London’s Housing Crisis: Please Support the Sweets Way Tenants Facing Eviction in Barnet

Tenants of Sweets Way Estate in Barnet resisting eviction and the demolition of their homes (Photo via Sweets Way Resists).Please sign and share the Sweets Way tenants’ petition calling for their homes to be saved from demolition on Change.org, and see below for their story. Also see the postscript following the court decision on March 30.

London’s housing crisis is something that preoccupies me on a daily basis, although I don’t get to write about it anywhere near as much as I’d like. As a social housing tenant who has lived in London for 30 years, I can say that, since the Tory-led government came to power five years ago, I have never felt as vulnerable or as demeaned, and I have watched aghast as the current housing bubble has driven house prices beyond the reach of most families — and, perhaps more crucially, has also driven rents to levels never seen before.

With rents and mortgages easily reaching £15,000 or £20,000 a year, matching the median income in London, it is understandable why so many hard-working people are now paying out so much for a roof over their heads that they have little left over for their own enjoyment (and crucially, to put into the wider economy), or cannot make ends meet and are obliged to use food banks, or are having to leave London entirely.

In addition, for many social tenants, life is increasingly insecure, as cash-strapped councils claim that they are unable to afford the maintenance on aging estates, and, as a result, sell the land to developers to build new estates, from which existing tenants are priced out, replaced by foreign investors and relatively wealthy British buyers. These developments are supposed to include “affordable” social housing, but more often than not whatever social component exists is actually unaffordable for most workers, because, in September 2013, London’s Mayor, Boris Johnson, set affordable rents at 80 percent of market rents. Read the rest of this entry »

Memories of Summer: Photos of the Thames Festival on London’s South Bank

The yellow platformThe Southbank Centre's Roof GardenThe roof garden and the houseboatLooking downAcross the Thames to Charing CrossRoyal Festival Hall and the London Eye
Flogging the Olympic VillageBig game huntersE20 map (the East Village)Helter skelterLondon beachBernie Spain Gardens
ZebrasVideo in the Royal Festival HallCanary Wharf from Reeds WharfCanary Wharf from Rotherhithe

Memories of Summer: The Thames Festival on London’s South Bank, a set on Flickr.

Sunday September 9, 2012 was the final day of the weekend-long Thames Festival, established in 1997, and run by the Thames Festival Trust, which regularly attracts tens of thousands of visitors, and did so again this year, even though it was the last day of the Paralympic Games, and had been a summer so saturated with cultural events that it was possible to have thought beforehand that cultural saturation might well have set in.

Instead, the banks of the River Thames were packed, and nowhere more so than along the action-packed shoreline that stretches from Butlers Wharf in the east to Westminster Bridge in the west, via Tower Bridge, City Hall, Shakespeare’s Globe, Tate Modern and the Millennium Bridge, Gabriels Wharf, the South Bank Centre, the London Eye, and the cluster of largely unappealing corporate attractions in the former County Hall. Read the rest of this entry »

Beside the River Thames: Photos of a Journey from Clink Street to Butler’s Wharf

Under the bridgeStreet art, Clink StreetArch, WagamamaDemolition on Stoney StreetClink Street from Stoney StreetThe Golden Hinde
The Shard and Southwark CathedralReflections of the cathedralMore London PlaceMore London's main axis6 More London PlaceThe Shipwrights Arms
The South Eastern Railway OfficesThe Shoebox buildingThe City of London from City HallShad Thames from the westThe Design MuseumPaolozzi's head
Tower Bridge and the City from Butler's WharfLooking east from Butlers WharfSt. Saviour's Dock at duskTower Bridge and the City from Bermondsey Wall WestClose-up of Tower Bridge and the City from Bermondsey

Beside the River Thames: Clink Street to Butlers Wharf, a set on Flickr.

As part of my ongoing project to photograph the whole of London by bike, and my recent promise to publish a series of photos showing London in autumn, I’m following up on photos of Halloween and of the turning leaves in Hilly Fields, my local park in Brockley, south east London, with two sets of photos recording a bike ride I took with my son Tyler on Sunday October 14, 2012, along the river from Waterloo to Brockley.

This first set of photos — the 53rd photo set in my project — begins at Clink Street, near London Bridge, and records our journey to Bermondsey, just to the east of Tower Bridge and Butlers Wharf, via The Golden Hinde, Southwark Cathedral, Tooley Street and the More London complex, Shad Thames, the Design Museum and the community of barges and boats by Reeds Wharf. Read the rest of this entry »

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Andy Worthington

Investigative journalist, author, filmmaker, photographer and Guantanamo expert
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