Posts Tagged ‘Grand Union Canal’

After Christmas – Brentford to Hammersmith

Tuesday, December 28th, 2021

After Christmas – Brentford to Hammersmith was one of our more interesting walks in London to walk off our Christmas excesses in recent years. For once I’m not sticking religiously to my usual practice and this was three years AND one day ago, and the four of us set out on 27th December 2018.

Often in recent years we’ve gone away in the period after Christmas to visit one of our sons and his family in Derbyshire, with some great walks in the areas around where they have lived, and there are pictures from these on My London Diary, but in 2018 my other son and his wife were staying with us and came for this walk.

Public transport in the period between Christmas and New Year is at best restricted and rather unreliable, and 2018 was no exception and this always limits our starting point. Even for this relatively local walk what would have been just a short direct train meant taking the train to Twickenham and then catching a local bus to Brentford. And on our return trip again a bus took us back to Twickenham for the train home. It meant less time for walking and we had to abandon the idea of actually going inside Chiswick House in order to complete the relatively short walk of 5-6 miles before it got dark.

Brentford, and particularly the Grand Union Canal where we began our walk is now very different from how I remember it – and indeed since I first went back to photograph it in the 1970s. Commercial traffic on the Grand Union came more or less to an end in the early 1970s. What was once canal docks and wharves by the lock where boats were gauged and tolls charged the sheds have been replaced by rather uglier flats and a small marina.

Walking by the canal towards its junction with the River Thames there are areas which still look much as they did years ago, and some rather more derelict than they were then. This is a side of Brentford invisible from the High Street but with much of interest. Probably in the next few years this too will disappear as gentrification advances.

Shortly before the lock leading to the Thames, the River Brent which is here combined with the canal runs over a weir to make its own way to the main river. There are still working boatyards in the area around here, though a little downstream more new flats and a part of the Thames Path here was closed and a short diversion was necessary.

We continued along past new riverside flats and a new private footbridge to the recently revivied boatyard on Lot’s Ait to an area of open space which was a part of the old gas works site, then along the riverside path past more new flats to Kew Bridge and Strand on the Green. Here it was warm enough to sit in the sun and eat our sandwiches before leaving the river to walk to Chiswick House Gardens.

I’d planned to get here for lunch, perhaps spending an hour or so going around the house and then perhaps a drink in the cafe, but there was no time thanks to the rail problems, so we briefly visited the toilets before heading on to St Nicholas’s Church and Chiswick riverside.

From there it was a straight walk by the river to Hammersmith Bridge, arriving around sunset with some fine views along the river – and then the short walk to the bus station for the bus back to Twickenham and the train home. The two bus journeys made our travel take much longer, but you do get some interesting views from the top deck of a double-decker and the journey was intereresting at least until it got too dark to see much.

More on the walk and many more pictures at Brentford to Hammersmith.


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More from around the Harrow Road

Friday, May 28th, 2021
Chippenham Rd, Maida Hill, Westminster, 1988 88-3a-45-positive_2400
Chippenham Rd, Maida Hill, Westminster, 1988

These rather plain and solid houses on Chippenham Road, on the edge of the Elgin Estate are fairly typical of the area. Though built on a fairly large scale for families with reasonably substantial incomes, most are now divided into perhaps half a dozen flats, with the smallest one-bed flats costing around £400,000. Unlike the nearby tower blocks which lasted only around 25 years they are still going strong well over a hundred years since they were built.

Aldsworth Close, Maida Hill, Westminster, 1988 88-3a-51-positive_2400
Aldsworth Close, Maida Hill, Westminster, 1988

Aldsworth Close is a fairly short street close to the canal in Maida Hill, close enough for estate agents to call it ‘Little Venice’ which it clearly isn’t. Taken from Aldsworth Close I think the picture shows the front of a long block between Downfield Close and Aldsworth Close, with addresses and garages on Downfield Close but these front entrances on Aldsworth Close. Modern estates like to have such confusion in their addresses, and I think the right hand of the picture may have yet another name, Clearwell Drive.

Aldsworth Close, Maida Hill, Westminster, 1988 88-3a-52-positive_2400
Aldsworth Close, Maida Hill, Westminster, 1988

The Victorian terrace at left (and below) is still present on the north side Amberley Road and its eastern part was demolished to build these new streets. Previously the land between Amberley Rd and the canal was occupied by a number of timber wharves, a saw mill and an engineering works. Until 1867 it was the site of Westbourne Manor House.

88-3a-53-positive_2400
Amberley Rd, Maida Hill, Westminster, 1988

This west part of Amberley Road remains as a long Victorian terrace. I don’t know why the eastern part was demolished, but possibly like many areas of London, particularly industrial areas such as this by the canal were badly damaged by wartime bombing. But little of London’s Victorian housing enjoys any real protection against redevelopment – and even less of more recent building. In particular around 200 council estates are currently under some threat, including a number of particular architectural merit, with some, such as the Heygate Estate in Southwark already lost and others including Lambeth’s Central Hill already marked down for demolition. Many have now realised that it makes much more sense to rehabilitiate rather than demolish Victorian houses and it now seems possible that climate change will cause a rethinking about demolition of more recent buildings, and ensure new buildings are again built to last.

Grand Union Canal, Paddington Arm, Maida Hill, Westminster, 1988  88-3a-64-positive_2400
Grand Union Canal, Paddington Arm, Maida Hill, Westminster, 1988

The view looking east from the Harrow Road bridge across the canal. You can still see this bridge across the canal, carrying pipes or cables, and the building on the left, 324 Harrow Road now stands out in white. There is now an Academy in a new building rather than a school in Amberley Rd, with a new block of flats on the canal side.

Grand Union Canal, Paddington Arm, West Kilburn, Westminster, 1988  88-3b-32-positive_2400
Grand Union Canal, Paddington Arm, West Kilburn, Westminster, 1988

This stretch of canal is from around mile further west along the towpath and at right the unmistakble form of Trellick Tower can be seen. My viewpoint was a small canalside garden on the Harrow Road and in the distance you can see the ‘ha’penny’ bridge from the Harrow Road across to Kensal Town which I had photographed in earlier years. The buildings on the left, 432-487 Harrow Rd, built by the Artizans’, Labourers’, and General Dwellings Co, who developed the area as working class housing fromm 1875, are still there but I think those at the right on Kensal Rd have all been replaced. I think I made it holding out my camera at arm’s length over the canalside fence which resulted in this tilted view.

Library, Harrow Rd, West Kilburn, Westminster, 1988  88-3b-33-positive_2400
Library, Harrow Rd, West Kilburn, Westminster, 1988

On the other side of the Harrow Road to where I made the previous picture is the Queen’s Park public library, one of the amenities provided when the area was developed by the Artizans’, Labourers’, and General Dwellings Co. There were no pubs on the estate, built to strict temperance principles, but they provided this space for the Chelsea vestry to build the Kensal New Town Library which opened in January 1890. This oddly detached part of Chelsea became a part of the Metropolitan Borough of Paddington when this was formed in 1901 and it remained Paddington’s only public library for 30 years. Until around 1920 you had to be a resident of Queen’s Park to use the library – and residents paid an extra amount in their rates for the privilege, whether they took advantage of it or not. In the 1965 local government reorganisation the library and this area became a part of the borough of Westminster, though much of Queen’s Park is in Brent.


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.


North Kensington

Wednesday, May 5th, 2021
Pall Mall Deposit, Barlby Rd, North Kensington, Kensington & Chelsea, 1988 88-1f-54-positive_2400
Pall Mall Deposit, Barlby Rd, North Kensington, Kensington & Chelsea, 1988

There were several reasons I used to like going to this area of North Kensington to make photographs, one of which was that when people asked me where I had been I could tell them I’d been to the North Pole, which was just down past the end of Barlby Rd on North Pole Rd. Sadly the North Pole was bought by a property company in 2012 who turned the upper floors into flats and soon closed the pub which became a Tesco Express around 2015.

Pall Mall Deposit, Barlby Rd, North Kensington, Kensington & Chelsea, 1988 88-1f-53-positive_2400
Pall Mall Deposit, Barlby Rd, North Kensington, Kensington & Chelsea, 1988

The Pall Mall Deposit and Forwarding Co became a limited company in 1899, with premises just off Regent St, and built this large storage facility to the design of W G Hunt in 1911 (the often given date of 1901 is most probably a much-quoted typo.) Furniture storage was quite big business at the time as a large proportion of the more affluent lived in rented houses, often moving frequently. The building extends some way back from Barlby Road and has been a rather trendy centre for offices, studios etc, selling itself as close to Portobello Road.

Ladbroke Hall, Clement-Talbot Motor Works, Barlby Rd, North Kensington, Kensington & Chelsea, 1988 88-1f-52-positive_2400
Ladbroke Hall, Clement-Talbot Motor Works, Barlby Rd, North Kensington, Kensington & Chelsea, 1988

Barlby Road was also the location of the first purpose built English car factory, the Clement-Talbot Motor Works built from 1903-11, architect William T Walker. According to Cherry and Pevsner (London 3 : North West) this reinforced concrete building used the Hennebique system, but for the office building fronting the road this was well-disguised by “a festive Wrennaisance front”.

Kensal House, Ladbroke Grove, North Kensington, Kensington & Chelsea 88-1f-46-positive_2400
Kensal House, Ladbroke Grove, North Kensington, Kensington & Chelsea

North of the Great Western mainline, which bisects the area, is its greatest architectural gem, Kensal House, built in 1936 by Maxwell Fry leading a small group of like-minded architects. Even in the rather run-down state I photographed it, the ensemble is impressive. It’s and impressive modernist building and rather more functional than some, and the low cost flats included what were for the time some very up-to-date features.

Kensal House, Ladbroke Grove, North Kensington, Kensington & Chelsea 88-1f-45-positive_2400
Kensal House, Ladbroke Grove, North Kensington, Kensington & Chelsea

The site was developed by the Gas Light & Coke Company who owned the site and the adjoining gas works to provide housing for their employees – 54 three-bedroom and 14 two-bed flats- and virtually everything – down to the irons – was gas powered. Of course gas lighting was still very common – and in my youth there were still many older people who preferred its more gentle light. But as built there was no electricity in these gas company flats.

Kensal House, Ladbroke Grove, North Kensington, Kensington & Chelsea 88-1f-42-positive_2400
Kensal House, Ladbroke Grove, North Kensington, Kensington & Chelsea

As well as two large blocks of flats the site also contained a nursery, with a curved frontage that ran around the former site of a gas holder. One of those who worked with Fry on the designs was social reformer Elizabeth Denby who had also worked with him at the Peckham Health Centre.

Kensal House, Ladbroke Grove, North Kensington, Kensington & Chelsea 88-1f-34-positive_2400
Kensal House, Ladbroke Grove, North Kensington, Kensington & Chelsea

The gas works have gone, with Sainsbury’s and Argos in their place, but the railway remains. Some of these flats must have been great places for train spotters, but the Kings and Castles thundering past might have upset the sleep in those days of single glazing and poor sound insulation. And gas works did produce some fairly noxious odours and pollution, though if they provided your living that probably seemed less of a problem.

Kensal Green Basin, Grand Union Canal, Paddington Branch, North Kensington, Kensington & Chelsea, 1988 88-1f-35-positive_2400
Kensal Green Basin, Grand Union Canal, Paddington Branch, North Kensington, Kensington & Chelsea, 1988

You can still see Kensal Green Basin when you go to get your shopping at Sainsbury’s on Canal Way, though it is largely well hidden behing bushes around the car park and seems an missed opportunity – as do many of the planning decisions in this area. A large and ugly canalside building now straddles its entrance from the canal. Further along Canal Way there are still a couple of gas holders at the west end of the gas works site.

Exmoor St,North Kensington, Kensington & Chelsea, 1988 88-1f-26-positive_2400
Exmoor St,North Kensington, Kensington & Chelsea, 1988

Late Victorian Housing on Exmoor St with some nice detailing and later railings.

Hewer St,North Kensington, Kensington & Chelsea, 1988 88-1f-25-positive_2400
Hewer St,North Kensington, Kensington & Chelsea, 1988

At left is the Grade II listed St Charles’ Hospital in Exmoor St, built in 1881 as the St Marylebone Union Infirmary. Surprisingly it is still in medical use, providing mental health services and as a community health centre. Part of the building are rather more attractive than this view suggests. John Nodes and Sons Ltd provided a very handily based funeral service.

Barlby Rd, North Kensington, Kensington & Chelsea, 1988 88-1f-22-positive_2400
Barlby Rd, North Kensington, Kensington & Chelsea, 1988

Finally back to Barlby Rd, and a terrace of houses still present close to Ladbroke Grove. On the left you can still see one of the gas holders of the Kensington Gas Works, and to the right of the block the Great Western Mainline and one of the blocks of Kensal House.

As usual there are a few more pictures from my walks around the area in 1988 in the album, and clicking on any of the pictures here should take you to a larger version in the album from which you can move through it to see all those I have put online.


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.


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 leaf-digital.com 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

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.


1987: Paddington & Maida Vale

Thursday, October 15th, 2020
Paddington Arm, Grand Union Canal, Paddington Station, Bishop's Bridge Rd, Paddington, Westminster, 1987 87-7l-32-positive_2400

The view from the bridge on Bishop’s Bridge Road is now rather different with the building over the canal having been replaced by a footbridge and an new entrance to Paddington station now obscuring the front of the station. You can still see the GWR Hotel and the canal, but the empty towpath has been much tidied and is now often thronged by people.

Paddington Basin and the area around the canal leading to it has been fairly dramatically redeveloped with tall blocks and leisure activities. There were few boats moving back when I took this picture and I think the rescue one in this picture was the only one I saw, though there may have been a few kayaks. Now the canal is rather busier, with small electric boats a popular but not cheap hire.

The bridge I was standing on was replaced by a wider modern bridge in 2006; shortly before it had been discovered that Brunel’s original 1839 iron bridge was still in place hidden under the 1906 structure – though its cast iron beams were clearly visible below. It was Brunel’s first iron bridge and of important historical and engineering interest but English Heritage agreed not to list it as it would have considerably affected the replacement plans; instead it was carefully dismantled and put into store on the understading it would be rebuilt for use as a footbridge across the canal around a hundred yards to the north.

Although planning permission was granted for this it never happened and the parts remain in a rather messy heap at English Heritage’s store at Fort Cumberland in Portsmouth, probably because the developers of the area preferred a nice modern and probably much cheaper design. Other former canalside artifacts removed at the same time with similar promises appear to have simply been lost, but the bridge was perhaps too large for that to happen.

Bishop’s Bridge Road only got its name after the Second World War, before which it had been simply Bishop’s Road, developed around the time the railway was built in 1836, replacing an earlier footpath. The Bishop was rather earlier, the manor of Paddington being given to Nicholas Ridley, Bishop of London by Edward VI around 1550.

Pentecost, Assembly of God, Harrow Rd, Maida Vale, Westminster, 1987 87-7l-33-positive_2400
Assembly of God Pentecostal Church, Harrow Rd, Maida Vale, Westminster, 1987

The Assembly of God Central Pentecostal Church on Harrow Road survived until 2015 on the edge of a huge area of high-rise development in North Paddington, but has now gone. It had moved to the ground floor of this building from the Edgware Road in 1946, and was relocated at a temporary site in Tresham Crescent in 2015 while Westminster Council built Dudley House, completed in November 2019. This provides 197 homes at ‘intermediate rent’ as well as new premises for the church, a secondary boy’s school and shops.

North Wharf Rd, Paddington, Westminster, 1987 87-7l-34-positive_2400
North Wharf Rd, Paddington, Westminster, 1987

You can see the curiously ugly QEQM (Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother) building of Paddington’s Queen Mary’s Hospital towering above these simple but rather elegant buildings on North Wharf Road. That is still there but these buildings are long gone, replaced by towering glass fronted structures which now line Paddington Basin.

The redevelopment of this area, part of ‘Paddington Waterside’ began in the late 1990s and is now more or less complete, filled with high rise buildings. You can now stroll along beside the canal on both banks, while back in 1987 access was very limited. But the whole atmosphere of the area has changed. Although open to the public I think most or all of the open space is privately owned and some photographers, myself included, have been stopped taking pictures by security officers around Paddington Basin.

Warwick Avenue, Maida Vale, Westminster, 1987 87-7l-43-positive_2400
Warwick Avenue, Maida Vale, Westminster, 1987

Green Lane was named Warwick Rd on a plan made in 1827 and later became Warwick Avenue. There were some houses on it by 1840 and most of the rest were built shortly after, all rather grand and in an Italian style and covered in stucco. Many like this one which overlooks the canal basin at Little Venice are listed. The name ‘Warwick’ came from Jane Warwick of Warwick Hall, in Warwick-on-Eden in Cumbria, who in 1778 married the great-grandson of Sir John Frederick who had leased the land from the Bishop of London.

Just a few yards from the more industrial area around the canal at Paddington, this is at the southern edge of Maida Vale, an area which attracted many of the wealthier members of London’s Jewish population in the late nineteenth century.

Clifton Gardens, Maida Vale, Westminster, 1987 87-7l-51-positive_2400
Clifton Gardens, Maida Vale, Westminster, 1987

In the twentieth century parts of Maida Vale became one of London’s more respectable red-light areas. Large houses which were too expensive went into multi-occupation, let out as single rooms, usually sharing kitchens and bathrooms, and often became very run-down. Disruption of families by war and high levels of unemployment forced some women onto the streets where they would walk along keys dangling from their hands and invite passing gentlemen to take tea with them, though tea was apparently seldom served. But more recently the area has gone up in the world considerably again, and semidetached houses in the area sell for £5m or more.

Blomfield Rd, Maida Vale, Westminster, 1987 87-7l-55-positive_2400
Blomfield Rd, Maida Vale, Westminster, 1987

In 1805 Napoleon had defeated both Austrian and Russian armies at Austerlitz and forced Austria to sign a peace treaty and he had also made peace with Prussia. This left him free to try to conquer more of Italy and in particular the Kingdom of Naples, which despite a treaty of neutrality with France had allowed both Russian and British troops to land. Napoleon rapidly advanced and conquered much of that kingdom, with the King and government fleeing to Sicily along with the British troops. A British expeditionary force returned at the end of June to Calabria where there was an insurrection against the French occupation and on 4th July engaged with French forces at Maida.

Warrington Crescent, Maida Vale, Westminster, 1987 87-7l-63-positive_2400
Warrington Crescent, Maida Vale, Westminster, 1987

The battle was was on a relatively small scale with around 5,000 troops on each side and only lasted a few hours before the French who had suffered heavy losses during a cavalry charge against superior British guns and muskets were forces to retreat in considerable disarray. The British commander, John Stuart, was given the title Count of Maida by the Italians and a pension of £1000 a year by the UK parliament as well as being made a Knight of the Bath.

Clifton Gardens, Maida Vale, Westminster, 1987 87-7l-65-positive_2400
Clifton Gardens, Maida Vale, Westminster, 1987

The victory on land against Napoleon’s forces who had been so successful elsewhere gave Britain a much-needed boost in morale, and gave both Maida Vale and Maida Hill their names.

There is now a pub in Shirland Rd named for Stuart, The Hero of Maida, but it was not built until 1878 and was then The Shirland Hotel, later becoming Idlewild and in 2014 the Truscott Arms. Opened under new owners in 2018 it was re-named ‘The Hero of Maida’.

You can see more of my pictures of London in 1987 on 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.


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.

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.


Regent’s Canal 200 coming up

Tuesday, December 10th, 2019

The Regent’s Canal celebrates its 200th birthday next year (or rather it doesn’t but people do.) The Grand Junction Canal Paddington Arm had opened in 1801, and in 1802 Thomas Homer proposed building a canal to link this with the River Thames at Limehouse. In 1811 John Nash who was building Regent’s Park became one of the directors of the new canal company, and he persuaded his friend the Prince Regent (who later became King George IV) to allow his name also to be used for the canal.

The Act of Parliament needed to build the canal was passed in 1812, but construction took some time, not least because Homer ran away with some of the money. He was caught and sentenced to seven years in Australia but for unknown reasons never sent there.

The canal was completed to Camden in 1816, and Islington tunnel in 1819 and the canal was finally opened on 1st August 1820, having cost by then twice the original estimate – some things never change.

Another of the problems had been a novel lift design by the inventor Sir Willliam Congreve which would have raised and lifted boats without the loss of water in a normal lock, using two sealed chambers to contain thee boats which were arranged to counterbalance each other.

Although the idea was sound, it needed better waterproof seals than were possible at the time, and modifications to Congreve’s designs made by the canal company increased the problems. The lock which had been constructed at Camden market apparently worked when first constructed but the canal company were unable to keep it operating, and it was eventually removed and replaced by a conventional design.

The lock house just west of Camden High Street was retained and is now a branch of Starbucks, equally unsuccesful in making good coffee, but excelling in avoiding paying tax.

I’ve been working for around 18 months taking photographs along the canal, which I first photographed around 1980, intending to show a small exhibition of them for the anniversary (and rather more online.)

I’d gone up to London to meet friends but they were unable to get there because of a trackside rail fire which put Waterloo out of action, and I took the opportunity to walk the section of the canal from St John’s Wood to Little Venice and then to go on down the Paddington Arm.

It wasn’t ideal weather for making these pictures and I might find time to go back and retake some of them under better conditions. There is rather a lot of vegetation in some too, and possibly some would be better in winter. Clearly some would benefit from cropping at the top (and possibly some at the bottom too) to give a more panoramic format.

St John’s Wood – Paddington Basin


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.