Posts Tagged ‘gravel’

Nine Elms from across the Thames

Wednesday, October 28th, 2020

I sometimes wonder how many times I have photographed Battersea Power Station over the years. I still look out of the window of my train to see it in the distance, and when I’m sitting on the top deck of a bus going over Vauxhall Bridge, on my way to or from the station.

Battersea Power Station, from Pimlico, Westminster,1987 87-8a-11-positive_2400

Occasionally I’ll walk across Vauxhall Bridge too, perhaps on my way to the Tate Gallery or the Home Office, and see it in the distance, often taking a picture. The riverside walk from Vauxhall Bridge upstream on the Surrey bank is one I’ve walked along many times, open years before we had a Thames Path, which it now forms a short part of. Back in 1977 when I first began walking much beside the Thames, the proposed long-distance path – then called the Thames Walk – only began a few miles upstream at Putney.

Locking Piece, Henry Moore, sculpture, Vauxhall Bridge, Vauxhall, from Millbank, Westminster, 1987 87-8b-56-positive_2400
Henry Moore’s ‘Locking Piece’, Vauxhall Bridge, Nine Elms Cold Store and Market Towers

Recently, with the US Embassy having moved to Nine Elms, I have another reason to walk beside the river here, on my way to photograph protests there, or, more often when the light is so good that I can’t stop myself from making a little detour on my way home from one. But at the moment, this is just wishful thinking, as I’m still staying home and away from London and Covid-19.

Nine Elms, River Thames, from Pimlico, Westminster, 1987 87-8a-16-positive_2400

But even in earlier days, my trips along the Middlesex bank here were rare. There was back in the 1980s relatively little riverside path, a little chance to get away from the busy Grosvenor Rd, though a short stretch of riverside path became available some time after the completion of Nick Lacey’s Crown Wharf in 1983.

Bolton & Fairhead Ltd, Rochester Wharf, Grosvenor Rd, Pimlico, Westminster, 1987 87-8b-02-positive_2400
River Thames, Nine Elms, Battersea, from Pimlico, Westminster, 1987 87-8b-01-positive_2400
William Huskisson, memorial, Pimlico Gardens, Grosvenor Rd, Pimlico, Westminster, 1987 87-8a-15-positive_2400

Further on the small Pimlico Garden opens on to the riverside and also has a memorial to William Huskisson, the first widely reported victim of a railway accident, who was killed when he got down from the special train carrying the the Duke of Wellington and his guests on the official opening of the Liverpool and Manchester railway which had stopped at Parkside station in the middle of the line. He got down from the train to speak with the duke, ignoring the warnings of the railway company, and was hit and fatally injured by George Stephenson’s famous engine ‘Rocket’ pulling a train in the opposite direction.

River Thames, Gravel Wharf, Nine Elms, from Pimlico, Westminster, 1987 87-8a-24-positive_2400

Closer to the power station on the opposite bank, Grosvenor Rd runs beside the riverside and gives good view of the power station. A little downstream from it was a small gravel wharf, where until some time in this century a small ship came daily on the tide with shingle from the estuary. On one walk a few years ago as I photographed the ship I had a talk with the captain who, with his mate brought the ship up the river; I regret I failed to make a portrait of him. He told me then that this would be one of his last trips as the wharf was to close.

River Thames, Gravel Wharf, Nine Elms, from Pimlico, Westminster, 1987 87-8a-21-positive_2400
Battersea Power Station, from Pimlico, Westminster,1987 87-8a-22-positive_2400
87-8a-35-positive_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.