Posts Tagged ‘buildings’

Around Pont St, 1988

Wednesday, June 30th, 2021

Pont St, Knightsbridge, Kensington & Chelsea, 1988 88-3i-01-positive_2400
Pont St, Knightsbridge, Kensington & Chelsea, 1988 88-3i-01

Back in 1988 I seem to have sentenced myself to wander extensively along Pont St, in earlier days one of London’s most fashionable streets and still one of its more expensive, linking Knightsbridge and Belgravia.

Pont St, Knightsbridge, Kensington & Chelsea, 1988 88-3i-55-positive_2400
Pont St, Knightsbridge, Kensington & Chelsea, 1988 88-3i-55

Pont Street gets its name from the bridge over the river Westbourne, probably close to where Cadogan Lane now crosses the street close to its east end. Knightsbridge too was named for its bridge over this river, which flows down from Hampstead Heath to the Thames in Chelsea, passing across Sloane Square Underground Station in a very visible 19th century iron aqueduct. The bridge is still marked on maps from 1830 when the east section of Pont St was first developed but by 1840 the river had disappeared underground.

Pont St, Knightsbridge, Kensington & Chelsea, 1988 88-3i-56-positive_2400
Pont St, Knightsbridge, Kensington & Chelsea, 1988 88-3i-56

Pont Street originally was developed to the east of Sloane St and was only developed to the west in the late 1870s, with building continued in the following decade. Cadogan Square was built between 1877 and 1888.

Cadogan Square, Knightsbridge, Kensington & Chelsea, 1988 88-3j-65-positive_2400
Cadogan Square, Knightsbridge, Kensington & Chelsea, 1988 88-3j-65

‘Pont St’ became a synonym for the snobbish posh, and the architectural style of most the area around Pont St west of Sloane St was called by Osbert Lancaster ‘Pont St Dutch’. In Pevsner and Cherry’s London 3 North West, published in 1991 it is described as “tall sparingly decorated red brick mansions for very wealthy occupants, in the semi-Dutch, semi-Queen Anne manner of Shaw or George & Peto”. It is very handy for both Harrods and Sloane Square.

Pont St, Knightsbridge, Kensington & Chelsea, 1988 88-3i-64-positive_2400
Pont St, Knightsbridge, Kensington & Chelsea, 1988 88-3i-64

A welcome departure from this incredible rash of red-brick is St Columba’s Church, designed by Sir Edward Maule for the Church of Scotland. Completed in 1955 it replaced the orginal 1884 St Columba’s Church on the same site which had been destroyed by bombing in 1941. I think it altogether a more attractive building than Maule’s Guildford Cathedral.

St Columba's Church Of Scotland, church, Pont St, Knightsbridge, Kensington & Chelsea, 1988 88-3j-62-positive_2400
St Columba’s Church Of Scotland, church, Pont St, Knightsbridge, Kensington & Chelsea, 1988 88-3j-62

Pont Street has had some famous residents, including Lillie Langtry who lived for five years at No 21. This became a part of the Cadogan Hotel, where famously Oscar Wilde was arrested in 1985.

Hans Place, Knightsbridge, Kensington & Chelsea, 1988 88-3i-66-positive_2400
Hans Place, Knightsbridge, Kensington & Chelsea, 1988 88-3i-66

All pictures (and more) in my album 1988 London Photos – and you can see a larger version of the images and browse through the album by clicking on any of them.

More Around Mayfair 1987

Saturday, September 5th, 2020
South Audley St, Mayfair, Westminster, 1987 87-5i-52-positive_2400

Mayfair is one of my least favourite areas of London, and one where I often felt uncomfortable photographing. And one where I often had to point out to people that the law allows photography in public places including taking pictures of people and private property. But it was an area I felt I had to photograph, and where there is a great wealth of architecture and architectural detail. These pictures are just a few from page 4 of my album 1987 London Photos.

South Audley St, Mayfair, Westminster, 1987 87-5i-53-positive_2400

Many of these buildings will have been photographed many times before, but I think some have been overlooked, and what pictures are available don’t always show them well or in their setting.

New Bond St, Mayfair, Westminster, 1987 87-5j-43-positive_2400

As well as buildings, these are also pictures of cityscape, and arguably bad buildings have as much place as good ones in a record of the city. Since I took these pictures there have been changes, both in the city and also so far as images of it are concerned. Around the Millenium, volunteers from the Royal Photographic Society photographed most of our listed buildings for the National Building Record – with very mixed results, but more comprehensively we now can all view the streets though Google’s roving camera – of great use to me for finding the locations where I photographed. But useful though this is, it often does not include the exact view I want to see or which shows the subject best – and certainly never penetrates the alleys and off-street viewpoints of many of my pictures.

Brook St, Mayfair, Westminster, 1987 87-5j-46-positive_2400

Excessive wealth seldom seems to come with a great sense of taste, as the shops of Mayfair (and some of its buildings) bear witness. And in one shop window I found a dummy that seemed to me to express the arrogance of wealth so clearly. Of course in some of the art dealers there were paintings and prints which I admired, and I did go into a few of the galleries to see more.

South Audley St, Mayfair, Westminster, 1987 87-5j-01-positive_2400
Brook St, Mayfair, Westminster, 1987 87-5j-34-positive_2400
Mount St, Mayfair, Westminster, 1987 87-5j-53-positive_2400
Mount St, Mayfair, Westminster, 1987 87-5j-65-positive_2400

There is a long tradition of photographers taking self-portraits, and in one shop window I couldn’t resist giving myself a new head and making the square of the plinth below seeming to be in my hands as a large plate camera. It took a little guesswork to get it right, and ideally I should have been just a few inches closer so that my hair wasn’t visible as a small crescent above the head in the window., but I was surprised to get it as close as I did.

Mount St, Mayfair, Westminster, 1987 87-5j-55-positive_2400

Nowadays a flip-down screen on the back of the camera would let me line this up without problems. Then I had to look through the viewfinder to try and get myself in the right position, then lower the camer and hope. You can see the reflection of my camera lens and camera in the middle of the plinth, and also the unintended tilt of the image as I failed to keep the camera completely level.

More on page 4 of my album 1987 London Photos.

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.

London 1986 Page 10

Friday, June 12th, 2020
Institute of Chartered Accountants, Great Swan Alley, City 86-8ab-32-Edit_2400

Page 10 of London 1986 begins in the city of London, and strongly features a remarkable set of figures around the Institute of Chartered Accountants building from 1890-93 in Great Swan Alley, off Moorgate a little to the north of the Bank of England. Above its first floor windows is a long frieze of figures representing various trades and figures, some dating from the 1890s and others added in the 1930s and 1960s when the building was extended. Among them you can see Wren holding a model of St Pauls Cathedral.

Institute of Chartered Accountants, Great Swan Alley, City 86-8ab-34-Edit_2400

But apparently of more interest to me were what Pevsner describes as the “small very female termini caryatids” whose figures seemed very much at odds with my ideas both of the Victorians and of accountants and on whom I expended far to much film.

Petticoat Lane, City, Tower Hamlets86-9a-23_2400

I managed to drag myself away from the sirens of the ICA and out of the City into Petticoat Lane and the area around this, finding as well as a market a large group of Christians armed with muscial instruments.

Guildhall, Exhibition hall, Magistrates' court, Offices, Richard Gilbert Scott, 65 Basinghall Street, City 86-9b-14_2400

Later I returned to the City for more pictures, including some of one of my favourite modern buildings in the city, the Exhibition hall, Magistrates’ court and Offices by Richard Gilbert Scott at 65 Basinghall Street with its wonderful concrete roofs.

Highwalk, Wood St, City 86-9d-41_2400

The city’s Highwalks also attracted my attention, part of a post-war vision of separating pedestrians from traffic by visionary architects who perhaps failed to appreciate the tremendous residue of street-level development that anchored people to the ground. It worked for areas that had been largely obliterated by bombing, particularly the Barbican, but could never become sufficiently comprehensive elsewhere across the city to make sense. It did however provide photographers with some useful elevated viewpoints.

City Mill Lock, Bow Back Rivers, Stratford, Newham  86-9f-26_2400

At the end of the page are a few pictures from Bromley-by-Bow and Stratford back rivers, including some of the near derelict lock linking the City Mill River and St Thomas’s Creek with the tidal Waterworks River. I think this lock dated from the 1930s when the City Mill River was enlarged and other work done as a part of a flood relief plan for the area (and also to give work to the unemployed.) Because the Waterworks River was then tidal, the water level in it could be either above or below that in the City Mill river and there are two pairs of gates at this end of the lock. These were replaced by modern gates a few years ago, but a new lock was built at Three Mills as a part of the Olympic redevelopment, which probably makes the double gate redundant.

Page 10 of London 1986

Back to 1986: Page 4

Wednesday, May 20th, 2020
Broadway Bakeries, Brougham Rd, Benjamin Close, Broadway Market, Hackney 86-6m-35_2400
Borough Market

Returning to my London pictures for 1986, and to page 4 of my Flickr album 1986 London Photographs.

The Oval, Bethnal Green, Tower Hamlets 86-6m-65_2400
The Oval, Bethnal Green

1986 was the year I began to photograph London in depth, and the album reflects this, with 1370 black and white photographs, a fraction of the number I took that year. The hundred on page 4 are from the boroughs of Hackney and Tower Hamlets and include pictures from Dalston, Shoreditch, Hackney, Bethnal Green, Wapping, Shadwell, Limehouse, Whitechapel and other parts east of the city. There is just the odd image from elsewhere in London.

War Memorial, Cyprus St, Bethnal Green, Tower Hamlets86-6o-31_2400
Cyprus St, Bethnal Green

Unlike in some earlier years the routes for my walks around the area were carefully planned, with research from a number of published sources, though information was much less readily available than now before the days of the world wide web. Of course I didn’t always stick to my planned routes, but I did carry a notebook to write down where I actually went and even sometimes some details of what I was photographing.

Hessell St, Whitechapel, Tower Hamlets
Hessel St, Whitechapel

One of my major resources was of course maps, both new and old, not just for the streets but also for the other information included on them. Some marked industrial areas in brown, most showed churches and public buildings and some gave names of various features. The invaluable series of reprints of old 1:2500 OS maps was begun by Alan Godfrey in 1983, but few were available in 1986. I now have a very large collection.

Kingsland Basin, Regent's Canal, Hackney 86-7c-26_2400
Kingsland Basin

My aim was to not to walk along every street (as the woman who produced the London A-Z was sometimes said to have done) but at least to look down nearly all of them, and to photograph all buildings of interest as well as other things I found on my journeys. Later when I had bought a scanner I produced enlarged versions of the A-Z pages, printing them on a black and white laser printer and used highlighter pen after I came home to mark where I had walked. These both showed me any areas I had missed and helped me, together with the notebooks, to mark on the contact sheets where the pictures were taken.

Nuttal St, Hackney 86-7c-36_2400
Nuttal St, Hackney

I mostly travelled by train or underground so often several walks started from a particular station, and perhaps along the same streets close to them. There were also some areas that particularly interested me, either for simple visual reasons or because they were obviously changing, to which I returned.

I’ve posted some of the pictures on this page previously on >Re:PHOTO and I’ve tried to find others to put on this post. You can see all of the pictures – 100 on page 4 – on Flickr – where you can view them larger than on here – by clicking on the link or the image below.

Russia Lane, Bethnal Green, Tower Hamlets 86-6l-66_2400

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.

London Images – May 2019

Saturday, October 12th, 2019

While travelling around London I often see things that interest me and if practicable I try to photograph them. Often these are cityscapes or particular buildings, and some of the pictures are more like entries in my notebook of areas or scenes that might be worth further investigation rather than any real attempt at a definitive image. But those which I think are worth looking at I collect in a folder for each month, linked at the bottom of that month’s page of My London Diary.

Many images don’t make the page because of technical problems. If I’m on a train or bus it is now seldom possible to photograph other than through a window, and too often these have dirt on the outside or scratches on the inner surface. Reflections are also a problem particularly in the outer pane of sealed double glazing; I do have a large floppy silicone ‘Ultimate Lens Hood’ which eliminates these, but it is too big to easily fit in my camera bag and so I never have it with me when I need it – though perhaps one day I will start a project making use of it, or cut it down to a more usable size. But for normal use it is overkill – and perhaps a penultimate lens hood would be preferable? Because of reflections, when working through windows it’s almost alway preferable to work with the front of the lens as close to the glass as practicable.

There are some pictures where you can see reflections, particularly in sky areas. I could probably remove these in Photoshop, but so far I haven’t bothered. And of course often I’m travelling on foot where there are no such problems.

Buses stop often in traffic, and occasionally at bus stops, but seldom in exactly the place you want to photograph from, but the upper deck of our double-deckers is often a splendid vantage point. Some vibrate considerably and a fast shutter speed becomes essential even when the bus is stopped. When photographing from moving trains or buses, any delay between pressing the shutter release and actual exposure can mean missing the subject, and setting manual focus in advance cuts out any delay due to focussing.

There are some places I travel past almost every day when I go to work in London, and these include one of the largest developments in recent years at Nine Elms and Vauxhall. I started taking pictures here while the US Embassy was being built; soon it will only be visible through narrow gaps between other buildings,

Among older buildings I photographed in May was the Still & Star pub in Aldgate, one of many closed pubs in London, a rare example of a small ‘slum pub’ converted from an exisiting house or shop in 1820 and continuing in the trade until 2nd October 2017. Developers wanted to knock it down, and there was a great outcry, with CAMRA, the Victorian Society and others campaigning to keep it open. They suceeded in stopping redevelopment by getting it recognised as an Asset of Community Value – and the freehold owners 4C Hotels (2) Ltd lost their legal appeal against this in November 2017 – but the pub remains closed.

More at London Images

There are no adverts on this site and it receives no sponsorship, and I like to keep it that way. But it does take a considerable amount of my time and thought, and if you enjoy reading it, please share on social media.
And small donations via Paypal – perhaps the cost of a beer – would be appreciated.

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.

London Church Walk

Thursday, October 3rd, 2019

Most years unless I’ve some more pressing committment I’ve accompanied my wife as she takes part in a sponsored walk around London churches in support of Christian Aid.

Walking around the City is always interesting, and although I’ve been in most of the churches before, most years there is something new to see. Many of London’s churches are open at times during the week, often hosting lunchtime concerts, others are usually locked.

The walk isn’t of huge length, but it takes quite a time, especially if you want to look carefully at those churches you get inside – some of the checkpoints are a table outside a locked building. Other churches offer tea and cakes and it gets difficult to complete the circuit in the time allowed; this year I was disappointed that we arrived at the Temple Church just as it was closing.

Most of the churches in the city were built around the same time, after the Great Fire of 1666, and usually the architect was Wren, but although they share some characteristics there are significant differences.

But of course the City has many interesting secular buildings as well as its churches, both ancient and modern, and I photographed a few of these as we walked by.

More pictures: City Churches Christian Aid Walk

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.

There are no adverts on this site and it receives no sponsorship, and I like to keep it that way. But it does take a considerable amount of my time and thought, and if you enjoy reading it, please share on social media.
And small donations via Paypal – perhaps the cost of a beer – would be appreciated.