my london diary

jan 2003

yet another year started for me with the london parade, or at least the preparations for it. as you can see it was pretty wet at times.
more pictures

we've had quite a bit of rain the last few days, enough to cause flooding round here. there is a lot of water management that takes place round here, so the guys in charge can choose which area floods.

not surprisingly this has caused considerable local controversy. it links up with local feelings about the building of terminal 5, runway 3 (which they promised would never be built) and so on, as the airport development has diverted some rivers as well as losing some flood plain areas. The whole history of London Heathrow is one of deception and a powerful civil aviation lobby.

Heathrow was originally set up fraudulently as a totally unneeded RAF base in the second world war entirely so it could be converted to civil use without having to go through normal planning procedures - when it would almost certainly would not have been allowed. The details are in Philip Sherwood's History of Heathrow

More recently, as in previous enquiries, the T5 protestors won almost every argument but somehow lost. We now are looking at a massive shopping centre being sneaked in, as well as the possibility of a third runway.

Stanwell Moor village was let off the flooding this time. south of the airport is Stanwell itself, once a village in middlesex surrounded by fields, but swamped by council estates in the 1930s to 50s, and then further extensive development for housing airport workers

On sunday 5 jan, the Thames was still rising, and the streets round my house starting to get rather wet. Others had it worse, and many houses and roads near the river were flooded.

my own house hasn't flooded for over 50 years, so although there was water coming up through some of the drains around here we weren't too worried.

most of the flooding in the immediate area is on paths next to the rivers; some island homes now have moats. staines moor, an area of common land continuously grazed for over 1000 years has been deliberately flooded to take up some of the flow. this happens so frequently now that it is likely to suffer permanent damage. much of the old grassland areas around have already been ripped up for gravel in any case

Everyone in Staines and Sunbury is convinced that the flooding was caused by better flood prevention upstream at Maidenhead. Rather than flooding there, the water simply surges downstream, resulting in this kind of thing.

Just as the floods were starting to go down, we got snow, the best fall for nine years round here, though still only a few inches.more pictures

Iain Sinclair mentions the Heathrow scandal in his London Orbital which I've been reading with the aid of my A–Z of Greater London. I've photographed much of what he describes, walked many of the same paths, but his text has sent me back to look at some things again.

As I read, I'm also aware of the many things that he missed on his various walks that I've photographed.

getting a folding bike means I can continue some of my projects on the fringes of London without getting too exhausted to work. i took it on the train to Erith, cycled around the town and along the Thames, Darent and Cray before braving the Dartford bypass and striking off along Joyce Green Lane before returning to catch the train home from Slade Green.
more pictures



some of my work gets put into nice organised websites.

this isn't meant to be like that, but you can see some of the rest at

london pictures
londons industrial history

and you can read what I think about photography at


All pictures on this site are © Peter Marshall 2002;
to buy prints or for permission to reproduce pictures or to comment on this site,

contact me

your comments may be added to the site - or not.
Payment may be waived for acceptable non-profit uses.

last-minute practice for parade    more pictures

flooded park - the Lammas in Staines

Staines Moor - the River Colne is flowing inside its green raised banks.

Stanwell Moor escaped flooding but not the extreme xmas virus    more pictures

flooding in Staines, Sunday 5 Jan      more pictures
snow on frozen floods, Staines      more pictures

Lambeth        another picture

around the M25   another picture

The Darent and Thames - the M25 goes across the bridge      more pictures

Site search Web search

powered by FreeFind