Posts Tagged ‘Churchill’

Victoria & Kensington

Wednesday, November 18th, 2020
Victoria Palace, theatre, Victoria St, Victoria, Westminster, 1987 87-9g-25-positive_2400

The car in the foreground seemed appropriate for ‘High Society’ at the Victoria Palace, but I would have preferred it without the foreground post. But this wasn’t a planned photoshoot, just a car that happened to stop at the traffic lights while I was looking at the threatre, and it moved off before I could change my position.

Morpeth Terrace, Victoria, Westminster, 1987 87-9g-31-positive_2400

Morpeth Terrace runs along the west side of Westminster Cathedral, and its mansion flats have over the years housed some notable residents. A few doors down the street a black plaque records that Winston and Clementine Churchill lived here from 1930-39.

They had apparently bought the flat on the fifth and sixth floor from Lloyd George, who reportedly had housed his mistress there. It was in the study of the flat that Churchill held a meeting with other MPs and wrote a letter to Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain urging him to send Hitler an ultimatum the day before war was declared in 1919.

Later the same flat is said to have been home to Stalin’s daughter, Svetlana Alliluyeva. But if so, her stay there was probably brief as she defected while on a trip to India, going to the US embassy in New Delhi and became a US citizen, though later moved for a short while to Cambridge before returning to Russia and then back to the USA.

I photographed this end of building rather than the part of the block with the Churchill plaque as it seemed more interesting. You can also see it was in rather poor external condition at the time – it has since been refurbished.

Baxendale & Sadler, Hatherley St, Victoria, Westminster, 1987 87-9g-52-positive_2400

It looked as if Baxendale & Sadler, Electrical Engineers and Contractors might still have been in business, though their shop front was rather the worse for wear. I think it had once said they were established in 1956.

The shop, a few yards from Vauxhall Bridge Road, is now residential.

Empire Hospital, for Paying Patients, Vane St, Westminster, 1987 87-9g-54-positive_2400

The Empire Hospital for Paying Patients in Vane St, Westminster obviously rather predated the National Health Service, and according to the Lost Hospitals of London web site was “opened in December 1913, intended to receive paying patients, primarily visitors from overseas” and was a nursing home with no doctors or surgical staff. Taken over as a military hospital it became the “Empire Hospital for Officers (for Injuries to the Nervous System)” and closed in 1919.

Later it became the Grange Rochester Hotel and is now the the Rochester Hotel by Blue Orchid, and looks rather more welcoming, with the text above the door covered by a hotel sign.

Palace Garden Terrace, Kensington, Kensington & Chelsea 87-10d-56-positive_2400

Wyndham Lewis (1882-57) disliked the name ‘Percy’ and dropped it, but others continued to use it and it appears on the GLC plaque in Palace Garden Terrace, Kensington which does not record when he lived here.

Born on a yacht, Lewis went to Rugby School and the Slade before studying in Paris before settling in London. A founder member of the ‘Camden Town Group’ he became one of Britains leading painters, best known for what Ezra Pound named as ‘vorticism’. After serving as an officer in the Great War he was made a war artist. In the late 1920s he turned mainly to writing and had produced over 40 books before his death.

Between the houses you can see Courtlands, described as a former coach house, though it looks rather more grand than that. The terrace seemed overpowering with long and largely unbroken stretches of largely white stucco, and these brick houses with a vista of a white villa attracted me.

Mall Chambers, Kensington Mall,  Kensington, Kensington & Chelsea 87-10d-55-positive_2400

The Grade II listing for Mall Chambers on Kensington Mall is unusually concise, at least at its start: “Improved industrial dwellings. 1865-8. J Murray. Yellow brick, stone dressings. Five storeys. Corner site, with corner entrance.” Towards the end it quotes Building News from 1868 “”intended for a class somewhat above ordinary mechanics and labourers”.

That is of course even more true now. A three bed flat here sold for £741,000 in 2014.

Kensington Church St, Kensington, Kensington & Chelsea 87-10d-52-positive_2400

Joseph Yates Timber Merchants were suprisingly still in business here until fairly recently and its timber yard now houses a luxurious four bedroom town house. Yates’ shop on the left of its carriage entrance is now The Kensington Cigar Shop.

The planning permission granted in 2004 required the retention of the lettering on the front of the building.

You can click on any of the images to see the larger version on Flickr and to browse more of the album 1987 London Photos.


Pimlico to Parliament 1987

Sunday, November 1st, 2020
Churchill, statue, Big Ben, Westminster, 1987 87-8m-01-positive_2400

I had my doubts about including this picture in my London album, not because of my opinions about Churchill, but because it is very much a cliché. But at least I think it is a fairly well done version, and the two men with the motorbike add just a little interest.

Churchill was a great leader in wartime, not least because his first action as Prime Minister was to invite Attlee, Sinclair and Chamberlain – the leaders of the Labour, Liberal and Conservative parties – to serve in a Coalition Government. I was too young to vote in the 1945 election (just over two months old) but clearly the nation wanted a change and saw that his strengths were no longer relevant to its future. His return to power in 1951 was something of a disaster for the country, made more clear by his protégé and successor Eden.

Nine Elms Cold Store, RIver Thames, Nine Elms, Vauxhall, Pimlico, Westminster, 198787-9a-12-positive_2400

All of these buildings at Nine Elms, seen from across the River Thames, have now been demolished. None was I suppose a great loss, but together I think they made an interesting ensemble. The cold store, brutally functional but with the elegant spiral staircase at its centre, presumably a fire exit, the curving horizontal of 95 Wandsworth Rd, for long occupied by Cap Gemini, demolished in 2018 and I think the site now owned by a Chinese property developer, and the two tower blocks at the right have also gone.

Riverside flats, Pimlico, Westminster, 1987 87-9a-15-positive_2400

Taken on the riverside path opened up in front of Crown Reach in Pimlico and now a part of the Thames Path. This view of the building looks to me like an Escher drawing, but for real, and I liked the contrast in shape and style with the rounded and decorated riverside lamp post.

Locking Piece, Henry Moore, sculpture, Riverside Walk Gardens, Millbank, Westminster 87-9a-22-positive_2400

Another picture of Henry Moore’s Locking Piece in the Riverside Walk Gardens on Millbank, again with the River Thames, Vauxhall Bridge, Nine Elms Cold Store and Market Towers in the distance. A figure walking past gives some sense of the scale of the piece, and the view is tightly cropped (I think the negative probably just contains the right edge of the plinth at its extreme edge.) I deliberately stood where a small area of sky was visible through the centre of the sculpture.

Millbank Tower, Millbank, Westminster, 1987 87-9a-42-positive_2400

Another example of very deliberate framing at the left and top edges of this view of the buildings around the base of the Millbank Tower.

Millbank Tower, Millbank, Westminster, 1987 87-9a-46-positive_2400

I wasn’t able to quite do the same when I made another exposure including the whole of the tower, but I think it makes effective use of the curvature of the building.

Thorney St, Westminster, 1987 87-9a-56-positive_2400

I think this picture in Thorney St shows the rear of the rather oddly shaped Millbank Tower building, but I think the concrete spiral ramp has been replaced by a garden.

John Islip St, Westminster, 1987 87-9a-54-positive_2400

And my final picture, taken in John Islip St, is something of a mystery to me, because of the reflections in the large polished stone triangular section fins on its surface. I found two of these fairly close together and the reflections make it almost impossible (at least for me) to see this building as it actually was rather than some optical illusion. If I start at the bottom of the frame where there is less reflection I can force myself to see it as it was.

Abell House and its neighbour Cleland House were I think built as government offices by TP Bennet around 1930, and were over-clad in 1985 using matching dark brown marbleised granite cladding, with a highly polished surface. I’m not sure which of the two is in this picture. Both were demolished around 2011-2 and replaced by taller residential towers with the same names, completed in 2016. The replacements look over-fussy to me, but would be rather easier to photograph.


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