The battle for the Pullens. June 1986

I’ve recently dug out and scanned these photos I took of the ‘Battle for the Pullens Estate’ 32 years ago.

Now a thriving mix of residential and working spaces the Pullens estate came very close to being completely obliterated.

On June 10th 1986 squatters attempted to repel police and bailiffs intent on evicting them prior to the demolition of the estate.  The events of that day changed the tide of housing policy in Southwark.


Diana Cochrane has researched the history of the Pullens. Here’s her account.

Built in the 1890s by James Pullen & Son this estate of ‘model dwellings’ was an experiment in building tenement style dwellings (rather than houses) for the working classes. These were built by a variety of philanthropic and commercial landlords in London from the 1850s through to the 1890s, when the London County Council was formed and the first public housing estate built.
When completed the Pullens estate was made of 684 almost identical one-bedroom dwellings with 106 workshops and shops accessed from the mews behind. The Pullens Estate is exceptional in having workshop provision and a cobbled yard to the rear of each block. This combination of workers’ housing, industrial units and shops contrasts with better known schemes by the Peabody Trust which concentrated almost exclusively on providing housing alone. Every incomer had to make a deposit of 24 shillings, which, in effect, barred poor tenants.
Charles Booth wrote about the Pullens in his poverty diaries, “In Iliffe Street some are still building and old Mr Pullen in a top hat and fustian suit was on a scaffolding superintending; walls flush with the pavement but protected with iron railings from the street”. Booth also noted that the Pullens was so popular that people were moving in “before the wallpaper was dry”. By 1901, at the time of the death of James, the Pullens estate housed 1000 families, many of whom were extended and multi-generational families, occupying multiple flats across the estate. The estate continued to be family run until 1977 when it was sold to Southwark Council.

Recent history
In 1977, Southwark Council bought the Pullens Estate by compulsory purchase order with the intention of demolishing it. Tenants and a Dulwich Conservative councillor (but local resident), Toby Eckersley, took the Council to the High Court and won a reprieve for half of the estate. Families were moved out, some new single tenants moved on to the estate and many of the vacant properties were squatted.

In 1986, however, Southwark Council served eviction notices and at 6.15am on 10th June, police and bailiffs arrived. Pullens residents were organised and prepared, they had barricaded their flats against forcible entry. 26 evictions were carried through, but by the next day council tenants had moved into seven flats and 19 were re-squatted. Negotiations followed and squatters were awarded caretakers’ rights, followed by official tenancies. Plans to demolish the rest of the estate were abandoned and residents set about securing the use of the Tenants Association Hall, the installation of Pullens Gardens on the site of a demolished block of the Pullens and in working to secure and repair the structures and the installation of bathrooms.
Diana would like to thank her sources: Roger Batchelor and PEN

Pullens Estate evictions

 

Bobby and Stillman up and running at UCL Science Library

UCL Science Library, Malet Place, London WC1E 6BT 020 7679 7795
Admission free
Monday to Friday 09:30 – 19.00, Saturdays 11:00 – 17:45
July 27th. – September 22nd. 2017

UCL Map

 

UCL Science Library, in the heart of Bloomsbury: a longer run for the exhibition Bobby & Stillman, by Susi Arnott and Crispin Hughes, working with Professors of Mathematics Sofia Olhede and Patrick Wolfe (UCL Big Data Institute). Five sound films from a collaboration touching on frequencies, sampling and even the uncertainty principle. Read more:
Maths notes Prof.Olhede       FOLDING LEAFLET Bobby&Stillman in the Science Library

POSTER. Bobby and Stillman. Thames Tides, Susi Arnott, Crispin Hughes, Professor Sofia Olhede,UCL,Science LibraryBobby and Stillman. Thames Tides, Susi Arnott, Crispin Hughes, Professor Sofia Olhede,UCL,Science LibraryBobby and Stillman. Thames Tides, Susi Arnott, Crispin Hughes, Professor Sofia Olhede,UCL,Science Library

Bobby&Stillman in the Science Library

art, maths, movies and point-of-view

Bobby and Stillman, our collaboration with mathematicians from UCL’s Big Data Institute is getting a long run at the UCL Science Library.

Bobby and Stillman. Thames Tides, Susi Arnott, Crispin Hughes, Professor Sofia Olhede,UCL,Science Library

UCL Science Library, Malet Place, London WC1E 6BT 020 7679 7795
Admission free
Monday to Friday 09:30 – 20:45, Saturdays 11:00 – 17:45
July 27th. – September 22nd. 2017

Susi and/or Crispin will be in the gallery on July 28th August 1st&2nd, 9th&10th, 19th, 23rd, 30th September 4th, 22nd.

Digital recordings are data, as well as pictures & sounds…
UCL Science Library is screening immersive art; the tides in central London as subject matter for a series of films playing with time, space, sampling and perception. A collaboration between a film-maker, a photographer, and mathematicians from UCL’s Big Data Institute, using Eulerian & Lagrangian approaches to fluid dynamics – and touching on the uncertainty principle.

Bobby and Stillman. Thames Tides, Susi Arnott, Crispin Hughes, Professor Sofia Olhede,UCL,Science Library

Bobby and Stillman Show

Bobby & Stillman, Thames Tides time-lapse. Susi Arnott & Crispin Hughes

‘Bobby and Stillman’ will be opening as part of Creative Reactions at:

Juju’s Bar and Stage, Truman Brewery, 15 Hanbury St. (off Brick Lane),
London E1 6QR.

The free show at Juju’s bar will be open from midday till 6pm Tuesday 16th to Thursday 18th May. Do call by and see us.

From 7-10pm 15-18th May there will be special events with the scientists and artists behind the work in the show. You can book for these here.
https://pintofscience.co.uk/event/lifelive

Bobby & Stillman, Thames Tides time-lapse. Susi Arnott & Crispin Hughes

Crossness Pumping Station Open Day

Thames Tides, Crossness Pumping Station
Sunday 23rd October was Open Day at the Crossness Pumping Station. The ‘Thames Tides’ installation, created by Susi Arnott and I, screened throughout the day alongside the mighty beam engines. You can still catch the show this Friday 28th Oct. Details and photos below.

Crossness Pumping Station. Friday 28th Oct. 2016

Where?
Crossness Pumping Station
The Old Works, Thames Water S.T.W. Bazalgette Way, Abbey Wood, London SE2 9AQ

When?
Friday 28th Oct. Public guided tour from 10am-1pm. Booking is required for this – through Eventbrite on the Crossness website. Cost is £12 and includes tea and biscuits.
Parking available outside site on Bazalgette Way. Walkers/cyclists gain access via the pedestrian access pathway – at end of Bazalgette Way on left BEFORE thames water security gate.

Thames Tides at Crossness Pumping Station

Thames Tides, Crossness,Susi Arnott,Crispin Hughes

Thames Tides is screening alongside the beam engines at the ethereal Crossness Engine House. The huge building combines ponderous machinery and delicate filigree work to astonishing effect. Its function was to pump London’s sewage up above the level of the Thames and release it on an outgoing tide. What better place to screen Thames Tides?

Here are the details:

Crossness Pumping Station. Sunday 23rd Oct. and Friday 28th Oct. 2016 10.30am-4pm.

Where?
Crossness Pumping Station
The Old Works, Thames Water S.T.W. Bazalgette Way, Abbey Wood, London SE2 9AQ

When?
Sunday 23rd Oct.
is an Open day from 10.30- 5pm (last admission 4pm). There is no need to book, visitors can just turn up. Ticket prices are £6 for adults and £2 for children under 16.

Friday 28th Oct. Public guided tour from 10am-1pm. Booking is required for this – through Eventbrite on the Crossness website. Cost is £12 and includes tea and biscuits.
Parking available outside site on Bazalgette Way. Walkers/cyclists gain access via the pedestrian access pathway – at end of Bazalgette Way on left BEFORE thames water security gate.

And here are some more photos:

Thames Tides moves to the Bartlett School of Architecture

We’re on the move again

Thames Tides will be showing at the Bartlett School of Architecture on Monday 19th and Tuesday 20th September 2016.

140 Hampstead Rd.NW1 2BX. (Room G02, Ground floor)

Free entry 10am – 6pm. Please email or give us a call (crispinhughes@gmail.com 0207 207 0608) to arrange entry.

 

Here are some photos and videos taken before we wrapped at the Brunel Sinking Shaft:

Thames Tides, Brunel Museum, Brunel Sinking Shaft

Thames Tides at the Brunel Sinking Shaft

Our Thames Tides installation has opened at the weird and wonderful Brunel Sinking Shaft in Rotherhithe. Only running till Friday 16th Sept. so get along quickly!
Details here:
https://thamestides.wordpress.com/screenings/

 

Thames Tides, Brunel Museum, Brunel Sinking Shaft

Thames Tides

Thames Tides Susi Arnott & Crispin Hughes

A large-scale, 5-screen projected installation, created along the tidal Thames in central London

This is my latest collaborative show with Susi Arnott.

Twice a day, the Thames rises many metres to fill secret, enclosed spaces in central London.

Cameras and stereo microphones, held under wharves, jetties and office-blocks, recorded four distinct audio films. Starting slowly, the water rises inexorably to take and drown each camera in the confined space of its man-made, built environment; stereo sounds of traffic, birds, humans and boat-wash are replaced by burbling inundation and the buzz of propellers. The films are not ‘in synch’; the chaos of their rhythms means nobody walks into the same exhibition twice…

To find out more go to the Thames Tides website here.
https://thamestides.wordpress.com/

Screenings

Sunday September 4th 2016

Thames Tides will premiere as part of the 2016 Totally Thames festival
http://totallythames.org/events/info/thames-tides

Sunday September 4th 2016 at The Cinema Museum,
2 Dugard Way (off Renfrew Rd.), Kennington, SE11 4TH

Anytime from 2pm till 10pm. Free entry. There’ll be a bar, café and plenty of space to mingle and talk. – alongside the multi-screen, stereo experience to wander through.

 

Tuesday 13th-Friday 16th September 2016

Thames Tides will be on show 10am – 5pm everyday at the astonishing Brunel Shaft by the river in Rotherhithe. Free entry. Donations to the museum gratefully received.

Brunel Museum, Railway Avenue, Rotherhithe, London, SE16 4LF.

 

Totally Thames Festival

 

 

A London Bangladeshi Wedding

I was delighted to be invited to my neighbour’s London Bangladeshi wedding.  The walima (reception) was huge with around 800 guests and four photographers equipped with drones and smoke machines.London Bangladeshi wedding.

The day after the wedding I was asked round to photograph the preparations for the ‘bride feast’. A way of welcoming the bride to her new home.

Darbishire Place, Whitechapel

An ongoing commission for Niall McLaughlin Architects: to photograph the flats and residents in this Stirling Prize shortlisted Peabody block.

Much architectural photography has an arid and ghostly or post apocalyptic feel. The buildings are presented without people, in creepily perfect weather and light, as though they subsist for and of themselves. We are hard-wired to respond to faces; the moment one appears in a photo the building recedes and becomes the setting for a particular human drama. If and when they do appear, most people in architectural photos are faceless figures performing unremarkable and predictable functions serving the building, rather than vice-versa.

In discussion with Niall we decided to try and photograph the flats with the residents in situ. A housing block is nothing without its inhabitants, and this elegantly low-key, unpretentious building is designed around their lives and needs. Unlike boutique designs for wealthy clients, these flats must adapt themselves to a wide range of cultures, tastes, religions and cuisines. They concentrate on getting the fundamentals right: light, space, movement, air, sleep and so on.

I have tried to show the residents using the depth of the space, sometimes looking out of the frame, to make us consider the rooms’ shapes and limits. I want the viewer to see them as individual people, using and enjoying the architecture rather than just being in it.

 

Two Funerals

The changing culture of the East End seen through the prism of the traditional cockney funeral. Commissioned by The Economist, I photographed two contrasting funerals – a Ghanaian mother and an old school Kray era gangster. Both conducted by traditional funeral directors T Cribb, who are successfully morphing and cross-pollinating their funerals to suit the immigrant populations of the East End. To find out more read the Economist’s feature ‘Buried Like Kings’.
  
 

Continue reading “Two Funerals”

Unquiet Thames

‘Allied to the bottom of the river rather than the surface, by reason of the slime and ooze with which it was covered, and its sodden state, this boat and the two figures in it obviously were doing something that they often did, and were seeking what they often sought.
But, it happened now, that a slant of light from the setting sun glanced into the bottom of the boat, and, touching a rotten stain there which bore some resemblance to the outline of a muffled human form, coloured it as though with diluted blood.’
Charles Dickens, Our Mutual Friend

In 2006 this exhibition of 2.5 metre wide panoramic images was exhibited at the Museum of London in Docklands with a soundtrack by Susi Arnott. While making the work I was thinking as much about Dickens, Melville and Poe as about climate change but as rising sea levels have become a more urgent concern the images have gathered a renewed interest. Panos Pictures are currently running the work as one of their stories:
http://www.panos.co.uk/stories/2-13-1494-1988/Crispin-Hughes/Unquiet-Thames/