Posts Tagged ‘canal’

Camera Place and the Grosvenor Canal 1988

Saturday, September 4th, 2021

Camera Place, Chelsea, Kensington and Chelsea, 1988 88-5c-64-positive_2400
Camera Place, Chelsea, Kensington and Chelsea, 1988 88-5c-64

Having found there was a street in Chelsea named Camera Place I had to photograph it. It’s a short street and my picture shows around half of it, looking roughly west towards Limerston St. Chelsea used to have a Camera Square, Camera Street and Little Camera Street which have since disappeared, but as they were built in the 1820s they almost certainly have little to do with photography. By 1918 Camera Square had become something of a slum and the area was demolished, rebuilt as Chelsea Park Gardens with up-market housing in suburban garden village fashion, though retaining a rigidly square layout without the typical sinously curving streets.

The view in Camera Place has changed little; some new railings and the small tree is now rather large.

Elm Park Mansions, Park Walk, Chelsea, Kensington and Chelsea, 1988 88-5c-62-positive_2400
Elm Park Mansions, Park Walk, Chelsea, Kensington and Chelsea, 1988 88-5c-62

Elm Park Mansions has five large blocks around a courtyard, with one of the blocks (flats 25-54) occuping half the length of the north side of Camera Place, behind and to my right as I took the previous picture. The mansions with 189 mostly one and two bedroom flats were built by the Metropolitan Industrial Dwellings Company on land leased to them by Major Sloane Stanley in 1900. The Freehold for the property was taken over by the leaseholders in 1986 and since then the state of the properties has been improved. Two bed flats have sold in recent years for around £800,000.

Elm Park Rd, Chelsea, Kensington and Chelsea, 1988 88-5b-15-positive_2400
Elm Park Rd, Chelsea, Kensington and Chelsea, 1988 88-5b-15

Elm Park Road dates from 1875 when Chelsea Park House was demolished and the houses, many designed by George Godwin, were built between then and 1882. The central house in this picture, at 76 Elm Park Road for built for Paul Naftel, (1817-91) a Guernsey born watercolour painter and his wife and family who came to London in 1870. He moved here in around 1884 and the adjoining houses were also homes to landscape artists. Naftel later moved out to Strawberry Hill, Twickenham where he died.

Grosvenor Canal, Grosvenor Rd, Pimlico, Westminster, 1988 88-5e-12-positive_2400
Grosvenor Canal, Grosvenor Rd, Pimlico, Westminster, 1988 88-5e-12

The Grosvenor Canal was began by the Chelsea Waterworks Company who had leased the land from Sir Richard Grosvenor in 1722, and enlarged a creek there to supply drinking water and also to create a tide mill used to pump the water. When their lease expired in 1823, the then Earl of Grosvenor decide to put in a lock and turn the creek into a canal, extending it to a basin where Victoria Station now stands, around half a mile from the Thames. It opened in 1824 carrying coal, wood and stone into the centre of a rapidly growing area of London.

Grosvenor Canal, Grosvenor Rd, Pimlico, Westminster, 1988 88-5e-13-positive_2400
Grosvenor Canal, Grosvenor Rd, Pimlico, Westminster, 1988 88-5e-14

Victoria Station was built over the canal basin, and more of the canal closed in 1899 for a station extension. Westminster City Council bought what was left of it in 1905, then filled in more of it in 1927 for the Ebury Bridge estate.

Grosvenor Canal, Grosvenor Rd, Pimlico, Westminster, 1988 88-5e-14-positive_2400
Grosvenor Canal, Grosvenor Rd, Pimlico, Westminster, 1988 88-5e-14

The canal continued in use by the council taking refuse in barges from Westminster and other local authorities downriver to be dumped until 1995, making this vestigial canal the last in London in commercial use. In 2000 it began to be developed as an expensive waterside development, with the lock being retained but a boom across the entrance from the Thames prevents access for boats despite mooring pontoons inside the development.

Western Pumping Station, Bazalgette, Thames Water, Grosvenor Rd, Pimlico, Westminster, 198888-5e-15-positive_2400
Western Pumping Station, Grosvenor Rd, Pimlico, Westminster, 1988 88-5e-15

The Chelsea Water Works continued to extract water from the Grosvenor Canal until an Act of Parliament prevented extraction of water from the Thames in London in 1852 and they moved up-river to Surbiton. Sewage was increasingly becoming a problem as London grew and the ‘Great Stink’ of 1858 prompted Parliament into action, passing a bill in 18 days to construct a new sewerage system for London.

The solution by Joseph William Bazalgette was a system of sewers that delivered the sewage around 8 miles downriver to Beckton on the north bank and Crossness on the south, through main high level middle and low level sewers through North London and main and high level sewers in South London. The plans included stone embankments beside the river – the Victoria, Chelsea and Albert embankments which he designed.

Lamp post, Western Pumping Station, Thames Water, Grosvenor Rd, Pimlico, Westminster, 1988 88-5e-16-positive_2400
Lamp post, Western Pumping Station, Thames Water, Grosvenor Rd, Pimlico, Westminster, 1988 88-5e-16

Bazalgette didn’t do everything himself, but he kept a very close eye on every aspect of his great project, and some of the specifications he laid down – such as the use of Portland Cement – have kept the system running despite increasing demands since it was completed in 1875. Now it is being augmented by the new ‘Super Sewer’ running underneath the river, the Thames Tideway.

As well as engineering considerations, Bazalgette was also a stickler for the aesthetics and there are some fine examples of Victorian design in his works. The Pumping Station which housed the powerful steam engines needed to send the sewage on its way, as well as its chimney (in a picture above) and the Superintendents House here are all Grade II listed.

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.

Grosvenor Canal, Chelsea & Belgravia 1988

Wednesday, July 28th, 2021

Grosvenor Canal, Grosvenor Rd, Chelsea, Westminster, 1988 88-4n-53-positive_2400
Grosvenor Canal, Grosvenor Rd, Chelsea, Westminster, 1988 88-4n-53

The Grosvenor Canal, now only vestigial, is one of London’s least-known canals, opened in 1824 when the Earl of Grosvenor decided to add a lock and turn what had been a tidal creek with a tide mill and feeding reservoirs for drinking water at Chelsea Waterworks (at right in picture) into a short canal, around three quarters of a mile long ending at a large basin, Grosvenor Basin. The lock needed two gates at the end where it connected to the river as the canal level could be higher or lower than the tidal river. The main traffic then on the canal was coal for the many houses in Westminster.

Victoria Station was built on much of this basin site in 1858, and when the station was expanded in 1902, the upper half of the canal was closed and the lower half sold to Westminster City Council who used it for barges carrying refuse. They closed more in 1925 to build the Ebury Bridge estate, but a short section was still in use, with barges taking Westminster’s rubbish onto the Thames, when I made this picture. It was then the last commercial canal in London. It closed in 1995 and has since been redeveloped as Grosvenor Waterside. More on Wikipedia

Savills, Sloane St, Sloane Square, Kensington & Chelsea, 1988 88-4n-61-positive_2400
Savills, Sloane St, Sloane Square, Kensington & Chelsea, 1988 88-4n-61

An estate agent selling the grand houses in the area with offices in a rather grand Grade II listed house on Sloane St, dating from the late 18th century. The listing text notes that the ground floor – reached up eight steps from the pavement – is in commercial use and describes the ground floor windows as wide, “with stucco fan motif lunettes above”.

Bourne St, Belgravia, Westminster, Kensington & Chelsea, 1988 88-4n-62-positive_2400
Bourne St, Belgravia, Westminster, Kensington & Chelsea, 1988 88-4n-62

A long white passageway with a charming lamp at the end hanging from wrought iron supports, behind a slightly more prosaic wrought iron gate. I wouldn’t have photographed it, not having a great love of the twee, but for the rather more practical lamp fitting at left with its cable housing leading rather nicely vertically down the wall to the curving shadow on the floor.

Bourne St, Belgravia, Westminster, Kensington & Chelsea, 1988 88-4n-63-positive_2400
Bourne St, Belgravia, Westminster, Kensington & Chelsea, 1988 88-4n-63

White fences have had a particular attraction for photographers since an iconic image by Paul Strand at Port Kent in 1916, though I make no suggestion that this is anywhere in the same league. But it did seem an awful lot of white fence in a rather confined space.

Skinner Place,  Belgravia, Kensington & Chelsea, 1988 88-4n-64-positive_2400
Skinner Place, Belgravia, Kensington & Chelsea, 1988 88-4n-64

Skinner Place looked like something from a rather meaner part of London, perhaps somewhere in Bethnal Green mysteriously translocated into Belgravia (which would have increased its price by a large factor.) But it was the huge union flag blocking the end of the street that I really liked, along with the rounded block of flats behind.

Cranley Mews, South Kensington, Kensington & Chelsea, 1988 88-4o-15-positive_2400
Cranley Mews, South Kensington, Kensington & Chelsea, 1988 88-4o-15

The Henry Smith Charity was established on the death of Henry Smith (1549-1628) who lived and profited through interesting times, lending money to many landed families and amassing large landholdings from their misfortunes. He left detailed instructions for the administration of his estates, and the charity trustees in 1640 bought “a marshy estate of mainly market gardens just outside London, in the parish of Kensington.” According the the charity web site, “Nearly four centuries after we were first established, The Henry Smith Charity is one of the largest grant making charities in Britain; making grants of £39.8 million in 2020.”

Smiths Charity, corruption, Cranley Mews, South Kensington, Kensington & Chelsea, 1988 88-4o-14-positive_2400
Smiths Charity, corruption, Cranley Mews, South Kensington, Kensington & Chelsea, 1988 88-4o-14

I spent some time reading the notices in this picture, but ended up little the wiser about the eviction of Major Parson in the 1970s, and the corruption alleged to have been involved. Reading a post from David Swarbrick about a 1974 legal case did little to help me but may held my legal friends.

Click on any of the above to see a large version and explore more pictures in my album 1988 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.

Thames Path

Sunday, April 4th, 2021

One of the many things I ought really to do is to put together a book of my pictures of the Thames Path. Of course quite a few others have done so, but I think mine would provide a slightly different view.

I think I’ve walked every section of it over the years, parts of it many times, though there may possibly be a few yards I’ve missed actually in London where there are routes on both sides of the river. I’ve also gone rather further east on both banks, as the Thames Path stops rather prematurely at the Thamea Barrier while the paths continue.

I’ve never quite been to the mouth of the Thames, traditionally marked at various places including the the Nore sandbank, Yantlet Creek – where the City put up the London Stone, and though I cycled to Leigh-on-Sea in 2005 I think I missed the Crow Stone.

Most of the sections of path upstream from Windsor I’ve walked on various days with my family. As far as a little above Oxford it’s fairly easy to travel by public transport to the start of a day’s walk and back from the end, but above that there are few buses and no stations until you get close to the source. So the final (or initial) 60-70 km had eluded us.

In 2013, my elder son planned the expedition to complete the route, booking bed and breakfast for the three of us at Buscot and Cricklade so we had three days to walk. On the Tuesday following Easter, two trains (both running late) took us to Oxford, despite Easter Holiday engineering works still in operation and we took the bus to Hinton Waldrist. For the last five miles we were the only passengers and the bus had a problem in the village squeezing past a parked tractor.

We were still a couple of km away from the Thames Path, but the sun was out and despite being rather close to zero it was good walking weather. The map and guide book said there was still a ford across an old stream of the river at Duxford which would have saved us some walking, but there had been considerable rain in previous weeks and it was clearly impassable; even on the longer way round we occasionally needed to detour around flooded sections of path.

We just made it for a late lunch before the pub at Tadpole Bridge stopped serving, having seen only one other person on the first five miles or so of our walk. It was good to have a pint, though the food suffered from the restaurant’s aspirations, and service was fast. The river winds considerably around here and I think we walked at least twice as far as a crow might fly to get to Radcot and from there on to Kelmscott where we again paused. We were a day early for the first opening of the Manor there, perhaps as well as we didn’t have time to appreciate it, but we did visit William Morris’s grave and the local pub before continuing our slog to Buscot Manor, an interesting and welcoming place to spend the night.

The following morning after a very large breakfast with other guests we made a short tour of the village before continuing along the Thames Path towards Lechlade, where I was forced to waste time snared into a tea shop by my companions. Eventually we made it and walked on past the start of the Thames and Severn canal to the Church of St John the Baptist at Inglesham, a splendid medieval survival thanks to the efforts of William Morris, who along with his pre-Raphaelite friends founded the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings (SPAB) or ‘Anti-Scrape’ to oppose the gothicisation of buildings such as these.

Then came the worst section of the Thames Path, a mile or so on the verge of the busy A361 followed by another couple along a bridle path and country lanes out of sight of the river. Between Inglesham and Castle Eaton there is no real Thames Path – except for a couple of hundred yards beside the river in the 4 or 5 mile stretch. Though except for the A361 it is a decent country walk. The route does run beside the river from Castle Eaton to Cricklade where we made for the oldest and poshest pub, the White Hart where we were booked. And after finding our room found a good Indian restaurant not far away.

After a disappointing breakfast we took a short walk around Cricklade before continuing our journey. Flooding in the area meant the path had been diverted but it wasn’t a bad diversion and we were soon walking with the river through a land almost entirely covered by unfilled gravel pits, something there is no shortage of close to home. These cover the land east and west of the charming village of Ashton Keynes, west of which it’s hard to decide where the river actually flows. According to the Thames Path Guide, the Thames follows several coursed through Ashton Keynes, though some distance further up you do walk beside a decent small river.

Past the A 329 the river rather peters out, and by the time we reached Thames Head on the A 433 Fosse Way all that was left was damp grass. Across the road we struggled up a small hill to the official source, a dry spring that is marked by a stone placed here by the Thames Conservators. From here it was downhill to Kemble Station and a long wait for a train to Swindon, where we changed for Reading and then another train home.

More details and many more pictures on My London Diary.
Thames Path: Cricklade to the Source
Thames Path: Buscot to Cricklade
Thames Path: Shifford to Buscot

Brentford to Whitton – 2016

Friday, March 26th, 2021

The River Brent flows over a weir from the Grand Union towards the Thames

Saturday 26 March 2016 was Holy Saturday, the day between Good Friday and Easter Day which many people nowadays call Easter Saturday. My older son had taken a few days off work and had come home for Easter and we decided to go out for a walk, taking a train to Kew Bridge. I’d hoped to go somewhere considerably further away on the far edge of London, but engineering works taking place on the railways made that impracticable.

Boats moored where Brentford gas workswas and Isleworth Ait

Our plan was to follow the Thames through Brentford to Isleworth and then the Duke of Northumberland’s River to Whitton and take the train home from there, taking a few detours on the way to explore wherever looked interesting. Both of us were carrying cameras, though while I had a bag with a couple of camera bodies and several more lenses, Sam made do with his only camera, a fixed lens Fuji X-100. I expect he took some interesting pictures, but his web site at seems currently to be off-line.

Dockside flats at Brentford

I grew up a couple of miles away, but didn’t know most of the parts we were going to walk in particularly well, though I had gone back a few times since both on my own and with groups of sixth-form students to take photographs in Brentford.

Boatyard at Brentford

My father took us to Brentford when I was young, though mainly we just went through the town on the top deck of the bus on our way to Kew Gardens, as he was a keen gardener and then it was only a penny (one of the old 240 to the pound ones) to get in and I think children like us probably got in free. Decimalisation resulted in huge rise to 1p, but now it costs £11 for adults. Fortunately Sam and I had no desire to go there, and apart from the train fares our walk cost us nothing, though we did buy some drinks and snacks to go with our sandwiches.

Brentford Lock and flats on the former canal dock

You can save your legs and follow our walk in fairly full detail from the many pictures I put on My London Diary, though we wandered around rather a lot in Brentford taking pictures. From there on our walk was more straightforward, though it isn’t possible to walk beside the Thames on the Middlesex bank between Brentford and Isleworth as the Duke of Northumberland put Syon House there. A footpath does take you in a direct route out of sight of the river through his estate.

The pond below where Kidd’s Flour mill stood on teh Duke of Northumberland’s River in Isleworth

Isleworth was just a little disappointing, not least because of the light drizzle that made sitting on a bench to eat our sandwiches a little uncomfortable. But parts of the riverside development there are unfortunate.

Footpath and Duke of Northumberland’s River in Mogden Sewage Works

Isleworth boasts what when built was I think the largest sewage works in the country at Mogden, and a footpath runs beside the Duke of Northumberland’s River – a man-made river to run the bringing water to run the flour mill at Isleworth. This section of the river was built by monks who ran the area before the Duke took over to bring water from the River Crane – he added a section to the west to bring more water from the River Colne. And yes, Mogden does smell, though not as strongly or unpleasantly as you might expect, though this perhaps depends on the weather and the direction of the wind.


Twickenham makes its presence felt with two large rugby stadia, but fortunately it wasn’t a match day at either and they were very quiet – and there were no inebriated spectators staggering in our way. It’s a place best avoided when internationals are taking place even though drunken rugby fans are generally less violent than soccer supporters. And then were were in Kneller Park and walking by the River Crane through it before leaving to take a path to Whitton station.

Many more pictures on My London Diary:
Syon, Isleworth & Mogden
Riverside Brentford Panoramas
Riverside Brentford

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.

Grand Union, Seacole & Wassail

Tuesday, February 2nd, 2021

I like to get away from Central London and wander around some of the less visited areas of London, spaces which are far from the tourist trail and often in some way on the edge. And on Sunday February 2nd 2014 it was a fine day and I decided it would be good to take a walk around the area of Harlesden close to the Grand Union Canal and make some panoramic pictures on my way to Willesden Green where I’d been invited to photograph an event that afternoon.

I’d first walked around this area back in 1981, when I had discovered and begun to photograph the delights of London that could easily be reached by the North London Line from Richmond to Broad St. Since then I’d been back occasionally for various walks and events in the area. Brent is a borough that used to hold festivals celebrating its varied communities – until these had to be abandoned as the coalition and Tories cut local government spending so even the barest bones were tough to maintain.

The line from wealthy Richmond goes up north through Acton to Willesden Junction, which in typical railway fashion is not in Willesden but in Harlesden. I left the train there and began my walk on a footpath back beside the line through an industrial area to the canal.

I’d brought my lunch with me, and sat in the sun in the Mary Seacole memorial garden on the canal bank before continuing my walk. These panoramic images are too small to really appreciate on this blog, but you can see them – and quite a few others a bit larger on My London Diary in Harlesden, Willesden & Mary Seacole.

It was then time to head to Willesden Green, where the Willesden Green Wassail was about to take place, celebrating the many local shopkeepers who give Willesden Green its character and help to create a vibrant community, singing them a traditional wassail song, and with singers and poets performing on the street.

It was good to see a sizeable crowd of local residents had come out to take part in this community festival organised by Rachel Rose Reid, and you can find out more about it and see many more pictures of those taking part.

Back in 2014 I wrote:

As well as celebrating the shopkeepers, this “small free festival run by and for people from Willesden Green” as also a celebration of the work of all who live there and create the neighbourhood and brought together artists and volunteers from the area, including James Mcdonald, Berakah Multi Faith Choir, Poetcurious, Errol Mcglashan and several others, with more performing later after the wassail.

Willesden Wassail

The Wassail ended with several poetry performances opposite the library and then a final wassail at the cherry tree behind it, when everyone let off the party poppers and decorated the tree with ribbons – a reminder of the traditional wassail ceremonies when people made a lot of noise banging pans and firing guns in order to wake up the trees and get them going on producing large yields of apples – particulary for making cider.

We didn’t get cider, but we did get free hot soup at the Bar Gallery in Queens Parade where the festivities were to continue – but I had to leave to get home rather late for dinner.

Willesden Wassail
Harlesden, Willesden & Mary Seacole

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.

Around High St Stratford

Tuesday, January 19th, 2021

St Thomas's Creek, Cook's Road, Stratford, Newham, 1983 35q-34_2400
St Thomas’s Creek, Cook’s Road, Stratford, Newham, 1983

There is and long seems to have been some confusion about the naming of this part of the canal system that links the main line of the Lea Navigation at Bow Bridge to the City Mill River and City Mill Lock. On some maps (including Google’s) it is simply referred to as ‘Bow Back Rivers’ but I find it less confusing to give it the more local name, St Thomas’s Creek, sometimes written as St Thomas Creek. The creek got its name from St. Thomas’s Mill, sometimes called ‘Pudding Mill’, I think because of its shape, which also gave its name to the small stream the Pudding Mill River and was actually on that stream on Pudding Mill Lane. For those interested there is a good map of the area before the flood relief works of 1931-5 on British History Online.

Yardley's Box Factory, Stratford High St, Stratford, Newham, 198336m-63-positive_2400
Warton House, former Yardley’s Box Factory, High St, Stratford, 1983

The earliest connection of the Yardley name to soap-making was in the first half of the 17th century, when a Yardley was given the concession to produce soap for the whole of London, but the company dated its founding as ‘Clever Brothers’ to 1770. This company making soaps and perfumes was taken over by William Yardley in 1823 and passed on to his son Charles when he died the following year. The company moved from Bloomsbury to a large factory on Carpenters Road Stratford in 1904 and bought land on Stratford High St in 1918. In 1913 they had trade-marked a picture by Francis Wheatley from his 1793 series, the ‘Cries of London’ to use in their advertising, replacing the primroses in his picture by lavender, and when they built a new art deco box factory in 1938 this was installed at a large scale on the building. Yardleys moved to Basildon in 1966, needing large premises, but in 1967 were taken over by British American Tobacco who sold the business to Beecham in 1985, who again sold it on after they merged to be SmithKlein Beecham. The company went into receivership in 1998. Parts of the box factory – including this section on the High St next to the Northern Outfall Sewer and the Waterworks River are still there, all that is left of Yardley’s in Stratford.

Stratford High St area, Stratford, Newham, 1983 36m-14_2400
Stratford High St area, 1982

I cannot remember exactly where I took this or the next picture, though from other exposures on the same films both are clearly somewhere not far from Stratford High St. I think the canal seen at right here is probably St Thomas’s Creek.

Timber yard, Stratford, Newham, 1982 32v-22_2400
Timber yard, Stratford High St area, 1982

Timber was the main product carried on the Lea Navigation in the later years of its use, and I think this timber yard was probably close to the main stream of the navigation. My attempts to find it again in later years were unsuccesful.

Cafe, Stratford market, Stratford, Newham, 1983 36p-35_2400
Cafe, Stratford market, Stratford, Newham, 1983

The notices on the door offer not just ‘Jellied Eels’ but ‘Best Jellied Eels’, along with ‘Loch Fine Kippers’. My contact sheet puts its location as Stratford Market in Burford Road, just off High St to the south.

Barge, Lea Navigation, Bow Bridge, Bow Flyover, Tower Hamlets, Newham, 1981 29t-26p_2400
Barges, Bow Bridge, October 1981

These last two pictures were some of the first I took in the area after I heard on a radio interview that commercial traffic on the Lea Navigation was to come to an end in a few weeks time.

I think it was the same day that I picked up my camera bag and got on the train to come to look for and photograph any remaining activity. It was a slow journey to Bromley-by-Bow from where I spent an hour or so walking along beside the navigation between Bow Locks and Bow Bridge, where I found three barges loaded with cut timber, photographing all three from the bridge and going down onto the wharf for another picture.

Barge, Lea Navigation, Bow Bridge, Tower Hamlets, Newham, 1981 29t-25_2400
Barges, Bow Bridge, October 1981

I find it hard now to understand why I took so few pictures – only around 30 exposures on the entire visit, and just these two where I found evidence of any remaining commercial traffic.

More pictures from the area on page 3 of my Flickr album River Lea – Lea Navigation 1981-1992.

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.

Ponders End & Edmonton

Monday, December 7th, 2020

Lea Navigation, Brimsdown, Ponders End, 1983 34m-22_2400

I’m not sure why the name Ponders End so appeals to me. It has a rather down to earth quality (or perhaps down to water) which is apparently reflected in its etymology, stretching back over 600 years to the Ponder family, with a John Ponder being recorded as far back as 1373. He or his family apparently got their name because they kept or lived by a fishpond or mill pond on the River Lea. Ponders End was their end of Edmonton.

Lea Navigation, Ponders End, 1983 34m-23_2400

The River Lea was important for the movement of people and goods from the earliest times and was improved for navigation at various times in the middle ages; later the first modern gated lock on a river was built at Waltham Abbey in 1577 and the basis of the current Lea Navigation – including the Limehouse Cut – were laid in the 1770s, though there were further improvements well into the 20th century. You can read more on Wikipedia. In recent convention the spelling Lea is used for the river and natural features, and Lee for those man-made features such as the navigation but I tend to use Lea for both.

Lea Navigation, Ponders End, 1983 34m-24_2400

Because of its good transport links to London, industry began to arrive here in the 19th century, with wharves along the canal. Later with the growth of motorised transport development became centred along the Great Cambridge Road, the A10, a short distance to the west, particularly after its improvement in the 1930s. When I took these pictures back in 1983 the area was full of factories, but many were derelict, their demise accelerated by Thatcher’s national flight from manufacturing – something which was at the centre of my recording of out post-industrial landscape

Lea Navigation, Brimsdown, Ponders End, 1983 34m-32_2400

The area had turned its back on the canal where all commercial traffic had ceased a couple of years earlier, but many of the structures were still present. Now almost all have been replaced by warehousing and some residential development. In later years I photographed around the little that remained, including Wright’s Flour Mill, parts of which date from the 18th century.

Lea Navigation, Brimsdown, Ponders End, 1983 34m-36_2400

Back in 1983, there was no GPS and it was hard to determine the exact location of the pictures I took as I walked beside the navigation, and I made few records that would help. In a few pictures it is possible to see features which still exist, particularly the tall blocks of council flats close to Ponders End station.

Thorn Lighting, Edmonton, 1983 37e-34_2400

The last two pictures are of one of Edmonton’s best known and largest industries, Thorn Lighting. Julius Thorn opened his Atlas Lamp Works Ltd in Edmonton in 1932, and later at the start of the war a second factory in Tottenham. The company is now part of the Austrian company Zumtobel. I think that these two pictures are part of their Angel Road site. The main production moved from here to Merthyr Tydfil soon after the Second Wolrd War, but speciality lamps were produced here until around the late 1960s.

Thorn Lighting, Edmonton, 1983 37e-35_2400

More pictures in River Lea – Lea Navigation 1981-1992 on Flickr. Click on any of the pictures above to go to a larger version in that album, where you can also comment on the pictures.

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.

More from the Lea: Enfield

Saturday, December 5th, 2020

Enfield, 1983 34y-16_2400
Enfield, 1983

I’ve now put more photographs in my Flickr album River Lea – Lea Navigation 1981-1992 to add pictures from Broxbourne to the River Thames to my earlier uploads.

Enfield Lock, 1983 34y-35 (2)_2400
Enfield Lock

I’ve gone through the contact sheets from 1981-3 and selected and digitised a few more pictures I found of interest to add to those I’d scanned preparing for earlier shows, but I think there are pictures from some of the later years in that period I may add later.

Lea Navigation, Brimsdown, Ponders End, 1983 34n-52_2400

But for the moment this album is complete – with 418 pictures. Because I made these on a number of different visits to the area, it was difficult to put them into sensible order – and a few are still obviously in the wrong place. But I’ve tried to put them at least largely in order as the valley leads down to the River Thames at Leamouth.

Lea Navigation, Brimsdown, Ponders End, 1983 34n-41_2400

Back in 1981-3 I was not too concerned with the exact locations of the pictures, and my contact sheets seldom have little indication except for the contents of the pictures. I can no longer find the notebooks in which I wrote about the project, though a few of the vintage prints have locations on them and a couple even grid references. I’ve tried to give locations on Flickr, and already a few viewers have been able to help me on this, and correcting a few mistakes I made. Corrections and comments are always welcome, and clicking on any of the images in this post will take you to a larger version where you can post comments.

Broxbourne, 1983 37d-55_2400

So, for example, this picture I’ve captioned simply ‘Broxbourne, Herts, 1983‘ but I could be quite wrong. It could be Cheshunt or somewhere else. And I’d be happy to be told exactly where it is. It’s easier to remember pictures further south as I’m more familiar with the area, though thanks to some who have already corrected a few of my confusions such as mistaking the Clapham Park flats for the Trowbridge Estate.

Lea Navigation, Brimsdown, Ponders End, 1983 34n-42_2400

Most of the pictures in today’s post are from Enfield, Ponders End or Brimsdown, in the London Borough of Enfield, where a large industrial area is located to the west of the canal. I think most of the structures I photographed back then have since been replaced.

Lea Navigation, Brimsdown, Ponders End, 1983 34m-14_2400

In a later post I’l post more selected pictures from Ponders End and Edmonton and then further south. But you can see them already at Flickr album River Lea – Lea Navigation 1981-1992.

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.

More Marylebone 1987

Thursday, August 20th, 2020
Marylebone Station, Marylebone, London, 1987 87-5d-36-positive_2400
Marylebone Station

I suppose for many people Marylebone is the name of a station (though some will connect it more with its cricket club.) The station was the last London terminus to be built, opened in 1899 and never completed, with only four platforms of eight ever built. It lost most of its express services in 1960 and was only saved from closure and demolition by a thriving commuter service from Aylesbury. I think the train here must be one of those used on that route. Marylebone provided one of the few successes of the privatisation of British Rail, generally a triumph of dogma over sense, with the setting up in 1996 of Chiltern Railways. Among other services they provide a pleasant route to stations to Birmingham with comfortable trains and some very cheap tickets, part of the old ‘Great Central’ Network which could probably have been revived much more sensibly and at far lower cost than the ridiculous HS2 project.

Regents Canal, Maida Hill Tunnel entrance, Lisson Grove, Westminister, 1987 87-4d-21-positive_2400

I had wrongly captioned this image earlier, thinking it showed the mouth of the Maida Hill tunnel, but although it was taken very close to there it is actually looking away from it, and the black hole at the end of the water is the bridge under Lisson Grove. The tunnel is hidden from my view here, some way down and a few yards to the right of where I was standing.

Entrance, Maida Hill Tunnel, Regent's Canal, Lisson Grove, Westminster, 1977 87-5c-41-positive_2400

I went down the steps leading to the canal towpath and took a picture of a boat entering the tunnel. The previous image shows the top of the structure crossing the canal over the mouth of the tunnel which carries electrical cables from the nearby Grove Road power station in St. John’s Wood which closed in 1969 – with the site now housing two major National Grid sub-stations.

There is no towpath in the 249m long tunnel, which is only wide enough for a single narrow boat; boats have to wait at the entrance until the tunnel is clear.

Regent's Canal, Lisson Grove, Westminster, 1977 87-5c-54-positive_2400

Here you see the canal under the cable bridge.

CEGB,  Lodge Rd, St John's Wood, Westminster, 1987 87-5c-45-positive_2400

And this is the long wall of the power station site in Lodge Road. Although it looks very forbidding I’m told it was – at least in the old days – a very pleasant place to work. Coal used to come to the power station from a siding off the lines into Marylebone Station, though possibly at some time it also came by canal.

Volkswagen, Lodge Rd, St John's Wood, Westminster, 1987 87-5c-46-positive_2400

The Volkswagen workshops were opposite, and a little further west on the south side of the canal were the works of the confusingly named Thames Bank Iron Company, Iron Founders and Heating Engineers who made radiators and other heating equipment, and, according to their lorry parked in front of the building next to some pipes, Drainage Systems.

Thames Bank Iron Company, Lisson Grove, Westminster, 1977 87-5c-43-positive_2400

The pictures show a rather different side of Marylebone – and indeed London – than we now normally think of. They are a stone’s throw from the leafy streets of St John’s Wood with its billionaire oligarchs and from Lords Cricket Ground. But until a few years before I made these pictures, London was very much a manufacturing city. Things had been changing for some years, but it was Thatcher that really put the boot in, moving the country away from manufacturing and into services. And this de-industrialisation was one of the themes behind my pictures of a post-industrial London.

More pictures on page 4 of my 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.

Paddington Arm 1987

Tuesday, August 18th, 2020
Paddington Arm, Regents Canal, Westway, Paddington, Westminster, 1987 87-4a-23-positive_2400
Paddington Arm, Regents Canal, Westway, Paddington, Westminster, 1987

You can just see the canal through the open hatch and across the galley area of the narrow-boat Crystal closest to the camera, but the view struck me as a remarkable interlocking of the boats, roads and buildings, different eras of construction and transport. The Westway here sits on top of the Harrow Road bridge over the canal, the Paddington Arm of the Grand Union which was opened in 1801. (Confusingly there is a separate Harrow Road bridge across the canal a hundred yards northwest and yet another a kilometre further on.) At right we have the concrete architecture built for the road operations of British Rail in 1968-9, around the same time as the Westway which opened in 1970. Its building made very clear the tremendous damage that building urban motorways caused to the city.

Footbridge, Lord Hill's Rd, Westbourne Green, Westminster, 1987 87-4b-12-positive_2400
Footbridge, Lord Hill’s Rd, Westbourne Green, Westminster, 1987

There was just something zany about this view that appealed to me, with the smooth curve of the metal lamp support and the jagged line of the concrete bridge., and the two circular objects, lamp and mirror and that dagger of a church spire with its cross.

Regents Canal, Little Venice, Westminster, 1987 87-4b-23-positive_2400
Regents Canal, Little Venice, Westminster, 1987

A rather more conventional view of the canal and a canal bridge, though I did deliberately include in the foreground those rails and slope leading to nowhere. This is the bridge at the west end of Little Venice, and takes Westbourne Terrace Road across to Blomfield Rd at the right of the picture. Google Maps names this place as the Little Venice ‘Ferry Terminal’.

Footbridge,Blomfield Rd, Maida Vale, Westminster, 1987 87-4b-26-positive_2400
Footbridge,Blomfield Rd, Maida Vale, Westminster, 1987

The north end of the footbridge in a picture above, which linked Lord Hills Road and Blomfield Rd. Here I took a simpler approach to its concrete edge, making it a jagged diagonal, emphasized by the handrails. On one side of it the graffiti, to its right the regularity of the houses, probably dating from around 1850, in Blomfield Rd. The footbridge has since been replaced by a rather less interesting metal bridge.

The Blomfields came over with William the Conqueror in 1066, their name deriving from the village of Blonville-sur-Mer in Calvados, Normandy. There were many of them by the 19th century when this road was named, and among them several bishops, well-known architects etc. I suspect it was named after Charles James Blomfield (1786 – 1857)  who was Bishop of London from 1828 until he resigned due to ill health in 1856.

Regents Canal, Blomfield Rd, Little Venice, Westminster, 1987 87-4b-43-positive_2400
Regents Canal, Blomfield Rd, Little Venice, Westminster, 1987
Regents Canal, Blomfield Rd, Little Venice, Westminster, 1987 87-4b-44-positive_2400

This area next to the Westbourne Terrace Road bridge and opposite the Canal Offices used to be home to a strange collection of stone works, but these were removed and for some years this was just an empty patch of grass. It is now a ‘wildlife refuge’, not for big game like those here, but, thanks to Edward Wilson Primary School, is The Bug Hotel, Bloomfield Garden.

Regents Canal, Blomfield Rd, Little Venice, Westminster, 1987 87-4b-45-positive_2400
Regents Canal, Blomfield Rd, Little Venice, Westminster, 1987
Westway, Regents Canal, Westbourne Grove, Westminster, 1987 87-4c-22-positive_2400
Westway, Regents Canal, Westbourne Grove, Westminster, 1987

Finally my young assistant takes a rest (and a photograph) by the canal underneath the Westway.

All pictures were taken in April 1987 and are from my Flickr album 1987 London Photos which now contains over 700 photographs.

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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