‘This was taken during the 2011 riots. I remember standing around waiting to see if a burning car would blow up’
By Chris Broughton, September 14, 2022
About 15 years ago, I set up a club with some friends called the Wetherspoons Underground SykoGeosofy Club devoted to exploring and researching hidden aspects of London. One day in August 2011, I was on the bus back from one of our walks, during which we’d been following the path of the underground River Effra, and as we passed through Brixton I became aware of a commotion.
That was my first inkling of the riots that had started to kick off in response to Mark Duggan being killed by police. I think it may have been the next day that I wandered up to Hackney, where the Carhartt shop was being looted and things were being set on fire. I remember standing around with a crowd waiting to see if a burning car outside the store was going to blow up.
You’d better put your cameras away – you’re going to get hit if you take them in there
Drifting northward, I found what seemed to be a frontline, with the police on the south side of Clarence Road and the north occupied by a mix of rioters and locals. As I navigated the sidestreets I was approached by a guy who said: “You’d better put your cameras away – you’re going to get hit if you take them in there.” So I stuck them all in my bag apart from my little Powershot, and wandered around “the mob” for a bit before crossing back to where all the police were, along with the press pack.