my london diary index


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Stoke Newington to Hackney Wick

London. Thu 30 May 2019

When I photographed this bridge in the 1980s there was a timber yard on the other side
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A short section of the Capital Ring (though we made it a little longer) from Stoke Newington to Hackney Wick.

We'd had other things to do on the Bank Holiday Monday, so decided to go out for a walk later in the week. The weather forecast looked good and we could easily do this section in an afternoon. Even with taking a wrong turning which added about half a mile and my usual wanderings to take pictures it was only about six miles.

Most of it was very familiar territory to me, along the Lea Navigation, a towpath I've walked and cycled along quite a few times over the years, particularly in the early 1980s when I first photographed the River Lea. Of course things have changed rather since then.

Towards the end of the walk we came to parts radically changed for the London Olympics, with a few good buildings that were demolished. There isn't a great deal to be said for those that replaced them. Quite a lot of the graffiti that covered most walls in the area was also removed, but that was replaced very quickly after the games.
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City and Spitalfields walk

London. Wed 29 May 2019

Three photographers rest on a bench in a city churchyard
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A planned walk around the City and Spitalfields with four other photographers was spoiled by the weather; we hurried around a part of it and then went to a pub.

I walked from London Bridge Station to our meeting point at Monument taking a few panoramic images on my way, and we then went on a short walk together, going east through the City and on past Aldgate to Brick Lane. By the time we were in Spitalfields the light rain had become rather less light and we were forced to move swiftly to a pub by Liverpool St station. I was rather surprised we had managed to walk past quite a few others before.
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Youth Strike for Climate

London. Fri 24 May 2019
A protester holds an orange smoke flare high at the front of the march in Broad Sanctuary
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Students protest in London and over 100 locations in the UK in the global climate strike against lack of action by governments worldwide to combat the climate crisis.

They marched from Parliament Square past several ministries to sit down at the Dept for Education, demanding curriculum change to teach about climate. They then marched past Downing St to rally at Nelson's Column, returning to protest at BEIS and back to Parliament Square. Here police manhandled several who stood in the road and arrested at least one minor.
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Canary Wharf

Canary Wharf, London. Thu 23 May 2019

Some of the new buildings at Canary Wharf since I last went there to photograph
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I went early to the opening of a show at the Museum of London Docklands so I could take a walk around Canary Wharf on the way there.

I think it has been five years since I last came seriously to photograph at Canary Wharf, and there have been considerable changes. It isn't a place I much like taking pictures at, as although it seems very much like a public space it is actually a private estate, and theoretically at least, photography is not allowed.

I have occasionally been stopped by security officers - dressed rather too much like police - and told I cannot take pictures, but usually I have had no problems. In most places there are tourists taking pictures and if you don't look too different to them the security seem to ignore you.

I was going to the opening of the show 'Secret Rivers' in which I have one photograph and hadn't brought my usual camera gear with me, and I think all of these pictures were taken with a 35mm equivalent pancake lens. After a couple of hours at the show, mainly talking with various people and having a glass or three of wine and some fairly minute nibbles, it was beginning to get dark as I left and I took a few more pictures on my way to the Jubilee line station.
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City Churches Christian Aid Walk

City of London. Sun 19 May 2019

As well as churches some other pictures on the walk around the city including in this shopping centre

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Linda was doing a sponsored walk around City of London churches and I went to keep her company and stop her getting lost.

As well as the churches I also took a number of pictures on the route. We ran out of time and a couple of the churches were closed by the time we arrived but I photographed inside 8 or 9 of the the dozen on the route we followed, including a couple I don't recall having been inside before.
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Brexiteers support Trump

Parliament Square, London. Sat 18 May 2019
A man wears a yellow hi-viz waistcoat and a Trump mask
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The small group of Brexiteers, some wearing yellow waistcoats, continued their weekly protests in central London.

Among them this week was a man wearing a Donald Trump mask, and the protesters chanted in support of Trump as I met them briefly outside Parliament.
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10 Years since Mullivaikkal massacre

London. Sat 18 May 2019
Some Tamils march with bloody bundles representing some of the thousands killed by Sri Lanka
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Several thousand Tamils, many with Tamil Eelam flags, march through London on Mullivaikkal Remembrance Day in memory of those killed by Sri Lanka’s genocidal war against the Tamils, which ended ten years ago.

They want the killing of so many Tamils - over 146,000 in the final years of the war recognised as genocide and call for a political solution which gives Tamils back control of their homeland of Tamil Eelam, and for an end to the ban on the Tamil Tigers. Discrimination against Tamils continues in Sri Lanka and public commemorations of the many thousands of war dead are forbidden there.
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Wood Green Universal Credit protest

Wood Green, London. Sat 18 May 2019

Campaigners pose at the end of their session
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Campaigners hold a street stall and speak and leaflet against Universal Credit in busy Wood Green High Road.

The Revolutionary Communist Group say it is a disaster for working people, driving them into greater poverty with parents going hungry to feed their children and forcing people into debt and rent arrears causing evictions and homelessness; it is a massive assault on living standards and human rights and must be scrapped. People took leaflets and stopped to read the posters and talk with the protesters.more pictures

Veterans demand end of NI prosecutions

Broadcasting House, London. Sat 18 May 2019
The protesters surged into the BBC plaza but stopped a short distance from the doors
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Army veterans, many wearing berets and medals, protest at the BBC calling for an end to prosecutions of soldiers for activities during Operation Banner, the armed forces operation in Northern Ireland during the Troubles from 1969-2007.

The government have announced that members of the Armed Forces are to be protected from prosecution for historical offences except in Northern Ireland, and hundreds of former servicemen, particularly paratroopers, came to the BBC to demand that those who served in the Troubles should also be protected from what they see as unfair prosecutions. At first the protesters stayed behind the barriers that had been erected around the plaza in front of the BBC officers, but a few made their way past them to protest, and eventually the barriers were pushed aside and the crowd surged into the plaza, stopping at another line of barriers a few yards in front of the locked doors.

A piper made his way to the front and was followed by one of the London UKIP candidates in the European Elections, Freddy Varcha, who tried to speak when the piper stopped playing but was quickly stopped and hustled away by organisers who shouted 'No Politics'.
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Bethnal Green Canal Walk

Cambridge Heath to Bow, London. Fri 17 May 2019

Hertford Union Canal at Bow
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Pictures from a walk beside the Regent's Canal and the Hertford Union canal from Mare St to Bow.

It wasn't ideal weather for taking pictures, with a rather dull overcast grey sky and the occasional spot of rain, which came on rather heavier as I got towards the end of my walk. But I had an hour or two to fill after leaving Hackney Town Hall before going to the 'Open Studios' at the Chisenhale Gallery. All of the pictures are panoramic, using a cylindrical perspective to show a horizontal angle of view of around 145 degrees.
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XR tell Hackney stop killing insects

Hackney Town Hall, London. Fri 17 May 2019
People take part in the die-in outside the town hall
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Extinction Rebellion parents and children came to Hackney Town Hall to demand the council stop using glyphosate which kills insects as well as weeds.

Dressed as bees and butterflies they chalked on the ground and staged a die-in before swarming onto the town hall steps where a council officer came to speak. He said that the council has already halved its use of glyphosate, and was working to cut it further and eventually hoped to eliminate all spraying. He denied the evidence over its killing of bees and other insects was strong enough to justify an immediate ban. The protesters disagreed strongly, telling him there was overwhelming evidence of the effects of the chemical on both insects and workers using it, one of whom has been recently awarded huge compensation by a US court. They called for the problem to be taken much more seriously, with urgent action by the council.
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Tamil Genocide Hunger Strike

Downing St, London. Sun 12 May 2019
Tamils at the beginning of their hunger strike for recognition and investigation of the Tamil genocide
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Tamils begin a hunger strike at Downing St ending on May 18th, Tamil Genocide Remembrance Day, banned in Sri Lanka where it is celebrated as Victory Day by the government.

Tamils claim there were 156,689 Tamil civilians unaccounted for at the end of the war, many of them killed by shelling in the last 5 months and no one has been held accountable. They demand recognition of the Tamil Genocide, an International Tribunal to investigate the atrocities and self-determination for Tamils in Sri Lanka, their homeland of Tamil Eelam.
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XR International Mothers' Day March

London. Sun 12 May 2019
Young Earth Protectors on the march on Piccadilly
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Several thousand mothers and children and some fathers walked behind 11-year-olds and 3 giant push chairs with stilt walkers from Hyde Park Corner to a rally filling Parliament Square.

The march backed Extinction Rebellion's call for the drastic and urgent action need to avert the worst consequences of climate change, including possible human extinction. Our politicians have declared a climate emergency but now need to take real action rather than continuing business as usual which is destroying life on our planet.
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Anti-Abortion 'March for Life UK'

Westminster, London. Sat11 May 2019
A man holds an odd representation of the Virgin Mary and child in front of his face as he marches
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The March for Life UK, a largely Catholic anti-abortion event marches past pro-life protesters on Victoria St.

Based on extreme right protests in the USA opposed to abortion they aim to raise awareness of the hurt and damage it causes and bring to an end what they call the greatest violation to human rights in history. Pro-choice opponents say they deny women basic rights, back harassment of women and oppose contraception, sex education and IVF fertility treatment. Many feel that much of the arguments against abortion are scientifically untenable, and that they misuse scientific images and information to provoke purely emotional responses.

There was some noisy shouting from both groups as the anti-abortion march passed the pro-choice protesters standing on the pavement with banners and placards.
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March for Choice defends women's rights

Westminster, London. Sat11 May 2019
A bloody coat hanger makes the point 'We Can't go back'
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Feminists held a rally in Parliament square for reproductive rights and the decriminalisation of abortion and to oppose an anti-choice, US-inspired ‘March for Life’ taking place today.

They say the ‘March for Life’ is made up of extreme anti-women, anti-choice, evangelical groups which regularly harass women outside abortion clinics, with links to homophobic, fascist and far-right organisations and opposes contraception, sex education and IVF treat. The march included a number of Catholic priests and other Catholics, some carrying religious pictures or objects.
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National Demonstration for Palestine

London. Sat11 May 2019
Palestinian teenage activist Ahed Tamimi holds the banner at the front of the march
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Thousands marched from the BBC to a rally in Whitehall a few days before Nakba day showing solidarity with the Palestinian people and opposing continued Israel violation of international law and human rights.

The protest at the beginning of Nakba week called for an end to Israeli oppression and the siege of Gaza and for a just peace that recognises Palestinian rights including the right of return. It urged everyone to boycott and divest from Israel and donate to medical aid for Palestine.
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Guardian lies about Venezuela

York Way, London. Fri 10 May 2019

Security at the Guardian refuse protesters entry to deliver a letter
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Protesters outside The Guardian call for an end to media lies about the situation in Venezuela. The protest was organised by the Revolutionary Communist Group (RCG) and also attended by other supporters of Venezuela.

They say the British media, particularly The Guardian, actively supports a US-backed coup in the country against the democratically elected leadership of the Venezuelan government under President Nicolas Maduro and the Bolivarian revolution to build socialism and independence in Latin America rather than reporting the facts.

The protesters held a noisy protest outside the entrance to the building and then attempted to deliver a letter of complaint, but were prevented from going inside by a security officer. After some discussion he agreed to take their letter and ensure that it was delivered for them.

The contents of the letter were then read out at the protest. There were several speakers who had visited Venezuela and were able to give their own experience of the events happening there. They say Guardian correspondent Tom Phillips only reflects the opinions of a small middle-class elite and fails either to understand what is happening or to meet and reflect the views of the majority of the people. They blame the problems in the country largely on US sanctions and the fall in oil prices and that there has been a huge increase in education, health care and living standards for the rural and urban poor which is now under threat and accuse the British media of being vicious and reactionary.
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Regent's Canal - King's Cross

King's Cross, London. Fri 10 May 2019

A token piece of gasholder frame remains beside the canal
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Pictures from a short walk from York Way to the Islington Tunnel entrance.

Most of the images are panoramic views with a horizontal angle of view of over 140 degrees. All were taken either from the tow path or bridges or very close to the canal.
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Drivers shut down Uber

Aldgate, London. Wed 8 May 2019

Drivers hold UPHD/IWGB flags on a windy corner at Uber's offices
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London Uber drivers in London join those in Birmingham, Nottingham and Glasgow and internationally boycotting the Uber app for 9 hours in protests outside Uber offices.

Tomorrow's Uber flotation on the stock market is expected to net its founder $9 billion and executives share in the profits. Uber's drivers, who earn on average £5 per hour, gain nothing and say Uber's business model depends on upon worker exploitation, tax avoidance and regulatory arbitrage. The UPHD drivers, part of the IWGB union, blocked one lane for the protest.
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Highgate to Stoke Newington

London. Mon 6 May 2019

A figure comes out of the brickwork above the footpath
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Another Bank Holiday and we walked another section of the Capital Ring, from Highgate to Stoke Newington.

A short walk from Highgate station takes you to the Parkland Walk which runs along a former railway line. Like many such walks it has a lot of trees and is often in cuttings so there isn't a great deal to see. Many of the walls and bridges are covered with rather uninspired graffiti. We walked the first section along a road instead, which was a little more interesting. At the end of this part of the walk a long footbridge takes you into Finsbury Park, which has a cafe where we stopped for coffee and then ate our sandwich lunch on a seat outside.

From the park we walked along by the New River (from 1613), part of the walk I've done a few times before. This goes along the edge of the Woodberry Down Estate, a large area bought by the LCC for housing in 1934, but only developed after the war as a 'utopian estate of the future'. Building began in 1949 and the 57 large blocks of flats were only completed in 1962. Unfortunately the estate was allowed to deteriorate over the years, and it is now one of Europe's biggest single-site estate regeneration projects, demolishing 1,981 homes and building 5,561 social rented, private and shared ownership new ones.

On the other bank of the New River are two large reservoirs, one a nature reserve and the other used for sailing etc, and as we left the river one of the odder water board buildings, built to resemble a Scottish Baronial castle. A short walk along roads took us to Clissold Park, on the other side of which we stopped to look inside the Victorian gothic church; unfortunately its predecessor on the opposite side of the road is seldom open. Passing along Stoke Newington Church St we then had time for a short wander around Abney Park Cemetery before catching a train from Stoke Newington station.
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British Museum Stolen Goods Tour

British Museum, London. Sat 4 May 2019

People listen to the story of how Lord Elgin got the Parthenon marbles
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An unofficial tour of the British Museum by campaigners 'BP or Not BP?' calls for stolen cultural objects to be be returned to their countries of origin.

Indigenous Australian campaigner Rodney Kelly spoke on the Gweagal shield, Samir Eskanda on objects from 'biblical' excavations in Palestine, Yasmin Younis on recent looting from Iraq and Petros Papadopoulos on the Parthenon marbles. It called for an end to sponsorship by BP, which is heavily involved in exploitation around the world and a major cause of climate breakdown.

The 'BP or Not to BP' banner reads 'Stolen Land - Stolen Culture - Stolen Climate' with logos for Great Britain, the British Museum and BP.
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Yellow jackets continue protests

Trafalgar Square, London. Sat 4 May 2019
The protesters meet up before marching down Whitehall
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People wearing yellow jackets met at Trafalgar Square as usual on a Saturday to march around Westminster for several hours.

They are angered by the failure to deliver Brexit, to deal with Muslim grooming gangs and at Family Courts taking children away from families and grandparents who are capable of looking after them. They want a young Hindu driver convicted of drunken driving who killed three young men to be treated as a terrorist, and complain about the attacks on their protests by police.
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Algerians press for regime change

Trafalgar Square, London. Sat 4 May 2019

Algerians meet in Trafalgar Square to march in a further protest
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Algerians were gathering in Trafalgar Square to march again through London to the Algerian Embassy.

Protests in Algeria began in February after Abdelaziz Bouteflika announced he would stand for a fifth presidential term. The peaceful protests, also known as the Smile revolution have already caused the military to insist on Bouteflika's immediate resignation, and to arrest several important figures in his regime, including his younger brother Saïd.
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Camden, London. Sat 4 May 2019

Wall painting and people on the street in Camden
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I paid a short visit to Camden Town, walking along the High St and photographing the shops and a few of the people, including a small group of Camden Momentum who were protesting in support of Palestine.

As I left Camden on the bus I took a few pictures of the 1926 Art Deco Carreras Cigarette Factory with its black cats guarding the entrance.
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Fridays For Future climate protest

Parliament Square, London. Fri 3 May 2019

There were only a small group of protesters at this week's 'Fridays for Future' protest in London
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Protesters in Parliament Square stand with posters, one of many weekly #FridaysForFuture events taking place in many cities and towns across the world.

These protests were inspired by the action of 15-year old Greta Thunberg who instead of going back to school at the end of the Summer break in August protested outside the Swedish Parliament, breaking the law to start the School Strike For Climate.
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Die-In against Nuclear Weapons celebration

Westminster Abbey, London. Fri 3 May 2019

People take part in the die-in opposite Westminster Abbey were the service was taking place
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CND and Christian CND protested opposite Westminster Abbey against the blasphemous and morally repugnant thanksgiving service celebrating Britain's nuclear weapons.

The service marked 50 years of continuous nuclear threat by British submarines armed with nuclear missiles. Britain is currently wasting £205 billion on the replacement of Trident, around a quarter of a year's total government spending on a weapons system which can never be used.

Christian CDN held a separate vigil a few yards down the road. At the main CND even, after a short rally people lay down on the pavement in a die-in. There was to be a rally after a short break but I didn't stay for it.
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Wapping and the Thames

Wapping, London.Wed 1 May 2019

LImehouse from Wapping
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I ate my sandwiches looking at the river from the Thames Path. I'd gone to Wapping to meet friends for an alternative May Day celebration, but arrived a little early and took some pictures.
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London May Day Banners

Clerkenwell, London.Wed 1 May 2019

Protesters on the march supporting the English Collective of Prostitutes say 'Make All Women Safe'
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As the march left on its way to Trafalgar Square I photographed most of the banners.

The march was dominated by groups from our various migrant communities, and the pictures reflect this, though there were a few more trade union banners than my pictures suggest. Often these were accompanied by only a handful of marchers and at times several banners were bunched together, making it difficult to photograph them.

May Day seems to be attracting fewer people each year and it is perhaps time to change the format. A few years ago, when Jeremy Corbyn and Frances O'Grady both spoke before the march at Clerkenwell there was a considerably larger crowd.

of course it would help if May Day was a Bank Holiday as it should be - perhaps a Labour government will make it so. This year I decided not to go to the rally at Trafalgar Square; there needs to be something more interesting happening there, and something that better reflects the multi-ethnic nature of the march. More of a festival and a celebration of the day.
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London May Day

Clerkenwell, London.Wed 1 May 2019
Musicians in front of the main banner wait for the march to start
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The annual May Day march in London began from Clerkenwell Green.

Before the march there were speeches outside the Marx Memorial Library. A speaker from the Indian Workers Association called for the UK to fully apologise for the 1919 Jallianwala Bagh massacre in Amritsar when British troops opened fire on a peaceful protest, killing at least 379 people and injuring many others. The Venezuelan ambassador condemned yesterday's failed US-backed coup and made clear her support for President Maduro.

As usual the protest was dominated by London's migrant communities, particularly Turkish, Kurdish and Iranian groups, and marchers representing the English Collective of Prostitutes calling for greater safety for sex workers attracted much press attention. Two people carrying a trans-exclusionary banner were later asked to leave the march after arguments developed.
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London Images

May 2019

Southwark Bridge Road from the train
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A rather better set of pictures of developments at Nine Elms and Vauxhall from the train, Farringdon Road, Westminster's Lion and Big Ben at City Hall, views from Waterloo Bridge and the City and Tower of London across the river, views from Tower Bridge, the Still and Star at Aldgate, Fenchurch St, Gracechurch St, London Bridge and a few more odd pictures.
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