london diary

mar 2004


my london diary

there are various attempts in london around the start of march connected with international woman's day on the 8 march. in trafalgar square on saturday 6 a woman's court put george bush and tony blair on trial for crimes against women, children and men, the event was a part of the 5th global women's strike.

events started with a a short play by a group from crossroads women's centre in north london highlighting the racist immigration policy of fortress europe, typical agit-prop, enlivened as always by some individual performances that relied more on personality than script.

all good fun with the villians being george w bush and our very own tony blair.

good fun if it wasn't for the fact that the consequences of the actions of these men and the interests they stand for were felt around the world.

selma james, widow of clr james then opened the trial of bush and blair, represented in their absence by large puppets. one of the first witnesses was elsa t, an eritrean rape victim whose moving testimony was given us in translation.

another moving speech came from jocelyn hurndall, the mother of tom hurndall who was shot by an israeli soldier while trying to protect children in palestine. The clothing he was wearing to identify himself as a non-combatant apparently made him into a target.

other speakers included representatives from the black women's rape action project, a native american woman, a woman soldier, mrs n from zimbabwe whose son died in a british prison, and several men including brian haw from the 24/7 picket in parliament square.

at the end of the event, the jury returned a unanimous verdict - guilty.
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friday i was up in the city on business (a meeting of the committee of a charity i keep the books for) and took the opportunity to take some photographs of buildings in the city despite the occasional drizzle. i had a new lens, the sigma 12-24mm to try out. architecture presents some challenges for extreme wide angles and it passed with flying colours.
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saturday the weather was better, and i was still trying out the lens, but looking in particular for flare when shooting into the sun. i live in staines, and these pictures show the riverside, the old town hall our council has just sold off despite the protests of almost all the residents, and some of the artworks on the art trail. there are actually some good pieces, although the redevelopment of the town has generally been dire.

Boadicea or her mates razed Staines to the ground a couple of thousand years ago, and Spelthorne council sometimes appear hell-bent to follow her example. Of course its the developers who actually produce the schemes, but some councils manage to get them to
perform rather better.
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thanks to ken livingstone, the st patrick's day parade in london is now in its third year (you can see some pictures of the previous two on this site as well.) the weather this year dampened us all a little, but it was still the usual good-natured event.
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on march 19 i demonstrated on staines bridge with surrey stop the war to mark the passing of a year since the invasion of iraq, and to encourage people to attend the london march and rally on saturday, but didn't take any pictures.

having heard that two greenpeace climbers were climbing up the clock tower at the houses of parliament i went along there to see what was happening. the police were obviously a little upset at their lack of vigilance being made so obvious, and i was moved on several times while taking these pictures although i took care not to stand anywhere where i could be causing an obstruction. since i didn't have a very long lens there wasn't a lot i could show, so i left for the start of the march at speakers' corner in hyde park.

the main slogan of the day was "no more war, no more lies" as the perhaps 50,000 demonstrators made there way from hyde park to trafalgar square.

by the time i reached the square it was packed, although the end of the march had not reached piccadilly circus. i was there in time to see the release of the thousand black balloons commemorating the ten or twenty thousand who have been killed during the invasion and occupation of iraq, though i almost managed to miss it, having my back turned at the moment they were released. then we listened to some bach from nigel kennedy (the sound system was surprisingly effective) and it started to rain so i came home.
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later in the month i took another ride on the brompton, starting at brentford, where i wanted to see progress on the new flats by the canal.

from there i rode to strand on the green or strand green, wheeling the bike along the riverside path and taking some pictures, on my way to chiswick park. this is one of london's best kept secrets, despite having been photographed by bill brandt, edwin smith and many others. i first took pictures there in the 1970s, and it's still a place i enjoy visiting, both for chiswick house, one of the finest palladian buildings in the country, and also the fine gardens, with a magical lion, a sphinx and a temple.
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since this was a special boat race i decided i'd go along. although its not really the kind of occasion i enjoy, and the weather was very dull. there are supposed to be 250,000 spectators on the banks of the thames, but i've never beleived the figure to be anything like as large as that. the most crowded place i've found is around the start at putney, and i'd put the numbers there at less than 5,000. the race itself is much better watched on tv, which apparently millions do, though i can't see why.

this year was special on two counts; it was the 150th race since the whole thing started in 1829, marked by an extra event between teams from the two universities rowing replicas of the original boats, and it is the last to be broadcast by another british institution, the bbc. next year will see more sponsorship probably with brand names on anything that moves. so this was probably the last simply boat race, before we start the xxxx boat race or whatever.
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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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Picture © Peter Marshall, 2004
bookstall, trafalgar square, London for International Woman's Day

Picture © Peter Marshall, 2004
representing george w bush with his attempt to dominate the world

Picture © Peter Marshall, 2004
I'm not sure quite where the fairy queen came into it

Picture © Peter Marshall, 2004
Jocelyn Hurndall speaking              more pictures

Picture © Peter Marshall, 2004

Recent city architecture at Moorgate       more pictures

Picture © Peter Marshall, 2004

A reminder on the art trail that Staines once led the world in linoleum. The factory area is now a tedious shopping park.      more pictures

Picture © Peter Marshall, 2004
St Patrick's Day Parade forms up in Hyde Park     more pictures

Picture © Peter Marshall, 2004

No More Blair lies march

Picture © Peter Marshall, 2004
Stop the war organiser Lindsey German at the front of the march

Picture © Peter Marshall, 2004

George Galloway, the independent MP for Glasgow Kelvin, was in a good mood - perhaps due to his court libel victory.      more pictures

Picture © Peter Marshall, 2004

Chiswick House gardens      more pictures

Picture © Peter Marshall, 2004
The umpire for the replica boat race dressed the part, as did the teams

Picture © Peter Marshall, 2004
An enthusiastic crowd on the towpath at Putney.      more pictures

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