london diary

feb 2004


my london diary

ponders end is a name to conjure with. it sounds like some rural retreat, ducks lazily floating among muddy reeds at the end of a long dusty potholed dirt track, relaxing on the grass chewing the end of a long straw on a hot summers day, perhaps in front of a half-timbered pub.

reality is seldom as hackneyed as that (nor is hackney for that matter.) ponders end is in the lea valley, part of what was once the industrial powerhouse of london. it is also in parts curiously rural.

i first remember it in the early 1980s, when i first set out to photograph the lea valley.

in some ways it doesn't seem to have changed much, although some of the old industries have closed down. the flour mill is still there, down near the navigation, and still difficult to photograph. still hidden among trees, with the river flowing by, a surprisingly rural survival. the flats have been brightened up, but make-up can't hide their nature. some new and decorated sheds have appeared, but large areas have also been laid waste, or covered with containers and storage.

i worked my way north, to brimsdown finding some new paths and a new bridge. there is still chemistry in the air here, an acid biting at the lungs. there may be a nature reserve in the creek, but it isn't a place i'd chose to stay. enfield council are monitoring for nitrogen dioxide, ozone, benzene and sulphur dioxide, half a mile or so away, but pollution levels are noticeably higher here.

the end of my day takes me to enfield lock village, formerly the site of the Royal Small Arms Factory, set up there in 1815. it was
where lee enfield rifles were made. my father had one in the first world war, together with bullets that didn't quite fit (sounds familiar?)

the factory was closed in 1987 and now its the site of a rather bland housing development, with a few of the older buildings retained and fitting in rather uncomfortably.
 more pictures

in the middle of the month we had a few days in paris, but those pictures aren't really a part of mylondondiary. when i've put them on the web i'll make a link here though.

artist's studios are often fascinating places, and that of david hepher certainly is. perhaps because his subject matter is the kind of place i've often worked in, i feel a special affinity for his work.

you can see some of his pictures as well as source material in these images, canvases with concrete on them, inkjet images of tower blocks overpainted, graffitti added.

the studio is in the attic of his fine house in camberwell, a very different atmosphere from the estates he paints.
more pictures

i didn't make much of the extra day this month. no leaping for the leap year, though i did manage a short walk through staines and on to the moor, where the sun appeared for a few minutes.



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 section of the site are © Peter Marshall 2004;
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contact me

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Picture © Peter Marshall, 2004Flats at Ponders End

Picture © Peter Marshall, 2004
Stack on chemical works at Brimsdown
Picture © Peter Marshall, 2004
Lea Navigation at Brimsdown with new footbridge at Mossops Bridge and pylons

Picture © Peter Marshall, 2004
Lee Navigation, Brimsdown
Picture © Peter Marshall, 2004
Workshop building from fomer Royal Small Arms Factory retained as a feature in new housing estate, Enfield Lock Village, with new ornamental water feature.     more pictures

Picture © Peter Marshall, 2004
Desk in David Hepher's attic studio, Camberwell       more pictures

Picture © Peter Marshall, 2004

River Colne, Staines Moor, looking towards M25 - highway sign is visible against bank of reservoir.
more pictures

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