bill was widely referred to as the “lobbying bill”, or by its many critics as the “gagging bill” and this was reflected in some of those protesting having tape across their mouths, as well as in posters and placards. Although the bill became law it has perhaps had less effect than many of the campaigners feared, probably because of its lack of clarity. But it remains in law as a failure to deal with lobbying and a threat to free speech.

More pictures at Don’t Gag Free Speech.


Scrap Royal London NHS PFI Debt – Royal London Hospital, Whitechapel

The Private Finance Initiative (PFI) was a disastrous system which enabled essential government expenditure to be taken off the books. Essentially it involved in disguising borrowing by the government to build schools and hospitals etc by getting money from the private sector for these works and then paying these back over long periods of time.

But rather than the government paying back the loans for new hospitals, these would be paid back by the NHS through the various health trusts. It made no real sense, but made the figures for government borrowing look better.

Things were made worse, firstly by the private sector negotiators of the agreements running rings around those from the public sector inexperienced in such things meaning the contracts are far too favourable to them. Then we had the financial crash and the Tory-imposed austerity. Health trusts found themselves in an impossible situation, which required some radical government action. Even the Tories were eventually forced to do something, and in 2020, over £13 billion of NHS debt was scrapped; this good news came together with a wider package of NHS reforms in part intended to allow them to cope with Covid, and I’m unclear of what the overall effect will be in the longer term.

The Barts Health Trust which covers much of East London, including Barts, The Royal London, Newham General, Whipps Cross and London Chest Hospital, as well as many smaller community facilities has been particularly badly hit, with PFI payments of £129m a year to a private consortium who financed the new (and much needed) Royal London Hospital.

Barts Health Trust needs to cut £78m from the services it provides and planned to do so by downgrading the posts of many of its staff, paying them less for doing the same work, or rather doing more work, as there will be increasing staff shortages with vacancies being deliberately left unfilled. In any case new staff will be unwilling to come and work for a trust that wants to pay them less than their experience and qualifications merit.

Barts were also proposing to close departments such as A&E at Whipps Cross or Newham and for the population of East London things are made worse by proposed closures in neighbouring health trusts.

The rally began on a narrow pavement on the busy Whitechapel Road outside the hospital but after police told the organisers it was too dangerous moved onto the access road in front of the new PFI financed hospital where they had previously been denied permission to protest.

Although the hospital has a new building, financial problems have prevented them from making use of the top two floors – and for two days recently had been unable to admit any new patients as no beds were available.

More at Scrap Royal London NHS PFI Debt.


Whitechapel & Illegal Dates

Wednesday, September 27th, 2023

Whitechapel & Illegal Dates; On Saturday 27th September 2014 I went to Whitechapel early to photograph campaigners who were to protest against Sainsbury’s who were selling dates and other goods from illegal Israeli settlements, in defiance of international law. Around two years earlier I had made a panoramic image of part of the new Royal London Hospital which interested me but I felt was not quite what I wanted.

Whitechapel & Illegal Dates

Going back to re-take photographs is often disappointing, with key features having changed, but I think this time I did at least come up with an improvement. This was a more complex panorama than most of those I now make, and needed me to stitch together three separate exposures. It would perhaps be a little better with some slight cropping on the botton edge.

Whitechapel & Illegal Dates

The Royal London Hospital has much great problems, all arising from the poor PFI deal that was used to finance its construction. All PFI schemes have turned out to be a mistake, but this was worse than most and I think has left the hospital group in financial trouble while providing excessive profits to the investors, with payments continuing for many, many years. The contract means they can charge silly prices for necessary services,

Whitechapel & Illegal Dates

After several attempts at producing the picture I wanted I went for a short stroll around the area making a few more panoramic images before it was time to join th protest.

More pictures at By the Royal London.


Sainsbury’s told Stop Selling Illegal Goods – Whitechapel High St

Whitechapel & Illegal Dates

Campaigners from the Tower Hamlets & Jenin Friendship Association held a protest on the high Street close to Sainsbury’s, calling on the store to end selling dates and other goods from illegal Israeli settlements, in defiance of international law.

The protes was part of the international BDS campaign calling for a Boycott of Israeli goods, divestment from Israeli firms and sanctions against Israel until it ends the persecution of Palestinians and comes into line with international law and UN resolutions.

Similar protests earlier outside Co-op stores had led to the company in 2013 stating they would ‘no longer engage with any supplier of produce known to be sourcing from the Israeli settlements’.

The BDS campaign was given added impetus early in 2014 by the disproportionate use of force against the people of Gaza. During the recent Israeli attacks on Gaza over 2,100 Palestinians were killed, roughly 1500 of them civilians, among them over 500 children. 66 Israeli soldiers died, along with 5 Israeli civilians (including one child.) Over 500,000 people – roughly 30% of the population of the Gaza strip were displaced from their homes, and over 17,000 homes made uninhabitable, with over twice that number suffering less severe damage.

The raids also destoryed much of Gaza’s industry, including factories making biscuits, ice cream factory, plastics, sponges, cardboard boxes and plastic bags as well as the main electricity plant. Two sewage pumping stations were damaged, as were the main offices of the largest diary product importer and distributor.

The protesters had several tables on the pavement outside the library on Whitechapel High St ,one selling Palestinian olive oil, almonds and a range of decorated purses etc. Some handed out leaflets and a postcard ‘Sainsbury’s: Taste the Indifference’, while others held banners or collecting signatures for petitions. At intervals people made short speeches about the Palestinian situation and the campaign to get Sainsbury’s to stop selling illegal Israeli goods.

After an hour or so on the busy street, some of the protesters decided it was time to visit Sainsbury’s, just a couple of hundred yards away down a side-street. They folded up their banners and walked down to the store, where Sainsbury’s were ready and waiting for them with extra security on duty, and they were stopped in the very spacious lobby area in front to the store.

Here they opened up their banners and protested for a little over 10 minutes. There were a few moments of some tension, when store employees or security tried to grab one of the banners, but the whole protest and Sainsbury’s response was pretty civilised.

After 12 minutes, a man in casual dress arrived, and after asking the store manager to request the protesters to leave came across and talked with the the protesters, showing them his poolice warrant card and apologising that the police station didn’t have anyone in uniform available to send at the moment.

Having made their point by their protest, they decided to go quietly and a little exultantly back to the High Street, where others had been continuing the protest. Shortly after I decided it was time for me to leave.

Sainsbury’s appears still to refuse to follow its own ethical guidelines and still apparently sells some products from the occupied West Bank and to deal with suppliers who source goods from there, although probably rather less than in 2014. They have claimed not to source goods from the occupied territories but do still deal with wholesalers who deliberately mislable such produce.

Sainsbury’s told Stop Selling Illegal Goods

Beltane, Chariot Festival, Barking & Whitechapel

Sunday, May 28th, 2023

Beltane, Chariot Festival, Barking & Whitechapel: I had an interesting and varied day at events and places across London on Sunday 28th May 2006, taking rather a lot of photographs. Appropriately for a Sunday I covered two religious events.


Pagan Pride – Beltane Bash – Holborn

Beltane, Chariot Festival, Barking & Whitechapel

My working day began at Holborn, having caught a fairly early train into London. Now I like to relax a bit on Sundays, but for many years I often came up by the first train to take photographs. Though it wasn’t that early on Sundays, departing around 8am.

Beltane, Chariot Festival, Barking & Whitechapel

I took a bus from Waterloo to Holborn and walked the few yards to the Conway Hall at the north-east corner of Red Lion Square.

Beltane, Chariot Festival, Barking & Whitechapel

Here (with corrected capitalisation) is what I wrote about this event on My London Diary in 2006.

The Pagan Pride Parade in Holborn is now a regular annual event, a part of the Beltane Bash that takes place in the Conway Hall in Red Lion Square. Mostly it was the same people as last year, but I found it hard to get into the mood to take pictures.

Beltane, Chariot Festival, Barking & Whitechapel

As usual the parade was led by Jack In The Green – a dancing bush – the Green Lady and the Bogies. The Giants included the Morrigan (in green and flowers to welcome summer) with Black Ravens, Old Man Thunder and Old Dame Holder, along with the rest of it.

Beltane, Chariot Festival, Barking & Whitechapel

Dancing round the fountains was energetic, but somehow for me the event didn’t really get going, and lacked any real climax, people just slowly began to fade away.

My London Diary – May 2006

Chariot Festival, Sri Mahalakshmi Temple – East Ham

Those taking part in the Pagan Pride parade began to make their way back to Conway Hall for the rest of their day of events, but I rushed to Holborn underground station to take the Central line eastwards, changing at Mile End to get to East Ham. But I had stayed too long with the pagans.

The Sri Mahalakshmi Temple had been built in 1989 and opened and was almost opposite the station. Before that Hindus and worshipped at a converted shop on the corner of Kensington Avenue and High Street North, around 300 yards north from the station.

Unfortunately I had arrived too late and the procession on the streets had ended, though I was still able to photograph the chariots outside and a few of the people. I made a mental note to come back and cover this event another year, but although I photographed other chariot festivals including one in Manor Park, East Ham, I’ve never returned for this one.

My London Diary – May 2006


Barking and River Roding – Barking

I was in East Ham and the afternoon lay ahead; it was a fine day and I decided this was a great opportunity to take a walk a little further to the east by the River Roding. I took a few pictures of the chariots, then went to walk along by the River Roding and to photograph a new development by the railway in Barking.

The half-mile walk along unkonwln was rather uninteresting. It’s a long suburban street lined with terraces of working class housing from the early twentieth century on both sides, named for the family who once owned the estate on which it was built. As Stephen Benton points out in his London Postcode walk it has one small claim to fame, and almost every famous pop guitarist from the the 70s and 80s – including those from the Beatles, Rolling Stones, Yardbirds, The Who as well as musical failures like me will have started with Bert Weedon’s ‘Play in A Day – Guide to Modern Guitar’, first published in 1957. Weedon (1920-2012) was born here, though he had probably moved away long before he became famous.

The path led on to Watson Ave, with a view of the Leigh Road gasholder in what is now the derelict Leigh Road Sports Ground. The Barking Gas Works opened here in 1836 but was purchased in 1912 by the Gas Light and Coke Company, who closed it as they had the much larger and more economical works they had opened at Beckton in 1870. But the holder remained and was I think still in use by the North Thames Gas Board possibly until the change from coal gas to natural gas. The area around it became their sports ground.

At the end of Watson Ave is a long footbridge which took me over the North Circular Road, from which I took a few pictures before going through an industrial estate.

I made quite a few pictures in the Tanner Street area, where a considerable amount of new development was taking place.

I told myself I would return here later, but I don’t think I’ve done so yet.

My London Diary – May 2006


Whitechapel

I think I had travelled back from Barking on a Hammersmith & City line train and needed to change soemwhere to the District Line. Having got off the train I decided I had time for a short walk around on before needing to continue my journey. I only taok a few pictures, perhaps making 20 exposures, and there are only four pictures on My London Diary.

My London Diary – May 2006


Olympic Park, Barts and Food Poverty – 2014

Sunday, April 16th, 2023

Olympic Park, Barts and Food Poverty. On Wednesday 16 April 2014 there were two events in the evening I wanted to photograph, the first in Whitechapel and another in Westminster. It was a fine Spring day and I decided to go out much earlier and take a long walk around the former Olympic site, much of which had just been opened to the public ten days earlier.


Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park Panoramics – Stratford

Olympic Park, Barts and Food Poverty - 2014

My walk got of to a poor start, as I followed the large signs in Stratford Station to the park and found myself hopelessly lost.

Olympic Park, Barts and Food Poverty - 2014

I retraced my steps and went through where I thought I had probably missed a turning and walked though Stratford Westfield past many shops I would never feel any desire to enter.

Emerging on the other side I could still find no way into the Park, keeping coming up to areas still blocked by fencing.

Olympic Park, Barts and Food Poverty - 2014

Google Maps wasn’t much help. Streetview, claimed to work on some streets in the area, “but actually carries out what seems a fairly random translocation to some varied London locations. All of them seemed more interesting than the actual topography I had found myself facing on the ground.”

Olympic Park, Barts and Food Poverty - 2014

Eventually I managed to access the park, though it didn’t seem much like a park to me. As I wrote back then, “It gives the impression that as little has been spent and done as possible post the Olympics and it largely remains a series of routes to the Olympic stadium, ready for the mass tramping feet of West Ham fans, though some might favour more direct routes. It is a complete contrast to what might be expected of a new park for – and there is a good example of one just a couple of miles away in Thames Barrier Park.”

It has improved a little in the nine years since this visit, but still in many areas seems more desert than park, and my conclusion that it was “a rather bleak area, enlivened occasionally by the odd art work” still seems apt for much of the area.

Of course I was comparing it to the same area before the Olympics, which I had often wandered and enjoyed, and had been a more exciting and much wilder area. Of course a part of its attraction had been its relative isolation and the new park will attract hugely greater numbers to its various attractions. The local schools were on holiday and there were areas in which children were playing which for various reasons don’t feature in my pictures.

Many more at QE Olympic Park Panoramics


Barts cuts Health Advocacy & Interpreting – Royal London Hospital, Whitechapel

From Stratford Marsh and Pudding Mill Lane Station it was a short journey to Whitechapel, with just a short walk in the middle from Bow Church DLR to Bow Road on the District Line.

The Royal London Hospital at Whitechapel is run by the Barts Health trust, who were proposing to make drastic cuts in advocacy and interpreting services.

The hospital is in the centre of a multiethnic community of great deprivation and need, a community desperate for an increase in these services,with an ageing population many of whom speak and understand little English but are now in much greater need of health care.

I was there to photograph the handing over of a petition by GPs and other health professionals as well as members of various parts of the BME community, including Somalis, Bangladeshis and Chinese. The Mayor of Tower Hamlets backed the campaign and had sent apologies and a representative to express his support, and a Labour councillor gave support from the Labour group.

The removal of the services at GP surgeries and community and hospital services would mean the loss of around 11 full-time Bengali/Sylheti Health Advocates and the languages affected would include Somali, Punjabi, Urdu, Hindi, Tamil and French.

Bart’s Health Trust has huge financial problems because of the huge PFI debt incurred in the building of the sorely needed new hospital in front of which we were meeting, with continuing huge payments that mean that they have been unable to fully use the new building and have cut other vital services. PFI was always a mistake and the civil servants who negotiated the terms were no match for the skilled and highly paid operators for the developers who ended up with terms that were hugely favourable to them – and which changes in the financial conditions since then have made even more so.

The hospital tried to restrict the publicity for the event, although they had agreed to accept the petition, they wanted to do so in private. Hospital security staff tried to stop most of those present from witnessing the handover, and to prevent photography, but without success.

Barts cuts Health Advocacy & Interpreting


End Hunger Fast Vigil against Food Poverty – Old Palace Yard


Over 600 leaders from all major Christian denominations, including 47 bishops had earlier in the day called for urgent government action on food poverty, and earlier in the month thousands had taken part in a 24 hour day of fasting, praying and reflecting on the hunger in the one of the world’s richest countries came to the vigil.

On 16th April, ‘End Hunger Fast’ campaigners held a vigil outside Parliament, lighting candles and breaking bread together.

Earlier in the day figures from the Trussell Trust and independent food banks had been released showing that one million food parcels were handed out over the previoUs year as the safety net for the poor and vulnerable in Britain was crumbling.

There were a number of speeches before a sharing of bread in a minute of silence before eating to reflect on the problem faced by those who cannot afford food. CanDles were then lit (with some difficulty because a a stiff breeze) for another period of silent contemplation before the final address by End Hunger Fast media spokesperson Keith Hebden. He was then going without food for 40 days and 40 nights to draw attention to food poverty, and stressed the importance of getting politicians to take action on the issue.

End Hunger Fast Vigil against Food Poverty


London Street Photography

Friday, February 17th, 2023

Twelve years ago on 17th February 2011 I attended the opening of the show London Street Photography at the Museum of London, and I wrote about the opening here on >Re:PHOTO. Some of the same pictures there are also on My London Diary. The book of the show is long out of print but can be found cheaply secondhand with a little searching.

I was rather surprised to find this particular picture of mine, taken in Whitechapel in 1991 included in the book and show, and also one of the images used to promote the show. Not that I think it’s a bad picture, but to me it was just one of many that could have been chosen. I’ve never really put together a set of what I think are my best street photographs, but here are a few slightly random ones from about the same year.

I actually made two pictures of the shopkeeper standing outside the shop in Whitechapel, and the woman carrying a child walked across as I was talking to him and preparing to take his picture. I think I was just a little slow to react, and would have liked her to be just a fraction to the left, better outlined against the open doorway and for the child she was carrying to be more visible.

Perhaps important to the show was that most of the others from that era and before were in black and white – as most of photography still was. Only one earlier colour picture was featured, although most more recent work was in colour, including all of those taken in the current century.

Also important was that it reflected the changing population of London with a picture that could almost have been taken on the streets of Bangladesh – but so did some others that I took at the time.

Notting Hill Carnival, Notting Hill, Kensington & Chelsea, 1990, 90c8-03-51

I’ve recently re-digitised this and digitised many other colour and black and white images from my early work and made them available on Flickr, though so far I’ve only worked through all of the colour negatives up to the end of February 1991 and the black and white until the end of the following year.

Street scene, Green St, Upton Park, Newham, 1991, 91-31-31

Although almost all of these pictures were taken on the streets of London I don’t think many are really what I would consider ‘street photography’, though this is a category whose elasticity makes it of little use. But for me ‘street photography’ has to be about capturing fleeting moments, not about pictures that are posed or set up. The second picture without the woman walking by isn’t really street photography.


Class War Protest Jack The Ripper Opening

Friday, August 5th, 2022

Class War Protest Jack The Ripper Opening

Class War and others protested on Wednesday 5th August 2015 outside the newly opened Jack The Ripper “museum” in Cable St days after it first opened. Class War had called this protest as soon as the news became public, and others had organised another protest the previous evening which I had been unable to attend. Class War later organised further protests outside the museum which I also photographed.

Class War Protest Jack The Ripper Opening

Unfortunately the Jack the Ripper tourist attraction in Cable Street is still open, pandering to a popular taste, particularly among tourists to the city, for the sensational and to wallow in the grisly details of this brutal and horrific series of murders in London of five working-class women on the streets of Victorian London.

Class War Protest Jack The Ripper Opening

The museum was set up according to its planning application as the “first women’s museum in the UK” which “will recognise and celebrate the women of the East End who have shaped history, telling the story of how they have been instrumental in changing society.” A number of people gave advice or worked for free or at cost because they supported the project on this basis, and felt disgusted at how they were duped.

Class War Protest Jack The Ripper Opening

As I commented in 2015, ‘People who have seen the museum have been revolted at its sensational presentation of violent crimes against women. One of the politer comments was to call it “salacious, misogynist rubbish.“‘

I’ve only seen the shop through the doors and windows, and there does seem to be a lot of merchandise for sale. The on-line reviews of the place are extremely polarised. There are many positive, even fawning examples, though some do seem to follow a very similar pattern.

I think the window had been smashed earlier in the day

Others are damning. One comments “The museum is pretty small. It’s effectively 5 small rooms. You could whizz round it in 10 minutes easily. In no way does it represent good value for money. One of the rooms was pure conjecture too (What Jack the Ripper’s living room might have looked like…!?). It’s rather light on any kind of detail. For people with anything more than a superficial interest in the history etc, this is a waste of your time and money.”

Another states “I have no idea how it got so many positive reviews… It’s £12 per person and we’ve basically seen everything after 10 minutes. There’s nothing in this museum that isn’t already in the Google images.” Others are far more negative about the exploitation of the sadistic murders of women for profit.

So if you are someone who thinks we should celebrate the work of a serial killer who eviscerated five defenceless women – three of them mothers – on the streets of London and feel your holiday would not be complete without wallowing in more of the bloody details you may well enjoy this “museum”, even though it is in the wrong location and has little authentic content.

If you are not sure about the details of the killings and have a strong stomach you can read more, rather too much more, on Wikipedia; it isn’t pleasant reading. For once I’d advise you not to click on the link, or if you do to skip some parts of the entry.

Of course the whole Ripper industry is a tacky area, with many more imaginative and profitable books speculating on the identity of the deranged killer. Although the evidence is only circumstantial the most likely suspect remains Montague Druitt who committed suicide shortly after the last of the five murders, and was one of three named in a letter written five or six years later by a senior police officer who though not involved in the investigation will have had access to the officers and the – now largely destroyed – police records of the case.

More about the protest at Class War at Jack the Ripper ‘Museum’.


Docs Not Cops, Nigerian Girls, Fast Food Workers & Homeless Deaths

Friday, April 15th, 2022

Docs Not Cops, Nigerian Girls, Fast Food Workers & Homeless Deaths – four quite different protests on Wednesday 15th April 2015, seven years ago today.


Checkpoint Care – Docs Not Cops – Royal London Hospital, Whitechapel

Docs Not Cops, Nigerian Girls, Fast Food Workers & Homeless Deaths

Docs Not Cops set up a mock border checkpoint at the entrance to the Royal London Hospital in a protest against plans to charge migrants for NHS treatment which will force doctors to check on the immigration status of those needing treatment. Hospital security staff came out and forced them to move off hospital owned land and the border, marked by shiny stainless steel posts, shifted a few yards away with the protest continuing there.

Docs Not Cops, Nigerian Girls, Fast Food Workers & Homeless Deaths

Most of those protesting were medical students or health service employees. The Royal London serves an area with a large immigrant population and health workers, including local GP Dr Anna Livingstone. Many of those entering and leaving the hospital both staff members and patients stopped to express support for the action.

Checkpoint Care – Docs Not Cops


Bring Back Our Girls – Nigerian Embassy, Northumberland Ave

Docs Not Cops, Nigerian Girls, Fast Food Workers & Homeless Deaths

The monthly protest outside the Nigerian Embassy was very polite and relatively quiet as men and women from the Nigerian Women In Diaspora Leadership Forum held up posters and photographs calling for the return of the over 200 Chibok girls abducted by Boko Haram – and they did it on the opposite side of the road from the Embassy rather than the wide pavement immediately in front of it.

Docs Not Cops, Nigerian Girls, Fast Food Workers & Homeless Deaths

They feel that the Nigerian government has done little to try to get the return of the girls who were abducted a year earlier and hopedd that the new Nigerian government would take a firmer line.

Bring Back Our Girls


Fast Food Rights at McDonald’s – Whitehall

Docs Not Cops, Nigerian Girls, Fast Food Workers & Homeless Deaths

Trade unionists protested outside McDonald’s in Whitehall in solidarity with US fast food workers on strike for higher pay, justice, dignity and respect. They also demanded union rights, a £10 minimum wage and an end to zero hours contracts for workers in UK fast food outlets.

Speakers at the protest included Ian Hodson, National President of the Bakers, Food & Allied Workers Union (BFAWU) who is one of the leaders of the Fast Food Rights campaign, and victimised National Gallery PCS rep Candy Udwin, one of the leaders of the strikes there against privatisation.

A manager from McDonald’s was clearly angry and came out to talk to police about the protest. They told him that people had a right to protest on the pavement.

Fast Food Rights at McDonald’s


No More Deaths on our Streets – Westminster

People from various groups, including those involved in day to day practical support of the homeless on the streets with food and shelter as well as charities, political groups and housing and homeless activists, squatters and more met at 6pm opposite Downing St to call for an end to homeless people dying on our streets. As one poster stated, ‘I want Change – ‘55% More Rough Sleepers since Cameron Became PM – Austerity is killing people paying debt of the 1%‘ The main banner stated ‘NO MORE DEATHS ON OUR STREETS‘.

Recent years had seen a dramatic rise in the number of homeless people on the streets of London in particular due to the removal of welfare support and increasing official persecution, with government cuts making it harder for local authorities to provide support.

Prominent among the groups taking part were supporters of Class War, including their parliamentary candidate for Westminster in the 2015 elections the following month, Adam Clifford.

After protesting for some time outside Downing St and going on to the road to block traffic, the protest moved on to Parliament Square, marching along the road and blocking traffic there before going into the back streets south of St James’s Park.

Adam Clifford

They seemed to be going around in a circle but finally decided they would head for Buckingham Palace. But by then I was getting tired and decided to go home.


More at:

No More Deaths on our Streets
Fast Food Rights at McDonald’s
Bring Back Our Girls
Checkpoint Care – Docs Not Cops


Rich Door, Poor Door: 2014

Friday, July 30th, 2021

A foot in the Rich Door

I used the text for this protest on 30th July 2014 as the opening text for my ‘zine’ ‘Class War: Rich Door. Poor Door‘ published in 2015 and still available from Blurb. It was the first in a series of around 30 weekly protests (and a couple of special events, pictures from most of which are in the zine, by Class War at this block in Aldgate where the small proportion of social housing tenants have to use a door down a side alley rather than the plush entrance on the main road for those in the private flats.

Class War arrive for their first protest

The series of protests had some success – it had immediately resulted in the alley being cleaned up and later it was given much better lighting and it placed the whole idea of ‘poor doors’ firmly on the national and architectural agenda – but eventually failed to resolved the issue for this particular building.

And put up posters and stickers

Here’s that text, written on 30 July 2014:

Class War, including three of their candidates for the 2015 General Election, protested at 1 Commercial St in Aldgate against London’s new appartment blocks providing separate ‘poor doors’ for the affordable flats they have to include to gain planning permission for the development. Class War characterise this as ‘social apartheid.’

The building manager removes a poster

The front entrance on Whitechapel High St (One Commercial St is the name of the block) has a hotel-like reception desk, and is staffed. It leads to the lifts for the expensive flats, many owned by overseas investors. Like most such buildings, some of them are empty and seldom used, while others are short term holiday lets.

Arguments continue over the door

There is apparently no internal connection* between this part of the building and that containing the social housing, which has been given a different name and a separate door some way down the alley on the west side of the building. Their door, the ‘poor door’ has a card entry system which leads to a bare corridor with some mail boxes on one side.

Lisa makes her views clear

The alley is dark at night, and even though today it was unusually clear of rubbish, it smelt strongly of urine. Certainly a far less friendly place than the well lit main street on which the ‘rich door’ opens. There seems to me to be no reason why all those who live in the building cannot share the same entrance even if their flats are on different floors or different sides of the building, and certainly no reason at all to hide the poor door down a mean alley like this.

Police try to persuade the protesters to move across the road

The protesters arrived with a banner carrying a quotation from the radical US labour activist Lucy Parsons (1853-1942) “We must devastate the avenues where the wealthy live“. The Class War posters – with their skull and crossbones – had the message “We have found new homes for the rich” and showed long rows of grave crosses stretching into the distance, and they were stuck on the windows around the poor door using Class War election stickers with their promise of a 50% mansion tax.

But the protesters are unmoved by the police arguments

A few people were still entering and leaving the building, with the protesters talking and shouting at them but not actually stopping them, and at one point the protesters grabbed the door when it was open. There followed a brief tug of war with several from inside the building, including one of the residents as well as those from the ‘concierge’ attempting without success to close it. The protesters made little attempt to enter the building but wanted those inside to be able to hear the protest through the open door.

The Poor Door. When I visited a few days earlier the alley was filthy

By the time a couple of police arrived and hurried into the building to talk to the people inside around a quarter of an hour the protesters had stopped holding the door. The police came out a few minutes later and tried with little success to get the protesters to move further away from the door.

The rubbish had gone but it still stank of urine and had no lighting

The protest continued until after an hour or so Class War decided they had made their point and left, some for the pub. I went around the building to find the poor door and photographed it and the alley it was in.

Class War – Rich Door, Poor Door

* This was a lie by the building manager. On a later occasion I was taken inside the building by one of the private residents, and after taking me to her flat we then went down and out through the ‘poor door’ which she told me she used when taking her dog for a walk.


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.