Old Street New Photos

I live just a couple of miles outside the Greater London boundary, two miles that cost me around £1500 a year in travel costs, though I might be saving a little in council tax. I live in the only area of what used to be Middlesex which wasn’t included in Greater London when the boundaries were established in the 1960s, though the town I live in is fairly typical of outer London. But the posh Tories down the road who ran the local council at the time rose up against becoming a part of the London Borough of Hounslow and opted the whole area to become part of Surrey with their wealthy chums across the river.

So while Londoners of my age got a Freedom Pass, now valid at all times on London Underground, London Overground, Bus, Tram, and Docklands Light Railway services in Greater London as well as rail services between 9.30am and 11.30pm, instead I got a national bus pass, giving free rides only on the buses. And where practicable my normal mode of travel around London is by bus.

When time is limited or bus journeys far to slow I do use the Underground (or Overground or Rail) to get around London and pay. And on days where the traffic is paralysed by large-scale protests or sporting events I’ll take the tube as well, either using a London-wide Travelcard or using a contactless card.

Other than cost, and for some journeys speed (though it can be quicker to use the bus or walk) there are some advantages to bus travel. Thanks to most London routes being served by double-deckers you are treated to some splendid views of the capital from viewpoints that would otherwise be impossible. It’s a poor man’s cherry-picker, and these pictures of the Old Street roundabout and some nearby locations show this well.

The Old Street roundabout was constructed at the height of brutalist architecture in the 60s, with some very odd concrete shapes at its core on top of Old Street Tube station, some underground shops and a public toilet in an area known as St Agnes Well. It’s an area I’ve often visited for convenience and travel, and sometimes for photography over the years.

Work has been going on for some time to replace the roundabout by a smoother two-way traffic flow with improved cycling and pedestrian routes and a new public open space and is due for completion later this year. The area around the roundabout has also changed in recent years with new large blocks on the south side as well as a gigantic suspended advertising block. A cluster of software houses in some of these new buildings have led to a new name, Silicon Roundabout.

I was able to photograph from the bus going through the now ex-roundabout both west to east and in the reverse direction along Old St after photographing a protest not far away. And with various traffic lights and queues in operation the bus stopped several times at convenient locations for my pictures.

More pictures at Clerkenwell Road & Old St.

My London Diary : London Photos : Hull : River Lea/Lee Valley : London’s Industrial Heritage : Flickr

All photographs on this and my other sites, unless otherwise stated, are taken by and copyright of Peter Marshall, and are available for reproduction or can be bought as prints.

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