Posts Tagged ‘views’

Thames, Rotherhithe & Wapping 1988

Thursday, June 23rd, 2022

From Southwark Park Schools which ended the previous post on this walk, Rotherhithe New Road & Southwark Park Schools, I walked a few yards up Southwark Park Road to the corner with Banyard Road, where I photographed the taxi office (still there but changed from A-Z Star Cars to 5 Star Cars) with the pub on the opposite corner, the Southwark Park Tavern, now closed and converted to residential around 2003.

There was a pub around here, the Green Man, possibly on this site before Southwark Park opened in 1869 but I think this building probably came shortly after the park was opened, and is opposite the Carriage Drive leading into the park.

Unfortunately I haven’t yet digitised this picture, nor one of rather plain two-storey terrace on Banyard Rd or an image showing a play area in the park. I hurried through the park to the Jamaica Road gate at its north, crossing to make my way to Kings Stairs Gardens and the River Thames.

River Thames, Downstream, Rotherhithe, Southwark, 1988 88-10l-63-Edit_2400
River Thames, Downstream, Rotherhithe, Southwark, 1988 88-10l-63

The two jetties visible here I think have now gone and there is certainly no line of lighters as in this picture, and there is one striking new building on the riverfront.

River Thames, Downstream, Rotherhithe, Southwark, 1988 88-10l-65-Edit_2400
River Thames, Downstream, Rotherhithe, Southwark, 1988 88-10l-65

A second picture taken with a short telephoto lens from almost exactly the same place shows the central area more clearly, with new flats being built on Rotherhithe St.

Wapping, River Thames, Rotherhithe, Southwark, 198888-10l-51-Edit_2400
Wapping, River Thames, Rotherhithe, Southwark, 198888-10l-51

Looking across the Thames downstream, with Free Trade Wharf at the extreme right and just to the left the cylinder ventilation shaft of the Rotherhithe tunnel in the King Edward Memorial Park. Both Metropolitan Wharf and New Crane Wharf are covered iwth scaffolding.

Wapping, River Thames, Rotherhithe, Southwark, 1988 88-10l-52-Edit_2400
Wapping, River Thames, Rotherhithe, Southwark, 1988 88-10l-52

Part of St John’s Wharf and King Henry’s Wharves seen across the River Thames.

Wapping, River Thames, Rotherhithe, Southwark, 198888-10l-53-Edit_2400
Wapping, River Thames, Rotherhithe, Southwark, 1988 88-10l-53

More of St John’s Wharf, including one of the earlier warehouse conversions and the Grade II listed Wapping Police Station, built 1907-10, Metropolitan Police architect John Dixon Butler. At extreme left is a part of Aberdeen Wharf built in 1843–4 by the Aberdeen Steam Navigation Company.

Wapping, River Thames, Rotherhithe, Southwark, 1988 88-10l-54-Edit_2400
Wapping, River Thames, Rotherhithe, Southwark, 1988 88-10l-54

The end of Aberdeen Wharf is at the right edge of this picture, and at its left the Wapping Police Boatyard, an unnecessarily ugly building opened in 1973. The new building in the centre of the picture also seems something of an eyesore, at least at its ends.

Wapping, River Thames, Rotherhithe, Southwark, 1988 88-10l-55-Edit_2400
Wapping, River Thames, Rotherhithe, Southwark, 1988 88-10l-55

Continuing up-river from the Police Boatyard are St Thomas Wharf, Pierhead Wharf, Oliver’s Wharf – the first warehouse in Wapping to be converted into luxury flats in 1972 – and Wapping Pierhead, with houses designed by Daniel Alexander in 1811 and the main entrance to London Docks.

Bermondsey, River Thames, Rotherhithe, Southwark, 1988 88-10l-41-Edit_2400
Bermondsey, River Thames, Rotherhithe, Southwark, 1988 88-10l-41

Looking upriver on the south bank with Tower Bridge at the extreme right and Guy’s Hospital tower just left of centre. Cherry Garden Pier is at left.

Silver Jubilee, marker, EIIR, River Thames, Rotherhithe, Southwark, 1988 88-10l-43-Edit_2400
Silver Jubilee, marker, EIIR, River Thames, Rotherhithe, Southwark, 1988 88-10l-43

There is still a marker for the Queen’s Silver Jubilee here but it looks far less impressive than this rugged stonework I photographed in 1988. London has also gained quite a few tall buildings, but the view along the river remains clear and you can still see the dome of St Paul’s Cathedral.

Braithwaite & Dean, Rotherhithe St, Rotherhithe, Southwark, 1988 88-10l-44-Edit_2400
Braithwaite & Dean, Rotherhithe St, Rotherhithe, Southwark, 1988 88-10l-44

41 Rotherhithe St, now apparently 1 Fulford St at least according to Google Maps, was the offices of lighterage company Braitwaite & Dean, where their lightermen would come to collect their weekly wage. Apparently it was known locally as the Leaning Tower of Rotherhithe, though the building’s lean is more apparent from across the river than in my picture.

It was left more or less alone on this stretch of the river with just the Angel pub equally isolated a few yards upriver after Bermondsey council bought many of the buildings in 1939 to create a park, with wartime bombing continuing the demolition job. There was some temporary housing by the river when I first walked along here in the early 1980s, but that soon disappeared.

My walk in Bermondsey continued – more about it in a later post.


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Westferry Station, Brunel and Bow Common

Wednesday, February 2nd, 2022

Westferry Station, Brunel and Bow Common, July 1988

Westferry Rd, , from Westferry Station, Limehouse, Tower Hamlets, 1988 88-7q-23-positive_2400
Westferry Rd, , from Westferry Station, Limehouse, Tower Hamlets, 1988 88-7q-23

My previous walk came to an end close to Westferry Station, from where I took the Docklands Light Railway to make my way home, but before the train came I made several views from the west-bound platform. The DLR runs through Limehouse on the old viaduct first planned in 1835 by the Commercial Railway Company to take the railway from the City to the West India and East India Docks. The viaduct was a cheap way to take the railway through the built-up area, and won out against a rival scheme involving cuttings. The two companies merged to build the London and Blackwall Railway in 1838-40, though it was later widened.

It was the world’s second elevated railway, opening shortly after the London and Greenwich on the other side of the Thames. The 20 ft high viaduct now gives good views of the surrounding area both from the trains and from the stations. At the left of this view you can see the rear of the West India Dock warehouses on Hertsmere Road, and at right the low structures, now replaced, of Heron Quays.

Isle of Dogs, River Thames, from Westferry Station, Limehouse, Tower Hamlets, 1988 88-7q-25-positive_2400
Isle of Dogs, River Thames, from Westferry Station, Limehouse, Tower Hamlets, 1988 88-7q-25

Turning a little the view from the southern platform shows Westferry Road and the River Thames, with in the distance a view of two of the Barkantine Estate towers at left, closer to the centre a side view of the Cascades Tower and towards the right two towers on the Pepys Estate in Deptford and more distant blocks.

Isambard Kingdom Brunel, statue, Temple Place, Victoria Embankment, Westminster, 1988 88-7q-11-positive_2400
Isambard Kingdom Brunel, statue, Temple Place, Victoria Embankment, Westminster, 1988 88-7q-11

A couple of days later I returned to the area, stopping off in central London on my way and taking a picture of the statue of Isambard Kingdom Brunel by Carlo Marochetti, (1805-1867). The statue was commissioned in 1861 by the Institute of Civil Engineers but was only installed here in 1874 on a Portland stone pedestal by Richard Norman Shaw (1831-1912). Its inscription reads ISAMBARD KINGDOM BRUNEL/ CIVIL ENGINEER/ BORN 1806 DIED 1859″.

The ICE had hoped to install this statue together with that of two other prominent engineers, Robert Stephenson and Joseph Locke who had died within a few months of Brunel, in Parliament Square, close to their offices at 1 Great George St. Permission was initially granted, but then withdrawn when the Office of Works decided only politicians should have statues in Parliament Square. Brunel’s was erected on Temple Place, Stephenson’s outside Euston Station and poor Locke’s was sent to Barnsley, where he had grown up.

Lazdan, Builders Merchants, Bow Common Lane, Bow, Tower Hamlets  88-7q-12-positive_2400
Lazdan, Builders Merchants, Bow Common Lane, Bow, Tower Hamlets 88-7q-12

281 Bow Common Lane was until recently Lazan Builders Merchants but they have now moved to Sebert Road, Forest Gate. The house had a facelift in 2020.

Bow Common Lane, Bow, Tower Hamlets  88-7q-14-positive_2400
Bow Common Lane, Bow, Tower Hamlets 88-7q-14

I think this is somewhere in the Joseph St area, but new building makes it hard to identify the exact position.

S P Brown, Builders Merchants, Lockhart St, Bow, Tower Hamlets, 1988 88-7r-01-positive_2400
S P Brown, Builders Merchants, Lockhart St, Bow, Tower Hamlets, 1988 88-7r-01

This house, 31 Lockhart St, is still there at the corner of Lockhart St and Ropery St, but the large gate now has letter boxes for 33,35 and 37 and the lettering has gone.

Cantrell Rd, Bow Common, Tower Hamlets, 1988 88-7r-46-positive_2400
Cantrell Rd, Bow Common, Tower Hamlets, 1988 88-7r-46

Bow Common Gas works were to the west of Knapp Road, the continuation of Cantrell Road south of the railway line which runs across the center of the image. The gasworks were built here in 1850 and at one time there were seven gasholders. Most of the site was demolished in 1982 and the last two gasholders shown here in 2016-7.

The scrapyard is now the Scrapyard Meadow, part of Tower Hamlets Cemetery Park.

Cantrell Rd, Bow Common, Tower Hamlets, 1988 88-7r-34-positive_2400
Cantrell Rd, Bow Common, Tower Hamlets, 1988 88-7r-34

The tower block between the gasholders is Sleaford House on Fern St, 19 storeys and 183ft tall, part of the Lincoln Estate completed in 1964.

This walk will continue in a later post.


Clicking on any of the pictures will take you to a larger version in my album 1988 London Photos from where you can browse the album.


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


Swanscombe

Sunday, June 6th, 2021

Swanscombe, Kent. Sat 6 Jun 2015

I first visited Swanscombe back in 1985, when I was photographing along the south bank of the River Thames and Lower Thameside. Until the 1840s this area of North Kent had been relatively remove and rural, with riverside marshes largely untouched and valuable agricultural land on the higher areas growing food for the capital.

Portland Cement was patented by by Joseph Aspdin in 1824 and the later developed by his sone William, but the modern version of it was developed at Swanscombe by Isaac Charles Johnson, then manager of John Bazeley White’s cement plant. Johnson soon after left J B Whites to set up his own cement plants, including those nearby at Geenhithe and Cliffe, and Frindsbury on the Medway. In 1911 C Johnson & Co became a part of the Blue Circle Group.

The building of London’s sewers led both to a large demand for cement and also led the Metropolitan Board of Works to provide a specification for their needs which became the standard for Portland Cement. Portland Cement is the cement used in almost all concrete, mortar, stucco and grouting.

From around 1900 virtually all cement has been made in large rotary kilns, with flames heating limestone or chalk with clay-containing minerals at around 1500-1600 degrees Celsius. Water and carbon dioxide are driven off as the minerals combine to give silicates (mainly (tricalcium silicate, dicalcium silicate, tricalcium aluminate and tetracalcium aluminoferrite). Around 10% of world CO2 production which fuels climate change is due to cement manufacture, and smaller amounts of other polluting materials are also released in the process – hence the high chimneys of cement works. The small lumps of ‘cement clinker’ that emerge at the lower end of the kiln are then ground to a fine powder, often with added gypsum (calcium sulphate) or limestone to give cement.

Cement can cause burns and it readily absorbs water, hardening to form solid hydrated material and firmly embedding the sand or aggregate it is mixed with for most uses. Over many thousands of years the River Thames in this area had cut its course up to the chalk of the North Downs, and since the 1840s much of that chalk has been quarried, leaving deep pits with often fairly narrow strips left for roads through the area and housing. One of those deep pits now holds the Bluewater shopping centre at Greenhithe and others are filled with various industrial properties or housing. The industry over around 150 years completely transformed the landscape. But by the time I first came to photograph it, this post-industrial landscape was rapidly being reclaimed by nature.

Down the centre of the Swanscombe peninsula is the footpath, Pilgrims Road, leading down towards where a ferry once brought pilgrims on their way to Canterbury from a ferry across the River Thames from close by St Clement’s Church, still there beside the detergent works at South Stifford. Later clay was brought across the river from Essex to wharves for making cement, as well as coal, probably coming by coaster from the north-east to fuel the kilns. Ropeways or conveyor belts will have linked the wharves to the cement plant.

In 2012 I heard of the plans to transform part at least of the area yet again, into the Paramount London theme park, a leisure attraction along the lines of Thorpe Park, which would destroy the area as I knew it. Although I decided to come and photograph the area again before that happened it took me three years to return and do it, cycling around the area on a Brompton, (though occasionally I had to leave it a explore on foot.) Five years on, the plans are still plans and I hope to go back again next month.

With a few exceptions, the pictures here are wide-angle panoramics, with a horizontal angle of view of around 145 degrees and a vertical angle of view of roughly 90 degrees which results in a ‘normal’ aspect ratio of 1.5 : 1 – I usually took these intending to crop to a 1.9:1 ration but have left them uncropped. A few are taken with more normal wide-angle lenses.

On My London Diary you can see more of these pictures, and also read more about the area and my day there in 2015. The images display a little larger on that site.


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.


Train windows and London’s best view

Sunday, January 26th, 2020

Back in the old days of British Rail (and at times after privatisation) I often used to enjoy taking pictures out of train windows. Then many carriages on suburban routes had doors between every pair of seats, and the doors had windows that you could slide down to around waist level and so take pictures unobstructed, though it might make it rather draughty for your fellow passengers. There were stern warnings about not leaning out of windows, and unless you braced yourself against the door frame it might have been possible to fall out, but you could photograph in any direction.

Some of the older rolling stock you needed to open the window to actually open the door at stations, as the doors only had handles on the outside, a useful safety precuation which made the carriages childproof and avoided any accidental opening, but sometimes meant infrequent travellers were trapped inside, unable to work out how to open them. Older readers too may remember the thick leather straps with holes to fit around a pin to hold the windows open at various levels.

Slightly more recent carriages came with a stiff handle you had to move sideways, protected by a raised surround, which only trapped mainly elderly ladies whose hands were no longer strong enough to move them and relied on other passengers to allow them to alight.

Now we have automatic opening doors and fixed windows with air conditioning on almost all services (though some still have narrow windows that don’t open enough to be useful) and can be sweat boxes when the air conditioning fails in summer or chill you if it can’t be switched off in winter. But more importantly for photographers, they have windows that are often scratched inside by bored travellers and almost always filthy outside. I have at times travelled with a cloth so when joining a train at the start of its journey I could select my seat and then step off the train to clean the window I was going to sit at so as to get a clearer view.

But either the train I joined at Charing Cross was new (and it did have that toxic smell of plasticiser) or had been recently cleaned, and for once I had a clear view. I hadn’t got onto the train to take pictures, just to get me to Blackheath, but it seemed to be too good a chance to miss, so I made a number of exposures.

The problem with photographing through glass is of course reflections. You can cut these down by removing any lens hood that would interfere and holding the front of the lens (or lens filter) directly against the glass. However this can cause vibration, so a small gap is a good idea, particularly while the train is in motion. Modern train windows are double glazed and while this close approach can avoid reflections from the pane you are in contact with, you still get them from the outer pane.

It also only works when the edge of the lens is in contact with the window all around, meaning you are restricted to views directly opposite the window and cannot aim the camera to left or right.

There is a solution to these problems, and it is in the form of a giant floppy lens hood with a hole at the centre which stretches to fit on the body of any lens. It’s called ‘The Ultimate Lens Hood‘ and is around 25cm across, and I have one sitting on my desk. The main problem with it (apart from looking rather eccentric) is that although it is a silicone rubbery thing that can squeeze down considerably, it is still too large to easily fit in my normal camera bag, at least without leaving out something essential like my sandwiches. So it was sitting there on my desk while I made these pictures 25 miles away. Slightly smaller versions are available and I think I might get one. Even a normal cheap rubber hood as I’ve used in the past can help a lot.

I was on my way to Blackheath to photograph an event that ended at the Royal Observatory at Greenwich, and my final pictures in this set were taken without benefit of any windows of the incredible view from the terrace in Greenwich Park north across the River Thames. It’s a view I first saw and photographed many years ago, and though rather changed since the building of Canary Wharf remains London’s most splendid.

I did try to take more pictures from the train on my return from Maze Hill to Waterloo, but the windows were not so clean, and only a few were usable – and then required considerable retouching.

More pictures at Charing Cross to Greenwich


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.


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 .


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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