Falconwood to North Woolwich, London. Mon 28 May 2018
You could see a fine view of central London if it
wasn't for the pollution in-between
A bank holiday stroll with Linda from Falconwood to North Woolwich,
via Charlton House. Unfortunately because it was a bank holiday Charlton
House was closed.
I sat down with a map and Google streetview and planned a walk which would
take in some of the heights and sights of southeast London and end with
a short and free river trip. Parts of the walk were on the rather multi-linear
Green Chain Walk and the Thames Path.
Most of the walk was easy to follow, but we did get lost in Jack Wood,
and missed Sevendroog Castle. If it hadn't been so hot and a Bank Holiday
I would have gone back, but since it and the tea room would be closed it
didn't seem worth the effort, and instead we wandered on to Eaglesfield
Park and then Occupation Lane.
The view from here is one of the best of central London, but you really
need to be around after a heavy thunderstorm has scrubbed the air or it
is hardly visible through the haze. I cheated a little and made it rather
clearer in the picture above - I don't think the Shard was actually visible.
Occupation Lane and what was once surely its continuation Mayplace Lane
(next the only remaining tumulus in the area) are surely ancient paths,
once leading all the way down to a ferry at Woolwich, probably not far from
the current one.
Herbert Road has its interests, and I couldn't resist Nightingale Place,
though decided against a detour around Nightingale Vale. Ha Ha Road was
less amusing than its name suggests, though it certainly has a ha-ha alongside,
if no one told whoever planted a thick hedge alongside it what the point
of a ha-ha was.
Charlton Park must be one of the most boring in the country, but at the
end of it you reach the fine Charlton House, though being a bank holiday
we could only enjoy its exterior, which we did while eating our sandwiches.
Back in Charlton Park there were at least toilets, and near where we left
to park to cross to Maryon Wilson Park, ice creams - at a kiosk open every
day of the year except Christmas Day. On the walk I discovered that neither
Linda nor a young Australian woman we met had heard of the film 'Blow
Up', the key scenes of which were shot in Maryon Park, next on our
Antonioni's thriller about a young fashion photographer, loosely based on
David Bailey and played by David Hemmings (the film also starred Vanessa
Sarah Miles and a large part of Jane Birkin), was a critical and box office
success and broke the US film censorship system when it was widely shown
to large audiences despite having been refused a MPAA licence and condemned
by the National Legion of Decency. Some critics classed it as as seminal
film along with classics such as Citizen Kane, and many feel it to be Antonioni's
greatest film. Ironically part of its appeal may be because he ran out of
money, leaving it considerably more enigmatic than it might otherwise have
From there, the Thames Path, now sprouting with expensive flats, took us
to Woolwich, arriving just in time for a trip on the ferry. I'd wanted to
make a last voyage on the current boats, which are to be replaced later
this year after a two month closure to update the docking stations. We crossed
on the Ernest Bevin, named for the wartime Minister of Labour,
who was MP for Wandsworth Central and, in his last year, Woolwich East.
At anchor a little downstream we passed the John Burns, named for the prominent
socialist and Liberal MP and member of the LCC, famous for his retort to
an American who belittled the river: "The St Lawrence is water, the
Mississippi is muddy water, but the Thames is liquid history" and James
Newman, named for a former mayor of Woolwich.
The three ferries were built in 1963 and since 1966 have operated from
the current concrete terminals. They replaced paddle steamers from the 1920s
which were also named after prominent local politicians, including John
Benn, the grandfather of Tony Benn. The replacement vessels have been named
after Ben Woollacott, a former deckhand who died when he fell off
the ferry in 2011 and Dame Vera Lynn, who was born in East Ham,
not far away.
India complicit in Thoothukudi killings,
India House, Aldwych, London. Sat 26 May 2018
The protesters against Vedanta (Sterlite) included
at least one woman from Thoothukudi
Hundreds outside the Indian High Commission protest at the Indian government
complicity in the brutal repression of protests against pollution from the
Sterlite copper plant at Thoothukudi, in the Southern State of Tamil Nadu.
On May 22nd Indian police fired into a crowd of civilians, killing 12 and
wounding over 60 more and police aggression continued killing another person
the following day. The killings came after 100 days of protest by citizens
demanding the copper plant, owned by a subsidiary of British company Vedanta
Resources be shut down. Vedanta, set up by British Indian billionaire Anil
Agarwal with UK government help in 2003, is said to be the largest donor
to the Indian BJP party of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and is notorious
for its polluting activities in India, Goa, Zambia and elsewhere.
Vedanta is currently expanding its activities with a second plant in Thoothukudi
(Tuticorin), despite a long record of dumping toxic waste in the town and
operating without proper licenses. The protest at India House calling for
an end to Vedanta's crimes and the support for them by the Indian government
and for the Stock Exchange to de-list Vedanta.
The protest was organised by Foil Vedanta, Tamil People in UK and PARAI
- Voice of Freedom and supported by South Asia Solidarity Group and others
including the Socialist Party.
March Against Turkish Occupation of Afrin
BBC, London. Sat 26 May 2018
Protesters hold placards showing Erdogan as a red-faced
Kurds and supporters hold a short rally outside the BBC before marching
to Downing St and Parliament Square to call for an end to the Turkish occupation
Speakers included the aunt of British volunteer Anna Campbell, killed
defending Afrin. The invasion of Afrin began in January, and was carried
out by Turkish forces together with former ISIS fighters. The Kurdish forces
withdrew in March when they were in danger of being encircled and have vowed
to continue the fight to regain Afrin through a guerilla war.
Erdogan wants to attack other Kurdish areas of Syria, but his plans seem
to be opposed by both Russia, who would like Afrin to be handed back to
the Syrian regime, and the US.
Youth Peace Walk by Korean-based cult
Langham Place, London. Sat 26 May 2018
The IYPG Peace walk sets off
The Korean-based IYPG (International Peace Youth Group) have held annual
peace walks in countries around the world on or around May 25th since 2013,
commemorating the 'Declaration of World Peace'. This year the London walk
included a poster about knife crime in London.
The IYPG began in South Korea, founded by Mr Man Hee Lee, a war veteran
and peacemaker who founded a strange heretical Christian cult in Korea called
ShinChonji and later a linked organisation Mannam. He claims to have had
a personal revelation linked to the biblical Book of Revelations.
The IYPG is closely linked with these cults and hosts events about peace
but critics say it does little or nothing to promote it and events such
as this peace walk are essentially a recruiting drive for ShinConji and
its strange religious views. with those who become followers being obliged
to give large donations to the group.
'Be the Change' Knife and Gun Crime
Windrush Square, Brixton, London. Sat 26 May 2018
People dance to gospel sounds in Windrush Square
Brixton Seventh Day Adventist Church hold an event in Windrush Square,
Brixton against gun and knife crime.
They had marched the short distance to the square from their church and
were just beginning a programme of gospel singing, presentations and prayer
for the community and for those affected by these crimes when I arrived.
London's murder rate has increased by over a third in the last three years,
and last year saw a 22% increase in recorded knife crime and 11% in gun
crime. Of the 39 children and teenagers killed in the UK by knives last
year over half were in London. The victims of knife crime are disproportionately
young black men. Many attribute the rise in these crimes to the cuts in
youth clubs, community projects, counselling and other services for young
people, cuts in police and PCSO numbers and changes in illegal drug dealing.
Windlesham, Surrey. Fri 25 May 2018
One of the several lakes in the Windlesham Arboretum
Another family walk, in Windlesham on the edge of Surrey.
Windlesham isn't far from where I've lived for the past 44 years, but I
don't remember having been there before. Its a rather spread out place to
the east of the A30 just north of Bagshot and hasn't a great deal to attract
visits, though there are several pubs, one of which we lunched at after
the walk. It wasn't a bad pub lunch, though at Surrey prices, and a pleasant
enough pub, though we did experience its notoriously slow service. Don't
go there if you are in a hurry.
Windlesham is and has been the home of many very wealthy people, and is
the site of the most expensive house in the world, Updown Court, valued
at £75 million in 2007, though we didn't get to see that. Along its
southern edge is the M3, and we could hear its traffic noise throughout
our walk, which took us across it to the Windlesham Arboretum, owned now
by a charity which allows the public to walk along its paths.
We had planned a slightly longer path than we ended up taking along these
paths as we failed to see one of the way markers, and instead gave up and
took a shorter route to catch up with the others who were making their way
Universal Credit rally & march
Parliament Square & DWP, London. Thu 24 May 2018
A man beats a drum as campaigners pose in front of the DWP
Campaigners from Unite Community and others met for a rally outside
parliament on the Unite National Day of Action against Universal Credit.
Again the posed in T-shirts to spell out the message '#StopUniversalCredit',
and there were speeches by several including comedian Kate Smurthwaite and
Claire Glasman of Winvisible.
They called for an immediate halt in the rollout of the programme, which
has proved to be an economic and political disaster bringing distress and
impoverishment to those forced to endure it. Its implementation has so far
cost at least £15.8 billion, and resulted in a soaring use of food
banks by those put onto it, and 60% of those put on to it have gone into
rent arrears, with many evictions.
As well as lengthy waits of up to 3 months without receiving any benefits,
the complexity of the system and the on-line application have led to many
claimants being sanctioned, losing benefits completely for up to 3 years.
Even while working, claimants are forced to show that they are making efforts
to work longer hours or get better paid jobs under threat of sanctions.
A report by the Trussell Trust shows 92 per cent of people on UC say it
doesn't’t cover their full cost of living, and 57 per cent have experienced
mental or physical health problems.
After some speeches and chanting at parliament, they lined up to march to
a further protest for an hour or so outside the DWP.
Universal Credit protest at Tate Modern
Tate Modern, London. Thu 24 May 2018
Campaigners spell out 'stopuniversalcredit' in the
Tate Modern Turbine Hall; the '#' was delaying security
Campaigners from Camden Unite Community met on the Thames embankment
in front of Tate Modern wearing t-shirts that spelt out '#stopuniversalcredit'.
The group posed beside the river then moved onto the Millennium Bridge
before walking into the Turbine Hall at Tate Modern and posing there. Security
at the gallery objected to their protest and they left to pose outside,
where again they were moved on by security, ending with a final photograph
on the street in front of the gallery.
Stop Charter Flight to Pakistan
Home Office, London. Tue 22 May 2018
A banner calls for charges against those who stopped
an immigration charter flight to be dropped
Protesters outside the Home Office call for an end to all charter flights
forcibly taking migrants back to Commonwealth countries, and in particular
a secretive flight expected this week to Pakistan.
Many of those being deported fear torture, beatings and even death on their
arrival back to their home country and need to be restrained for the deportation
and accompanied by two or more security guards each; passengers and aircrew
on normal services have often refused to take off with people who understandably
object to being taken to countries where they may face persecution, harm,
isolation or even death which has led to them being taken off the plane.
The Home Office has responded by using charter flights instead of normal
airline services, and once a flight has been arranged have often put people
on it regardless of the current state of their case to stay in the UK. Among
those who have been deported in this way are some who have never lived in
the country they are being taken to, or who were brought here as babies
and many have no family or support back where they are being forcibly taken
to. Others have been people with children and even grandchildren born in
the UK but who the Home Office say have no right to be here - in some cases
because the Home Office has lost their documentation that would prove otherwise.
People from End Deportations, Lesbians and Gays Support the Migrants and
Plane Stupid recently stopped a secretive night flight taking 34 people
from Stansted to Nigeria and Ghana; those on board included many who have
lived and worked in the UK for years and have families and who are entitled
to stay here - just like the Windrush families.
Some are forcibly deported before their cases are still under legal examination,
while others simply cannot afford the fees to challenge poor Home Office
decisions or are unable to produce every piece of documentation the officials
They also include a high proportion of gay people who have fled from persecution
in countries where this is criminal and may result in beatings and death
who the Home Office refuses to believe are gay. People at the protest tied
pink bands around trees in front of the Home Office.
This protest was called at short notice to oppose a deportation charter
flight to Pakistan timed for this week, and among the speakers were Deputy
Green Party Leader Amelia Womack, Ben Smoke of LGSMigrants, Feisal Haq from
NUS Black Students' Committee and Pakistan Press Club UK President Shaukat
DPAC protest GTR rail discrimination
London Bridge Station, London. Mon 21 May 2018
from Disabled People Against Cuts at London Bridge station
A 'People's Picket' by disabled rail passengers from Disabled People
Against Cuts along with the Association of British Commuters and RMT members
outside London Bridge station against Govia Thameslink Railway's policy
which can leave wheelchair users on the platform even when they have pre-arranged
GTR uses a staff training guide in which they are dehumanised as 'PRM's
(people with restricted mobility) and staff are instructed to leave wheelchair
users on the platform, even when they have arranged and pre-booked a journey,
if to allow them to board would hold up the train.
Today's nationwide timetable changes include a reduced stopping time at
stations which will not allow time for wheelchair users to be assisted onto
trains. Most of the wheelchair users present told stories of failures by
the rail companies already where pre-booked travel arrangements had failed,
and of being taken several stops beyond their intended destinations and
then having long waits for taxis to complete their journey. The RMT says
a private report to the rail companies has told them the current arrangements
are in breach of the Equality Act, and the new advice makes this clear,
institutionalising a blatant discrimination.
The policy is a part of the company's drive to remove guards from trains
which disabled people and the RMT union are determined to resist as unsafe.
They say that the current industrial disputes and disabled travel problems
can be solved easily with the simple guarantee of a second member of staff
on all services, saying 'Keep The Guard On The Train'.
All London buses now have an access ramp, and similar facilities should
be available on trains - and not just in London. While it may take some
time to design a suitable automatic system for trains, providing every train
with a light portable ramp for the guard to use could be done within weeks.
Solidarity with Gaza - end support for Israel
London. Sat 19 May 2018
The protesters met in front of the Barclays Bank in
Tottenham Court Rd before moving to Oxford St
Protesters from the Revolutionary Communist Group and Victory to the
Intifada call for an end for all British support for Israel after the barbaric
massacre by Israeli snipers of unarmed protesters taking part in the Great
March of Return in Gaza, killing over 60 and seriously wounding thousands.
Many of the weapons used to kill the protesters are thought to have been
supplied by UK arms companies, and companies selling Israeli goods or investing
in Israel support the apartheid system there and the Israeli government
which orders its snipers to fire on unarmed civilians including medics and
The protest began outside a branch of Barclays Bank who have major investments
in Israel, and continued on down Oxford St, stopping briefly to speak and
protest outside other companies which are major supporters of the Israeli
state, including Carphone Warehouse, Boots, ZARA and H&M, calling for
shoppers to boycott them and to take part in the global BDS campaign of
Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions. Many took leaflets and stopped to sign
their petition, though one or two people rushed past shouting an insult.
Barclays Stop Funding Climate Chaos
Piccadilly Circus, London. Sat 19 May 2018
The members of DANCE begin their meditation in Barclays
Bank at Piccadilly Circus
Members of the Dharma Action Network for Climate Engagement (DANCE)
marched in a silent procession from Golden Square to the Piccadilly Circus
branch of Barclays Bank in a monthly vigil to call on them to Stop Funding
Three members of the group walked into the branch and sat down to meditate
in the centre of the floor while another with them explained to bank staff
why they were there and what they intended to do. Four of the others meditated
on the pavement in front of the branch while another protester handed out
leaflets to those passing by.
The group tell Barclays to 'Listen to the Earth!' and stop investing huge
amounts - $12billion in the last 3 years - into coal, oil and gas exploration
which will lead to global warming, melting ice caps, bleaching coral reefs,
causing forest fires and more intense storms. Their investments cause human
rights abuses in Columbian coal mining and elsewhere. They urge Barclays
instead to invest in renewable energy.
Zionists defend Israel shooting protesters
Downing St, London, UK. 15th May 2018
Six Zionists had come to defend Israel's cold-blooded
shooting of unarmed protesters
A few yards from a massive protest against the Israeli shooting of
unarmed protesters which yesterday resulted in 58 deaths and over 2700 with
serious injuries, a handful of Zionists waved Israeli flags and supported
the illegal actions of the Israeli forces.
Rather incongruously the Zionists made their protest under a row of placards
showing Turkish president Erdogan as a red-faced terrorist, left there by
the Kurds who were protesting earlier.
One of them had a Star of David tattooed on his face and a t-shirt denying
the existence of Palestine, and another waved an Israeli Defence Force flag.
Police surrounded them with a double layer of barriers and stood along the
outside of them as protection, but the other protesters almost entirely
It wasn't clear how many of the six were Jewish, but there were certainly
very many more Jews a few yards away protesting against the deliberate Israeli
murder of Palestinian protesters.
Israeli massacre of protesters
Downing St, London, UK. 15th May 2018
People in the crowd listen to speeches
Over a thousand protesters came to the protest called late yesterday
after news came though of yesterday's massacre in Gaza, shocked as the rest
of the world was by the shooting of unarmed protesters by Israeli army snipers
which killed 58 and seriously wounded over 2700.
Most of those shot were several hundred yards from the separation wall
and many were shot in the back or legs as they ran away. Among those killed
by live Israeli fire at these and other recent protests have been medics
treating the wounded and clearly identified journalists wearing distinctive
blue press vests.
The shootings have been widely condemned internationally and speakers called
for the UK government to make a clear statement condemning the Israeli actions
and to immediately end arms sales to Israel. Shadow Justice Minister Richard
Burgon told us the minister had "run away" rather than answer
his question about the rifles and special ammunition used which expands
to cause greater damage inside the body, both thought to have been made
in the UK.
Other speakers at the protest included Labour, SNP and Green Party MPs
as well as Palestinians, representatives from trade unions and the organising
groups, Tariq Ali and Owen Jones. Speakers condemned President Trump for
moving the US Embassy to Jerusalem and called for international action,
including boycotts, divestment and sanctions to condemn the cold-blooded
killings and other illegal actions by Israel. Many condemned the media and
particularly the BBC for its use of inaccurate language such as 'clashes'
to describe the massacres, particularly in news headlines.
Erdogan, Time To Go
Downing St, London, UK. 15th May 2018
Placards showed Erdogan in red with a label across
his eyes stating TERRORIST
Kurds at the end of a day of protest at Downing St against the visit
of Turkish head of state Recep Tayyip Erdogan who they say is a dictator
and is responsible for the deaths of thousands of Kurdish civilians.
They say Erdogan should be arrested and want to make clear that his visit
to the UK is not welcome. Since he made a speech saying "When the
Turkish people want me to, I will go" millions of Turks and Kurds
have responded on Twitter with the hashtag #Tamam, meaning 'OK,
The protesters pointed out that Turkey was the major supporter of ISIS,
and is using former ISIS fighters in its fight against the Kurds in Afrin,
and call on the UK to stop all arms sales to TUrkey. Earlier in the day
there had been a number of arrests and there was still a very strong police
Grenfell Parliamentary Debate Rally
Parliament Square, London. Mon 14 May 2018
A woman who worked in the Grenfell nursery and her
mother with placards
Grenfell United survivors, bereaved families and the Grenfell community
rally outside the Houses of Parliament as MPs hold a debate over the petition
with over 150,000 signatures calling for the Prime Minister to appoint a
panel of decision making experts to sit alongside Sir Martin Moore-Bick
in the Grenfell Tower Public Inquiry.
Last Friday Theresa May announced there would be two experts appointed
for the second stage of the inquiry beginning in December, but the Grenfell
community are still asking who those experts will be and how they will be
chosen, as well as wanting experts to be included in the first part.
They also want an undertaking that the recommendations of the inquiry will
be accepted and implemented in full, and call for those responsible for
creating the terrible fire risk to be brought to justice.
As well as people from several Grenfell organisations, speakers included
Shadow Secretary of State for Justice and Shadow Lord Chancellor Richard
Burgon, Shadow Home Secretary Diane Abbot, SNP MP Joanna Cherry and Labour
MP for Kensington Emma Dent Coad.
A speaker from the Revolutionary Communist Group which has been active
in organising protests over Grenfell as well as taking part in the silent
walks was refused permission to speak by the event organisers, but spoke
using the RCG public address system.
BNP say release Khaleda Zia
Parliament Square, London. Mon 14 May 2018
Protesters shout for the release of the opposition
leader in Bangladesh
A protest outside the Houses of Parliament by the Bangladeshi Nationalist
Party, UK called for the release of their party leader, Begum Khaleda Zia,
jailed in February for five years for embezzlement of international funds
donated to Zia Orphanage Trust.
The charge was first made around ten years ago, and the BNP claim is politically
motivated. Her elder son Tarique Rahman was sentenced to 10 years in jail
but is still in London.
Khaleda Zia was the First Lady of Bangladesh during the presidency of her
husband Ziaur Rahman who founded the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP)
in the late 1970s. She was Bangladesh's first female head of government
from 1991-6 after the BNP won the country's first democratic election in
20 years, and served as prime minister later in 2001-6.
Her election victory in 1996 was widely believed to have been rigged and
in an election later in the year the BNP lost to Sheikh Hasina Wazed, leader
of the Awami League. The two women rivals are the only non-interim prime
ministers since 1991, and the BNP allege that the corruption charges were
fabricated to prevent Zia from standing against Hasina in the elections
later this year.
Manchester. Sun 13 May 2018
The Rochdale canal runs through the centre of Manchester
We had time for a short walk around a little of Central Manchester, taking
a rather roundabout walk to Piccadilly station, including a short walk by
Manchester marks the 1948 Nabka
Piccadilly Gardens, Manchester. Sun 13 May 2018
People join hands and dance for freedom for Palestine
Manchester Palestine Action ended their two days of action in Piccadilly
Gardens with some enthusiastic dabke dancing.
The event commemorated the 1948 Nakba or the ethnic cleansing of Palestine,
telling people about the history of Israel's devastation of the Palestinian
people which began in 1948 and continues today as Israeli army snipers with
live ammunition have killed over 40 protesters and severely wounded thousands
taking part in the protests over the last 6 weeks and which reach a climax
in the next few days.
The protesters had set up a small Palestinian refugee camp in the gardens
and entertained crowds with dance, theatre, music and Palestinians telling
their own stories of exile from Palestine over the two days, and called
on everyone to keep up the international pressure to isolate Israel through
boycotts, Divestment and Sanctions until Palestinians can live with the
same freedoms as anyone else would expect and until finally they can return
to their homeland.
I had been at a conference a few miles north of the city and came back after
that ended to catch only the last half hour or so of the action.
Stanycliffe, Greater Manchester. Sat 12 May 2018
The railway passes over the canal at one of the locks
I was in Stanycliffe on the outskirts of Middleton, just south of Rochdale
for a weekend conference. We had a little free time on the Saturday afternoon,
and I went out for a walk with three friends, continuing a little to take
pictures after they turned back.
Our walk together had taken us south along the Rochdale canal, and I went
a little up the hill from this before coming back down the the canal again,
returning to the conference centre just in time to snatch a cup of tea before
the next session started.
Capital Ring Greenford to South Kenton
London. Mon 7 May 2018
Harrow-on-the-Hill and the sign for the Kings Head
pub, now closed
It was that useless early May Bank Holiday, we got instead of a May
Day holiday from some half-hearted Labour government but the weather was
good so we decided to go for a walk.
Section 9 of the Capital Ring goes from Greenford to South Kenton, and passes
through Horsenden Hill and Harrow on the Hill. It isn't a very long section,
though I think the measurement of 5.5 miles is a little on the tight side,
particularly if you like to wander a little. With a couple of short detours
and a walk to Northwick Park station at the end as South Kenton was closed,
we probably covered around 8 miles and given the hot weather and a leg which
was at times rather painful it was more than enough for me.
Although it more or less started next to the Grand Union Canal, this is
one of the more hilly sections of the capital ring. You can download details
of the route from the web - or buy the guide book so I'll not bother with
these. We were fortunate that St Mary's Church in Harrow-on-the-Hill was
serving cream teas; surprisingly this church is not actually on the route,
but it should be a compulsory detour to visit the Peachey tomb in the churchyard.
This is now a Grade II listed building, described in the listing text:
Horizontal stone slab on low brick base protected by an iron cage, dedicated
to John Peachey (d.1780), his sister Elizabeth (d.1804), his brother Daniel
(d.1804), and William (d.1831). Noted as the place where Byron composed
some of his early verses, later referred to by him as "my favourite
Byron while at Harrow School in 1801-5 often came to sit beside this tomb
(probably to escape the bullies who were tough on poets) and admire the
view from the path beside it - I had to climb up a little to photograph
it - and like so many views it is now rather hidden by excessive vegetation
- and in 1807 composed his poem poem Lines Written beneath an Elm in
the Churchyard of Harrow which expressed his wish to be buried in the
This was not to be. The sad tale of the illegitimate daughter he fathered
with the teenage stepsister of the writer Mary Shelley, Claire Clairmont
about which he said "I never loved her nor pretended to love her—but
a man is a man–& if a girl of eighteen comes prancing to you at
all hours of the night—there is but one way" ended with the child's
death in an Italian nunnery at the age of 5. Put there and neglected by
Lord Byron, her death filled him with remorse and he brought her embalmed
body back to Harrow with some ceremony to be buried at the church.
Byron devised a memorial tablet for her, naming her as 'Allegra, daughter
of George Gordon Lord Byron' with a text from the book of Samuel: 'I
shall go to her but she shall not return to me.', but the rector refused
to let it be put on the wall of the church and her resting place was unmarked
until a small tablet was allowed to be put near to where she was buried
by the church door by the Byron society in 1980. Perhaps surprisingly it
did not include Byron's text.
And although Byron had made clear his wish to be buried in the churchyard,
this too was refused because of his scandalous life. Nor would Westminster
Abbey have his body, and it was buried in at St Mary Magdalene Church, Hucknall
Torkard, Nottinghamshire. Later his legitimate daughter, Ada Lovelace, who
Byron never saw, having left for Greece where he died whilst his wife was
pregnant was buried beside him. Westminster Abbey finally relented and allowed
a memorial there to him in 1969.
The Peachey tomb soon became a place of pilgrimage for his many fans, and
many of them chipped off a little of the stone as a memento. The parish
was forced to erect the iron cage around it which still stands if rather
rustily for its protection.
We thought we had ended our walk in the Windermere pub, next to South Kenton
station, a building I've often admired as the train rushes past on its way
to or from the northwest. It has a fine 1930s interior though unfortunately
the prices are a little higher now than they were. After sitting with a
pint of bitter there my leg felt miraculously revived, though the effect
was relatively short-lived it was enough to take me to nearby Northwick
Park without pain after we found that because of a signal failure there
were no trains serving South Kenton.
Windrush Immigration Act protest
Home Office, London. Sat 5 Mar 2018
A woman wearing a 'More Blacks More Irish More Dogs'
t-shirt speaks at the Home Office
At the end of the rally opposite Downing St in solidarity with the Windrush
families and other immigrants, people marched to the Home Office for a further
The protesters demanded:
• The 2014 Immigration act is repealed.
• An immediate end to deportations and detention of Commonwealth
• All those deported be brought back to Britain immediately.
• Guarantee protection of all Commonwealth Citizens.
• All those affected in any way be given compensation for deportation,
threats of deportation, detention, loss of housing, jobs, benefits and
denial of NHS treatment.
• No hostile environment for any immigrants.
Windrush rally against Theresa May
Downing St, London. Sat 5 Mar 2018
Stand Up to Racism and other banners opposite Downing
A rally at Downing St organised by Stand Up to Racism called for Theresa
May's racist 2014 Immigration Act to be repealed and an immediate end to
the deportation and detention of Commonwealth citizens, with those already
deported to be bought back to the UK.
It called for protection to the guaranteed for all Commonwealth citizens
and for those affected to be compensated for deportation, threats of deportation,
detention, loss of housing, jobs, benefits and denial of NHS treatment.
There should be an end to the 'hostile environment' introduced by Theresa
May as Home Secretary for all immigrants. Speakers also condemned the blocking
by the government with a late three line whip and the last-minute withdrawal
of MPs pairing arrangements to ensure information about the Windrush scandal
was kept secret in a way that threatens the normal working of Parliament.
Among those speaking were Shadow Home Secretary Diane Abbott, trade unionists,
and people from organisations standing up for immigrants and opposing immigration
detention including Movement for Justice who brought two women who had been
held in Yarl's Wood to speak.
At the end of the rally the protesters marched to the Home Office for a
further rally outside.
Anti-Abortion March for Life
Whitehall, London. Sat 5 Mar 2018
Anti-abortion marchers with posters on Whitehall
Several thousand taking part in the 'March for Life UK', a largely
Catholic event, marched down Whitehall to a rally in Parliament Square.
Opposed to abortion they aim to raise awareness of the hurt and damage
that abortion causes and to unite all the pro-life groups in the UK to help
bring to an end what it calls the greatest violation to human rights in
history. They argue that even at conception the fertilised egg should be
awarded and equal right to life as the woman whose body it is in.
Previous annual marches by the organisation have been held in Birmingham
and this was their first London march. It came a few weeks an Irish vote
was expected to repeal the 8th amendment and allow abortion in Ireland,
and some posters and placards called for a 'No' vote in this.
Women protest anti-abortion march
Parliament Square, London. Sat 5 Mar 2018
Pro-choice campaigners call for the Irish to vote
to repeal the 8th amendment with outlaws abortion
Feminists in the abortion rights campaign held a rally in Parliament
Square before the annual March for Life UK by pro-life anti-abortion campaigners
was to march to a rally there.
They insisted on the right for women to choose and opposed to any increase
of restrictions which would lead to the problems we saw before the 1967
Abortion Act, when women risked their lives in back street abortions. They
called for women in Northern Ireland to be given the same rights as in the
rest of the UK and for an end of the harassment of women going into clinics,
and supported the Irish referendum on 25th May to repeal the 8th amendment
passed in 1983 which recognised the equal right to life of the mother and
the unborn child, effectively banning abortion in Ireland.
I left to go to a protest at Downing St while they stayed in Parliament
Square to make clear their opposition to the so-called 'March for Life'
anti-abortion marchers who were due to arrive for a rally.
Croydon march for May Day
Croydon, London. Sat 5 Mar 2018
The marchers halt briefly in the centre of the main
Trade unionists and others met in Croydon to march through the city
centre to a rally at Ruskin House in celebration of May Day, International
Workers Day which is celebrated internationally on May 1st.
Unfortunately May Day is not a Bank Holiday in the UK, and this event
came a few days later on the following Saturday. The marchers were lead
through the main shopping street by a piper and drummer in full Scots dress,
attracting the attention of shoppers and others on the busy street.
I left the march before it reached Ruskin House where there was to be a
rally with speakers including Ted Knight, once the leader of Lambeth council
and then one of the best-known Labour politicians, derided in the press
of the day as 'Red Ted'.
Lambeth Housing Tell Us the Truth
Lambeth Town Hall, Brixton, London. Tue 1 May 2018
A woman speaks outside the Town Hall about Lambeth's
broken promises on housing
An emergency demonstration outside Lambeth Town Hall before Thursday's
council elections called for a public inquiry into Lambeth Labour’s
housing policy, an immediate halt to estate demolitions and a call to stop
the privatisation via Homes for Lambeth which is leading to social cleansing.
A Freedom of Information request by Brixton Buzz last month showed that
the council built just 17 council homes with secure council tenancies between
June 2014 and March 2018, despite claims in the current Lambeth Labour manifesto
to "build 1,000 extra homes at council rent by 2019. By early 2018
we had over 950 homes completed, being built or already approved by Lambeth’s
cabinet meaning that we will complete our ambitious programme of building
1,000 extra homes at council rent for local families."
The actual number is thought only to be half that provided on the FOI request,
either 8 or 9, around 1% of the council's claim. The council is engaged
in a large-scale programme to demolish council estates together with private
developers and replace them with expensive private housing with only a token
proportion of social housing.
CAIWU Mayday Mayhem at Royal Opera
Royal Opera, Covent Garden, London. Tue 1 May 2018
CAIWU members arrive on their open-top bus to protest
at the Royal Opera House
London, UK. 1st May 2018. Members of the Cleaners and Allied Independent
Workers Union CAIWU celebrated International Workers’ Day with an
open-topped bus tour stopping to protest outside some of London’s
most notorious employers where CAIWU is in dispute over the victimisation
of five members for their trade union activities.
Companies protect their reputations by employing contracting companies
to manage their cleaning and to treat those who work in to clean their offices
badly. The bus stopped close to the Royal Opera House and CAIWU members
held a short and noisy protest outside, ending by warning that they would
keep on coming back until they got a satisfactory settlement for the cleaners
who have been unfairly dismissed or threatened with dismissal for their
trade union activities.
Precarious Workers go to King's College
London. Tue 1 May 2018
Percy, a cleaner and a recent ex-student both spoke
outside Kings College
After protesting outside the Ministry of Justice, the precarious workers
marched on up Whitehall and the Strand for their second May Day protest,
outside King's College, where cleaners are campaigning to be directly employed
by the college.
After making a great deal of noise there, and a speech by one of the workers
they went off to visit a number of other sites, pausing briefly close to
the Royal Opera House to greet the open-top bus in which CAIWU members and
supporters had been making a tour around London with a number of protests
outside sites where they are in dispute.
I left the Precarious Workers May Day protest at that point to photograph
CAIWU protesting at the Royal Opera House, were several members had been
Precarious Workers go to Ministry of Justice
London. Tue 1 May 2018
Protesters shout in front of the Ministry of Justice
for cleaners to get the London Living Wage
Precarious workers, on poverty pay and exploitative contracts whose
largely unskilled work is essential to keeping society running, hold their
own march as a part of the celebrations on International Workers Day, joining
in with the London May Day Rally before visiting a number of exploitative
workplaces, where workers are in dispute, including the Ministry of Justice.
Those taking part included the IWGB (Independent Workers Union of Great
Britain), United Voices of the World the union, staff from Picturehouse
Cinemas, the Women's Strike Assembly - UK, London Wobblies, Another Europe
Is Possible, Plan C London, Labour Campaign for Free Movement and the Precarious
They demand guaranteed hours and a living wage, the decriminalisation
of sex work and an end to trade union victimisation and repeal of the anti-union
They marched from Trafalgar Square and briefly down the Mall before turning
down Horseguards Rd and going on to the Ministry of Justice in Petty France.
Police lined the front of the building as they held a noisy rally with dancing
outside, ending with a speech from Petros Elia of United Voices of the World
calling for the cleaners there to get the London Living Wage.
May Day Rally
Trafalgar Square, London. Tue 1 May 2018
Most of the CPGB-ML were on the plinth, together with Kurds
As usual the rally was dominated by trade union speakers with only one
speaker from the migrant communities while I was listening. It didn't reflect
those taking part in the march.
Although there were some good speeches, and the event started well, but
some were less riveting, and I wandered away from the platform after a while.
Many of the other marchers had also left, with local pubs doing good business
from some of the trade unionists. It seemed rather curious that speakers
apparently were supposed to be 'non-political' in their speeches because
of the elections later in the week. If you can't be political at a May Day
Rally why bother?
As well as those who had come for the rally, other protesters were gathering
in the square for a march and protests by Precarious workers, one of whom,
a victimised union rep from the Brixton Ritzy was the penultimate speaker
at the main rally. By that time there were only a few of the other marchers
left listening. It's a shame the May Day rally doesn't really reflect the
march, and it should be a celebration of May Day rather than a rather humdrum
May Day March on the Strand
Strand, London. Tue 1st May 2018
Anna Campbell, killed defending Afrin, Kurdish leader
Ocalan and Defend Afrin banner on the march
I had left the marchers shortly before the May Day march celebrating International
Workers Day left Clerkenwell Green to attend two other events, and rejoined
them as the front of the march came from Aldwych to go along the Strand
to Trafalgar Square.
The march was rather smaller than in previous years and mainly composed
of groups from London's international and migrant communities, though there
was a trade union section leading it, with a band from the Musicians Union.
I photographed most of the groups on the march and then worked my way back
towards the front. As they reached Charing Cross station some of the younger
Turkish and Kurdish marchers set off smoke flares, but I was too far back
to get many pictures.
I photographed the remaining marchers entering Trafalgar Square and then
went on to photograph the rally - see the section above.
Against Deportation Charter Flights
Home Office, London. Tue 1st May 2018
A protester holds posters. Our immigration law is
racist and unjust - and not just for Windrush families
A protest at the Home Office organised by Movement for Justice called
for an end to immigration charter flights.
The protest was held as the Home Office intended to carry out a mass deportation
to Jamaica later in the week in the middle of the Windrush scandal which
would include members of the Windrush generation.
The protest at the Home Office and later at the Jamaican High Commission
called for an end to all these mass deportations, which have led to a rounding
up of many who are in this country legally but whose cases are still disputed
by the Home Office.
Protesters called on the Home Office to end the flights and for the Jamaican
High Commission to refuse to issue travel documents or accept any immigration
charter flights from the UK.
Lyme Disease epidemic
Old Palace Yard, Westminster, London. Tue 1 May 2018
A woman in a wheelchair because of Lyme disease shows
a poster about the NHS failure
Campaigners at Parliament highlighted the serious dangers of Lyme Disease
from tick bites, calling for public education and for the NHS to abandon
useless tests and tackle this killing disease seriously with effective tests
The danger can be lessened by appropriate clothing on walks through long
grass or woods and by prompt and correct removal of ticks attached to skin
using a simple device. Lyme Disease is often misdiagnosed and leads to extreme
fatigue and can proceed to disablement and even premature death.
The NHS continues to use an out of date and unreliable while reliable
tests are in use in other countries. Unless diagnosed and treated immediately,
Lyme disease can take very lengthy treatment, at least 6 weeks of antibiotics,
which is often not available on the NHS, and which may not work.
The protest was organised by the Chronic Lyme Disease Support Group UK,
and included those suffering from the disease which is a hidden epidemic
in the UK, with many sitting down at the event and one woman in a wheelchair.
London May Day March meets
Clerkenwell Square, London. Tue 1 May 2018
A Kurdish marcher in a red mask hold flags of the
People's Protection Units YPG and YPJ
Socialists celebrating International Workers Day including many from
London's international and migrant communities met at Clerkenwell Green
on May Day for the march through London to a rally at Trafalgar Square.
They celebrate the many achievements of struggle by workers over the years
and show their determination to fight against attempts to reduce workers
rights and to continue the fight for equality and justice.
The numbers coming on the march seemed considerably lower than in recent
years, and there were rather fewer trade union banners in evidence, and
fewer other groups. Even those from the many migrant communities seemed
to have less support, though they now dominate the occasion. International
Workers Day is a far more important event in many other countries than the
UK, and most workers here will have been at work as usual, as the opportunity
to make May 1st a Bank Holiday was sadly missed when a former Labour government
brought in an early May bank holiday.
I left shortly before the march started to cover two unrelated protests
elsewhere in London.
Possibly some remains of Bermondsey Abbey
Most of the pictures this month were taken south of the river, either from
buses or trains or on short walks around areas while waiting until I could
take a train home. Among the areas featured are Wandsworth, Vauxhall, Lambeth,
Southwark, Bermondsey, London Bridge, and there are several views of the Thames.
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