Vauxhall & Stockwell






        Photos taken 14th September 08.  Virginia McKenna  Books/Donate  South London Property Maintenance/Repairs  Search Site
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        The Photos
        S E P T E M B E R  0 8

        Random photos of Vauxhall & Stockwell in south London from Vauxhall Bridge to Burnley Road, Stockwell.

        Burnley Road is, of course, famous for being the street on which the 2nd World War spy heroine, Violette Szabo GC (1921-45) grew up. I just can't comprehend the selfless bravery of Violette, for me one of the bravest of the brave in the 2nd World War. Caught by the Nazis in 1944 on a mission in Occupied France she was executed by firing squad in a concentration camp in 1945. Thinking of her makes me paraphrase Leonard Cohen's Tower of Song: if bravery was a tower then Violette's a 100 floors above me.

        And I own a basement flat!

        The road was also used for locations for the celebrated 1958 movie of her life, Carve Her Name with Pride, starring Virginia McKenna though for some reason the film chose to portray Violette's home (No. 18) on the opposite side of the road from where it actually is. The opening sequence is of Burnley Road taken from Stockwell Road and the probable reason for placing the home on the other side of the road is that they couldn't film it from the opposite road, St Martin's Road, as that would have showed Stockwell Road which was and is the main road from Brixton to Stockwell and would have shown cars of the 50s and maybe new buildings which weren't there in the late 30s/early 40s. Authenticity and all that. The traffic in quiet St Martin's Road could easily be controlled. Moreover moving the home onto the opposite side fits in with the opening sequence in which we see Szabo (McKenna) going in the opposite direction from where she would have gone to catch the No. 2 bus, from Burnley Road to Stockwell Park Crescent, when in fact the No. 2 has never stopped there. In fact it stops where it did then, on Stockwell Road, the opposite way.

        And as I Write these words I'm realising I'm turning into an anorak!

        I have also photographed Stockwell war memorial and 2nd World War shelter on which Szabo's image is prominent. In fact this powerful mural was done with the help of local children and unveiled in 2001.

        A few hards away is Stockwell tube station and by that is the shrine to Jean Charles de Menezes, the Brazilian mistakenly and tragically shot to death here by the police in 2005. In the early evening darkness in which I took the photo it almost has an other worldly quality, a flicker of light surrounded by darkness.

        Maybe it's just me, maybe it's wrong, but I find it moving (and I can't really say why) that the No. 2 bus played such an important part in both Violette's and Jean Charles's lives, albeit some 60-70 years apart. For Violette she would have used it alot, maybe to go up to Hyde Park or the West End when she worked there or even to Brixton when she worked in a department store there; for Jean Charles he used it on the morning he died. Leaving the council flat where he lived in Scotia Road, near Brockwell Park, he cut through to Tulse Hill, where he boarded the No 2 bus, heading north towards Stockwell. Boarding with him were several plainclothes police officers.

        His journey would have passed Burnley Road moments before he would have got off at Stockwell tube station and met his death.

        It's a tenous link, I know, and they lived and died in completely different times and circumstances. Moreover, whatever one thinks of the Met I don't believe for a moment that anyone would think of comparing them to Nazi Germany. But though seperated by 60 years the places are the same and passing through the heart of it all is the No.2 bus.

        Thus what was once a mundane journey for me as I followed its route from West Norwood to Baker Street is now tinged with a slight melancholy. I can't really put the feeling into words or convey it acutely but as I sit on the bus these days I can almost conjure up the ghosts of both travelling to the end of their lives. I guess it's because I know the No. 2 and by placing them both there I'm putting them in a context that is human because how one lived defies my comprehension and how one died is something I just can't get my head around.

        There are also photos of the writer's Joseph Conrad's home round the corner from Victoria which is not in the area and views across the River Thames from Vauxhall Bridge.


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        Carve Her Name With Pride
        (UK Dvd)
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        I'd be grateful if the photos are not used without prior permission. Please e-mail any request for usage or to obtain any photo without the copyright wording.

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        Blinding Light,  Tate Britain Garden, Millbank, London. Sunday afternoon and just after attending the Francis Bacon Exhibition. Not really the right place for such pictures and the Tate have really let Bacon down Joseph Conrad lived here, just round the corner from Victoria Station, London Joseph Conrad lived here, just round the corner from Victoria Station, London View of St George Wharf development Vauxhall from Vauxhall Bridge Road View of St George Wharf development Vauxhall from Vauxhall Bridge Road, London View of the MI6 building, Vauxhall from Vauxhall Bridge, London

        View of Tate Britain & Millbank Tower from Vauxhall Bridge, London View of Millbank Tower & the London Eye from Vauxhall Bridge, London, Sept. 08 View of Battersea Power Station from Vauxhall Bridge, London Sept. 08 View of Millbank Tower & glimpses of the House of Commons from Vauxhall Bridge, London Sept. 08 View of Millbank Tower & glimpses of the House of Commons from Vauxhall Bridge Sept. 08 The Vauxhall Cross transport interchange from Vauxhall Bridge, London Sept. 08

        The Vauxhall Cross transport interchange from Vauxhall Bridge, London Sept. 08 Vauxhall Bus Station, London - Sept. 08 Vauxhall Bus Station, London - Sept. 08 Gorgeous looking flats, South Lambeth Road, Vauxhall, London - Sept. 08 The Old & the New, South Lambeth Road, London - Sept. 08 The Old & the New, South Lambeth Road, London - Sept. 08

        This block of flats is the jewel in the crown of South Lambeth Road, London - Sept. 08 This block of flats is the jewel in the crown of South Lambeth Road, London - Sept. 08 South Lambeth Road, London - Sept. 08 Stockwell War Memorial, with tribute to the Allied secret agent in the 2nd World War, Violette Szabo -  London - Sept. 08 Stockwell War Memorial, with tribute to the Allied secret agent in the 2nd World War, Violette Szabo -  London - Sept. 08 Stockwell War Memorial, with tribute to the Allied secret agent in the 2nd World War, Violette Szabo -  London - Sept. 08

        Burnley Road, Stockwell, London, SW9. 
Looking in from Stockwell Road. 
This is the road the Allied secret agent in the 2nd World War, Violette Szabo 
grew up. The road was used extensively 
for the locations of the 1958 feature 
film of her life, Carve Her Name with Pride, starring Virginia McKenna - Sept. 08 18 Burnley Road, Stockwell, London, SW9.
Blue plaque commemorating the fact
that the Allied secret agent in the 2nd World War, 
Violette Szabo (1921-45)
lived here. The road was used extensively 
for the locations of the 1958 feature 
film of her life, Carve Her Name with Pride, starring Virginia McKenna - Sept. 08 18 Burnley Road, Stockwell, London, SW9.
Blue plaque commemorating the fact
that the Allied secret agent in the 2nd World War, 
Violette Szabo (1921-45)
lived here. The road was used extensively 
for the locations of the 1958 feature 
film of her life, Carve Her Name with Pride, starring Virginia McKenna - Sept. 08 Burnley Road, Stockwell, London, SW9.
 Looking down from St Martin's Rd. 
Violette Szabo's former home is on the left (the dark reddish 
building)  - Sept. 08 Burnley Road, Stockwell, London, SW9.
 Looking down from St Martin's Rd. 
Violette Szabo's former home is on the left (the dark reddish 
building)  - Sept. 08 Burnley Road, Stockwell, London, SW9. 
Looking in from Stockwell Road. 
This is the road the Allied secret agent in the 2nd World War, Violette Szabo 
grew up. The road was used extensively 
for the locations of the 1958 feature 
film of her life, Carve Her Name with Pride, starring Virginia McKenna - Sept. 08

        Stockwell Tube Station, Early Evening. The shrine to Jean Charles de Menezes is tucked away in the centre next to the tube and Costcutters - Sept. 08 Stockwell Tube Station, Early Evening. The shrine to Jean Charles de Menezes is tucked away in the centre next to the tube and Costcutters - Sept. 08 The shrine to Jean Charles de Menezes by Stockwell Tube Station. Other side is a branch of Costcutters - Sept. 08 Manipulated image. The shrine to Jean Charles de Menezes by Stockwell Tube Stat,on. Other side is a branch of Costcutters - Sept. 08



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        {  R e c o m m e n d e d  R e a d i n g  }


        Violette Szabo: The Life That I Have
        Tunnels, Towers and Temples: London's 100 Strangest Places


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