my london diary

december 2002

december, gloomy and cold days. we had a little sun on the 5th as i came out of Erith station and walked around the town to the pier, and then turned back towards the centre of London along the Thames path, but it didn't last.

it was near high tide, and there was some traffic on the river, a couple of ships, a twin-hulled yacht, a PLA launch, but not much else. A couple of boats at a jetty unloading, new flats springing up on old wharves, long grass covering disused piers.

huge sheds of new distribution centres looked as unused as old quays, with empty lorry bay after lorry bay stretching into the distance. yards full of decaying coaches and lorries, weeds spreading, but signs of industry inland with steam and smoke.
pictures to follow

saturday 7th was gloomy and wet as over ten thousand of us gathered on the embankment for the start of the march to hyde park in support of the fire brigade union. for some reason, the police had decided to be obstructive - perhaps feeling they deserved the money more than the firemen, and had put up barriers everywhere. even access to the toilets was being made as difficult as possible.

it got darker and drizzle descended.

groups of firefighters stood around in their work clothes, along with wives, husbands and children. thousands of aerosol powered hooters created a great deal of noise, but still the march didn't move. press photographers came close to riot as they were held back behind a rope as the march started, too far away to photograph sensibly in the gloom.

it was a good show of support for the firefighters, with a number of trade union leaders in the march. as well as the FBU, there was support from many other unions, particularly those involved in the public sector. The police gave a relatively reasonable estimate of the crowd - possibly over half the actual number present rather than some of the pathetically ridiculous estimates they have made of some of the anti-war marches. my guess would be there were around 12-15,000, but fortunately only a few were playing bagpipes.
pictures to follow

Aldwych was always a folly as a tube station, a short stub from Holborn, its four coaches going back and forth, it never made sense, though perhaps one day both ends may be extended. now it is a chameleon, one day camden town, another st pancras, changing period and place at the whim of film crews.

below ground we were shown round by its guardian - who gets to drive the train now and then, while above ground students set up for a loud party in the booking hall and other areas. this was another of the visits organised by London Arts Cafe

afterwards we sat in the pub and talked, then linda and i walked up into covent garden. later we walked down to somerset house and watched the skating rink, admiring the fine floodlit courtyard, complete with tree and carol singers.

as you may have noticed, i live in staines. it has thre main features, the thames, staines moor and the railway station. it has been said that the best thing about it is the bypass.

we walked off some of christmas on the 28th, taking a look around Cliffe, proposed site for a new London airport. Probably not a serious proposition, just put up so that at some point the civil aviation lobby can say, 'as we can't possibly build at Cliffe, we will have to have another runway at Heathrow, and yet another terminal/vast shopping centre ... Its long past time that we made airlines pay fuel duties and vat and tried actively to cut the growth in air travel, an incredibly wasteful method of transport with with vast subsidies that distort the world economy.



some of my work gets put into nice organised websites.

this isn't meant to be like that, but you can see some of the rest at

london pictures
londons industrial history

and you can read what I think about photography at


All pictures on this site are © Peter Marshall 2002;
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contact me

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Payment may be waived for acceptable non-profit uses.

Erith    pictures to follow

FBU march

Aldwych station: poster from a film shoot
Aldwych Station: driver's eye view
Aldwych station

Skating at Somerset House

Thames at Staines more pictures

Thames at Cliffe    

Near Cliffe     more pictures


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