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Thousands March Against Racism

London. Sat 18 Mar 2017

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

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

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

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

 

 

Lung Theatre 'E15' march to BAC

Battersea, London. Thur 16 Mar 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

LSE, London. Wed 15 Mar 2017

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

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

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

Shadwell & Wapping, London. Tue 14 Mar 2017

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

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

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

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

Westminster. Mon 13 Mar 2017

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

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

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

After a protest rally ouside the Supreme Court, JENGbA marched ot joion the Orgreave protest outside the Home Office.
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Women protest outside Worboys hearing

Supreme Court, Westminster. Mon 13 Mar 2017

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

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

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

Oxford St, London. Sat 11 Mar 2017

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

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

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

London. Sat 11 Mar 2017

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

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

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

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

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

South Bank, London, Mon 10 Mar 2017

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

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

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

Stratford, London. Mon 10 Mar 2017


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Downing St, London. Wed 8 Mar 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

Old Palace Yard, London. Wed 8 Mar 2017

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

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

Parliament Square, London. Wed 8 Mar 2017

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

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

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

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

Parliament Square, London. Wed 8 Mar 2017

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

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

Parliament, London. Tue 7 Mar 2017

The people are speaking - Is Parliament Listening?

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

 

Tory Cuts Kill Disabled

Westminster, London. Tue 7 Mar 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

London. Thu 2 Mar 2017

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

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

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

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

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

London. Thu 2 Mar 2017

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

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

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

West Ham, London. Thu 2 Mar 2017

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

London. Thu 2 Mar 2017

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

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

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

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