Strange Portraits

This season we worked with director, and our close friend, C.P Thorne on a film for 'Chaos and the Ballad of the Black Dog'. Alongside his career in moving image Charlie has always shot quiet and personal portraiture on film, so while we were working he took the opportunity to make a series of stills. Charlie has lived in South London for most of his adult life and a lot of the locations we shot at were just as significant to him as they are to HERESY. He's written some words about each location to accompany the pictures.

Thanks again to everyone who took the time to be part of the project; Tom, Jasper, Alfred, Song-I, Richard D, Liisa, Aaron, Richard A, Joe, Zelie, and Lib.

This is Jasper at The Mayflower, one of my favourite pubs in London and also one of the oldest.

“In July 1620, the Mayflower ship took on board 65 passengers from its London homeport of Rotherhithe on the River Thames. Rumour has it that Captain Christopher Jones cunningly moored here to avoid paying taxes further down the river. The Mayflower journeyed onwards to Southampton for supplies and to rendezvous with the Speedwell but after many delays, false starts and a devastating leak, the Speedwell’s journey with The Mayflower was abandoned. On 6th September, 1620, Captain Jones, along with 102 passengers and approximately 30 crew members, set sail from Plymouth on what William Bradford described as "a prosperous wind”.

After sighting land on 11th November, 1620, strong winter seas forced the Rotherhithe captain to anchor at Cape Cod, much further North than the original destination of Virginia. To establish legal order in their new homeland the settlers agreed, whilst on-board, to write and sign "The Mayflower Compact"; the first written framework of government in what is now the United States.

Captain Jones later returned to London on the Mayflower, arriving at the home port of Rotherhithe on 6th May 1621. He died less than a year later and was buried at St. Mary's church in Rotherhithe, close to the mooring point of the Mayflower where she lay to rest in the Thames, no longer useful as a ship. A commemorative plaque to the voyage of The Mayflower now adorns the side of St Mary’s church and a memorial statue, dedicated to the memory of Captain Christopher Jones, sits in the churchyard.”

The Mayflower is also the only pub licensed to sell UK & US postage stamps behind the bar, for seafarers docking at Rotherhithe with little time to spare back in the 1800’s. All this info is on the pub's website but the best thing to do would be to go and visit!

This is Libby at the Sexby Garden in Peckham Rye Park, South London.

Established in 1907, it was named after Lt-Col JJ Sexby - London County Council’s Chief Officer of Parks.

It is an old style formal English garden complete with flowers and herbs, lavender in particular - as well as pergola, meandering pathways and various benches to sit on to while away the time, read a book, or perhaps people watch if that’s your jam.

There is a lovely account of the park’s open stream and lake written by JJ Sexby in his book on 'Municipal Parks and Gardens of London' in 1905. He writes 'In a secluded hollow delightfully shaded with trees a lake has been made. It has an island in the centre and is fed by a small watercourse running though the grounds, which has been formed into a number of pools by artificial dams. This rivulet has its source in a fountain springing out of the rockwork, and thence meanders through the park, receiving some life when babbling over some miniature waterfalls before its entrance to the lake'.

This is Richard at Greenland Dock, the oldest of London's riverside wet docks in Rotherhithe.

“It was created between 1695-1699 as Howland Great Dock on marshland within a rural area – London was much smaller then. The dock was also about half its present size at that time. At first the dock was used for re-fitting ships of the East India Company. From the 1720s it was used by whaling ships and whale blubber was boiled on the quayside to produce oil. The whaling ships came in from Greenland leading to the dock being renamed Greenland Dock.

In 1806 the dock was sold to a timber merchant who constructed a series of shallow holding docks for timber. Greenland Dock formed part of the Surrey Commercial Docks, which handled 80% of London's timber trade.

In 1940 the Surrey Commercial Docks, along with major docks on the otherside of the Thames, were bombed at the beginning of the Blitz. On 7 September 1940, 348 German bombers escorted by 617 fighters attacked London in the late afternoon, forming a 20 mile-wide block of aircraft. Many of the bombs falling on the Surrey Docks were strapped to oil drums which ignited the timber ponds. The result was a firestorm that blazed for a whole week and could be seen for miles around. Firefighters came from as far away as Bristol to fight the blazes.

After the war, the docks recovered but changes in shipping (containerisation) brought commercial use of Greenland Dock to an end in the late 1950s. The docks lay derelict until the 1980s when the London Dockland Development Corporation began developing the area into a marina.”

Most of this quote is from a blog called urban patchwork who in turn got the quote from one of the residents who lives opposite the marina...

Greenland dock is also used as a prominent fishing area by local clubs who have been known to catch Bream, Carp, Pike, Perch, Rudd, Roach, Grass Carp, Zander, Chub, Barbel, Eels, Pope, Trout, Sprats, Mullet & Flounder.

This is Song-I at the Southwark Park bandstand... I don’t know too much about it other than from a shoot I did there for cancer research UK a few years ago as it is the location for the shine charity night walk...

a small blurb on Wikipedia says it dates from 1884 and was originally sited in the Royal Horticultural Society grounds at South Kensington. Apparently it has a sister in Peckham Rye Park which is weird because I’ve never spotted it.

Mostly I think it’s used as a landmark for meetings between friends and lovers like the clock in Waterloo station in only fools and horses.


This is Aaron at Crystal Palace Bowl, a disused amphitheatre designed as a permanent structure inside Crystal Palace Park, South London in 1997.

The site has been used for various displays since the 1880’s where it was a regular landing strip for hot air balloons as well as a ‘Venetian fete’ and archery grounds - the sloping landscape of the ground lending itself to a kind of natural space for spectacles of many kinds.

In 1961 it became the ‘Crystal Palace Concert Bowl’ for musical performances of all kinds, from classical and big band orchestras to more popular bands appearing there throughout the 70’s as part of a series of garden party festivals including Pink Floyd, the Beach Boys and Bob Marley. The Pixies even played there in 1991!

The structure we see today was Designed in 1997 by Ian Ritchie. “The outward appearance of the deep red oxidised steel drew inspiration from the earthy colours of the soil and reflections of the sky in the ornamental lake in front of the stage area, aiming to produce a greater harmony between structure and the beauty of surrounding landscape.”

This is Zelie at Nunhead Cemetary, South London.

I’ve spent more times than I can remember wandering around this beautiful place. It was consecrated in 1840 as one of the ‘magnificent seven’ cemeteries of London. Nunhead is one of the least known about and visited, but remains a hidden gem and has many interesting eccentricities.

It is thought to be the final resting place of Jack the Ripper, real name suspect ‘Thomas Cutbush’ who died at Broadmoor psychiatric hospital after several violent attacks on women in the Whitechapel area.

It is also a Local Nature Reserve, populated with songbirds, woodpeckers and tawny owls amongst other birds. Throughout the years a lack of care and cash surrendered the graves to the ravages of nature and vandalism but in the early 1980s the Friends of Nunhead Cemetery were formed to renovate and protect the cemetery.

Nowadays it’s a place for people to mourn, walk peacefully in nature, jog, decompress, and use as a meeting place. Every year there is a Nunhead cemetary open day which has become popular with the Goth community of London, meeting there to parade around in a Victorian hearse for all to see and be seen.