Posts Tagged ‘River Thames’

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.

Another Chelsea Walk – 1988

Monday, October 4th, 2021

Church Of The Ñazarene, Grant Rd, Battersea, Wandsworth, 1988 88-5j-54-positive_2400
Church Of The Ñazarene, Grant Rd, Battersea, Wandsworth, 1988 88-5j-54

I returned for another walk in Chelsea, taking the train to Clapham Junction and taking a few pictures on my short walk to the bus stop of the Church Of The Ñazarene close to the north entrance to the station on Grant Road. The church, a twelve-sided building by Green Lloyd Adams was built in 1970 on the edge of the Winstanley Estate, developed by Battersea Council in the 1960s. The lettering on the ramp ‘JESUS SAID I AM THE WAY’ is designed for maximum size rather than typographical nicety.

Currently extensive building work is being carried out to considerably extend the church, though its future may be threatened if Crossrail 2 goes ahead. Of the two pictures I made I preferred a view across the small area with seats to a cleaner architectural view also included in the album.

Falcon Rd, Battersea, Wandsworth, 1988 88-5j-55-positive_2400
Falcon Rd, Battersea, Wandsworth, 1988 88-5j-55

On the bus I took advantage of an unusually clean front window on the upper deck to take a photograph of Falcon Road with the Queen Victoria pub. Also apparently known as ‘Spikey Hedghog’ the pub which had been there since the 1860s closed permanently in 1999 and was demolished to build the 8 flats of St Luke’s Court.

The picture also includes a falcon – both image and text on the side of a lorry. Elsewhere you can read a short post Falcon Road – a Memory of Battersea by someone who grew up living in the pub which gives an idea what the area was like, probably in the 1950s.

Beaufort St, Chelsea, Kensington & Chelsea, 1988 88-5j-45-positive_2400
Beaufort St, Chelsea, Kensington & Chelsea, 1988 88-5j-45

I got off the bus in Beaufort St in Chelsea and photographed this doorway there before walking along Cheyne Walk. Although the door is on Beaufort St, this is Belle Vue Lodge with the address 91 Cheyne Walk. It gets a lengthy mention in the Survey of London, first published in 1913 which suggests it dates from before 1771. It states that in 1829 it was occupied by “Luke Thomas Flood, who was a great benefactor to the parish. He was evidently a friend of the historian, for he addressed some lines to him, which conclude with the halting line ‘Sweet Chelsea shall ever live in thee.’ Flood Street was named after him, and his benefactions are celebrated at the parish church by a service on January 13th,—’Flood’s Day.'”

Houseboats, River Thames, Chelsea Embankment, Chelsea, Kensington & Chelsea, 1988 88-5j-32-positive_2400
Houseboats, River Thames, Chelsea Embankment, Chelsea, Kensington & Chelsea, 1988 88-5j-32

I walked across Cheyne Walk to make a photograph over the roofs of houseboats at the moorings, looking towards Chelsea Harbour and at left the Rank Hovis flour mills at Battersea and the Battersea Rail bridge. Then I think only used by goods trains this now carries frequent services of the London Overground as well as Thameslink trains.

Cheyne Walk, Chelsea, Kensington & Chelsea, 1988 88-5j-33-positive_2400
Cheyne Walk, Chelsea, Kensington & Chelsea, 1988 88-5j-33

I took a picture of houses in Cheyne Row. That at left is No 104 with two blue plaques, for the artist Walter Greaves (1846-1930) and Anglo-French ‘Poet, essayist and historian’ Hilaire Belloc (1870-1953) whose poem Jim (who ran away from his Nurse and was eaten by a Lion) ends with the famous lines:
‘And always keep ahold of nurse
For fear of finding something worse.’

No 104 doesn’t get a mention in the Survey of London, but No 100 at right of the picture is part of Lindsey House which it suggests was “rebuilt much in its present external form by the third Earl of Lindsey in 1674” but then divided into separate houses as 95-100 around 1775. It gets a very long entry.

Beaufort St, Chelsea, Kensington & Chelsea, 1988 88-5j-22-positive_2400
Beaufort St, Chelsea, Kensington & Chelsea, 1988 88-5j-22

I walked back up Beaufort St, passing a long row of frontages with identical garden ornaments which I think is Beaufort Mansions, though the gardens now have hedges. I think these mansion flats probably date from around 1890.

Shop window, Kings Rd, Chelsea, Kensington & Chelsea, 1988 88-5j-23-positive_2400
Shop window, Kings Rd, Chelsea, Kensington & Chelsea, 1988 88-5j-23

I was on my way to take a few more photographs on the King’s Road, including a several shop interiors. I think the name of the shop is on the wall at left, part hidden, Pineapple.

More pictures from this walk in a later post.

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

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

Richmond and Clapham

Tuesday, May 25th, 2021

Oak House, Old Palace Place, King St, Richmond, 1988 88-1a-53-positive_2400
Oak House, Old Palace Place, King St, Richmond, 1988

I went to Richmond fairly often fairly in my youth some 25 years or so before I took these pictures, sometimes on my bike, on the 37 bus from Hounslow Garage or by car with a friend from school who had a part-time job and could afford to run a Morris Minor. On the bike I would generally ride around Richmond Park, and I took my first cassette of black and white film mainly of the trees there, sending them away to be processed and getting back 36 crinkle-edged black and white enprints. D & P cost something like 17s11d (around 90p) and it was several years before I could afford to take another film. The prints were a dull grey, with no trace of either white or black, but even well-printed they would have been of no great interest.

Flooding, River Thames, Richmond, 1988 88-1a-62-positive_2400
Flooding, River Thames, Richmond, 1988

When we went together in my mate’s car, often with a third friend, it was to sit with a cup of coffee on the terrace of a coffee bar, watching the girls go by while our coffee cooled. I doubt we could ever afford more than a single cup, and certainly none of us had the nerve to talk to any of those passing girls. Richmond at the time was full of young foreign au-pairs, all rather older than us.

Flooding, River Thames, Richmond, 1988 88-1a-02-positive_2400
Flooding, River Thames, Richmond, 1988

I think most of my bus journeys were made on my own, visiting the Palm Court Hotel to listen to jazz in the bar there, standing making a pint of bitter (probably Red Barrel or Worthington E – I then knew no better) last and last as I couldn’t afford another. It was always a rather lonely evening, with little conversation – though occasionally some older man would attempt to pick me up but I wasn’t interested. But there was some truly great music from the likes of Bobby Wellins.

Flooding, River Thames, Richmond, 1988 88-1a-01-positive_2400
Flooding, River Thames, Richmond, 1988

Later, in my thirties, I would visit Richmond regularly, having joined the photographic society there and made a few friends who shared some of my photographic interests. Club photography was in general tired and formulaic and had little to offer, but became used to doing my own thing often to the derision of the majority of the members. I still remember the frisson of revulsion when a visiting judge for an inter-club competion not only praised my entry but awarded it one of the prizes.

Flooding is frequent at Richmond, where the Thames is still tidal (though a half-lock prevents it draining out completely at low tide) and there are always motorists who ignore the warning notices. I think it comes up over parts of the towpath most months during Spring Tides. These pictures were taken in March when I had probably come on one of my regular visits to a couple of second-hand bookshops that often had decent photographic books in stock at a time when these were rare. Many were review copies, probably never reviewed but sold to the dealers as one of the perks of a poorly-paid job. I decided if ever I became a book reviewer (which eventually I did) I would never sell copies, and I didn’t though there were some I gave away, but many more I refused to take.

Heath Terrace, Wandsworth Rd, Silverthorne Rd, Clapham, Lambeth, 1988 88-3a-01-positive_2400
Heath Terrace, Wandsworth Rd, Silverthorne Rd, Clapham, Lambeth, 1988

Once a month we came to visit friends in Kennington, arriving for lunch on a Sunday, and I would often travel up earlier than the rest of my family and spend some time walking around and taking pictures, and I think this may have been taken on one of those mornings. I think I will have chosen this angle on the ornamented Heath Terrace carefully, not just to show the 4 white chimneys of Battersea Power Station at left, but also the rather Lego-like tower block at right, and choosing to put a concrete post at the right edge.

Heath Terrace is still there, though I think now entirely residential, and I’m not sure you can still see the power station, certainly not in summer when Streetview is on its rounds, as that small tree has grown considerably. The concrete post, which I assume was a lamp post as well as holding some other sign has disappeared.

Clapham Manor St, Clapham, Lambeth, 1988 88-3a-04-positive_2400
Clapham Manor St, Clapham, Lambeth, 1988

This Grade II listed building at 42 Clapham Manor St is now home to the London Russian Ballet School and Kids Love Lambeth. It was built in 1854, architect by James Thomas Knowles Snr, as the Clapham General Dispensary for the ‘The Clapham Sick Poor Fund’ formed in 1849 and provided free medical and surgical services for almost a century, closing in the early 1950s.

In 1959 the building was used by the London County Council for industrial training for people with special needs. It later became a pre-school playground and adult education centre, which I think it was at the time of my photograph. Shortly after in 1989 it became empty and suffered some fire damage which led to considerable internal rebuilding. Still owned by Lambeth council, it became a taxi training school until 2005-6 when the council sold the building and its considerable premises at the rear. For some years it was in illegal use as ballet studios, with this being made legal in 2013.

James Thomas Knowles Snr (1806-1884) designed the building free of charge and it was paid for by public subscription. As well as its architectural merit is is listed as one of the earliest provident dispensaries to survive in London.

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.

Photography Workshop 9th May 2004

Sunday, May 9th, 2021

I hope those who came with me on the workshop I led around a part of London’s Dockland 17 years ago found it stimulating. For me it was a familiar walk, but I think most of the others were seeing the area for the first time. One of the instructions for the workshop some will have found difficult was not to bring a tripod, as these were and are red rags to the security staff who closely patrol the Canary Wharf estate. We had no problems with security on this workshop, though I have had confrontations on other occasions – including being once escorted off the estate.

I think I had been asked to run the workshop for London Independent Photography, though I’m not sure. On My London Diary I put a short text about the event and some pictures that I made during it. I’ve corrected the spelling and capitalisation of the original, otherwise it is exactly as written, probably deliberately in part ungrammatically.

May 9 found me taking a group of photographers for a walk around some parts of London’s docklands. we started at the centre of this ‘crime of the century’. I still don’t quite understand why a Conservative government felt so at odds with the City of London that it decided to set up offshore competition in the Enterprise Zone.

The feeding frenzy that ensued, trousering public property and tax breaks into the private pocket at an unprecedented rate.

The long-term consequence has been a distorted development with few real buildings of distinction but some expensively finished tat, and a lack of overall planning. I’m not sure that London would benefit from gaining the Olympics for which it is currently bidding, but if it fails, probably part of the reason will be the docklands debacle.

We started below the obscene gesture towards the old city, at least clear about its symbolism, then took the DLR down to Crossharbour with its silly bridge, walking back to the wharf and taking the Jubilee to Canning Town. then back alongside the Lea (still waiting for that riverside walkway) to East India Dock Basin and along by the Thames, where a galleon appeared in front of the dome.

My London Diary – May 2004

Docklands has continued to change since 2004, but it remains a largely lost opportunity to develop what had become the redundant area for the benefit of the people as a whole rather than to enrich a few.

Back in 2004 I was still working with my first DSLR, the Nikon D100 for which had recently bought the Sigma 12-24mm lens and on this DX format camera this gave effective focal lengths of 18-36mm. The smaller format also avoids the weaker corners of this extreme wide-angle zoom (I think the first of its type) and within the smaller field it was remarkably distortion-free. There are a few more pictures on My London Diary – including that galleon – some rendered rather dully by the RAW software of the time – I’ve improved the rendering of those included in this post.

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.

Thames Path

Sunday, April 4th, 2021

One of the many things I ought really to do is to put together a book of my pictures of the Thames Path. Of course quite a few others have done so, but I think mine would provide a slightly different view.

I think I’ve walked every section of it over the years, parts of it many times, though there may possibly be a few yards I’ve missed actually in London where there are routes on both sides of the river. I’ve also gone rather further east on both banks, as the Thames Path stops rather prematurely at the Thamea Barrier while the paths continue.

I’ve never quite been to the mouth of the Thames, traditionally marked at various places including the the Nore sandbank, Yantlet Creek – where the City put up the London Stone, and though I cycled to Leigh-on-Sea in 2005 I think I missed the Crow Stone.

Most of the sections of path upstream from Windsor I’ve walked on various days with my family. As far as a little above Oxford it’s fairly easy to travel by public transport to the start of a day’s walk and back from the end, but above that there are few buses and no stations until you get close to the source. So the final (or initial) 60-70 km had eluded us.

In 2013, my elder son planned the expedition to complete the route, booking bed and breakfast for the three of us at Buscot and Cricklade so we had three days to walk. On the Tuesday following Easter, two trains (both running late) took us to Oxford, despite Easter Holiday engineering works still in operation and we took the bus to Hinton Waldrist. For the last five miles we were the only passengers and the bus had a problem in the village squeezing past a parked tractor.

We were still a couple of km away from the Thames Path, but the sun was out and despite being rather close to zero it was good walking weather. The map and guide book said there was still a ford across an old stream of the river at Duxford which would have saved us some walking, but there had been considerable rain in previous weeks and it was clearly impassable; even on the longer way round we occasionally needed to detour around flooded sections of path.

We just made it for a late lunch before the pub at Tadpole Bridge stopped serving, having seen only one other person on the first five miles or so of our walk. It was good to have a pint, though the food suffered from the restaurant’s aspirations, and service was fast. The river winds considerably around here and I think we walked at least twice as far as a crow might fly to get to Radcot and from there on to Kelmscott where we again paused. We were a day early for the first opening of the Manor there, perhaps as well as we didn’t have time to appreciate it, but we did visit William Morris’s grave and the local pub before continuing our slog to Buscot Manor, an interesting and welcoming place to spend the night.

The following morning after a very large breakfast with other guests we made a short tour of the village before continuing along the Thames Path towards Lechlade, where I was forced to waste time snared into a tea shop by my companions. Eventually we made it and walked on past the start of the Thames and Severn canal to the Church of St John the Baptist at Inglesham, a splendid medieval survival thanks to the efforts of William Morris, who along with his pre-Raphaelite friends founded the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings (SPAB) or ‘Anti-Scrape’ to oppose the gothicisation of buildings such as these.

Then came the worst section of the Thames Path, a mile or so on the verge of the busy A361 followed by another couple along a bridle path and country lanes out of sight of the river. Between Inglesham and Castle Eaton there is no real Thames Path – except for a couple of hundred yards beside the river in the 4 or 5 mile stretch. Though except for the A361 it is a decent country walk. The route does run beside the river from Castle Eaton to Cricklade where we made for the oldest and poshest pub, the White Hart where we were booked. And after finding our room found a good Indian restaurant not far away.

After a disappointing breakfast we took a short walk around Cricklade before continuing our journey. Flooding in the area meant the path had been diverted but it wasn’t a bad diversion and we were soon walking with the river through a land almost entirely covered by unfilled gravel pits, something there is no shortage of close to home. These cover the land east and west of the charming village of Ashton Keynes, west of which it’s hard to decide where the river actually flows. According to the Thames Path Guide, the Thames follows several coursed through Ashton Keynes, though some distance further up you do walk beside a decent small river.

Past the A 329 the river rather peters out, and by the time we reached Thames Head on the A 433 Fosse Way all that was left was damp grass. Across the road we struggled up a small hill to the official source, a dry spring that is marked by a stone placed here by the Thames Conservators. From here it was downhill to Kemble Station and a long wait for a train to Swindon, where we changed for Reading and then another train home.

More details and many more pictures on My London Diary.
Thames Path: Cricklade to the Source
Thames Path: Buscot to Cricklade
Thames Path: Shifford to Buscot

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 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 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.

Limehouse, Pimlico & the City

Thursday, February 25th, 2021
DLR, Limehouse Dock, Limehouse, 1992 92-3d-36-7a_2400
Panorama, DLR & Limehouse Dock, Limehouse, 1992

My walk down the Lea Valley from the source to the Thames took a long time on my posts here, and there are still many pictures in the Flickr album that have not featured here, including those around the other outlet from the Lea Navigation to the River Thames via the Limehouse Cut and Limehouse Basin by which barges could avoid the winding and rather treacherous Bow Creek. There are over 500 pictures in the album, including a number of colour images and they come from various visits over around ten years when I probably made several thousands of exposures. And I continued to make occasional visits there after 1992, the latest I think in 2018 or 2019. So here are just a couple of final images before I return to my wider explorations of London, back in 1987.

Heavy Rain, LimehouseBasin, entrance, River Thames, Limehouse, Tower Hamlets, 1983 33f-45_2400
Heavy Rain, Limehouse Basin entrance, River Thames, Limehouse, Tower Hamlets, 1983

1987 continued

St George's Drive, Pimlico, Westminster, 1987 87-10a-15-positive_2400
St George’s Drive, Pimlico, Westminster, 1987 87-10a-15-positive_2400

My last post about my pictures around London several months ago ended with two pictures from Pimlico taken in early October, and that’s where I will take up the story. The long streets of the area lined with Cubitt’s impressive stucco were developed from 1825, St George’s Drive, along with Belgrave Road were the two principla streets, with these opulent five storey town houses, were built (as Wikipedia quotes) for “professional men… not rich enough to luxuriate in Belgravia proper, but rich enough to live in private houses”.

By the 1980s many houses in the area were beginning to show their age; some had been converted to hotels and others offices, while others were in multiple occupation, often rather crudely converted. Developers were busy buying up properties to convert them into flats, as this picture with its estate agent’s boards and scaffolding illustrates.

Churton Place, Pimlico, Westminster, 1987 87-10a-02-positive_2400
Churton Place, Pimlico, Westminster, 1987

The side streets were also a part of Cubitt’s development, but here the houses were less grand and typically of three storeys.

River Thames, foreshore, Blackfriars, downstream, City, 1987 87-10o-63-positive_2400
River Thames, view downstream from Blackfriars, City of London, 1987

My next visit to London, later in the month took me further east, walking from Waterloo Station to the City meant I had to cross the River Thames and this picture shows a rather misty view downstream, with Southwark Bridge, Cannon St Rail Bridge, London Bridge and Tower Bridge. At the left is a tall warehouse on the upstream side of Queenhithe, London’s earliest dock. Now there would be another bridge, the Millennium footbridge, in the foreground.

White Lion Hill, City, 1987 87-10o-52-positive_2400
White Lion Hill, City of London, 1987

White Lion Hill leads up from the river to Queen Victoria St, where a rather dull office building, the Faraday Building, seems to have the dome of St Paul’s Cathedral on its roof. This part of the building was built in 1890 as a post office sorting office, which in 1905 became the GPO’s first London telephone exchange. A taller extension to the west (to the left of this view) was added in 1933, with the whole complex becoming known as Faraday House. This held the international telephone exchange and in its first years virtually all the world’s international telephone conversations were routed through here.

As this picture shows, Faraday House partly blocked the view of St Paul’s Cathedral from the Thames riverside and this led to the introduction of regulations restricting the height of new buildings in various locations giving a number of protected views from around London – including a well known one from Richmond Park. But the regulations only came in after Faraday House was built and were not retrospective. The photograph also shows another of Wren’s churches, St. Benet Paul’s Wharf, rebuilt after the Great Fire and reopened in 1683. Queen Victoria granted the church to Welsh Anglicans in 1879 and services are still conducted there in Welsh.

Knightrider St, City, 1987 87-10o-43-positive_2400
Knightrider St, City of London, 1987

Redevelopment was in full swing in the Knightrider St area as you can see from these pictures. I think the building at right is is the back of the building on Queen Victoria St now home to the Church of Scientology, and to the left is probably Faraday House. So many of what see like older buildings in the city are now just facades to more recent developments.

Knightrider St, City, 198787-10o-42-positive_2400

The web has many references to Knightrider St, but none that give useful information about its post-war past. Most are about its name, suggesting that Stow’s suggestion it came from being a handy route for knights riding to St Paul’s and Smithfield is unlikely (though there are no positive suggestions), or list buildings along the street which were demolished in the nineteenth century or earlier, and exactly the same information is in those reference books I’ve consulted which mention the street.

Knightrider St, City, 1987 87-10o-41-positive_2400

Addle Hill which runs down to the western end of Knightrider St, which continues west as Wardrobe Terrace. In between taking these pictures I photographed The Bell pub, on the corner of Addle Hill and Wardrobe Terrace which closed in 1989 and was demolished in 1998, one of many pictures not on-line. Further east on Knightrider St is The Horn Tavern, which was renamed The Centre Page in 2002 and is newspaper-themed.

These pictures are from Page 7 of my album 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.

Bow Creek Panoramas – 1992

Thursday, February 18th, 2021

DLR Viaduct, Bow Creek, Leamouth Rd, Leamouth, Tower Hamlets, Newham, 1982 92-1j61pr_2400

At the end of 1991 I finally bought my first panoramic camera, a Japanese Widelux F8 which I couldn’t really afford. It was a camera that took around 21 pictures on a 36 exposure film, with the film curved around a part of a cylindrical path with the lens pivoting around the centre of the cylinder.

Bow Creek, Bridges, Leamouth Rd, Tower Hamlets, 1992 92-3a42a_2400

The lens is a 26mm f2.8, though it needs to be stopped down to around f8 for most pictures as the camera is fixed focus at around 6 ft and only gets sharp at infinity when stopped down. Winding on the film winds up a clockwork motor and returns the lens to its starting position. On pressing the shutter the lens swings around through about 140 degrees, exposing the film through a slit at its back which swings across close to the film. It has 3 shutter speeds, 1/15, 1/125, and 1/250th, but even at the fastest speed it still takes rather longer to actually complete the exposure.


The design keeps lens to film distant constant – at around 26mm – right to the edge of the film across a negative 24mm x 56mm. If this was flat, the distance to the corner would be more like 40mm and so objects at the edges get stretched to around 1.5 times actual size. This camera eliminates this distortion, but at the expense of introducing its own which you can see in these pictures. This becomes particularly noticeable in the curvature of most straight non-vertical lines.

Pura Foods, Bow Creek, M & J Reuben, London Sawmills, Wharfside Rd, Newham, 1992 92-3b52_2400

In particular, horizons become curved unless the camera is kept absolutely level. The pictures of Bow Creek were made with the camera on a sturdy tripod and with the help of a spirit level. There is one on the top plate of the camera, but I found a larger separate one more useful.

Bow Creek, Orchard Place, River Thames, Lower Lea Crossing, Tower Hamlets, Newham, 1992 92-1n12_leamouth_2400

Although the angle of view is often stated as 140 degrees this is perhaps misleading and I think probably is the angle across the diagonal. Rather more useful is the horizontal angle of view, which I think is just slightly over 120 degrees. Theoretically it would be possible to create a full 360 degree view in three exposures, but practically it needed four, though I don’t think I ever succeeded on the few occasions I tried to make one.

Later I made many more panoramas here and around London, particularly with a similar Russian camera, the Horizon or Horizont which was rather more convenient to use, as well as a few with a much larger medium format version. I also used a Hassleblad X-Pan, a nice camera which was panoramic only in format, with a similar negative size, 58x24mm, but using rectilinear lenses which can’t acheive a really wide angle of view.

To the Thames – 1983

Wednesday, February 17th, 2021

Canning Town, Newham, 1983 35t-36 (2)_2400

The whole area has changed so much since 1983 that I find it very confusing to locate the exact locations of many of the pictures that I took, and I’ve occasionally got some of the captions wrong. Often the only way I can be sure is by carefully studying other pictures that I took where I am sure of the location.

The building at the centre of the above image can be seen in one of the pictures posted yesterday, and is clearly on Victoria Dock Road, this section of the road completely obliterated in the construction of the Docklands Light Railway and the Canning Town transport interchange. Victoria Dock Road now begins on the other side of Silvertown Way. The picture above was taken from somewhere near the flood barrier.

Bow Creek, East India Dock Rd, Canning Town, Newham, 1983 35t-24_2400

The warning light for the flood barrier was some way to the north, where the river bends around close to the East India Dock Road. At the left of the notice is a pub the East India Dock Road, long demolished, but both pylons are still there, along with the Newham Way flyover.

Bow Creek, Orchard Place, Tower Hamlets,  Newham,  1983 36a-26_2400

I think this picture was taken roughly where the Lower Lea Crossing now goes across Bow Creek and the river bends around to the east.

Leamouth Wharf, Orchard Place, Blackwall Point Power Station, Bow Creek, Tower Hamlets, Newham, 1983 36a-15_2400

It is difficult to pinpoint the locations of these views taken on the same day as I walked down beside Bow Creek towards the Thames. The pylon visible here was on the north-east corner of the East India Dock Basin next to Orchard Place and has since been removed. The chimney is a small mystery as I think this is Brunswick Wharf power station which had two chimneys – but I may have carefully lined them up so one is hidden behind the other. In 1983 the station was still in use and only decommissioned in 1984.

Bow Creek, River Thames, Blackwall Point, Power Station, Trinity Buoy Wharf, Newham, Tower Hamlets, 1983 35t-34 (2)_2400

Things are much clearer as the River Thames comes into view, and the creek swings around yet again towards the south. The power station across the river is the Blackwall Point Power Station on a site close to where the Millennium Dome was later built.

Bow Creek, Thames Wharf, Newham, 1983 35t-65_2400

There was then still a railway line leading down to Thames Wharf, and this was still an industrial area. Things are rather busier not with these sheds still in use and the whole area here is now covered by piles of steel stocks as you can see from satellite images on Google.

River Thames, Bow Creek, Lighthouse, Trinity Buoy Wharf, Tower Hamlets, 1983 35t-31_2400

Across Bow Creek I got a good view of London’s only lighthouse, at Trinity Buoy Wharf. Some years later I was to visit this site on various occasions for several art projects, including a show in which a few of my pictures of Bow Creek were part of the display. And with the late lamented London Arts Cafe I came to a picnic on the riverside and sat in the lighthouse to listen for a few minutes to Jem Finer’s Longplayer which began its thousand year performance here at midnight on the 31st of December 1999. But until 1988 it was still owned by Trinity House and busy maintaining buoys.

Heavy Rain, LimehouseBasin, entrance, River Thames, Limehouse, Tower Hamlets, 1983

Thames Wharf on the River Thames was a busy industrial site which back then seemed mainly to be dealing in scrap metal, and I had to walk around a few heaps to make my way along the river. Although I rather felt I was trespassing, no one approached me. Security was far less strict back then.

Thames Wharf, Victoria Dock Entrance, River Thames, Silvertown, Newham 36a-51_2400

This was around the limit of my walk and having taken my pictures – you can see a few more on Flickr – I walked back up Dock Road to Silvertown Way. I doubt if you can follow much of my walk today, but you do get a good overhead view of the area from the dangleway, London’s cable car across the Thames from North Greenwich to Victoria Dock. But don’t wait too long, as the sponsorship deal with the Emirates Air Line ends in 2022 and the future of this hugely loss-making service must be in doubt.

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.

City Walk 2004

Wednesday, December 16th, 2020

I can’t remember exactly why I went up to London on 16th December 2004, but my pictures taken that day tell me fairly clearly the route that I took, taking me in a rather roundabout fashion from London Bridge to a meeting with someone at the Museum of London.

It was a fine day, and I’d obviously decided to take an early train to give me time to wander and take a few photographs before the meeting, arriving at London Bridge Station over an hour before. I can tell this because I was using a digital camera, my first interchangeable lens digital camera, a Nikon D100 and can read the times the images were made from the Exif data embedded in the files – such as the example below.

1/200s, f/7.1, ISO 400
Mode: P, Meter: Matrix, No Flash, Auto WB
Focal: 52mm, 16/12/2004 14:49:27, Adobe RGB (1998)
6.1MP (3,030×2,021) NIKON D100

I only used one lens, the very versatile 18-125mm f3.5-f5.6 Sigma lens, a relatively light and compact zoom that really showed the advantage of the DX system over the later bulkier full-frame lenses. I imagine its test results wouldn’t quite match those of more expensive Nikon glass, but the images seem fine and sharp looking at them now.

Although the D100 was only a 6 Mp camera, this provided images at 3030 x 2021 that were large enough for most repro purposes and gave me excellent prints at 12×8″ and even larger – one picture from it – taken with another Sigma lens – went on exhibition 2.3m wide and paid well.

I think I will have taken these pictures using RAW files, though it would take me a while to locate these on a backup disk, and I only have jpegs and some tiff files to view on my current system. Software for converting from RAW has improved significantly since 2004 and I would almost certainly be able to produce some improvements, in particular reducing the little colour noise present in some. But I think they are fine as they stand.

I arrived at the meeting presumably on time but can tell you nothing about it other than it probably lasted for a little over an hour and came out to make my way home a little after 4.30pm, by which time it was dark. I took a picture of Shakespeare’s bust using the D100’s built-in flash – which came out as badly as you would expect, one in the interior of No 1 Poultry you see here, and then stood still for a final picture on the moving walkway taking me down to the ‘drain’ (Waterloo & City line) to Waterloo for the train home.

A few more pictures from the walk and others from December 2004 on My London Diary. It was a month I also visited Mucking (its in Essex) and photographed ‘Fathers For Justice’ protesting in Santa suits and took a couple of walks close to where I live. All have something of a sepia quality – thanks to the raw conversion – which I find quite appealing and perhaps nostalgically appropriate.

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.