The December Set of my London photos is now available at

http://www.flickr.com/photos/johnshelton/sets/72157638147884263/

I have some photographs from two areas this month: Walthamstow and Bow, together with a few snaps of the (slightly tacky) Christmas Market on the South Bank.

Walthamstow is one of the areas of London that has been taken over by immigrants. The ONS data shows, what you can see for yourself, that the largest group is of Pakistanis. I maybe saw seven to nine white English people on my visit. I am told that just off the Town Centre, I would not see that many. The Town centre has some very long shopping streets – with a market, said to be the longest street market in London at about half a mile long on each side, which happily coexists with the shops in the High Street. The overwhelming majority of the shops are actively trading rather than boarded up, although John Lewis they are not. Mind, I suspect that one day some new millionaire retailers may emerge from such an area. I have some photos of a few of the shops, which include L Manze’s jellied eels and pie and mash shop which has recently been awarded Grade II listed status by English Heritage.

Also awarded Grade II listed status is the Town Hall which was designed by P D Hepworth in what is called “Swedish inter-War style” and built in beautiful Portland Stone. It was completed in 1941 – a time when rather a lot of buildings were being demolished…

The second area is Bow, which nowadays seems to comprise large areas of quite attractive new apartment buildings together with the lovely Bow Georgian streets and squares. I have photographed some of each.

I have also photographed the former Bryant and May match factory – where the famous Match Girls strike took place in 1888. It is now converted into fairly swanky residential which has very tight security.

I have a photo of the sculpture of Gladstone outside Bow Church. This was funded by Mr Bryant of Bryant and May. The pink hands are the way the sculpture is made, but when the sculpture was first unveiled, the Match Girls demonstrated and pelted it with pebbles. Many of them slashed their arms and let blood flow to protest at what they said was a cost – to them – of sixpence – for its construction. Since then the statue often has its hands painted red – all a bit ironic for so great a helper of the poor as Gladstone.

There is one photograph from Bow that I have called “Start of the A11”. Strictly speaking, of course, Bow High Street, Bow Road, Mike End Road etc are also the A11 – but this is the start of the A11 proper. It is also the location of the now somewhat notorious Bow roundabout (under the flyover) where several cyclists have been killed in traffic accidents in recent weeks leading to demands of the Met Police and Boris Johnson – the Mayor – that improvements in the safety of London cyclists are urgently required.

This will be my last post of 2013 and the next one due to the Christmas and New Year will be slightly late.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

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