Posts Tagged ‘River Thames’

Shepperton Ride

Wednesday, June 17th, 2020
River Thames, Church Square, Shepperton

June 4th I took it easy again on my ten-mile ride, forcing myself to stop and take pictures here and there. Of course the stopping and starting does actually add to the amount of energy expended and I find it hard to actually waste the effort I’ve made by braking, so the places I stop are sometimes more determined by where I need to slow down for other reasons.

Laleham

I’d changed my route slightly to go along a little of the River Thames towpath through Laleham village. I don’t like cycling along this bit of the towpath much, partly because its often quite busy with walkers, but mainly because the loose chippings on the actual path are a nuisance. Years ago, as a teacher hurrying along here on my way to an early morning in-service training meeting at the Runnymede Centre in Chertsey a stone flew up and into my chain, snapping the fairly chunky aluminium arm of my Campagnolo rear derailleur. I couldn’t ride the bike but rushed home pushing it, and picked up my wife’s bike to ride to the session. Fortunately I’d left home early to enjoy the bike ride, and ended up only a few minutes late. But I had to buy a new derailleur, opting for a rather cheaper model that seemed to work just as well.

This time I took the path in a leisurely fashion, keeping as far as possible to a narrow hardened mud area to one side of the chippings to arrive at the parking area where I stopped to take a photograph before proceeding.

One of many unfilled gravel pits in Spelthorne
Chertsey Lock and Chertsey Bridge

The narrow path soon becomes a metalled road, which would provide a pleasant ride beside the river to Chertsey Lock and Chertsey Bridge, though marred by the traffic humps and the occasional rather dangerous pothole.

The house where Zane died

Just before the bridge is the house where during the 2014 floods a tragic release from landfill of deadly hydrogen cyanide killed a seven-year-old and paralysed his father. Zane Gbangbola’s parents have continued the campaign to get the truth about the incident since.

Chertsey Lock

At the bridge I turned left towards Shepperton, along a busier road with a road surface curiously resistant to bicycle tires.

House, Dockett Eddy Lane
Pharoah’s Island can only be accessed by boat
Shepperton Ferry – not currently operating.

It was a pleasure to turn off down Docket Eddy Lane which leads back down to the river, and past the houses on the riverside and on Pharoah’s Island to Shepperton Lock and the ferry.

I turned off the route into Church Square and went down to the garden by the riverside, to find a pair of fancy ducks with a small group of chicks. I switched to my longer lens so as not to disturb them while taking pictures.

Back on my bike I rode up Shepperton High St, turning left at the top to go over the M3. It’s always just a little of a struggle up this bridge, perhaps because its usually against the wind and very open, but there is a long downhill stretch after it, with little need to pedal until just before the next traffic lights. I kept on and was soon cycling through Laleham on the road and up towards Staines, over some more resistant road surface and some really poor cracks and holes at the roundabout by the pub I still think of as the Lucan Arms, though it has changed its name several times since Lord Lucan went missing. Nowadays he could easily disappear through a Surrey pothole.


My London Diary : London Photos : Hull : River Lea/Lee Valley : London’s Industrial Heritage : 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.


South of the River 1985

Tuesday, April 21st, 2020
Container ship, biker, Shornemead Fort, Shorne, Gravesend, Gravesham 85-6c-43_2400

In 1984, I more or less came to an end of my work on the River Lea (though I returned to it later) and the major focus of my photography shifted to London’s Docklands, and I’d photographed the West India and Millwall Docks as well as the Royal Docks, pictures from which I’m currently posting daily on Facebook. And later in that year I also went to the Surrey Docks, where work by the London Docklands Development Corporation was well advanced.

I was very aware of the political dimensions of the redevelopment, with the LDDC taking over from the elected local authorities and imposing its own largely business-led priorities which although accelerating the development distorted it away from the needs of the local area, and particularly away from the still pressing need for more social housing and for better employment opportunities for local people.

Northfleet, Gravesham 85-8e-35_2400

In those years I read every book in my local library on the history and geography of London, and began to build up my own collection of older works bought from secondhand bookshops and by post. Before the days of on-line listings I used to receive a monthly duplicated list of books on offer from a dealer I think in Brighton, and found many topographic and photographic items of interest, often very cheaply, and would look forward to receiving heavy parcels wrapped in several layers of newspaper. Yes, there was mail order before Amazon, and it was rather more exciting.

Cement Works, Northfleet, Gravesham 85-8e-53_2400

It was reading one of the books, Donald Maxwells ‘A pilgrimage of The Thames’, published in 1932 with his imaginative text and evocative drawings (some originally printed in the Church Times) that prompted me to walk in 1985 as he did from Gravesend west through Northfleet and Greenhithe exploring what he christened ‘the Switzerland of England’. As a rather more down-to-earth guide I also had the more academic ‘Lower Thameside’ picked up for pennies in a secondhand bookshop, which included a chapter on its 1971 cement industry by geographers Roy Millward and Adrian Robinson.

Crossness Marshes, Belvedere Power Station, Belvedere, Erith 85-9j-53_2400

My series of walks traversed what was an incredible industrial and post-industrial landscape, altered on a huge scale by quarrying and industry, continuing past Gravesend along the riverside path past Erith and Woolwich to Greenwich and Deptford (areas also covered in my 1985 London Pictures), as well as walking further east to Cliffe and Cooling.

Cement Works, Manor Way, Swanscombe, Dartford 85-9g-36_2400

It was a project that I returned to for several years – and I went back to the area more recently when the Channel Tunnel Rail Link was being built as will as the occasional walk or bike ride over the years.

You can see 280 of my pictures from 1984 now on Flickr in the album
1985: South of the River: Deptford to Cliffe


My London Diary : London Photos : Hull : River Lea/Lee Valley : London’s Industrial Heritage : 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.

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.


City and Thames

Friday, January 17th, 2020

The area by St Andrew-by-the-Wardrobe, an Anglican church a few hundred yards south of St Paul’s Cathedral fascinated me when I first walked by it in the 1970s, and of course I’ve tried to photograph it over the years with various success, though mainly failure.

This picture, taken from the steps up to a locked door into the church is one that I found impossible on colour film, with the gloomy alley – with a light on even in the middle of the day when I took this picture contrasting with the more brightly lit street with The Cockpit pub. But the day was overcast, reducing the contrast and the digital camera coped well, though needing some dodging and burning in Lightroom to give the results here.

I didn’t go into the church though I have been inside on at least one previous occasion, just following an Indian Orthodox service there, when the atmosphere was thick with incense. The site has an interesting history, with a church here for perhaps a thousand years or more, though the first written mention is in 1170 or . It became part of an ancient royal residence, Baynard’s Castle, and in 1361¬†Edward III or Edward IV moved his royal clothes and arms from the Tower of London to a more handy site in a building close by.

Like most of London it was destroyed in the Great Fire of 1666, and was rebuilt in 1695 to one of the simplest and last of Christopher Wren’s many church designs. Although it now looks ancient, it was mostly destroyed again by German bombing in 1940 and rebuilt and reconsecrated in 1961, with most of its internal decor being salvaged from previously demolished Wren churches. Among the memorials on its walls is a modern carved wood one for William Shakespeare, a parishoner for 15 years.

From the church I crossed Queen Victoria St and made my way down to the riverside walkway. There was an extremely low tide and I went down the steps onto the foreshore, which here is sand and shingle with many remains of wooden posts.

I walked the short distance along to Queenhithe, a historic monument as London’s first dock though the Roman and Saxon docks are now all buried beneath the mud and stones or hidden behind the visible more modern river walls and the area is surrounded by rather boring modern offices.

I went back and up onto the riverside walkway and then made my way to meet with friends for a short walk through the city, on which I took a few more photographs. One of the places we visited was where I had begun taking pictures, and this time we went inside The Cockpit on St Andrews Hill opposite the church, one of London’s smaller and more fascinating places.

Although the text for it’s grade II listing states tha the building is ca 1860, but the interior is in part older. The pub claims to have been established in 1787 and to have been rebuilt in 1842 and that it was once Shakespeare’s home – and certainly it is on the corner of Ireland Yard where he is known to have lived.

The interior is literally a ‘cockpit’ and the bar and seating is on the very floor where the pair of gamecocks, equipped with razor-sharp metal spurs would be set to fight to the death while gamblers looked on from the balcony above. Cock-fighting was banned in England and Wales by the ¬†Cruelty to Animals Act 1835 and the last fight in this pub was said to have been in 1849. Apparently there are still some illegal fights in the UK.

More pictures at City & Thames.


My London Diary : London Photos : Hull : River Lea/Lee Valley : London’s Industrial Heritage : 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.

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.

Royal Docks & the Thames

Thursday, January 9th, 2020

I’d gone to North Woolwich in February for a walk by the Thames and intending to go around Albert Dock Basin, but because of transport problems I had run out of time and had to cut the walk short to go and photograph a protest in central London. Since then I’d been trying without success to find time to complete the walk. It seemed a long way to go just to finish this short walk so I hadn’t wanted to go out just to do this, but on Thursday August 1st I had an event beginning in the morning in Brixton and then another starting around 7pm in Mayfair, and as it was a fine day I thought I would have plenty of time.

I made my way from King George V station as directly as possible to the entrance lock to the Royal Docks where I had cut short the walk on the previous occasion, taking few pictures, and then began a leisurely stroll along a section of the Capital Ring.

I was mainly interested in making some panoramic images of the area. I was disappointed to find that the riverside path still stops at Armada Green and I hope one day it will be possible to walk aong to Barking Creek. Instead I had to follow the Capital Ring and go down Atlantis Avenue and then turned down Gallions Road to go down past the Gallions Hotel (which I photographed around 40 years ago) and then beside Albert Dock Basin to go up on the Sir Steve Redgrave Bridge, which passes at a high level over the Albert Dock Basin, giving some good views of the dock and the surrounding area.

On My London Diary you can see over 60 panoramic images I made on the walk along with a slightly smaller number of less wide views. The panoramas(except for a couple including the example above) are cropped to a 1.9:1 ratio, while the other images have the standard 1.5:1 aspect ratio. The panoramas use a cylindrical perspective, which results in some curvature of any non-vertical straight lines except for the horizon which I place at the centre of the image when making the picture, though the crop may raise or lower it. The curvature is more marked towards the top and bottom edges.

North Woolwich Royal Docks & Thames


My London Diary : London Photos : Hull : River Lea/Lee Valley : London’s Industrial Heritage : 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.

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.


Wapping & the Thames

Sunday, September 1st, 2019

I arrived early for a private celebration of May Day with friends in a Wapping pub and took a short walk along the High St and riverside path, where I sat and ate my lunch sandwiches.

I’d made photographs here in the 1980s, and there were one or two that I’d hoped I would be able to fix the locations more precisely. It wasn’t easy as vitually everything between Wapping High Street and the river has been rebuilt with expensive riverside flats. New Crane Wharf (above) was still recognisable as here the old buildings had been converted.

The Thames sweeps around to the south to go around the Isle of Dogs, and from Wapping you can see Canary Wharf to the North of the River and the gasholder in Rotherhithe to the south – and both appear in photographs to be across the river.

You also see rather too much very pedestrian riverside architecture like the flats above. So little new building on the river bank has any architectural merit, all about maximising profit within the planning restrictions. It’s such a shame that the LDDC didn’t have higher aspirations for its control of the redevelopment of docklands.

Relatively little of the old riverside survives here, and Tunnel Mills and the other buildings at Rotherhithe are one very welcome exception. There are parts of the north bank too where some of the better warehouses have been saved, converted into expensive flats.

It was good also to be able to walk out onto Tunnel Pier, where I met two old friends also taking advantage of the opportunity.

And though the Captain Kidd pub to the left of Phoenix Wharf is relatively modern, dating from the 1880s, like many Sam Smith’s pubs it is a sensitive conversion of an old building, Sun Wharf, which along with Swan Wharf (now renamed Phoenix Wharf) and St John’s F & G Wharf at left were owned or leased by W H J Alexander and Company, who as well as wharfingers dealing in a wide range of goods including coffee, dried fruit, gum and bales of Australian wool, also used these premises to repair their tugs. Swan Wharf I think is the oldest of these buildings, dating from the 1840s and possibly designed by Sidney Smirke.

More pictures at Wapping and the Thames .


My London Diary : London Photos : Hull : River Lea/Lee Valley : London’s Industrial Heritage : 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.

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.



North Woolwich

Wednesday, June 5th, 2019

The weather and London’s transport system were both against me. I’d finished photographing the protests against outsourcing and had made my way to eat lunch. I wanted something fast and cheap, and my favourite central London Wetherspoons was ideal, and as I ate I checked my travel plans to find the Docklands Light Railway had shut down somewhere between where I was and King George V, where I’d planned to start taking some urban landscape panoramas.

Probably I should have abandoned my plans, but I pressed ahead, taking an alternative route to Woolwich Arsenal via London Bridge, thinking if need be I could walk across in the tunnel under the river. By the time I got there, the DLR at least at that end was up and running again, but it still meant I started over half an hour later than I had hoped.

It was a bright sunny day, blue sky with not a cloud in sight, and very pleasant for the time of year, but this is possibly about the worst weather possible for making good panoramic photographs. When you have an angle of view og over one and a half right angles, most images are likely to include large areas of sky. It tends to kill pictures if this is either featureless overcast or even worse simply blue. You want detail, nice clouds in a blue or grey sky. And blue sky is the worst of all, because although we generally see it as a uniform blue, as your view gets closer to the sun it gets a lot brighter, and much lighter in the picture.

I’d arranged to meet with some friends who were carrying out a protest in the early evening, and had to be back there for 5.30 pm, so my time was strictly limited. In the end I did less than half the walk I’d intended, and the second half was really the part which held the more interest for me, with the possibility of a little harmless trespass.

At some point I glanced at my watch and had to rush back to King George V for my journey back into central London. I promised myself I would come back soon and complete the walk, but three months later I’ve yet to do so, and in areas such as this things may well have changed significantly.

Some of the pictures, despite the light are not bad, but others were more just a note to myself that I need to return at a better time. As usual when making these panoramic images I work with a standard 3:2 format, intending to later crop them to around 16×9. Not everything works in panoramic format and I also took a number of pictures with a longer lens.

More pictures at North Woolwich.


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.

My London Diary : London Photos : Hull : River Lea/Lee Valley : London’s Industrial Heritage : 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.