Celebrating 500 Days of My Photo-Journalism Project ‘The State of London’

The most recent photos from my photojournalism project 'The State of London', 500 days since the project started.Please support my work as a reader-funded investigative journalist, commentator and activist.

 

Yesterday marked 500 days since I began publishing a photo a day on my Facebook page ‘The State of London’ — photos drawn from the extensive archive of photos that I’ve built up over the last six years on bike rides in all of London’s 120 postcodes (those which begin SE, SW, W, NW, N, E, EC and WC), plus some of the outer boroughs. You can see all the photos to date here.

I began publishing a photo a day on the fifth anniversary of when my project started, when I first began consciously to document the capital in photos, cycling from my home in Brockley, in south east London, down through Deptford to Greenwich, and then, in the weeks that followed, cycling relentlessly around south east London, much of which was unknown to me, and also finding routes I didn’t know to take me to central London and beyond. At the time, London was beginning to be under siege — by central government and the Mayor, Boris Johnson — in the run-up to the 2012 Olympics, with bikes banned on trains across the capital, and to get anywhere I had to cycle, which wasn’t always convenient, but it was certainly a good way of getting to know London’s streets.

The Olympics, of course, showed the Tory government in its full jingoistic, corporate and authoritarian malignancy. A bottomless pit of public money was opened up to pay for the Games, even as Tory-inflicted austerity was beginning to crush the capital’s poor, the River Lea was socially cleansed around the Olympic Park in Stratford, and, although I didn’t quite realise it at the time, the heavily-marketed “sexiness” and “cool” that come with being an Olympic city meant that it would be possible to establish a turbo-charged “property bubble” in the capital, even more giddily out of control than the one that had been cultivated by the New Labour government in the ten years before the crash. Read the rest of this entry »

Year 2, Day 100 of My Photo Project, ‘The State of London’, Recording A City Gutted by Greed Since the Olympics

The latest photos from my photo project, 'The State of London', marking one year and 100 days since I first began posting a photo a day on Facebook.Please support my work as a reader-funded investigative journalist, commentator and activist.

 

Yesterday, August 18, marked one year and 100 days since I began posting a photo a day on ‘The State of London’, a Facebook page I established on May 11 last year, marking five years since I first began cycling around London on my bike, taking photos of whatever interested me. You can see all the photos to date here.

In the six years and three months since I began this photo-journalistic project, I have been out on my bike almost every day, cycling many thousands of miles across all of London’s 120 postcodes, and discovering that what interests me are the changing seasons, the changing weather, the River Thames and the capital’s other rivers, its canals, its parks, and my own idiosyncratic take on the built environment, in which I’m drawn to the old, the odd, the idiosyncratic, the run-down, the derelict and the abandoned, and also to social housing — the great post-war estates, currently facing an unprecedented threat from councils across the political spectrum, who, financially squeezed by central government, are entering into deals with property developers to demolish their estates and to build over-priced new developments from which almost all the existing tenants are priced out, an epidemic of social cleansing that is largely unnoticed by those who are not directly affected by it. 

When these homes are destroyed, social rents (generally set at around a third of market rents) are also conveniently wiped out, replaced by properties for private sale, for market rent, for “affordable” rents that aren’t affordable at all, being set at 80% of market rents, and for shared ownership, an alarming scam designed to fool renters into believing that they are property owners. To add to Londoners’ woes, housing associations, which have increasingly taken over councils’ housing role since the Thatcher years, have also been severely squeezed, and many have, in response, also joined the private property development gravy train. Read the rest of this entry »

Photos of Poplar Dock, Canary Wharf and Greenwich on the Eve of the Olympics

Poplar Dock MarinaA tug in Poplar Dock MarinaCranes in Poplar Dock MarinaPoplar Dock Marina and New Providence WharfCanary Wharf from Preston's Road, BlackwallCanary Wharf from Blackwall Basin
An Olympic cruise ship in West India DocksThe Isle of Dogs Pumping StationSoldiers in GreenwichOlympic bridges, GreenwichGreenwich Naval College and the cruise shipGreenwich Olympic stadium
The Queen's House during the OlympicsGreenwich and the Olympic traffic barriers

Poplar Dock, Canary Wharf and Greenwich on the Eve of the Olympics, a set on Flickr.

This photo set is the 82nd in my ongoing project to photograph the whole of London by bike, which I began last May, and is the last of five sets taken on July 25 last year, a wonderful sunny day two days before the Olympic Games began, when I cycled east from Whitechapel along the A11 — Mile End Road, which becomes Bow Road and crosses the A12 on the way to the Olympic Park along Stratford High Street. I then cycled around the perimeter of the Olympic Park, up to Leyton on the eastern side, then along the A12 at the north, and then back south via Hackney Wick and Old Ford on the east, then through Bow, Bromley-by-Bow, Poplar and the Isle of Dogs, stopping in on Greenwich before returning home to Brockley.

The first two sets recording this journey were “Adventures in History: The Mile End Road,” and “From Mile End to Bow and Stratford on a Summer’s Day,” canned the third set — “The Olympics Minus One Day: Photos from the Frontline in Stratford” (and see here too) — was published last July, to capture some of the Olympic fervour at the time — even though I was extremely cynical about the outrageous and unaudited cost of the Olympics and the hideous patriotism milked by the government to deflect attention from its own evil heart, and even though I almost always prefer the fruits of cooperation to the chest-thumping Darwinism of competitive sport. Read the rest of this entry »

East End Odyssey: Photos of a Journey from Leyton to Poplar

The transformation of High Road LeytonHigh Road Leyton's colourful makeoverThe Hertford Union Canal, near the Olympic ParkThe wreck on Wick LaneWall of doorsBroken
The car wash and the Olympic ParkThe Bow BellsLimehouse Cut from Violet RoadFootbridge, Bromley-by-BowSpratt's Patent LimitedRoyal Charlie
Chrisp Street MarketChrisp Street Market clock towerPoplar Public BathsA wonderful mural in Poplar Public BathsArt in Poplar Public BathsInside Poplar Public Baths
Poplar Public Baths: the foyer and staircasePoplar Public Baths: the foyer and doors

East End Odyssey: A Journey from Leyton to Poplar, a set on Flickr.

This photo set is the 81st in my ongoing project to photograph the whole of London by bike, which I began last May, and is the third of four sets which either precede or follow on from a set I published last July, entitled, “The Olympics Minus One Day: Photos from the Frontline in Stratford” (and see here too), in which I cycled east from Whitechapel along the A11 — Mile End Road, which becomes Bow Road and crosses the A12 on the way to the Olympic Park along Stratford High Street. In the Olympics set I published in July, I then cycled up to Leyton, along the A12 at the north of the Olympic Park, and then back south via Hackney Wick, Old Ford, Poplar and the Isle of Dogs, stopping in on Greenwich before returning home to Brockley.

The previous two sets, “Adventures in History: The Mile End Road,” and “From Mile End to Bow and Stratford on a Summer’s Day,” covered the first part of this journey, right up to my first glimpse of the Olympic Park from the Bow Flyover. This set largely picks up where the Olympics set left off, although it includes a few photos not specifically related to the Olympics, which I took in Leyton and Hackney Wick and Old Ford, while making my way around the perimeter of the Olympic Park. Read the rest of this entry »

Photos: From Mile End to Bow and Stratford on a Summer’s Day

The green bridge, Mile EndThe Mile End junctionMile End stationMile End Cash & CarryCanary Wharf from Mile EndThe Poplar Boundary Stone (1900)
St. Clement's HospitalInside St. Clement's HospitalThe British EstateCoborn Girls' SchoolOlympic art on Bow Road Methodist ChurchThe alley by Bow Road station
Hot 'n' SpiceOriginal TasteGladstone and the traffic barriersBow Church and churchyardBow Church towerThe Olympic Park from Bow Flyover
The A12 from Bow FlyoverAn Olympic bus on Bow FlyoverOlympic advertising from Bow Flyover

From Mile End to Bow and Stratford on a Summer’s Day, a set on Flickr.

This photo set, the 80th in my ongoing project to photograph the whole of London by bike, which I began last May, is the second of three that precedes and follows on from a set I published last July, entitled, “The Olympics Minus One Day: Photos from the Frontline in Stratford” (and see here too), in which I cycled east from Whitechapel along the A11 — Mile End Road, which becomes Bow Road and crosses the A12 on the way to the Olympic Park along Stratford High Street. In the Olympics set I published in July, I then cycled up to Leyton, along the A12 at the north of the Olympic Park, and then back south via Hackney Wick, Old Ford, Poplar and the Isle of Dogs, stopping in on Greenwich before returning home to Brockley.

Following the previous set, “Adventures in History: The Mile End Road,” in which I passed various historical landmarks on the way to Queen Mary, University of London and the Regent’s Canal, this set begins at the “green bridge” that crossed Mile End Road, and then traces my journey along Bow Road, past the derelict St. Clement’s Hospital, and other landmarks, to Bow Church, marooned on a traffic island, and the Bow Flyover, which vaults over the A12, where bikes were exempt from the Olympic traffic ban, and I had great views, from a highway that is never normally empty in the daytime, of the Olympic Park, the Lea Navigation (the River Lea), the A12 and the northern reaches of Bow and Stratford. Read the rest of this entry »

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Andy Worthington

Investigative journalist, author, campaigner, commentator and public speaker. Recognized as an authority on Guantánamo and the “war on terror.” Co-founder, Close Guantánamo, co-director, We Stand With Shaker. Also, singer and songwriter (The Four Fathers) and photographer.
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