Blackheath Fireworks – November 2018


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Blackheath fireworks are one of the highlights of the year in this corner of south-east London, with people streaming towards the heath from all the surrounding streets. This year’s display was particularly good, helped by drier, warmer weather than usual. Let’s hope it’s the last year in which Greenwich Council doesn’t pay its fair share of the costs. Thanks to Lewisham Council for organising it.

‘Extinction Rebellion’ protest, Parliament Square, London – October 31st 2018


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I called by Parliament Square on Wednesday having seen a few tweets about the ‘Extinction Rebellion’ protest gathering there. The sun was out, and it seemed to be a good chance to take some more portraits. It was an interesting crowd – I got the impression that there was probably a significant link back to the Occupy movement, plus the established Green Party and anti-fracking groups. My main motivation was to get some more portrait practise in, but it was interesting to see what looks like the start of a new direct action movement. The speakers I saw included TV presenter Julia Bradbury, Clive Lewis MP, and the writer George Monbiot.

A bigger edit of my Extinction Rebellion pictures can be found here.


Diversions: A Saturday afternoon at the non-league football


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The last weekend of October half-term threw up a rare Saturday without the usual day-time commitments, so I took the chance to go and photograph my local non-league team, mindful that with the clocks changing that night there wouldn’t be too many more opportuities to do so with 90 minutes of daylight for a while.

Bridon Ropes FC were formed in 1935 as the works team of the rope factory based in Charlton’s industrial riverside area. The ropeworks has long gone, but the team carries on, now playing home games at the Meridian Sports Club, in the corner between Charlton Park and the QE hospital. The match was pretty entertaining, in the way that football can sometimes contrive to make interest out of what was, on paper, a walkover – Bridon Ropes beat South Kilburn 8-0 to progress through to the next round of the London Senior Cup. And 8 goals for a fiver can never be bad. My friend and collaborator, Darryl Chamberlain, wrote up our trip in more detail for The Charlton Champion.

More photos below (I did find myself hankering after a proper long lens, though…)

Ali Baba’s Ice Cream Van, Giffin Square, Deptford – October 2018


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More of that Saturday afternoon autumn light in Deptford, this time in Giffin Square just off the High Street. Today’s started as grey and damp as can be, and it’s almost impossible to imagine that the light looked like that yesterday.

All photos shot on a Fujifilm XT20 with XF35mm f1.4 lens, in case you’re interested in that kind of thing.
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More of my Deptford pictures here.

Campaigners in Parliament Square – October 2018


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Women's Pension Rally Parliament Square 2018

Marchers on their way to the women’s pension rally in Parliament Square on 10th October 2018

I realised recently that I really want to add to the portraits in my portfolio, which obviously means actually taking photos of people. Taking photos of demonstrators feels a little like doing street portraiture on easy setting, but maybe I shouldn’t get so hung up. Anyway, walking through Parliament Square on my way to Westminster tube I shot these in the space of about 5 minutes. I should go there more often, really.
Anti-Brexit Campaigner outside the Houses of Parliament
Anti-Brexit Campaigner outside the Houses of Parliament
Anti-torture protestor in Trump mask in Parliament Square

Down by the river: Last days of the old Woolwich ferries – September 2018


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The Woolwich Free Ferry has been taking people across the Thames for centuries, most latterly as a key route for lorries to avoid the Blackwall tunnel. The current roll-on, roll-off boats, built in 1963, are to be taken out of service this week to be replaced by new vessels which promise hybrid diesel-electric power (check out the exhaust fumes in the picture above to see what the current boats produce), and magnetic berthing. One striking feature of the soon-to-be-redundant ferries is the large space for foot passengers under the car deck, not barely used, but a reminder of the ferry’s past role in getting dock and factory workers back and forth before containerisation and deindustrialisation arrived.

I thought I should get some pictures before these boats bow out, and went down for a trip to North Woolwich and back on a bazlingly bright late September day. See the full album ‘Last days of the old Woolwich Ferry here’.

Open House London 2018: the Quaker Meeting House in Blackheath (and more)


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It’s been a few years since we’ve managed to go to any of the Open House London properties, but today we made it all the way over the heath to see Britain’s only Brutalist Quaker Meeting House, tucked away down a side road near the station in Blackheath. Designed by architect Trevor Dannatt OBE and opened in 1972, it’s a clever building, split over two levels and making good use of a small corner. I particularly like the way light is let in around the corners of the main meeting room’s ceiling, as well as through the wooden window structure in the centre. The mood in the building was as serene as you might expect. You can see more of my photos of Blackheath’s Quaker Meeting House here.

After that, we walked over to Boone’s Chapel on Lee High Road; I’d never heard of this until it was mentioned when I went to visit Charlton House’s Summer House on Thursday to take some photos of the restoration works in advance of Open House Weekend for The Charlton Champion. It turns out that the architect responsible for the restoration work had done similar work at Boone’s Chapel and is now based there, and part of the display explained the history and importance of Charlton House’s Summer House in a much better way than I’d seen previously. I failed to get any photos, though: too many people in the way – hopefully I’ll get back to an open day there at some point soon.

Also on the subject of heritage open days, I have some photos on the Charlton Champion today of the Grade II-listed structures you can visit night or day, any day of the week, namely two K2 telephone boxes

Down by the river: The Thames Barrier and ‘Royal Iris’ – September 2018


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The Thames Barrier and Royal Iris

Viewed from the top of the ramp leading the Thames Path up the relatively new ‘missing link‘ east of Thames Side Studios on the Woolwich-Charlton border, the Thames Barrier and the former Mersey ferry ‘Royal Iris’. The latter, which has featured here before, looks a little sadder each year. I saw a rumour on Twitter that it is likely to be cut up soon, but haven’t been able to confirm it – if you know better, get in touch!