my london diary

jun 2003

it may look like somewhere in the middle of nowhere, a quiet country road, but just to the left is the M25, and Heathrow airport is a mile or so away. this track is a bridle path that leas to Stanwell, and being normally closed to traffic is a good cycle route. cars fof course get dumped almost anywhere, but i saw this as some kind of vision of the future, where nature is taking over the roads and cars are falling to bits. further on my journey took me on a footpath in west drayton, through a breaker's yard, where the path is blocked by dead cars, vans, coaches and lorries.
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heathrow was set up by deceit, and has continued to expand only over broken promises and a disregard of the rights and environment of those who live around it and under the flightpath. the argument for terminal 5 was lost at the public enquiry, which had to be fixed. T5 was allowed to go ahead - to finance the airport as an out of town shopping centre - on a promise from government and airport authority that there would be no more runways at Heathrow, but almost before the first concrete was poured, the plans for a third runway appeared.

these would be a disaster, with loss of several local communities, thousands of houses, listed buildings such as Harmondsworth church and the tithe barn (doubtless this would be preserved in some way elsewhere.) it would be nice to think there will be an end to government deceit, but i doubt it. a decision to go ahead could well start a campaign of civil disobedience that will make Newbury look like a minor hiccup.
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between barking and dagenham is partly a wasteland, although some of the old industry by the Thames and Barking creek survives. access to the riverside is poor, and some of the footpaths hard to find. much of dagenham was ford, although large parts of the old works have now been demolished, there is still a lot of dust and dirt and chaos.
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victoria docks closed long ago, and there is now new housing around much of it, with a few relics of former years, as well as new developments such as the Excel exhibition centre - now well-known as the site of some of our arms fairs, where doubtful governments are invited to look at weapons we should not be producing and certainly not selling to them.
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later in the day i went on a walk around the canary wharf area with alex from the museum of london, one of a series of activities organised by london arts cafe; we went across the river on the ferry to see the view from the other side, with the bonus of a heron. at first i thought it wasn't real, but then it moved and flew away.
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perhaps to find some fish, though the only ones at billingsgate now are on the roof.
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few natural products that people take medicinally have been subjected to the kind of thorough testing that is required of new legal drugs, and the EU thinks we shouldn't be taking them without this. since there are probably many foods that would fail such tests, and none that have been tested in this way, it seems illogical.
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i had a job finding hanwell carnival, even though i knew where it started. there wasn't really a lot to it, though more than some.
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i'm sometimes rather defensive about living in suburbia, then again i think that someone has to. trying to photograph it sensibly is harder than working it the city. this cul-de-sac in addlestone is one of my better efforts.

i've long been a campaigner for fairer terms of trade (who remembers the haslemere declaration - we had a group in manchester) and it was good to be able to photograph our local group in staines getting over the message that EU cows get more in subsidy thanmany people in poorer countries have to live on - and that such subsidies destroy their ability to make a living.

several of the floats in the balham carnival also reflected a similar theme.

Opponents of abortion have every right to protest and campaign for their views, but not to try to take over the language. All of us, whatever our views on abortion are pro life.

this wasn't actually supposed to be a demonstration against abortion, but against the rather more technical matter related to research into human fertilization and the use of human embryos in research, but abortion was clearly the main issue on most of the participants minds.

abortion is a fact of life, something that happens frequently and naturally as well as by human intervention. i don't think we should take it lightly. for me the key point is not the moment of fertilisation, or even of implantation in the womb, but when the foetus has the capability of independent existence. only after after that point does it makes sense to think of and refer to the individual, until then it is simply potential and not actual, and we have to afford priority to the rights and needs of the mother.
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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;
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Dumped car on lane, Staines Moor.      more pictures

No Third Runway at Heathrow. Parish Priest at Harmondsworth protest meeting. more pictures

Barking     more pictures

Excel centre, Victoria Docks, Canning Town, London      more pictures

Heron at Nelson Dock, Rotherhithe, London.      more pictures

Billingsgate, London      more pictures

Save vitamins and health supplements   more pictures

Hanwell canrival       more pictures

Addlestone more from suburbia

Trade justice movement demonstration: Spelthorne MP David Wilshire in Staines High St more

Balham carnival more

Anti-abortion rally, Trafalgar Square  more pictures

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