my london diary index


Stock photography by Peter+Marshall at Alamy

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All pictures Copyright © Peter Marshall 2017, all rights reserved.
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West Hendon Estate

West Hendon, London. Tue 28 Mar 2017

New buildings on York Memorial Park and the West Hendon Estate across the Welsh Harp

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From Colindale I could have walker the mile and a half to the West Hendon estate, next to the Welsh Harp reservoir fed by the Silk Stream, and had there been a decent footpath I might have done so, but the only direct route seemed to be mostly along the busy A5, so instead it was one stop on the tube to Hendon Central and then a short bus ride.

My pre-war Phillips ABC London Atlas shows half a dozen small streets leading down off West Hendon Broadway towards the Welsh Harp and a park, York Park, beside it. They were lined with small terraced houses, but on 13th February 1941, a single large bomb destroyed or rendered uninhabitable 366 houses, damaging a further 400 in the area, killing 75 people and severely injuring another 145. Over 1500 people were made homeless.

York Park became York Memorial Park, a green open common designated as a War Memorial in perpetuity as a mark of respect to all who lost their lives. In the 1960s the remaining houses in the area were replaced by the West Hendon estate, comprising of 680 one-bedroom flats, two-bedroom maisonettes and three-bedroom council houses, along with open space, a community centre and a play area.

Barnet Council handed the memorial park over to developers Barratt and the estate is being demolished in phases. Public land worth at least £12 million has been given away to the developers. A 29 storey tower now sits on the war memorial park. The 680 homes built for social housing back in the 1960s will be replaced by 2,171 but the huge majority of these will be unaffordable to current residents - most of whom do not qualify for rehousing and will have to find private rented accommodation elsewhere.

Some will be be rehoused in the new development - Hendon Waterside - but at higher rents and with less security of tenure. Few will be able to afford the "affordable" properties on offer - and none those expensive flats with views across the Welsh Harp which make the development so attractive to Barratts and the estate agents. Many will go to overseas buyers and will be kept empty as investments whose value is expected to rise steeply. It's hard to pin down the number of social housing units there will be, but almost certainly it will end up a small fraction of the 680 of the original West Hendon estate.

This process of so-called 'regeneration' is being carried out in a manner which should be completely unacceptable in a modern civilised society, with so many people losing their homes and being 'socially cleansed', forced to move out of the area and away from friends, jobs, schools etc. It's time to prioritize people over the profits of the developers and overseas investors and insist that schemes such as this should be planned and carried out in a way that doesn't ruin the lives of the existing residents.
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Grahame Park & Colindale, London. Tue 28 Mar 2017

Boscombe Circus, Grahame Park NW9
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I went to Colindale because the public inquiry into the second phase of the demolition of the West Hendon estate was opening at the RAF Museum. But after a quick visit to this I decided to go elsewhere and take some photographs.

After a quick visit to the RAF Museum, I went to photograph Grahame Park, just across the road from the museum and built on most of the rest of the old Hendon aerodrome. The original estate was a joint venture between the GLC and Barnet Council; building began in the late 1960s and the first residents moved there in 1971.

By 1980 changes had been made, removing some of the connecting walkways to split the blocks of flats into smaller units, and some flat roofs were replaced by pitched roofs. A more dramatic regeneration began after 2003 with the phased demolition of some areas and new properties being built on the estate, and considerable building work is now taking place in some areas.

The original almost 1800 council properties are being replaces by around 3000 energy efficient properties, but around 2700 of these will be private homes - including 900 which will be unaffordable 'affordable' properties and the remainder at market prices. While several hundred existing tenants with secure tenancies will be rehoused, most of the estate residents, even some who had lived there for 15 years or more, do not qualify for rehousing, and will need to find private rented properties elsewhere in a typical example of social cleansing by Barnet Council, in league with developer and social landlord Genesis Housing Association.

From Grahame Park I walked the short distance to Colindale station, around which several major developments are taking place, mainly of expensive private housing in large blocks of flats. The area action plan is for 10,000 new properties.
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Cody Dock 2

West Ham, London. Sat 25 Mar 2017

Cody Dock and Bow Creek with pipe bridges
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I was going to Cody Dock for the opening of my show there, 'All Along the Lea', black and white photographs from the 1980s and 90s, and went early to take some more pictures beforehand.

It was a fine sunny afternoon - with too much blue sky for good panoramas - but I made some all the same, as well as taking a rest with a beer and listening to some live music, and having a meal before the opening.

There was more food at the opening, and it was a nice event, with plenty of people coming to look at the pictures and talk, including the local MP. When I took these pictures many people wondered why I was wasting time and film on such scenes, so I'm really pleased to have them appreciated now.

The show's title was something of a misnomer, as almost all the pictures were from Bow Creek, with just a couple from the centre of Stratford. However I think all of the pictures are on my River Lea web site, which does have pictures from the source at Leagrave to the outlets into the Thames both at Bow Creek, and, via the Limehouse Cut, at Limehouse Dock.
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Southwark march for homes & businesses

Southwark, London. Sat 25 Mar 2017

'This is OUR city - These are OUR homes' - but not for long if SOuthwark Council get their way
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Southwark campaigners marched from Canada Water to protest at Thurlow Lodge Community Hall on the Aylesbury Estate, calling on Labour-run Southwark Council to save homes and jobs in the borough.

The march brought together tenants and residents organisations, local business networks and others opposed to Southwark demolishing council estates for luxury home regeneration, selling off public land to private developers and profit-oriented housing associations and forcing out small businesses through policies they say are solely concerned with realising asset values and trample on the rights and needs of local residents.

Among those included were representatives of Tenants & Residents' organisations - Southwark Group of Tenants Organisations (SGTO), Rodney Rd TRA, Mayflower TRA, Rotherhithe Housing Forum, Northfield House TRA, Alvey TRA, Wendover Community TRA, local business network Vital OKR (Old Kent Road), the Southwark Travellers' Action Group (STAG), housing campaigners '35%', Southwark Defend Council Housing and Elephant Amenity Network, UNITE Southwark and Southwark Momentum, DIY Space for London, and many more. Among those fighting for the Aylesbury estate was Piers Corbyn, a former local councillor and elder brother to Jeremy (at right in picture above.)

Much of the Aylesbury estate has now been emptied, and some demolished, though the council's plans were held up slightly when even the Conservative housing minister decided they were acting unfairly towards leaseholders who were being offered derisory compensation - usually less than half the market value of comparable properties in the area. But the council apparently increased their offers to the small number who had gone to court and this satisfied the minister. Though it almost certainly won't stop the council trying to cheat others in the future.

The long march, which detoured to pass through several housing estates and past business areas under threat, finally arrived outside Thurlow Lodge Community Hall, after walking a little over 4 miles on a warm and sunny March day.

It had been planned to end inside the hall, used by Divine Rescue, which feeds around 100 homeless people each day through a soup kitchen offers support and training services, and runs a food bank for low-income families, and this would have provided refreshment and toilet facilities for the tired marchers. Southwark Council threatened them with eviction earlier this year so they could sell or let the community hall as a private letting, which led to a community occupation of the hall, and forced them to reconsider.

A day or two before this march, Southwark officers warned Divine Rescue that if they had anything to do with the protest their lease would again be threatened, forcing them to withdraw their offer - the place was locked and shuttered, guarded by Southwark Council security when we arrived.

The protesters staged a brief sit-down on Albany Road to the side of the hall, with a local resident speaking to the crowd seated on the road for around 10 minutes before we all moved to the area in front of the hall for a final rally.more pictures

Canada Water

Southwark, London. Sat 25 Mar 2017

Canada Dock and Albion Channel - a water feature along one side of what was once Albion Dock
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The Surrey Docks began in 1696, and was in full swing the in the Victorian age, with nine docks, six timber ponds and the Grand Surrey Canal. Badly damaged by bombing in the Second World War, the docks never fully recovered and were then hit by containerisation. The docks were too small to handle container ships and closed in 1970. Most of the docks were filled in and the whole area was redeveloped.

Part of Canada Dock became a recreational water area, Canada Water, Greenland Dock was used for watersports and South Dock is London's largest marina. A few smaller areas of water remain, along with some other features from the docks. The London Borough of Southwark was responsible for the statutory development plan and produced this to meet the needs of the local population.

But the London Docklands Development Corporation (LDDC) established by the Conservative Government had different ideas, and although theoretically it had no responsibility for the overall planning, it appeared as the principle objector at the public inquiry into Southwark's plan - and the Dept of the Environment backed the LDDC whose interests were in selling land and buildings for speculative development. Southwark's plan - for the whole of the south riverside from London Bridge east - was rejected for showing 'unrealistic commitment to public housing' and for its 'opposition to office and other private development'.

One particular aspect which riled the LDDC was Southwark's plans for low cost rented housing on riverside sites which would fetch largish fortunes from developers for both commercial buildings and private housing. A walk along the riverside from London Bridge lets you see the results; despite a great deal of local opposition and extensive protests (with a few minor victories.)

Part of the LDDC's work was to clear aging council estates, particularly around the Surrey Docks in Rotherhithe and replace them with privately owned properties. Back in the 1980s Southwark opposed such schemes but since around 2000 the Labour council is carrying out similar policies itself, working with developers to demolish estates such as the Heygate and Aylesbury, with the replacements including only a very small percentage of social housing. Which was why I'd made this trip to Canada Water, to photograph local people protesting against these policies aimed at driving them out of the area.
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Vigil against Terror fills Trafalgar Square

London. Thu 23 Mar 2017

After the speeches people lit candles in the square
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Thousands of Londoners came to Trafalgar Square to attend a vigil called by London Mayor Sadiq Khan to show their respect for those killed and injured in yesterday's terror attack and to insist that Londoners will not be cowed and stand together against hatred and division.

After speeches by police, Home Secretary and the Mayor there was a minute's silence and three large candles were lit. Many in the crowd also held candles or flowers and laid them in the square.
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Stop Central Hill Estate Demolition

South Lambeth, London. Thu 23 Mar 2017

Jane Nicholl holds a mask of Lambeth COuncil Leader Liz Peck calling her SCUM

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Central Hill residents and supporters attended a Lambeth Council Cabinet Meeting at the other end of the borough to protest against the demolition of their estate.

They bought with them a survey of 322 households which showed 79% of all residents were against demolition including a similar percentage of the 227 secure tenants, and favoured a programme of refurbishment. The survey completely contradicts the council's assertions.

The estate is a popular one and Architects for Social Housing have put forward a scheme that would retain and refurbish the existing properties and community while increasing the total number to equal that of the complete redevelopment. It would provide a revamped estate at lower cost than the proposals of the council, but would not result in the same shift from social housing to expensive private property with the profits this would provide for the developers.

I left before the meeting at which I'm told the council refused to listen to the arguments put forward by the residents and approved the decision for demolition without any real consideration. Residents and activists say the council seems to have no interest in providing housing for its current residents but is simply hoping to share in the profits of private development - and the financial opportunities this will provide for some councillors and officers. The site is a highly desirable one and will probably be largely sold to foreign investors. Protests are certain to continue.
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Thousands March Against Racism

London. Sat 18 Mar 2017

'If you are neutral in situations of of injustices you have chosen the side of the Oppressor
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Tens of thousands marched through London on UN Anti Racism Day to show their opposition to racism, starting with a rally outside the BBC and ending with another in Parliament Square.

The event was organised by Stand Up to Racism and supported by trade unions and many other organisations, and there were similar marches in Glasgow and Cardiff.

Speakers at the rally before the march included NUT General Secretary Kevin Courtney, veteran peace campaigner Bruce Kent, Phyll Opoku-Gyimah, Green MP Jean Lambert, Azad Ali of Muslim Engagement and Development (MEND), Lindsey German of Stop the War and Antonia Bright of Movement for Justice. TUC general secretary Frances O'Grady was among those holding the banner at the front of the march.

The marchers see this as a critical time with both Theresa May and Donald Trump promoting racist measures against immigrants and in particular Muslims, and when Brexit has intensified hate crimes against foreigners, and media heap blame on them for the problems caused by austerity.
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Lung Theatre 'E15' march to BAC

Battersea, London. Thu 16 Mar 2017

Activists from Lewisham, Sweets Way and elsewhere joined with E15 and Lung Theatre at Clapham Junction
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Lung Theatre brought their Edinburgh festival award-winning performance 'E15' to Battersea Arts Centre with a march from Clapham Junction accompanied by housing protesters from the Focus E15 campaign that inspired their work and and from other housing protests in London.

Along with some of the young mothers who fought against dispersal from London when Newham decided to evict them from the Focus E15 hostel were campaigners from Sweets Way in north London and Lewisham People Before Profit and others fighting the demolition of council housing by London's mainly Labour controlled councils, increasingly in league with estate agents and property developers scrambling for excessive profits from sky-high London market prices.

Ordinary working Londoners are being forced out of London, with councils having huge housing lists and offering even those they have a statutory obligation to re-house private rented properties in distant towns and cities, away from family, friends, schools and jobs. Focus E15 and these other groups have led the fight for 'Social Housing NOT Social Cleansing'

It was hard to tell some of the actors in role as protesters from as they gave out fliers for Focus E15 - both the campaign and the play - outside Clapham Junction Station before marching up Lavender Hill to Battersea Arts Centre before the start of the first performance of their run there. But given that 'E15' was a 'verbatim theatre' documentary, constructed from the actual words used by the mothers of Focus E15 and others involved in housing struggles and re-enacting some of their protests, perhaps this was hardly surprising. I'm not a huge fan of theatre, but in the case the relationship seems symbiotic rather than parasitic.

I was pleased to be able to photograph the event, but also feeling rather nervous about also being asked to take part in an after-performance panel discussion 'Art & Accidental Activism' at the end of the following week, rather daunted at appearing 'on stage' to answer questions with fellow panelists Jeremy Hardy, journalist Dawn Foster and theatre legend Max Stafford Clark. In the event it went well (my sternest critic says) and I rather enjoyed it and the session in the bar that followed.
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Police arrest Lisa again

Kingsway, London. Wed 15 Mar 2017
Police officers surround LSE academic Lisa McKenzie as the protest ends
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As activists left the foyer of 1 Kingsway after a successful protest by striking LSE cleaners and supporters, police jostled some of those leaving the building and then seized, assaulted and arrested LSE academic Lisa McKenzie, charging her with assault and bundled her into a waiting police van.

Apparently the receptionist at 1 Kingsway complained she had been assaulted when 4 people carrying the UVW banner pushed past her on their way into the building. No protesters or I saw any evidence of assault by McKenzie - I was close behind the group as the entered the offices. This and the fact that none of the others holding the banner were arrested strongly suggests that her arrest was politically motivated, probably linked to the police feeling aggrieved after failing to achieve a conviction when she was wrongly charged with three offences at a protest in February 2015 at the time she was standing in the General Election against Iain Duncan Smith - a previous arrest that was apparently politically motivated.

Lisa is the author of the highly acclaimed 'Getting By' based on her researches into class and culture on the Nottingham Estate where she lived for more than 20 years. As a working class academic who makes no secret of her political views and support for the working class she has been the subject of constant criticism from others both inside the LSE and in the wider academic community
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LSE cleaners strike and protest

LSE, London. Wed 15 Mar 2017

On the march from the student union to the offices at 1 Kingsway
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Students and supporters joined cleaners on the picket line at the London School of Economics for a lunchtime rally on the first day of the 2 day strike by members of United Voices of the World union.

A banner called the LSE 'L$E: The London School of Exploitation'. The cleaners are demanding equal sick pay, holidays and pensions etc to similar workers directly employed by the LSE and an end to bullying and discrimination by their employer Noonan.

They marched to 1 Kingsway where the Estates Division and cleaning contractors Noonan have their LSE office and occupied the foyer there for just over an hour before leaving after being promised that Allan Blair LSE Director of Facilities Management would talk with the cleaners union the United Voices of the World. As people left at the end of the protest, police rushed in and arrested LSE academic Lisa McKenzie.
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Wapping Walk

Shadwell & Wapping, London. Tue 14 Mar 2017

The view from riverside pub The Prospect of Whitby at Wapping
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A short walk with several photographers which involved several pubs on the way. I took a camera but didn't really expect to take many pictures. And I didn't.
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Orgreave Truth & Justice at the Home Office

Home Office, London. Mon 13 Mar 2017
'Never Forget, Never Forgive'. Fight for Truth and Justice.
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The Orgreave Truth and Justice Campaign protest at the Home Office after the shocking decision by Home Secretary Amber Rudd not to grant an inquiry into the 'Battle of Orgreave', when police, including military police and others in police uniforms, mounted a carefully planned attack on picketing miners.

Campaigners believe the attack was coordinated by the Tory government under Margaret Thatcher with the collusion of the media who distorted their coverage in a deliberate attempt to break the strike, and that the inquiry is being refused as it would be extremely embarrassing to the Conservative government, and recently released documents support their case. This was clearly 'Class War', and the workers were defeated, but are still fighting back.

The event was attended by a number of leading trade unionists, and MPs Diane Abbot Andy Burnham and Richard Burgon were among the speakers. Also at the protest supporting the Orgreave Truth and Justice Campaign were representatives from the Hillsborough Justice Campaign, Miner's Wives, PCS, Total Eclipse of the S*N, THe Shrewsbury Pickets, Lesbians and Gay Men Support the Miners, RMT, ASLEF, Durham Miners, Unite Community, Unite, JENGbA and others.
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JENGbA march to support Orgreave

Westminster. Mon 13 Mar 2017

JENGbA held a short rally outside the Supreme Court before marching to the Home Office
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JENGbA, Joint Enterprise Not Guilty by Association, family members of those convicted under the 'joint enterprise' law which has convicted and sentenced often to life imprisonment people with only a flimsy connection the perpetrator of a crime, met outside the Supreme Court to march to the Home Office to support the Orgreave Truth and Justice campaign.

JENGbA, a grass roots campaign currently supports over 800 men women and children, almost 80% from BME communities, wrongly jailed under the common law doctrine of 'joint enterprise'.

In 2015 the Supreme Court condemned the way this had been interpreted, calling for the law to be set back on a correct footing, where there must be actual evidence of intention to encourage or assist in a crime rather than the vague association under which these 800 were convicted. Despite this, those in jail, many serving life sentences, have been refused appeals.

After a protest rally outside the Supreme Court, JENGbA marched to join the Orgreave protest outside the Home Office.
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Women protest outside Worboys hearing

Supreme Court, Westminster. Mon 13 Mar 2017

Pragna Patel (right) of Southall Black Sisters protests in front of the Supreme Court
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Southall Black Sisters led a protest by End Violence Against Women Coalition, Nia Project and other women’s organisations outside the Supreme Court where the Metropolitan Police were to argue that they have no actionable legal duty in human rights law to investigate serious crimes of violence.

The police are appealing a high court decision that the human rights of two woman raped by black cab driver and serial sex attacker John Worboys in 2003 and 2007 were breached when police did not believe them and failed to investigate their cases.

Worboys went on to rape over a hundred women before he was finally brought to trial. The court of appeal upheld the high court ruling, but then Home Secretary Theresa May supported the appeal to the Supreme Court. If the appeal succeeds women fear they will have no effective remedy in the courts if raped or as victims of domestic violence.
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Million Women Rise against male violence

Oxford St, London. Sat 11 Mar 2017

Women get ready to march
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Women march through London against male violence against women, part of the Million Women Rise movement against the global pandemic of male violence against women.

There were perhaps two or three thousand women marching in this all-women march as it left Orchard St and turned into Oxford St, although the organisers gave a considerably higher figure - perhaps more made their own way to Trafalgar Square. It took around 15 minutes for the marchers to pass me after the march started and I then caught the tube at Bond St to rejoin the Fukushima rally.

Many carried feminist placards and there were groups from various women's organisations around the country, including from various ethnic communities. They were marching along Oxford St and through Soho Square and Soho to a rally in Trafalgar Square.
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Fukushima anniversary challenges nuclear future

London. Sat 11 Mar 2017

A Japanese man speaks at the rally opposite Downing St
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A march from the Japanese Embassy to Downing St on the anniversary of the Fukushima nuclear power plant disaster in Japan called for an end to nuclear power programmes in the UK and elsewhere.

Six years after the disaster, radiation is still leaking from the plant and tens of thousands can still not return to their homes. Even specially designed robots sent into the plant have failed due to extreme radiation levels. Between 100-650 people are expected to die from long term cancers caused by the immediate radioactivity leak and many more from the continuing release.

Speakers stressed that nuclear power has always required huge subsidies and exposes us all to a major national security risk from terrorist activities as well as earthquakes, and it provides the basis for the manufacture of nuclear weapons, and arguments based on energy needs are now outdated. They called for the UK's plans for new nuclear power stations at Hinkley Point, Sizewell, Wylfa, Oldbury and Moorside to be abandoned because of the risk they pose.

Nuclear power seems increasingly a vanity project for the UK, tied to our nuclear weapons programme rather than to meeting energy needs. The contracts will bind us to buying hugely electricity at what seems likely to be several times the going rate as the cost of renewables continues to drop rapidly. And with the advances in battery technology nuclear electricity from new plants is likely to come on stream as we switch dramatically away from national grid-based power to a much greater reliance on local power generation, with its much reduced transmission losses. Nuclear as well as being dangerous and producing wastes which will present a problem for the planet for many thousands of years increasingly looks a cripplingly expensive white elephant.

The marchers met at the Japanese embassy on Piccadilly and handed out leaflets to people walking past before marching off down Oxford St, keeping to the pavement. I left them before they reached Piccadilly Circus to photograph the start of the women's march and then took the tube to Westminster and walked up to Downing St, arriving while they had a short rest before starting the rally.
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Solidarity With Palestinian Prisoners

South Bank, London, Mon 10 Mar 2017

A Palestinian flag with the message 'Free Palestine'
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In a late vigil marking International Women's Day, Inminds human rights group protest on the South Bank where the WOW – Women of the World festival is taking place against the torture and ill-treatment of Palestinian women prisoners in Israeli jails.

According to Inminds human rights group, 65 women including 12 young girls and 16 mothers are currently held in rat infested Israeli dungeons where torture is routine and the basics of human life like food, clothing, blankets and basic medical care are scarce and 11 women are being refused essential medical attention. Many are held without trial and inside Israel in contravention of Geneva conventions.

They call for a boycott of Israel and demand American multinational company Hewlett Packard (HP/HPE) stop providing the computer services that run these dungeons, and called for the immediate release of Lena Jarboni, in prison since 2002, whose life is now at serious risk due to torture and systematic medical negligence.
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West Ham to Stratford - Channelsea River

Stratford, London. Mon 10 Mar 2017

Abbey Mills Sewage pumping station from the Northern Outfall Sewer
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Some pictures, mainly panoramic, from a roundabout walk from West Ham station to Stratford and back, walking along the Greenway and the course of the Channelsea River, formerly one of the major streams of the River Lea.

On my previous visit to Stratford a couple of weeks earlier I'd run out of time an light trying to photograph a few areas, so I decided to return and fill in some of the gaps. It was a rather grey day, but there was some definition in the clouds so I decided it was suitable to take some panoramic images.

From West Ham station I made for the 'Greenway' - the Northern Outfall Sewer which runs with a path above it from Hackney Wick to Beckton - and turned along it towards North London, stopping at the bridge which carries it across what remains of the Channelsea River. Since the flood relief work in the 1930s, this more or less ends at the Greenway, with just a short dead end north of the Sewer.

Immediately south of the Greenway at this point is the storm water outfall from Abbey Mills; whenever heavy rainfall threatens to overcome the sewer system, the pipes are opened here and sewage mixed with excess rain water is discharged into the creek.

Before they built the lock on the Prescott Channel during the preparations for the Olympics, this could then get swept up through tat on the rising tide into the Waterworks River and flow up through the Olympic site, making sites close to the river less attractive for building expensive luxury flats. Though since many of these remain unoccupied simply to exploit London's fast-rising house prices as investments, it shouldn't really have made much difference.

Work was still going on on the Greenway, and the steps down to Abbey Road I'd hoped to used were fenced off, so I had to retrace my steps and instead of walking took the DLR from Abbey Road to Stratford High St. I walked up towards Stratford Station and across the footbridge across the railway lines into the Carpenters Estate
to cross the narrow ditch that now carries the Channelsea River , and then walked back to Abbey Road along the Channelsea Path - until the 1930s a river carrying the main flow of the Lea. What is left of the Channelsea now was presumably flowing in a pipe under my feet.

On Abbey Road the next steps up to the Greenway where the road goes underneath it were also fenced off, and I had to walk along to the small park area close to Stratford High St before I could access the Greenway again, to walk along and photograph Abbey Mills. I then took a walk along the path beside the Channelsea that leads to Three Mills Green, but by now was running out of time because of the detours I'd had to make, taking a few photographs then hurrying back to West Ham station along the Greenway rather than finishing the walk I'd intended. But despite my frustrations it had been an interesting walk.
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International Women's Strike Flash Mob

St Pancras International, London, UK. Sat 8 Mar 2017
The masked protesters put on a short performance with umbrellas on the station concourse

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London Polish Feminists were joined by Global Women's Strike in solidarity with women in 46 countries taking part in the International Women's Strike on International Women's Day celebrating the struggles of women around the world in a flash mob at St Pancras International.

Wearing black and red clothing, after practising their routine with umbrellas with messages on them and a large banner at the entrance to St Pancras International they went down to the main concourse to perform it there.

Police came to see what was happening and made sure they did not block the concourse but remained friendly, and the waiting passengers applauded and took photographs.
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Death By A Thousand Cuts

Downing St, London. Wed 8 Mar 2017

Fourth Wave Feminists bring in a women's coffin at the start of their protests
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Fourth Wave London Feminist Activists held a protest at Downing St on International Women’s Day, drawing attention to the impact that cuts have had on women.

Their action looked at the pressures women face from unjust, ideologically-driven cuts to public services that are disproportionately felt by women and was in contrast to the more highly publicised corporate events on the day which are given a high degree of coverage in the media and concentrate on getting more women in boardrooms and other highly paid jobs.

Though important issues, these are clearly irrelevant to the huge majority of women who have to deal with the realities of low pay, expensive housing, and caring for children and other family members.
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Vigil for Thai Farmers

St Martin-in-the-Fields, London. Wed 8 Mar 2017

Women hold posters showing Thai farmers and banners on the steps facing Trafalgar Square
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Global Women's Strike hold a silent vigil on the steps of St Martin-in-the-Fields on International Women’s Day in solidarity with the farmers of Thailand.

Many of the Thai farmers are women in the Southern Peasant Federation of Thailand; the vigil was also in support of others all around the world risking their lives to defend land and water from corporate land grabs.
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WASPI at Parliament

Old Palace Yard, London. Wed 8 Mar 2017

Women show purple WASPI pants to Parliament against unfair pension plans
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Women Against State Pension Inequality - WASPI - held a rally on International Women's Day opposite Parliament against the changes in the state pension scheme which are unfair to women born in the 1950s.

The 1995 Pension Action Act planned to equalise the State Pension Age for men and women at 65, but changes made in the 2011 Pension Act have resulted in the changes happening faster than expected, coming too late for women approaching retirement to make alternative plans. The accelerated raising of the pension age was made without properly informing those affected, and under the 2011 Act, the age for both men and women will increase to 66 by 2020. The age will again increase to 67 by 2028, and to 68 by 2046, though these later dates are subject to to review.
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International Women’s Strike

Parliament Square, London. Wed 8 Mar 2017

Global Women's Strike and other women's groups protest on International Women's Day

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On International Women’s Day Global Women's Strike celebrate the resistance of women worldwide and held a protest in solidarity with the International Women’s Strike (IWS) taking place in 46 countries.

They protested opposite parliament as the Budget was being delivered inside, with speakers from groups supporting women, including the victims of domestic violence, the disabled and the victims of family courts, as well as other women's groups and SNP MPs.

Police tried to stop them using their PA system but were persuaded to let the protest go ahead. It ended with a short play by the All African Women’s Group about sexism and racism of the immigration system by the Borders Agency courts and in immigrations detention centres such as Yarl’s Wood Detention Centre.
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From Russia With Love

Parliament Square, London. Wed 8 Mar 2017

The young Russian men are briefed before handing out red roses
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Women tourists and others in Parliament Square on International Women's Day were surprised when young Russian men in white jackets and caps stopped them and handed them red roses.

The action on International Womens Day was part of an action in this and other world capitals by the 'Make Her Smile Movement' and appeared to be a stunt for Russian TV. Some women refused the flowers, but most took them and seemed pleased if rather confused by the gesture.
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Deal or Brexit Vans

Parliament, London. Tue 7 Mar 2017

The people are speaking - Is Parliament Listening?

Abolish the House of Lords - who were discussing the Brexit Bill that day. The English TUC and Workers of England are organisation run by ultra-right racists.


Tory Cuts Kill Disabled

Westminster, London. Tue 7 Mar 2017

The UN found the UK to be abusing disability rights - and DPAC want action
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The day before Budget Day, campaigners from Disabled People Against Cuts and Mental Health Resistance Network come to protest at Parliament against the long series of cuts inflicted on the disabled by the DWP.

After talking with MPs including shadow ministers they marched around Parliament Square before sitting down to block traffic. The latest cuts in Personal Independence Payments (PIP) will lead to the ineligibility of a further 160,000 disabled claimants, mainly with mental health conditions.

DPAC claim disability tests for ESA or PIP are used simply to save £3.7 billion on benefits rather than meet the needs of the disabled, many of whom has lost essential mobility cars and other support while the government has added over £550 billion to the national debt and are prepared to spend £200 billion on Trident.

Politicians who came to speak with the protesters included shadow disability minister Debbie Abrahams, shadow minister for disabled people, Marie Rimmer, shadow minister for pensions, Alex Cunningham, shadow minister Margaret Greenwood, Andrew Gwyn MP, SNP MP Tommy Sheppard and Green Party co-Leader Jonathan Bartley.
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Save our NHS March

London. Sat 4 Mar 2017
Campaigners raise fists at the pre-march rally in Tavistock Square
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Many thousands marched though London from Tavistock Square where the BMA have their headquarters to a rally in Parliament Square in protest against the cuts and privatisation of the NHS which they say is at breaking point.

At the rally before the march, local councils who had turned down the Sustainability and Transformation Plans for hospital closures and cuts in services were loudly cheered and others were urged to follow their example as the cuts have already caused many premature deaths. These plans and other measures are a part of a rapid stealthy privatisation with medical services increasingly being run for private profit rather than public benefit, threatening an increasingly under funded public service which delivers high quality service at low cost and remains the envy of the world.

It was a large march, but the organisers estimates were clearly very much larger than those present, perhaps 30,000 rather than the 250,000 they claimed. Of course many like myself will only have covered a part of the march and rallies, and I felt exhausted by the time I'd walked as far as Trafalgar Square, partly because of a lot of walking backwards and forwards while taking pictures. Walking backwards is rather more tiring, and going back and forth greatly increases the actual distance.
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Three Mills & Stratford

London. Thu 2 Mar 2017

High water level in the Three Mills Wall River
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North from Bow Locks, the Leaway runs on a narrow strip of land between the Lea Navigation on the west and the still tidal Bow Creek on the east.

Just south of Three Mills, the tidal stream becomes two, with the Channelsea River coming in from the East and the Three Mills Wall River continuing north under the House Mill. There has been a tidal mill here for at least a thousand years, although not now in use - and the building a a new lock on the Prescott Channel and a dam on the Three Mills Wall River at Three Mills Green means there is less of a tidal flow.

Virtually all the buildings around Sugarhouse Lane between the Lea Navigation and the Three Mills Wall River have been demolished and the whole area is in the throes of a massive redevelopment, creating more luxury flats like those that have sprung up along Stratford High St. I doubt there will be much if any social housing.

Although the new lock was supposedly to allow the use of barges to take bulk materials in and out of the Olympic area, there were only token movements, and the real purpose of this and the dam was to lessen the risk of flooding and storm release of untreated effluent from the Abbey Mills Sewage pumping station into the Channelsea River being carried upstream by the tide, making this and other riverside sites more popular and profitable for developers.

At Stratford High St I walked along to the navigation, going down to it and under the High St to reach the north side of the road, making my way along it to Stratford High St station where I caught the DLR back to Canning Town.
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Leawalk to Bow Locks

London. Thu 2 Mar 2017

Reeds on Bow Creek, Poplar and Canary Wharf
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The riverside walk has fortunately been renamed the Leaway, doubtless because I and many others complained about it having been christened the Fatwalk. Leaway is a much better name.

This part of the Leaway is also a part of 'The Line' sculpture trail, which rather roughly follows the Meridian from Greenwich to Stratford - with a couple of gaps where public transport is needed. The first gap is across the Thames, where the cable car provides a scenic route, though the underground and DLR is cheaper, and the next is between East India Dock Rd and Cody Dock, which hopefully will soon be open - if Newham Council get their act together.

The walk up to Twelvetrees Crescent (named after a Mr Twelvetrees who built a bridge there to his factory) is pleasant and becoming more used, with a newly opened ramp taking you down from the bridge to the path at Bow Locks - which previously required a longish detour beside a major road.
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Cody Dock

West Ham, London. Thu 2 Mar 2017

Cody Dock, Bow Creek and Poplar gas holder
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After a meeting at Cody Dock about my forthcoming show there I took another walk around the site and made some more pictures.
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Bow Creek - Canning Town

London. Thu 2 Mar 2017

The riverside walkway at Canning Town still ends a short distance south

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I was going to a meeting in Canning Town, but came early so I could make some pictures. I took the lift up from the underground station and walked along the riverside walkway, hoping to cross the bridge over the DLR and come out on East India Dock Rd.

The bridge was open at the bottom, but when I walked up I met a firmly locked gate and had to come back down. I decided to keep going and hope I could get out through the Ecology Park, which I did, but it meant another ten minutes walk, and meant I didn't have time to take any photographs from the north of the road but had to hurry back to the station to take the DLR to Star Lane.

Later in the day, after my meeting and a walk to Stratford I came back to Canning Town to photograph from the north side of East India Dock Rd. By then it was getting late and the sun was rather low down, making some pictures impossible and others a little tricky. After making a number of panoramas and other pictures I went under the main road on the path by Wharfside way and made some more before walking along the main road back to the station.
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London Images

March 2017

South Molton St and Davies St from the top of a Bus on Oxford St
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As usual some pictures from my train journeys in and out of Waterloo and various bus journeys - I do wish the windows were cleaner - and a few as I was walking around.

THis month I also made a number of walks around London where the pictures are included in the main section - see the menu at left. These included a number of visits to Canning Town and Stratford, Wapping, Colindale and West Hendon.
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