Posts Tagged ‘Grosvenor Rd’

Pimlico & Battersea 1988

Saturday, September 18th, 2021

Railway Bridge, River Thames, Battersea Power Station, Grosvenor Rd, Pimlico, Westminster, 1988 88-5f-62-positive_2400
Railway Bridge, River Thames, Battersea Power Station, Grosvenor Rd, Pimlico, Westminster, 1988 88-5f-62

These seven pictures all come from the same film I took at the end of a fairly long day’s walk around Chelsea on Sunday 8th May 1988 which had taken me down to the Thames on Grosvenor Road. I spent some time wandering around on the road and also where it was possible to get onto the riverbank, though most was fenced off.

Railway Bridge, River Thames, Battersea Power Station, Grosvenor Rd, Pimlico, Westminster, 198888-5f-64-positive_2400
Railway Bridge, River Thames, Battersea Power Station, Grosvenor Rd, Pimlico, Westminster, 19888 8-5f-64

The views today are rather different, although the railway bridge carrying the main line to and from Victoria is still much the same. In the pictures you can see some work being carried on in Battersea Power Station, but now new flats hide most of the building apart from the chimneys from here, and the gas works have completely gone.

Railway Bridge, River Thames, Battersea Power Station, Grosvenor Rd, Pimlico, Westminster, 1988 88-5f-51-positive_2400
Railway Bridge, River Thames, Battersea Power Station, Grosvenor Rd, Pimlico, Westminster, 1988 88-5f-51

You may still see lighters moored in the river here, but I think this rather odd structure close to the mouth of the vestigial Grosvenor Canal here has gone. I wasn’t absolutely sure why there was this wooden platform with what looked to me like small dog-kennels on it, but perhaps as the rope shows they were simply for mooring barges waiting to use the canal. Technically I think this is a dolphin, as the picture below shows.

Chelsea Bridge, River Thames,Grosvenor Rd, Westminster, 198888-5f-52-positive_2400
Chelsea Bridge, River Thames,Grosvenor Rd, Westminster, 1988 88-5f-52

The first bridge here was built in 1858 when Chelsea Embankment was being built and was a suspension bridge intended to give the large population of Pimlico access to the new Battersea Park – if they could afford the toll – though it was made free on Sundays. It was then called Victoria Bridge, named like the station after the Queen. It became even less popular after Albert Bridge was built at the other end of the park in 1873. It was bought by the Metropolitan Board of Works in 1877 and they abolished the tolls in 1979. It was a narrow bridge and found to be structurally unsound, so fearing it might embarass the Queen if it collapsed they renamed it Chelsea Bridge. It didn’t collapse and apparently took several years to demolish when they decided to replace it with the current bridge which opened in 1937.

As the picture shows, the main cables are attached to the end of the bridge rather than on solid ground on the banks, and it was the first such ‘self-anchored’ suspension bridge in Britain. The LCC couldn’t afford to fund the entire cost and the Ministry of Transport only agreed to stand 60% oof the cost on the condition that all the materials used came from the British Empire.

When Billy Strayhorn named his most famous composition ‘Chelsea Bridge’ it was not this structure that he had in mind, but something more ethereal, probably Whistler’s Nocturne: Blue and Gold – Old Battersea Bridge.

Grosvenor Canal, entrance, River Thames, Pimlico, Westminster, 1988 88-5f-53-positive_2400
Grosvenor Canal, entrance, River Thames, Pimlico, Westminster, 1988 88-5f-53

I wrote at some length in a previous post about the Grosvenor Canal, London’s last working canal, still in use when I took this picture. You can see part of one of the barges still in use to carry Westminster’s rubbish downriver through the bridge.

Chelsea Bridge, River Thames, Battersea Power Station, Chelsea Embankment, Kensington & Chelsea, 1988 88-5f-43-positive_2400
Chelsea Bridge, River Thames, Battersea Power Station, Chelsea Embankment, Kensington & Chelsea, 1988 88-5f-43

The pictures here (and on Flickr) are from around 20 exposures I made on this small area of riverside, though many of the others are very similar. There were very few boats around moving on the river at the time.

Pagoda, Battersea Park, River Thames, Chelsea Embankment, Kensington & Chelsea, 1988 88-5f-34-positive_2400
Pagoda, Battersea Park, River Thames, Chelsea Embankment, Kensington & Chelsea, 1988 88-5f-34

I walked upriver along Chelsea Embankment on my way to catch a bus across Battersea Bridge to take me to Clapham Junction for the train home. On my way I took a few pictures of the impressive late-Victorian houses – which haven’t made it to my Flickr album – and four pictures across the river of the Battersea Park Peace Pagoda, this one of which has. I’m not sure about the framing and I think it would perhaps be better in a square format but I felt it had a suitably Japanese feel to it.

Reverend Gyoro Nagase at Hiroshima Day, Tavistock Square, 2019

After the destruction of Hiroshima and Nagasaki by US atom bombs in August 1945, Nichidatsu Fuji who had in 1917 founded the Japanese Buddhist movement, Nipponzan Myohoji, in 1947 decided they would set up Peace Pagodas around the world to promote peace and non-violence. The first opened in Japan in 1954 and the London Peace Pagoda was built by Nipponzan Myohoji monks and opened in 1985, shortly after Nichidatsu Fuji died aged 100. Since 1978 it has been looked after by Reverend Gyoro Nagase who I have met and photographed at many events calling for peace. There are also Peace Pagodas in Milton Keynes and Birmingham among over 80 around the world.


Click on any of the black and white images to go to a larger version in my album 1988 London Photos from where you can browse to other images.


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.


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.