my london diary index
 

August 2008

Notting Hill Carnival
Free Hackney Movement
Hoxton Handover - 1948 Street party
Fingal's Cave and Staffa
Iona: the Weekly Pilgrimage
the island
the Village (Baile Mór)
the Abbey
the Journey
Glasgow: Forth-Clyde Canal
Clydeside Titan
Clyde
Roads
Museums
Sculpture
Buildings
My Pictures
No New Coal Rally and March
Hayling Island Carnival

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august
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Stock photography by Peter+Marshall at Alamy

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All pictures © Peter Marshall 2008, all rights reserved.
To reproduce images or buy prints or other questions and comments, contact me. Selected images are also available from Alamy and Photofusion

Notting Hill Carnival

Notting Hill, London. Monday 25 August, 2008

On Ladbroke Grove
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There isn't a great deal more to say about Notting Hill, although it did seem to be significantly less crowded than in recent years (some sources estimate attendance yesterday as three quarters of a million), and I walked easily through a number of areas that have usually been filled with seething masses. There did also seem to be fewer lorries and groups on the circuit than in previous years, but the big mas bands at the core of the event were out in force as usual.

Perhaps there are just too many other events on over the weekend and people were tired. Perhaps with the difficult economic times there is less funding for groups and less commercial interest (though Unison were still behind South Connections.) The weather wasn't great either, though it didn't rain.

Of course there are still many people who won't go to carnival because they are scared of possible crime and violence. Police have reported that they had over 300 crimes reported to them at carnival on Monday and made around 150 arrests - considerably up on last year. With a reported 11,000 officers on duty it was still probably the safest place in the country, although I saw no sign of the metal detectors that were intended to prevent knifes being carried. In around five hours I only saw one brief incident as a young man was escorted away. The only knives I saw were plastic.

Of course carnival did go through troubled times. Its genesis was as a black response to the race riots in Notting Hill fifty years ago, although it only became a parade around the streets in 1965. In 1976 there was serious fighting when 3000 police attempted to take over and control the event and had to withdraw. Since then there have been various attempts to control and even stop carnival in Notting Hill, including the organising of alternative events elsewhere. And carnival itself has become much more managed and along with this, much safer to attend

I first went to carnival and took pictures around 20 years ago and have returned every year except one when a knee injury made it impossible (I made an effort, limping from home to our local station where I collapsed, unable to climb the footbridge, and decided I really wasn't up to it.)

In October I'm taking part in a show at the Juggler in Hoxton Market (confusingly half a mile away from the site in Hoxton St where Hoxton Market is held and I was photographing Sunday's '1948 Street Party'.) Hoxton Market is immediately to the north of the Holiday Inn on Old Street. The show is called 'English Carnival' and is a part of the East London Photomonth 2008. The other 3 photographers, Paul Baldesare, Dave Trainer and Bob Watkins, are showing pictures from 'traditional' English carnivals - like the Hayling Island one at the beginning of this month, but my pictures will be from Notting Hill - now, along with other carnivals drawing their main inspiration from the Caribbean - very much a part of the English carnival scene.

The work I've chosen to show is in black and white and a selection from a portfolio of 20 images published in 'Visual Anthropology Review', which accompanied a scholarly essay on carnival by a distinguished academic, George Mentore who also made some perceptive comments on my pictures.
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Free Hackney Movement

Hoxton St, Hoxton, London. Sunday 24 August, 2008
A Free Hackney Movement salute in front of the 'tank' on Hoxton St
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The 'tank' from the Free Hackney movement drove to the 1948 Street Party to celebrate the handover of the protest torch for the Olympics from the Free Tibet protesters to Free Hackney.

The Free Hackney protest sees London 2012 as a great opportunity for property developers to rip us off and make obscene profits building luxury flats in the area, while at the same time restricting public access, closing down the existing free facilities and demolishing social housing and local businesses. So far its hard to argue against their case given the closure of local sports facilities including the closure of the Temple Mills cycle circuit and the removal of the Manor Gardens allotments and the wholesale clearance of small local firms which were based on Stratford Marsh.

The Olympic development has so far been something of a catastrophe for the area, and a lot has to be done to recover from this, let alone produce a positive outcome for the area.
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Hoxton Handover - 1948 Street party

Hoxton St, Hoxton, London. Sunday 24 August, 2008

A critical point in the slow race at the Hoxton Austerity Olympics

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People in Hackney had put a lot of effort into a suitable celebration to mark the handover of the Olympics to London. Hackney is of course one of the three London boroughs which cover the main Olympic site, and one of those which is hoping for some regeneration from the huge Olympic spend, though past experience suggests that such hopes are probably largely misguided. And with the government adamant to keep to the agreed budget, it is almost certainly the 'legacy' that will lose most of the cash originally promised.

The big event was to be a '1948 Street Party' in the area of the road where the market takes place, and there were shops, museums and various local organisations taking part and putting on events and displays.

Unfortunately the council decided to create a rival event a few minutes walk away in the part with a giant screen showing TV coverage from Beiking and ... well, and very little else.

The only real breath of life in the hour and a half or so I spent in the park was a dance performance by local kids. Ebonessence were lively and fun. Otherwise the deputy mayor waved his arms around, a DJ acted as MC and a few people ran a 60 metre dash (one looked quite fast too) while a Chinese group with flags and a lion were generally hidden in a corner and sidelined - though perhaps they eventually got to give their display after I left.

Perhaps 500 people stood in a field that could have held 20,000 watching a rather poor quality giant screen of a rather poor quality London advert - in which the only point of interest for me was in seeing someone ride a Brompton like mine. Two people, two, waved union jacks. Really there was little that those present would have missed had they stayed in on the couch in front of their own screens - where most would have got a better view of the events in Beijing, though that might not have been preferable.

Hackney could and should have done much better - and just down the road it was doing better. Just a shame that some people in the council thought they had to stage this non-event to compete with the 1948 street party, rather than think how the few positive 'Hackney' aspects could have contributed to this.

So I went back to Hoxton St where things were infinitely more interesting.

Earlier I'd had a very nice cup of tea served in 1948 style china by a "nippy", and in the street were tea parties (with free cakes) and displays of boxing, jitterbugging and various objects from the 1940s kitchen (almost all of which we still use here, including a pastry blender - and no, it isn't used to make bread.) Pearlies came in force and had a sing-song round the joanna.

Of course there was a bar, and there was also a little welcome madness in the section of road where the Hackney Austerity Olympics was taking place. It was of course highly appropriate, as the last Olympic Games held here were very much run on a shoe-string in 1948, with a total budget of well under a million pounds - allowing for inflation probably rather less than a hundreth of the budget for 2012.
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Fingal's Cave and Staffa

Aug 13, 2008

Fingals Cave, Staffa
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The boat from Iona takes around three-quarters of an hour to get to Staffa, calling in to collect more passengers at Fionnphort on the way. It's a sea journey of around is about an hour's sea trip by powerful fishing boat from Iona, although the direct route is only about 8 miles. We got some glimpses of basking seals on the shore of Mull and as we reached Staffa a couple of sharks swam around our boat as we stood looking into the giant caves in the south cliffs from the sea.

It was the great naturalist, Sir Joseph Banks, whose former house in Spring Grove I used to cycle past daily on my way to school who named the largest of these Fingal's Cave, linking them with the Irish giant who in legend constructed a causeway starting from similar hexagonal basalt columns in Ireland across to Scotland. Previously it had been known in Gaelic as 'the melodius cave' (Uamh Bhin) from the sounds made by the waves lapping in its 150 foot channel, echoed by the roof like a giant natural cathedral. Later as I approached the cave on foot, the melodies I heard were distinctly female, but it was truly disappointing to find they came not from mermaids but the a cappella singing of my fully dressed wife and a few women friends.

Staffa is truly a magical and compelling place, and my only regret was having to leave it so soon - just over an hour was nothing like long enough. Staffa has had no permanent inhabitants since around 1800.
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Iona: the Weekly Pilgrimage

August 14, 2008

Every week the Iona Community invites everyone to make a pilgrimage around the island
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Iona: the island

August 9-15, 2008
Dogs rounding up sheep with view across to Mull
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Pictures from the rest of the island of Iona, which has some isolated crofts and open ground with beautiful beaches and bays. Most crofters have to have several occupations to make a living here. The permanent population of Iona is now around 85 - while 150 years ago it was nearly 500.

 

Iona: the Village (Baile Mór)

August 9-15, 2008

This must be one of the most photographed of post offices, on the beach at St Ronan's Bay
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Pictures around the main settlement area on the east shore near where the ferry lands at St Ronan's bay, where there is a street of houses, a couple of hotels, a pub and a post office.

Iona: the Abbey

August 9-15, 2008

Iona Abbey
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The Abbey in Iona was in ruins when the 8th Duke of Argyll gifted it to the church of Scotland in 1899, and some rebuilding took place in 1902-1910. But the major part of the job was done by the Iona Community, a group started in the 1930s in working class Glasgow by George MacLeod, who brought together unemployed craftsmen and young ministers to start work on it in 1938 - which continued until the work was complete around 1965. (The scaffolding on the tower is to replace cement mortar which was used in the early days of reconstruction with lime mortar, as the cement mortar is causing damage to the stonework.

The abbey is now kept up by Historic Scotland, and the Iona Community are still there as tenants who run various events there and in a newer centre a couple of hundred yards away.) The black including the kitchens to the left of the church is an almost entirely new building as little of the medieval monastic stonework was still in place, and the St John's cross at left is a concrete reconstruction - the original is in pieces in the museum.

We were guests of the Iona community, staying in the abbey, eating food cooked in the kitchen, sharing in their daily services and the running of the place as well as a small program of activities.

My contribution to the running of the place - as well as setting tables and serving and clearing food (we were lucky in that the community has some excellent cooks) was to chop vegetables - including more onions than you can imagine. So although I enjoyed my stay, Iona to me will always be remembered as a place of tears!
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The Journey: to and from Iona

Aug 9 and Aug 15, 2008

The ferry from Oban seen from the bus to Fionnphort, Craignure, Mull
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We started from our Glasgow hotel just after 8am, catching a bus to Oban, roughly three hours, largely in driving rain that obscured the view. There is a also a train, which takes slightly longer. At Oban we queued to buy tickets for the ferry to Craignure and also for the second ferry which would take us from Fionnphort on the other shore of Mull across the short distance to Iona.

Fortunately we were among the first off the ferry and on to the bus at Craignure. There are only two buses a day, timed to meet with two of the ferry journeys. There were a few people who were left at Craignure to wait 5 hours for the next bus, as the man in charge said "I'm not running a second bus for nine people." It didn't look much of a place to wait 5 hours, even if it had not have been raining.

The ferry for the short crossing from Fionnphort to Iona was much smaller, and it goes back and forth fairly frequently during the working day; we had around 20 minutes to wait and were on the island by 3pm where we were welcomed and shown the way to the abbey.

Our journey back also took around seven hours, although this time the weather was rather better and we could actually see the mountains we were passing even if their tops were hidden by rain and clouds. From Glasgow we caught the train back to London, getting home around 14 hours after we had left Iona.
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Glasgow - Forth-Clyde Canal

Aug 6-8, 2008

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Glasgow - Clydeside Titan

Aug 8, 2008

The finishing dock at Clydeside

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Glasgow - The Clyde

Aug 4-8, 2008

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Glasgow - Roads

Aug 4-8, 2008

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Glasgow Museums & Interiors

August 4-8, 2008

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Glasgow - Sculpture

Aug 4-8, 2008

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Glasgow Buildings

Aug 4-8, 2008

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Glasgow - My pictures

Aug 4-8, 2008

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I know it isn't London, but it makes a change - my pictures from a few days holiday north of the border.
 

No New Coal Rally and March

Rochester, Kent. Sunday 3 August, 2008

Marchers cross the River Medway at Rochester on the way to the Climate Camp at Kingsnorth
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This year's Climate Camp was at Kingsnorth on the Hoo Peninsula in Kent where E.ON intend to build a new coal-fired power station. Coal is the most polluting of all fuels and this single plant will add more pollution than many whole countries currently produce. The company and our government talk about carbon capture and storage, but Kingsnorth will not incorporate these (just be ‘ready’ for them.) It is far from certain that these technologies will ever be developed and even less likely if so that they will be economic.

One Climate Camp Caravan had started from Heathrow a week ago and another, the Stop Incineration Climate Camp Caravan had been travelling from Brighton, both demonstrating at various related sites along their routes and they met on Sunday morning in the middle of Rochester for a 'No New Coal' Rally attended by around 300 people.

Speakers at this included Ashok Sinha, Executive Director of Stop Climate Chaos, Caroline Lucas MEP (Green Party), Deputy Director of the Kent Branch, Campaign to Protect Rural England Sean Furey, Executive Director of the World Development Movement Benedict Southworth, James Lloyd of People and Planet, Penny Eastwood from the Camp for Climate Action, Medway Lib Dem councillor Maureen Ruparel, Steve Wilkins from Medway Trades Council, Simon Marchant from Kingsnorth Climate Action Medway and Phil Thornhill from the Campaign against Climate Change and people from the Climate Change Caravans.

After the rally the marchers set off for the Climate Camp at Kingsnorth, seven miiles away for the week of activities and action there. There was a strong police presence, including some familiar faces from the Met, and I noticed one police van which said it was from Staffordshire.

I left the march at the top of a long hill a couple of miles on, with just under 300 people making their way to Kingsnorth.
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Hayling Island Carnival

Hayling Island, Hampshire. Sat 2 August 2008
Waiting to take part in the carnival procession
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Hayling Island is another part of 'London-by-the-sea' on the south coast not far from Portsmouth and has a large carnival with fancy dress competion, baby show, dog show, a carnival queen and princesses and a carnival parade. I took many more pictures than are on show here - if anyone I photographed can't find themselves here please contact me and tell me what you looked like and were doing and I'll send your picture if I have it.
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All pictures on this section of the site are © Peter Marshall 2008; to buy prints or for permission to reproduce pictures or to comment on this site, or for any other questions, contact me.

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