Posts Tagged ‘power station’

Around Lots Road

Tuesday, October 12th, 2021

For various reasons the pictures in my albums online are not always in the order that they are taken, but it often makes more sense to write about them in the same order as I walked around taking them – which I can normally see from the contact sheets I made at the time. Usually too these contact sheets identify at least the rough locations of the images, though I often have to resort to maps and sometimes Google Streetview to find the precise spot. Chelsea hasn’t changed radically since I took these pictures but in some other areas this can be impossible. How I wish we had GPS on cameras back in 1986 – and I’m surprised so few cameras incorporate it now.

Westfield Park, Tetcott Rd, Lots Rd Power Station, Chelsea, Kensington & Chelsea, 1988 88-5j-16-positive_2400
Westfield Park, Tetcott Rd, Lots Rd Power Station, Chelsea, Kensington & Chelsea, 1988 88-5j-16

Most people know Lots Road because of the power station of the same name which was built to power the District Railway (now the District Line.) Completed in 1905, it enabled the line, most of which in central London is underground, to convert from steam to electric traction, which must have made it very much more pleasant to use.

Lots Rd, Chelsea,  Kensington & Chelsea, 1988  88-5k-62-positive_2400
Lots Rd, Chelsea, Kensington & Chelsea, 1988 88-5k-62

The power station, which has Chelsea Creek on one side and Lots Road on the other finally closed in 2002 and the area on both sides of the creek was developed as Chelsea Waterfront. The development only began in 2013, delayed both by having to get planning permission from both Kensington & Chelsea and Hammersmith and Fulham and then by the financial crash and was finally due to be completed in 2021. The power station should by now be “193 highest quality luxury loft-style apartments together with high-class restaurants, bar, cafes, boutique shops and a health & fitness club.”

Lots Rd, Chelsea,  Kensington & Chelsea, 1988 88-5k-63-positive_2400
Lots Rd, Chelsea, Kensington & Chelsea, 1988 88-5k-63

As the pictures show, I wandered a little around the area before returning east along Cremorne Road and Cheyne Walk to Battersea Bridge where I took a bus back to Clapham Junction.

Tadema Rd, Chelsea,  Kensington & Chelsea, 1988  88-5k-64-positive_2400
Tadema Rd, Chelsea, Kensington & Chelsea, 1988 88-5k-64

Tadema Road runs north from Lots Road and I doubt if I walked far up it. It’s hard now to see where this Cafe could have been.

Cremorne Rd, Chelsea,  Kensington & Chelsea, 1988 88-5k-66-positive_2400
Cremorne Rd, Chelsea, Kensington & Chelsea, 1988 88-5k-66

I had wandered perhaps up Tadema Road to Cremorne Road some way west from its junction with Lots Road to get to Cornwall Mansions at left of this picture, which is looking east past the junction with Edith Grove with a small part of the World’s End Estate towering in the right half of the picture.

Ornamental gate, Cremorne Gardens, Chelsea,  Kensington & Chelsea, 1988 88-5k-52-positive_2400
Ornamental gate, Cremorne Gardens, Chelsea, Kensington & Chelsea, 1988 88-5k-52

I walked back east on Cremorne Road to the junction with Lots Road and back down on to the riverside Cremorne Gardens. A house was built here around 1750 and later became home to the 1st Viscount Cremorne, an Irish peer from County Monaghan who gave it his name – which came from the Irish for ‘Mountains of Morne’. Charles Random De Berenger, Baron De Beaufain, (actually a fraud called Charles Random) bought the house and grounds here in 1831, turning into a sports club and adding some popular attractions including balloon ascents. The business failed in 1843 and was reopened in 1845 by James Ellis as the Cremorne Pleasure Gardens, with entertainment including concerts, fireworks, balloon ascents and galas. It closed in 1875, losing its licence with accusations that it was a “nursery of every kind of vice”. Much of the gardens were then built over then and later in the 20th century by the 1960s Cremorne Estate. A small riverside garden was re-established and opened in 1981, and the gate which had originally been at the King’s Road end of the Cremorne gardens was re-erected here, having spent the interim at Watney’s Brewery.

Chelsea Wharf, River Thames, Chelsea,  Kensington & Chelsea, 1988 88-5k-53-positive_2400
Chelsea Wharf, River Thames, Chelsea, Kensington & Chelsea, 1988 88-5k-53

I think this view was taken looking upriver from one of the two landing stages at Cremorne Gardens.

Houseboats, River Thames, Chelsea Embankment, Chelsea, Kensington & Chelsea, 1988  88-5k-55-positive_2400
Houseboats, River Thames, Chelsea Embankment, Chelsea, Kensington & Chelsea, 1988 88-5k-55

I think this view is from Old Ferry Wharf, which is actually on Cheyne Walk. The bridge is Battersea Bridge.

Houseboats, River Thames, Chelsea Embankment, Chelsea, Kensington & Chelsea, 1988  88-5k-42-positive_2400
Houseboats, River Thames, Chelsea Embankment, Chelsea, Kensington & Chelsea, 1988 88-5k-42-positive_2400

Another view from a little further east.

Cheyne Walk, Chelsea,  Kensington & Chelsea, 1988 88-5k-56-positive_2400
Cheyne Walk, Chelsea, Kensington & Chelsea, 1988 88-5k-56-positive_2400

These houses at left are on the corner with Blantyre St. The blue plaque at No 120 marks where Sylvia Pankhurst (1882-160) lived as an impoverished art student from 1906-09.

Whistler's House, Cheyne Walk, Chelsea, Kensington & Chelsea, 1988 88-5k-31-positive_2400
Whistler’s House, Cheyne Walk, Chelsea, Kensington & Chelsea, 1988 88-5k-31

James Abbott McNeill Whistler’s house at 98 Cheyne Walk. Some of his best-known pictures show the Thames at Cremorne Gardens. The house next door to the right, hardly visible from the road, was the home of both Sir Marc Isambard Brunel and his son  Isambard Kingdom Brunel.

Click on any image to see a larger version in the album 1988 London Photos, from where you can browse the whole album.


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All photographs on this page are copyright © Peter Marshall. Contact me to buy prints or licence to reproduce.


Bow Creek from East India Dock Road

Tuesday, February 9th, 2021

Bow Creek, West Ham Power Station, East India Dock Rd, Tower Hamlets, Newham, 1989 89-4c55_2400
Bow Creek, West Ham Power Station, East India Dock Rd, Tower Hamlets, Newham, 1989

Bow Creek truly became magical as it passed under the East India Dock Road, and although it has now lost much of the interest on its banks, the incredible flattened S-shape as it curves before reaching the Thames remains impressive.

Bow Creek, West Ham Power Station, East India Dock Rd, Newham, 1989 89-4c56_2400
Bow Creek, West Ham Power Station, East India Dock Rd, Newham, 1989

The creek bends almost 90 degrees to flow roughly south under the road at Ironbridge Wharf (the iron bridge long replaces by more modern concrete structures) only to take a hairpin 180 degree bend to return almost back to the road before sweeping another 180 degrees down to go over the elevated Lower Lea Crossing. From there its convolutions continue with a 90 turn to the east and another to the south before entering the Thames as Leamouth, around 900 metres away as the gull flies, but 1900 by boat.

Bow Creek, East India Dock Rd, Poplar, Tower Hamlets, Newham, 198232f-24_2400
Bow Creek, East India Dock Rd, Poplar, Tower Hamlets, Newham, 1982

Its course defines two very different peninsulas; to the west on largely undeveloped and now a nature reserve, with the DLR crossing to it on a viaduct and running up it, and on the east an industrial site, then occupied by the edible oil company Pura Foods (earlier Acatos & Hutcheson) and now the site of the City Island development.

Timber yard,  Essex Wharf, Bow Creek, East India Dock Rd, Newham, Tower Hamlets, 1989 89-4c51_2400
Timber yard, Essex Wharf, Bow Creek, East India Dock Rd, Newham, Tower Hamlets, 1989

On the eastern bank of the river south of Canning Town station is another so-called peninsula, the Limmo Penisula, which became a major Crossrail works site and is now a housing development. The name was previously used for the whole area around this part of Bow Creek and the nature reserve, now the Bow Creek ecology park was first called the Limmo Peninsula ecological park. It is an area of confusing names, with the new development south of the Lower Lea Crossing taking its name, Goodluck Hope, from the area now called City Island. It was also easy to get a little confused by the area itself with the wandering of the river, and even when writing this post I had problems sorting out pictures just from the appropriate area.

Pipe Bridge, Bow Creek, Tower Hamlets, Newham, 1989 89-4c63_2400
Pipe Bridge, Bow Creek, Tower Hamlets, Newham, 1989

The pipe bridge possibly carried gas from the nearby Poplar Gas works to Canning Town; downstream was a disused railway bridge. A new ‘blue bridge’ was later erected between these two (it appears in my 1992 pictures) and the pipe bridge was taken down though its brick piers left in place – now only the eastern one remains.

Timber Yard, Bow Creek, Tower Hamlets, 1989 89-4c65_2400
Timber Yard, Bow Creek, Tower Hamlets, 1989

The pictures in this post were all taken on or close to the East India Dock Road where it crosses Bow Creek, beginning with a couple looking up river and with the rest looking towards the south. In later posts I’ll cover the area further down Bow Creek which played an important part in the industrial (and footballing) history of the nation, and return with the creek back almost to the road.

Bow Creek, Leamouth Rd, Leamouth, Tower Hamlets, Newham, 1982 32f-36_2400
Bow Creek, Leamouth Rd, Leamouth, Tower Hamlets, Newham, 1982

The pictures here are from visits to the area in 1982 and 1989, but I also took some in 1983, and returned again in 1992, mainly to make some panoramic views, which I’ll write about in a later post. You can see more of my pictures in my Flickr album – this area is on page 4 – and clicking on any of the above pictures will also take you to the larger version there.

South of Bow Locks – the 1980s

Saturday, February 6th, 2021

Bow Creek, Bow Locks, Hackney, Tower Hamlets, 1983 36v-52_2400

Back in the 1980s it wasn’t possible to walk beside Bow Creek from Bow Locks south to the East India Dock road, as the banks were occupied by various industrial and commercial sites, including two gas works and West Ham power station. And although there have been plans by the councils for many years, even today you can only walk down on the Newham bank as far as Cody Dock, on a path opened to the public some years ago with the ridiculous name of the Fatwalk, but since renamed. There is a tantalising walkway visible continuing past the dock along the former power station bank, but this is still closed to the public.

Clinic, Bromley-by-Bow, Tower Hamlets, 1983 35v-35_2400

While this was a limitation, it was also an opportunity to explore the two areas where roads ran close (or not too close) to Bow Creek to both the east in West Ham and west in Bromley and Poplar, and I was rewarded by some images I found interesting, though parts of my walks were along fume laden streets with heavy traffic.

Blackwall Tunnel Northern Approach, Tweed House, view, Bromley-by-Bow, Tower Hamlets, 1983 35v-3pan_2400

Tweed House, a tall block of council flats on the Blackwall Tunnel Approach Road next to the Limehouse Cut enabled me to take some pictures which I more recently stitched together to create two panoramas of the area – the individual pictures are also in the Flickr album. Click to see the larger versions on Flickr.

Blackwall Tunnel Northern Approach, Tweed House, view, Bromley-by-Bow, Tower Hamlets, 1983 35v-4-pan_2400

From various places both on to the east and west of Bow Creek I found rather satisfyingly bleak views of the distant power station, including one with a young mother with a small baby in a pram.

Lochnagar St, Bromley-by-Bow, Tower Hamlets, 1983 36v-42_2400

Others were emptier still, like this

Lorry Park, Gillender St, Bromley-by-Bow, Tower Hamlets, 1982 32e-42_2400

or more minimal and just occasionally rather threatening; some streets around here featured in crime films and TV dramas of the era, gangster London.

Lochnager St, Poplar, Tower Hamlets, 1982 32e-34_2400

But there was also a little chance for fun, with a cafeteria with two giant cooling towers to take away the cooking fumes and the unlikely name of Oasis.

Oasis, Cafeteria, Cafe, Bidder St, West Ham, Newham, 1983 36v-12_2400

Poplar Gas Works was on a rather smaller scale to Bromley-by-Bow, but its gas holders still dominated the working class housing around it. Two young girls playing on the grass came to see what I was doing and insisted on being photographed, though I perhaps should have stepped back a foot or two to avoid cropping their feet to get the gasholder in the frame.

Girls, Gasholder, Poplar Gas Works, Rutland Terrace, Oban St, Poplar, Tower Hamlets, 1983 35v-55_2400

At East India Dock Road I was able to return to Bow Creek – and things got even more interesting (and although very different they still are) as I hope to show you in the next installment of my work from the Flick album River Lea – Lea Navigation – 1981-92 – the pictures above are all on Page 4.

Clicking on any of the images above should take you to a larger version on Flickr, and you can also go on to explore the album from there.


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.


End rewarding Drax for pollution

Friday, August 9th, 2019

I’ve never felt bad about having a bonfire in the garden. We generate a lot of small branches from various shrubs and trees that have to be regularly cut back, and it’s material that mostly won’t compost. And although we have several large compost bins, we’ve found from experience that they don’t get hot enough to destroy a few really tough and troublesome weeds, So these often get put on the bonfire too, though we could pay for the council to collect them as garden waste.

All this carbon release is of short-term carbon, mostly this year’s carbon, and there is no net increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide caused by our gardening.

And of course the bonfire produces carbon dioxide, but firstly it is only a fraction of the carbon dioxide which has been turned into wood and leaf in our garden, with the rest remaining locked in as our bushes and trees grow bushier and taller, or being eaten (and thus released) as fruit and vegetables. More too gets back in to the atmosphere from the green waste that does go into our compost bins.

Of course there are other pollutants from our very occasional garden bonfires, including particulates and doubtless toxic chemicals. But I am fairly sure that the amounts of these are relatively small and will add little to those already in our air here from the nearby roads, motorways and Heathrow.

But burning wood to produce electricity at Drax is a quite different matter. One obvious difference is that of scale: Last year Drax burnt 7.2 million tonnes of wood pellets, equivalent to at least twice that amount of green wood, and more than the UK’s total annual wood production, and released 13.02 million tonnes of CO2 into the atmosphere (in addition to another  4.36 million tonnes from coal and other fossil fuels.)

The wood burnt at Drax is ‘old’, having grown over many years, and even with the most sustainable forest planting to replace it will take more than 50 years. The majority of it comes as pellets from the USA, mostly produced from hardwood from the clear-cutting of biodiverse forest ecosystems, and the major producer, Enviva has been subject to heavy criticism both for its destruction of these swamp and wetland forests, and for locating its highly polluting pellet plants in areas of social deprivation already exposed to high levels of industrial pollution.

Drax’s carbon-producing wood burning is only financially viable because it gets huge subsidies. In 2018 these amounted to £789.2 million, This money comes from our energy bills which carry a surcharge, intended for promoting renewable electricity. It should not be used to promote highly polluting and essentially non-renewable wood burning. The subsidies are greater than the company’s annual profits and without them wood-burning would not be viable.

Drax also gets subsidies from the government for burning coal, though on a rather smaller scale, but also impossible to justify. For 2019/20 this is  £22 million, and similar subsidies are expected until 2025. It is also expected to be subsidised for burning gas, and wants to greatly expand its generation from gas.

These huge subsidies to Drax for its contribution to global warming come at at time when our government has slashed subsidies for truly renewable energy production from onshore wind and solar power as well as those for energy efficiency and conservation.

More about the protest outside Drax’s AGM in the City of London, and later outside the Dept for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) demanding an end to environmental subsidies for massive pollution in two posts on My London Diary:
Drax wood burning must end
Drax Protest at BEIS


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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