Tag Archives: Old Kent Road

Photographing London in the 1970s

This is my mum’s brother, Wilfred Camenzuli. Born in Alexandria, Egypt and raised in Tooting, south London.

Back then, everybody in south London carried a shooter.

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Wilf was always taking pictures. Here’s one of my mum and dad, looking unbearably glamorous.

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He once made me and my sister watch a horror film so he could get a photograph of us cowering.

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And here’s another of me and my sister, this time feeding pigeons in Trafalgar Square. I wonder how many thousands of similar photographs exist in photo albums around the world?

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Wilf also took dozens of photographs of London in the 1970s and early 1980s. I always thought he had a great eye. Here are some of the best.

Battersea Power Station, 1975.

Battersea Power Station, 1975.

Gamblers/businessman, back office, Old Kent Road.

Gamblers/businessman, back office, Old Kent Road.

Fixing a car with champagne, Royal Ascot.

Fixing a car with champagne, Royal Ascot.

The finishing line, Epsom Derby.

The finishing line, Epsom Derby.

Punch & Judy, Covent Garden.

Punch & Judy, Covent Garden.

Street performers, Covent Garden.

Street performers, Covent Garden.

Street people, Covent Garden.

Street people, Covent Garden.

Speakers Corner.

Speakers Corner.

Speakers Corner.

Speakers Corner.

Speakers Corner.

Speakers Corner.

Speakers Corner,

Speakers Corner.

Speakers Corner.

Speakers Corner.

Speakers Corner.

Speakers Corner.

Anthony Quinn and Jacqueline Bisset filming The Greek Tycoon, Leicester Square.

Anthony Quinn and Jacqueline Bisset filming The Greek Tycoon, Leicester Square.

Cutty Sark.

Golden Hinde.

Cutty Sark.

Cutty Sark.

Big Ben.

Big Ben.

Strawberry picking, Epsom.

Strawberry picking, Epsom.

Tooting with dad.

Tooting with dad.

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Secret London: the Russian tank of Bermondsey

That there is an authentic Russian tank parked in a patch of wasteland on a side street off the Old Kent Road is one of those things that is so brilliant it should be mentioned on the news at least once every day. (I felt much the same way about Gordon Brown’s glass eye.  A Prime Minister with a glass eye! How cool was that! What a wasted opportunity.)

The tank is a T34 Russian tank that was possibly used against the Czechs in the Prague Spring uprising of 1968. It arrived in London in 1995 when it was used for the filming of Richard III. The tank was then purchased by Londoner Russell Gray as a sort of giant and very expensive pun after Southwark refused him planning permission to build houses on the site. Gray instead applied for permission to put a tank on the site. They thought he meant water tank, but he didn’t. The tank’s gun is trained on the council office.

How much truth there is to that story is surely irrelevant. It feels right. And when it comes down to it, all that matters is that there is a bloody great Russian tank on the streets of South London and people don’t seem to realise quite how incredible this actually is.