Stop Trident Rally
Trafalgar Square, Lodnon.Sat 27 Feb 2016
We had a long wait to hear the final speech from Jeremy
Corbyn who got a great welcome from the crowd
People at a packed rally in Trafalgar Square listened to speakers including
Nicola Sturgeon, Caroline Lucas, Leanne Wood, Vanessa Redgrave, Bruce Kent,
Christine Blower, Mark Serwotka, Tariq Ali... They all opposed the spending
of an estimated £180 billion or more on renewal of Trident which they
dismissed as out of date, totally irrelevant to our defence and a complete
waste of money which could be put to so much better use providing proper jobs
It was a long rally, around two hours, as we were waiting for the final address
by Jeremy Corbyn who was traveling down from Sheffield where he had been speaking
at a conference. He was greeted by a tremendous response from the crowd, many
of whom like me were pretty frozen after standing in a cold wind. It was a
rousing performance and the protest ended on a high note.
Stop Trident March
Marble Arch to Trafalgar Square, London. Sat 27 Feb 2016
Marchers go down Piccadilly on their way to a rally
in Trafalgar Square
Sixty thousand (according to CND) march from Marble Arch to a mass rally
in Trafalgar Square against government plans to replace the UK's Trident nuclear
weapons at a cost of £180 billion or more. They say Trident is immoral
and using it would cause catastrophic global damage; these weapons of mass
destruction don't keep us safe and divert resources from essential spending
on services like the NHS, schools and housing.
Leading the march behind the main 'Stop Trident' banner were Lindsey German
of Stop the War, Kate Hudson of CND, the main group behind the march, SNP's
Nicola Sturgeon, First Minister of Scotland, Plaid Cymru leader Leanne Wood
and Green Party MP Caroline Lucas along with others. A second banner at the
front was carried by MPs against Trident.
I arrived just at the end of the official photocall on Park Lane, having
found it hard to make my way through a dense crowd to the front, and we were
soon moved well away from the front by stewards in the usual somewhat unfriendly
'Stop the War' manner. Working over the heads of stewards, in between those
cluttering the area in front of the marchers and highly confined by a crowd
of others taking pictures I was pleased to see and record Nicola Sturgeon
taking a 'selfie' with Kate Hudson.
Just after turning on to Piccadilly the march halted for around ten minutes
to make a gap between it and the marchers for Refugee Rights who had come
to join them. I went to take a few pictures of this march and then returned
to 'Stop Trident'.
I spent some time taking pictures in the body of the march, but soon had
to hurry back to the front as I wanted to photograph the speakers at the rally
in Trafalgar Square. When this started the tail of the march was still way
back around Piccadilly Circus, and I think many gave up before reaching the
rally as the streets leading to it became blocked.
European March for Refugee Rights
Hyde Park, London. Sat 27 Feb 2016
The march forms up at Hyde Park Corner behind the
banner 'Borders Kill - Safe Passage Now'
A march from Hyde Park Corner to a rally at Marble Arch on the same
day as protests in other cities across Europe demanded that authorities and
governments take action now to open secure safe passage routes for all refugees
and asylum seekers seeking protection in Europe. They want an end to deaths
at borders and for refugees to be allowed to keep their possessions and be
reunited with their families.
Among the marchers were those who have been to aid refugees in Lesvos and
at the Calais camps and others who had volunteered with Medicins Sans Frontiers
in Syria. The protest was supported by the Syria Solidarity Campaign, Solidarity
with Refugees, London2Calais, Migrants' Rights Network, SOAS Solidarity with
Refugees & Displaced People Soc, Wonder Foundation, Calais Action, UK
Action for Refugees, , Refugee Aid Initiative and other groups including No
Borders and the Greece Solidarity Campaign.
People from Brighton had brought with them a magnificent banner based on
Picasso famous Spanish Civil War painting Guernica, made by a number of refugee
action groups there. Others brought placards and posters they had made. Some
other marchers carried or wore life-jackets, including some brought back from
Greece, discarded by refugees who had made the journey from Turkey or washed
up on the shore after drownings. These stressed the need for refugees to be
given a safe route and to bring an end to the deaths, particularly by drowning.
Several hundred protesters marched through Hyde Park to Speakers Corner where
there was a short rally, most of which I missed. Most then went on to join
the much larger Stop Trident march, with a group of them marching in front
of the main march to Trafalgar Square despite protests by Stop the War stewards,
who eventually stopped the main march for around ten minutes to create a gap
between the Refugee March and Stop Trident.
Bloomberg sack cleaner after miscarriage
Finsbury Square, London. Thu 25 Feb 2016
'We are not the dirt WE CLEAN' - the protests are also
about being treated with dignity
IWGB union protest noisily outside Bloomberg London offices calling for reinstatement
of pantry cleaner Hanna Abebe who suffered a miscarriage last year, allegedly
caused by excessive workload at Bloomberg by employer Compass Group.
Poor conditions of employment forced her to return to work after the miscarriage
despite her condition and she has now been sacked, allegedly because of her
activities as union rep at Bloomberg. IWGB members are to be balloted for
Protesters from her union marched around in front of the main entrance to
the building as employees went in and out during the lunch hour. Police watched
the protest and at one point tried to talk with IWGB President Alberto Durango
but the protesters continued.
IWGB at Finsbury Circus
1 Finsbury Circus, London. Thu 25 Feb 2016
The cleaners walk in a circle in front of the offices
Grass-roots union IWGB hold a noisy protest outside CBRE-managed offices
at 1 Finsbury Circus against victimisation of cleaners by cleaning contractor
CCM. They want better working conditions and management and say CCM have abused
disciplinary procedures to sack union rep Teresa Lomba and threaten others
who protest. They promise further protests until the victimised rep is reinstated.
Hornsea, Brid & Beverley
East Yorkshire, Sun 21-Tue 23 Feb 2016
Hornsea's Floral Hall - with some flowers
We'd taken the last Hull train to Hull on Saturday night and stayed the night
in a hotel there so that Linda could go and meet people at an early morning
service. After that we walked to various key sites in Hull, before taking
the bus to Hornsea and booking in to a guest house on the sea front - with
a balcony overlooking the North Sea. We were too late for the fish and chip
restaurant so visited my favourite Indian restaurant in Hornsea (actually
it's the only one, but not bad at all.)
We spent much of Monday traveling to meet friends and relatives in Beverley
for lunch and tea-time in Bridlington, before taking the train back to Beverley
for another meal as we had two hours to wait for the bus back to Hornsea.
The following morning we walked north along the beach for a mile or two,
and then came back. There used to be a cliff-top path, but that has now fallen
into the sea. Then along the railway line (closed by Beeching) to Whiteheads
for fish and chips. People say it's the best fish and chips around; the fish
was delicious, but though the chips were good, I've had better. The restaurant
was doing good business - and if you want to eat there it's best to book -
even on a Tuesday lunchtime in February.
Hull - City of Culture 2017
Hull. Sun 21 and Tue 23 Feb 2016
The late afternoon light was dramatic on Albert Dock
This was a kind of nostalgia trip, mainly for my wife who I went with as
she met old friends. But also for me, as Hull was the subject of my first
extended photo project, which was exhibited at the city's Ferens Art Gallery
in 1983. Around 90 pictures from that show are among the roughly 270 in my
2011book which used the title from the show, Still Occupied: A view of Hull.
I've written a little more about this visit in a two-part post, City
of Culture – Hull on >Re:PHOTO.
Peckham, London. Sat 20 Feb 2016
'Refugees Are Welcome Here' and protesters called
for an end to immigration raids and deportation flights
Several hundred marched in Peckham's first Pride March through the centre
of Peckham calling for an end to immigration raids, mass deportations and
the racist scapegoating of immigrants. From a rally outside Peckham Library
they marched down the main shopping street, stopping for short speeches by
shopkeepers and others who have come out to stop raids by Border police, informing
people of their legal rights.
Peckham Pride was organised by LGSMigrants and Movement for Justice
to put the politics of resistance which has for many years been sidelined
by the growing commercialisation of Pride marches and events back into Pride.
Peckham’s FIRST EVER Pride march is for everyone with and without
citizenship, papers or no papers. We REFUSE to accept stigma or discrimination
over the colour of our passports, the colour of our skin, our gender, our
sexuality or our ability.
Peckham was chosen as the most appropriate place for this event as it Peckham
has been a target for anti-immigration raids, racist go-home vans, and street
harassment by the Home Office. Its Nigerian and Ghanaian community makes it
a convenient target for racist raids leading to brutal deportations on cattle-like
charter flights to Nigeria and Ghana, but is also a focus of growing popular
resistance on the streets to these illegal and immoral activities.
Peckham Pride aimed to underline that when "people come to Britain looking
for safety and freedom, opportunity and education, THEY SHOULD FIND IT!"
Instead those seeking a safe haven find the government is making the country
a racist hostile environment both for them and the vast majority of citizens.
The organisers say that this can be defeated if we organise together and act
Several hundred protesters from across the community gathered on the square
outside Peckham Library where there were some short speeches, including one
by a former Yarl's Wood detainee. The march then went slowly down Rye Lane
with some loud chanting and accompanied by a samba band.
It stopped on the road a little past Peckham Rye station for several more
speakers, including another former Yarl's Wood detainee who told how they
had organised and held together to stop a fellow detainee being forcibly deported.
A local shopkeeper came to talk about the Border Force raids, including one
on his premises and the community opposition to them, and there was a powerful
speech from a local resident about the need to organise resistance and oppose
these raids. The Home Office employees who carry them out are generally acting
in abuse of the law and community resistance is both appropriate and effective.
Unfortunately I had to leave before the end of the march and the performances
at the Bussey Centre which followed it.
Staines,Middlesex. Tue 16 Feb 2016
The River Colne flows through the centre of Staines
Moor,ancient meadow land also crossed by pylons
I'd been ill for around a week, coughing and breathless and unable to go
out and take pictures, but I was feeling rather better and it was a truly
fine day, warm for February and the sun was shining, and I couldn't resist
a short wander.
A footpath leads north from the station close to my home, past the Oast House,
now with its windows and doors firmly sealed by Surrey council after having
occupiers who wanted to bring it back into use as a community resource.
Now it seems likely just to be left empty to rot for a few more years.
It continues on, across Staines's main street and up Mill Mead, through the
dreary Moormede estate and then alongside the River Colne, over the Staines
Aqueduct (a faulty gate on which caused many in Staines and Shepperton to
be flooded when it poured water into the River
Ash two years ago) and on the the start of the River Ash next to the Staines
The path continues along the east side of Staines Moor, but instead I went
up the slope onto the bypass and crossed the River Colne, turning down to
its bank to stoop my way under the bypass and on to the Moor. I felt a little
unsteady as I did so, and had to rest a little before continuing.
In better health I might have been tempted to go further, perhaps crossing
on to the Moor proper on one of the several trees that have fallen across
Bonehead Ditch, a smaller stream of the Colne which runs a few yards from
the path. Another mile or so would have taken me across a proper bridge near
to Stanwell Moor, but I didn't feel up to it. I used to walk up here with
my sons, pushing a buggy when they were small and they would sit admiring
the 'big pipe', a pipe bridge carrying gas across the Colne, sometimes with
some odd noises. Foolhardy local youths would sit on it and ease their way
across, despite the spikes intended to deter them.
Staines Moor is ancient grassland, in parts undisturbed except by grazing
animals and burrowing rabbits and ants for a thousand years or more and a
site of special scientific interest, which has saved its core from the gravel
companies that have dug up almost all the rest of the area. Apart from the
town of Staines to its south it is now flanked on two sides by reservoirs,
with the M25 running closer down its west. To the north are now low hills
created by landfill, and flying across planes taking off or landing from Heathrow.
But despite all this it is still remarkably isolated, and today there were
no of cows or horses and not a single other person visible.
I left the moor by a bridge under the bypass and walked down to the crossing
over the Staines to Windsor railway line, crossing this to the Wraysbury River
(aka Wyradisbury River), another stream of the Colne that rejoins it in the
centre of Staines shortly before it flows into the Thames. Following it, I
was rather pleased to be somewhere where there were other people again, and
even more pleased to arrive back home, exhausted from my walk.
Kurds march against Turkish State attacks
Edmonton & Tottenham, London. Sun 7 Feb 2016
make victory signs as they march holding the banner 'UK Stop Supporting Turkey'
Almost 500 Kurds march through North London in protest against attacks on
Kurdish cities in Turkey since last June's election which have killed over
400 civilians and against imprisonment of opposition politicians, human rights
activists, journalists, students and mayors. They ask for international solidarity
to call on Turkey to stop its crimes in Kurdistan, and to end attacks on Kurds
who are fighting ISIS.
The marchers, almost entirely from the Kurdish community, met up at Angel
junction at Edmonton. The protest had been called by the Democratic Union
Initiative, the coalition of the Kurdish Left in Europe, and as usual they
came with a wide and rather confusing range of flags. There were the usual
pictures of Kurdish leader Abdullah Ocalan, held in a Turkish jail
since 1999; the Truth and Justice flags with images of the three
Kurdish women politicians assassinated in Paris, flags for the PKK,
the KKK, the YPG, AvEG-Kon (European Confederation
of Oppressed Immigrants) , Federation of Democratic Rights in Europe (ADHK),
Socialist Women's Union (SKB), the KJAR (Free Women Society
of East Kurdistan), Partizan, Day-mer and Day-mer Youth
and almost certainly others I missed or failed to recognise.
Many of the women had traditional Kurdish head scarves and sometimes a scarf
in the red, yellow and green of Kurdistan. A few men wore these scarves too,
though most were simply dressed in dark or black clothes. Apart from a banner
from the Paddington Branch of the RMT there was no presence from the British
left, who don't appear to have woken up to what is happening in Turkey and
Since the success of Recep Tayyip Erdogan's AKP party in last June's elections
there has been an increase in Turkish state actions against the Kurdish areas
of Turkey, with curfews and the imposition of martial law, and arrests of
anyone opposed to the AKP government. Kurdish areas have been under siege,
with attacks by tanks and artillery, and snipers targeting homes. More than
400 civilians have been killed in the last 7 months, and politicians, human
rights activists, journalists, students and mayors have been imprisoned- 30
mayors in the last few months. Hundreds of thousands have been threatened
and forced to flee their homes.
Britain and the EU support Turkey despite what is happening, turning a blind
eye to these attacks and arrests, and also to the Turkish state involvement
in the refining and smuggling of oil from ISIS controlled areas which provides
ISIS with over a million pounds a day to support their murderous activities
and win the fight to gain and hold territory. Turkey has helped too by attacking
the Kurds who have been leading the fight against ISIS, and is said also to
be attacking Kurds outside the Turkish border.
The banners at the head of the march were carried by women and included two
in English, one showing Erdogan as a blood-crazed maniac with the text 'Murderer
Erdogan's Turkish Government Killed These People' and the other the simple
text "Turkish Military Bombing Kurdish Towns Killing Civilians!!!'.
The march gathered in late afternoon, and darkness was beginning to fall
as the march set off. I walked with it to a little past White Hart Lane before
I felt tired and had to leave. As it set off I'd listened to the small contingent
of police escorting it talking and deciding there were around 300 present.
The last thing I did as I left was to stand in one place as the march went
past and count those going past. It wasn't easy and I may have missed a few
as parts were very densely packed, but I made it around 475. I'd be surprised
if I was more than 10 or 20 out, but of course others may well have joined
it after I left.
Junior Doctors Rally & March
Waterloo Place & Downing St, London, Sat 6 Feb 2016
Doctors fight for the NHS quoting Nye Bevan
Several thousand doctors attended a rally in Waterloo place before marching
to Downing St for a sit-down in surgical masks against the imposition of new
contracts they say will destroy the NHS and make it unsafe for patients.
NHS Doctors already work 24/7 and many carried placards for those unable
to attend because they were at work or have left the UK rather than put up
with changes proposed by Jeremy Hunt. At the rally various medical staff and
researchers showed clearly how Hunt has been misleading the media and public
about the need for changes in the contract, carefully selecting evidence that
supports his case while ignoring the much wider evidence against it.
The junior doctors were supported in the protest by consultants, GPs, nurses
and other medical staff who all see the contract as a part of an attack on
the NHS to move towards a privatised medical system - and many leading politicians
have financial interests in the companies that are crowding in to benefit
as this takes place.
Doctors who have left the NHS to work abroad were asked to contact the march
organisers, who printed out their details for around 200 red placards with
the message 'You've driven me out Jeremy... Stop bleeding the NHS dry' and
giving their name and where they had gone. There were also several times as
many blue placards for doctors who would have liked to have been at the protest
but were working for the NHS on Saturday afternoon so unable to attend.
Dame Vivienne Westwood and her son Ben, also Vanessa
Redgrave came to speak in support of the junior doctors, and there were
a number of spirited performances by the National Health Singers. Towards
the end of the rally several thousand surgical masks were handed out for people
to write messages on and wear when the march reached Downing St.
When the doctors sat down on Whitehall I couldn't see the back of the crowd
which was filling the roadway, and although not all were wearing surgical
masks, most were, making a rather unusual spectacle. Four of the leaders of
the junior doctors protest went to Downing St to deliver their message, but
emerged after a few minutes to make the announcement that the people inside
No 10 had refused to accept any message from them.
Clearly the government aren't prepared to listen. The junior doctors are
on strike again on Wednesday, and it is widely expected that Jeremy Hunt will
announce on the following day that he is to impose the contract. I think we
are in for a long fight which will bring our health service to its knees.
Already overstretched and with huge staff shortages things are about to get
Of course it isn't just junior doctors; new income rules for immigrant workers
are likely to lead to up to 30,000 nurses being deported, and the cutting
of bursaries for nurses and now proposed for all other medical courses will
have disastrous effects. Add to this the effects of PFI which is bankrupting
hospitals leading to privatisations and its hard not to see the end of the
NHS as we have known it as inevitable.
It's almost certainly too late to save the NHS in its current incarnation.
The only solution is the kind of radical change that happened before under
Nye Bevan and others to create a new NHS. But for that we would need a new
revitalised Labour party in power - or a people's revolution. Don't hold your
breath - and don't get old or ill.
Valentines Israeli Blood Diamonds protest
Old Bond St, London. Sat 6 Feb 2016
urged not to buy engagement rings which contain Steinmetz Israeli diamonds
Protesters from Inminds.com outside diamond dealers including De Beers
and Tiffanys close to St Valentines Day urge people not to buy engagement
rings these shops sell using diamonds from Israel's Steinmetz Diamonds Group.
They say Steinmetz supports the Israeli Army's Givati Brigade accused of war
crimes in Gaza including the massacre of 29 members of the Samouni family
There are no diamonds mined in Israel, but it is a major centre for cutting
and polishing of raw diamonds which is Israel's largest manufacturing export.
The industry's sales of around $10bn a year contributes around $1 bn a year
to Israeli military and security industries.
The Steinmetz Diamonds Group which supplies companies including De Beers
and Tiffany supports the Israeli Givati Brigade through the Steinmetz Foundation.
I photographed the protest outside De Beers and left as they were moving
on to protest outside other stores in the street selling Israeli diamonds,
Kurds protest against Turkish PM
QEII Centre, Westminster.Thu 4 Feb 2016
A woman holds a photograph of a child killed by Turkish
government attacks as she shouts
Kurds protest outside the QE2 Conference Centre in Westminster where Turkish
PM Ahmet Davutoglu was attending the conference hosted by David Cameron on
aid for Syria. Kurds accuse Turkey of atrocities against Kurdish civilians
in Turkey and of supporting ISIS by exporting ISIS oil so they can attack
Kurds in Syria and Turkey.
I left while people were still arriving with around a hundred protesters
there making a great deal of noise and they would probably have been audible
across the road in the conference centre. A number wore scarves in the colours
of the Rojavan (Syrian Kurdistan) flag and there were other flags with pictures
of PKK leader Abdullah Ocalan, jailed in Turkey since 1999, as well as those
of the YPG, AvEG-Kon, (European Confederation of Oppressed Immigrants), the
ADHK Confederation for, Democratic Rights, Socialist Women's Union (SKB),
KJAR (Free Women Society of East Kurdistan) and others.
One of the banners showed Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (R.T.E)
as a deranged, demonic murderer and a poster accused the Turks of genocide
against the Kurds. Many at the protest held large photographs showing the
devastation and corpses of children and women killed in the Turkish air raids
on Kurdish towns in Turkey.
Another banner from Day-Mer turkish and Kurdish Community Centre showed a
figure representing the UK supporting another representing Turkey who in turn
was supporting a figure labeled ISIS, with blood dripping from a sword in
his right hand and the message 'UK Stop Supporting Turkey'.
Syrians protest at donor aid conference
QEII Centre, Westminster.Thu 4 Feb 2016
Syrians with a banner 'Putin Get Out of Syria'
Syrians protest outside the QE2 Conference Centre in Westminster where the
conference on aid for Syria was taking place. They pointed out Syria as the
worst humanitarian crisis in the world, displacing 50% of the Syrian population,
half of them children, with 5 countries - Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq and
Egypt - taking 95% of the refugees and called for an end to hunger sieges
and the Russian bombing of Syria.
There was a high level of security with many heads of government and other
leading politicians from around the world attending the event, and Victoria
St and other roads around the area were closed to traffic, with the area around
the conference centre fenced off, and protests being allowed to take place
on the other side of Broad Sanctuary.
Close Guantanamo 9th Anniversary
US Embassy, London. Thu 4 Feb 2016
All of those present were people I've often photographed
at these protests over the last 8 years
London Guantanamo Campaign celebrated the ninth anniversary of their
regular protests - at first weekly and now every month outside the US Embassy
since February 2007 with a protest in solidarity with prisoners still held
there and calling on Obama to keep his promise to shut it down.
Several of those present have also taken part in the weekly vigils outside
the Houses of Parliament for Shaker Aamer, now thankfully back with us. But
the embassy protests every month - and on special occasions - will continue
until Guantanamo closes and indefinite detention ends. And I'll try and photograph
them at least occasionally, as I have done over the years.
Central Hill Estate
Upper Norwood, London. Tue 2 Feb 2016
London Prospect - and people in the estate are fighting
to keep their homes
There is only one real problem with the Central Hill Estate in Upper Norwood.
Which is that the estate, owned by Lambeth Council, was built in an age when
architects and planners were proud to design the best they could and councils
keen to house their tenants to the highest standards, but it has lasted into
an age where government policy aims to get rid of all social housing and councils
are out to join developers in profiting from redeveloping with lower standards
and higher densities for private sale.
The estate was superbly designed by Rosemary Stjernstedt (1912–1998)
working for Lambeth borough under Ted Hollamby (1921-99) and benefited
from their experiences with earlier and socially less successful schemes,
several already listed. The 374 houses and flats (more have been added since
at one end of the estate to bring the total to 456) were well built by John
Laing Construction to plans that made superb use of the site on a hillside
with extensive views across Central London and the estate was completed in
In 'The Buildings of England', Bridget Cherry and Nicolaus
Pevsner are perhaps rather grudging in describing it as 'one of Lambeth's
most ambitious housing developments' but go on to praise its 'tiers
of elegant white-brick terraces', 'ingenious planning' to give
all flats front doors at ground level and 'interlocking plans' to
'give each living room a distant view.' The estate also had large
areas of open space, play areas, community buildings and a district heating
The whole is on a much more human scale than other large developments of
the era, with a design that has proved successful in encouraging community.
People like living on the estate and all I talked to when walking around taking
pictures were very positive - except for the one council employee who came
out from the upper Norwood Community Resource Centre to ask me what I was
doing. A survey answered by 150 residents recently found only two in favour
of it being demolished. It has been a safe place to live, with below average
crime levels - perhaps having the police station at its south-east corner
Like all social housing, the estate has suffered from neglect and poor maintenance,
and the properties need refurbishment and bringing up to modern energy standards.
Considering the age of the estate the cost per dwelling assessed by Lambeth
Council is relatively moderate and only a fraction of that of new building.
But so far, Lambeth Council have not been prepared to consider this, and have
released no details of the plans they have to demolish all or most of the
estate - or what would befall tenants and leaseholders. On the evidence of
previous 'regeneration' schemes in London, they can expect a very raw deal,
with most or all having to move to areas with cheaper housing.
It all comes down to money, with an apparent complete disregard for the residents
from the Labour dominated council (59 of the 63 Lambeth councillors are Labour).
The site is one that would make private developers salivate, with its wide
views across London. Like most such schemes it would doubtless be approved
on the basis of including a proportion of social housing, but such promises
then are allowed to disappear or are severely whittled down as it is decided
to be uneconomic to provide them. It would be possible to increase the number
of houses and flats on the current site without demolition (or with very limited
demolition) but the existing high-quality architecture would severely limit
the possibility of building large numbers of new housing units on the cheap
and the presence of social housing would make it harder to sell them at high
prices on the market.
Last year the residents woke up to what Lambeth Council and architects PRP
are planning and to the possibility of huge rent increases should they be
allowed to stay or rehoused in what will undoubtedly be inferior properties
on the current site, and began to fight, forming 'Save Central Hill' with
a Facebook group,
a web site and protests. They
are supported by Architects
for Social Housing who are developing alternative plans for the refurbishment
and enlargement of the existing estate - which Lambeth have recently stated
they would like to see, although it seems unlikely they will give them serious
consideration not least because it would be much harder to find the finance
for a scheme which retains current tenants and leaseholders.
The pictures I took today show most of the areas of the estate, and include
a number of images with a very wide angle of view - typically around 145 degrees.
It wasn't my first visit to this estate to take pictures - I had photographed
it previously in black and white and colour in 1996, when I had spent some
time photographing the considerable display of graffiti - noticeably absent
now. The area then had a far less welcoming and friendly feel.
IWGB Picket Southwark Court
Southwark Crown Court, London. Mon 1 Feb 2016
The cleaners make a lot of noise to get their protest
Striking cleaners in worker-run union IWGB picket noisily outside Southwark
Crown Court where they work demanding that cleaning contractor MITIE pay them
a living wage.
The IWGB members were there for an all-day picket with drums, horns and placards
at Southwark Crown Court, London, during their one day strike. Some had come
at 9am and others were expected after I left around 2pm, with the picket continuing
Cleaners who work at the court are employed by MITIE, which supplies various
services to the government and have been shown by various investigations to
provide an extremely poor record of service, particularly at immigration centres
such as Harmondsworth and Campsfield, cutting corners to boost their profits
by inadequate staffing and poorly trained and managed staff - all to contribute
to their profits of £49m in 2014, and the huge salary of over £1.5m
to their boss Ruby McGregor-Smith.
The cleaners they employ to clean Southwark Crown Court are on the statutory
minimum wage of £6.70 per hour, £2.70 an hour less than the London
living wage set by the GLA as the minimum required to live on in the city.
They also say that they are mistreated, humiliated and harassed by MITIE management.
As their placards say, 'We are NOT the dust we clean' and they like all workers
deserve to be treated with dignity and to be paid enough to live on - the
London Living Wage.
The IWGB were in good spirits and determined to continue with their protests
and further strikes until their demands are met. A number of those entering
and leaving the protest expressed their support and some stopped to sign a
petition supporting the cleaners.
London, February 2016
One of London's best-known buildings seen from
the bus. Resurgam and a Phoenix
I took very few pictures on my journeys around London this month - just
five from one bus journey - including the image above - and a few in Upper
Norwood on my way to photograph the Central Hill Estate
around Gypsy Hill station
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