Friday, 8 February 2013

Urban Wandering: Paddington to Ladbroke Grove

Being fortunate enough this week to have a decent length lunch break, I ventured out for a cold and crisp urban wander out towards Ladbroke Grove. Although I've walked some of these streets many times before, I was still surprised, as always, to come across a small alleyway or cul-de-sac mews that was new to me. Heading west from Paddington along the Westbourne Grove is always a great walk with so much contrast in all of the residential and commercial buildings, from old mews to relatively new housing estates, from Victorian shop fronts, to garish, more recent additions. But the real jewels were to be found off the main road.

The first two pictures are of Bridstow Place. Although the sky was blue and the sun was shining for much of my walk, it was decidedly overcast at this point so unfortunately the photo does not do the location justice. The houses along this road are simply beautiful, and could almost be in a Cornish fishing village if it wasn't for the constant hum of traffic on the main roads which run to the north and south.

Looking north along Bridstow Place, London W11
Looking north along Bridstow Place, London W11

Looking south along Bridstow Place, London W11
Looking south along Bridstow Place, London W11

The next picture shows some unidentified mews at the southern end of Bridstow Place, which I stumbled across after having been through a couple of narrow alleyways. I'm pretty sure I would never have found them if I was coming from the other direction. Unlike many of the mews I have seen previously, what struck me about these ones was the uniformity of the design, and the uniformity of the (presumably) restored features. Whereas many other mews houses have converted their garages into living accommodation, or have potted shrubs outside the house, these ones seem remarkably untainted.

Unidentified Mews, near Bridstow Place, London W11
Unidentified Mews, near Bridstow Place, London W11
 
By complete contrast, this picture of the houses in Lancaster Road was taken only a few minutes apart from the pictures above, and as you can see the sky was a magnificent blue, making the vibrant colours of the houses even more appealing. Normally seeing brick painted over in this fashion makes me shudder, but here it seems to work well.
Lancaster Road, London W11
Lancaster Road, London W11

By the time I got to St. Luke's Mews below, I was almost out of time and aware that I needed to get back to the office, so I only had the shortest of opportunities to take a quick photo before heading off. Definitely one to return to when I have more time as I'm curious to know what lies down the far end.

St. Lukes Mews, London W11
  St. Lukes Mews, London W11

Although the next picture was taken in a mews, the mews itself was not especially remarkable, whereas the old advertisement painted on to the wall was of more interest. It's quite difficult to decypher what's written, but I think it says "Boundary Warehouse, Bottling Stores, Packing Warehouse, Office". The name of the company is written above this but even harder to read ... it could be "Llyerell & Fry", but internet searches don't help much here. Maybe one of my more sleuth-like readers can shed some light on this? And sure enough, I have been contacted by someone who has confirmed the name to be "Leverett and Frye" who were a firm of grocers.
Powis Mews, London W11
Powis Mews, London W11

So, as the evenings get lighter, I am hoping to undertake even more urban wandering after work. On the London list so far is Shoreditch, Bermondsey and Camberwell, and on the Edgelands list is my very own Edgelands, Ruislip Gardens, Rusilip and Ruislip Manor, where I spent the early years of my life. Almost each chapter in the Edgelands book brought back memories of my childhood and I'm curious to see if those places are still there.

On the subject of Edgelands, I have now finished Paul Farley and Michael Symmons' excellent book, and have now moved on to a more reference based account of Psychogeography, in Merlin Coverley's Psychogeography. For me personally it's a much harder read than Edgelands, but is acting as an excellent introduction and reference to the wider field of Psychogeography. From completing Edgelands and from only just starting Psychogeography, I now have an even longer list of places to visit and books to read now. However, top of my books to read list has to be Brendon Chase, which is referred to in Edgelands. I'll say no more about that for now but will give a more thorough account once I've read it.

    

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