Wednesday, 26 February 2014

An Urban Wander from Paddington to Kensington

So, here we are again with an Urban Wander that I've done in one way or another many times, but each time I manage to find a new route, or discover something new.

This first picture is a perfect example of something that I've walked past countless times but must have had my eyes closed. This is the old CLARENDON WORKS building with additional ghost lettering within the brickwork which says BUILDERS CONTRACTORS.

Former Clarendon brick works, Clarendon Road, London W11
Former Clarendon brick works, Clarendon Road, London W11 

Next up we have the former Earl of Zetland pub in Princedale Road, Notting Hill. This is now clearly used for other purposes but a bit of research showed that it was used in the background in one of the scenes from the 1966 film, Blow Up, starring David Hemmings.
The former Earl of Zetland pub, Notting Hill, London
The former Earl of Zetland pub, Notting Hill, London

I have to confess I'm not sure where this mews was along my wander. Nearer the Kensington end I would guess but not 100% sure.

Unidentified London mews
Unidentified London mews 

I do know where this next picture was taken, most definitely. This is in Edwardes Square, which is just off Kensington High Street.

Edwardes Square, Kensington, London
Edwardes Square, Kensington, London

This is probably my favourite photo in this post as it captures a few of my current things. It was taken in a mews like road, Earl'sWalk if I'm not mistaken, and features just a hint of urban decay, although I suspect not for long as a short walk around the corner towards Pembroke Mews revealed that the building is being renovated. I thought the contrast of the colours on the doors worked well too.

Old garage doors, Earl's Walk, Kensington, London
Old garage doors, Earl's Walk, Kensington, London

The remainder of the pictures show off the better preserved parts of the mews, with probably better functioning garage doors.

Pembroke Mews, Kensington, London
Pembroke Mews, Kensington, London 

Pembroke Mews, Kensington, London
Pembroke Mews, Kensington, London 

Earl's Walk, Kensington, London
Earl's Walk, Kensington, London

Pembroke Mews, Kensington, London
Pembroke Mews, Kensington, London

    

Friday, 21 February 2014

Beauty in abandonment - an Urban Wander around Princes Risborough

Princes Risborough is one of those places that I must have driven past signs to for tens of years but never managed to visit. This was all addressed earlier this week when, on thinking I might have a day out in Aylesbury, I instead took a deviation from my planned route and thought I'd have a look at Princes Risborough. The town itself is attractive enough, with a fairly traditional high street and market place, but regular readers will know that I'm generally on the lookout for something less obvious, and more off the beaten track. So, after have the obligatory coffee and cake, which seems to feature heavily in my recent wanders, inspired by my continued readings about Psychogeography I headed slightly out of the town towards the railway station where my thirst for abandonment, dereliction and decay was well and truly quenched in what felt like classic British Edgelands.

The first couple of pictures are of an area just in front of the station in the midst of demolition, although looking at the rampant undergrowth it would seem that demolition started some time ago but never quite finished. There was no sign of any activity when I was there. Curious why just this one small part of the building should be left standing - I wonder what it used to be?

Demolition, near Princes Risborough station
Demolition, near Princes Risborough station 

Demolition, near Princes Risborough station
Demolition, near Princes Risborough station 

As I approached the station I caught sight of an old, signal box, presumably used to control the signals as the line splits into three on leaving the station. It was hard to tell from this distance whether the box was in use, but I suspected not.

North Signal Box, Princes Risborough
North Signal Box, Princes Risborough 

North Signal Box, Princes Risborough
 North Signal Box, Princes Risborough

Demolition, near Princes Risborough station
Demolition, near Princes Risborough station 

Demolition, near Princes Risborough station
Demolition, near Princes Risborough station 

As I walked along the main road, parallel to the railway tracks, a gap in the houses and an old wire fence afforded me a better look at the signal box. Not only did it reveal that it was boarded up, but also that it was called the North Signal Box, so I would assume there's a South Signal Box somewhere the other side of the station, once, or maybe still, controlling the passing of trains in the other direction.

North Signal Box, Princes Risborough
North Signal Box, Princes Risborough 

North Signal Box, Princes Risborough
North Signal Box, Princes Risborough 

North Signal Box, Princes Risborough
North Signal Box, Princes Risborough 

Passing under two railway bridges, both of which seemed to be in use, I turned into what looked like an incredibly spacious business park. Whilst there were some high tech, newer looking buildings this small collection of low lying, abandoned ones caught my eye.

Abandoned buildings, Regent Park, Princes Risborough
Abandoned buildings, Regent Park, Princes Risborough 

Abandoned buildings, Regent Park, Princes Risborough
Abandoned buildings, Regent Park, Princes Risborough  

Just behind the abandoned buildings, a huge area of undeveloped land opened up as far as the old signal box, which can just about be seen in the distance.

Looking back towards the North Signal Box, Princes Risborough
Looking back towards the North Signal Box, Princes Risborough 

Between the business park and the main road there is a railway bridge for the third and western most line coming out of Princes Risborough. The map in the town suggested that this route was now a cycle path to Thame, but at this stage the cycle path had not quite started and in fact the track bed still had rails intact, which I later found out that the preserved railway at Chinnor hoped to use to be able to connect Chinnor back to Princes Risborough.

Disused(?) railway bridge, Regent Park, Princes Risborough
Disused(?) railway bridge, Regent Park, Princes Risborough

    

Thursday, 20 February 2014

A short Urban Wander around Bath (ghost signs a plenty)

Venturing away from London for a few days this week, I found myself in Bath yesterday. I'd seen some various posts of all the fabulous ghost signs in Bath, so decided to see how many I could bag during the couple of hours I had there.

First up is the Circulating Library:

CIRCULATING LIBRARY
AND READING ROOM

which now seems to be the home of Hobbs on the ground floor, and a Jamie Oliver restaurant on the first floor.

Circulating Library ghost sign, Bath
 Circulating Library ghost sign, Bath

The next one is a bit of a mystery. I can just about make out

& Co

Ghost sign in Bath
Ghost sign in Bath 

The lettering on this next ghost sign is quite clear until the final word, but a bit of googling helped me out, and it is in fact 'polonies' ... whatever a polony is (I suspect not a sausage from Bologna as my first search results suggested).

DILL'S FAMOUS BATH POLONIES

Ghost sign in Bath
Ghost sign in Bath 

As we were looking at the view into the river and across to the Pulteney Bridge, I spotted this one in the distance. Unfortunately this is a case where the poor quality zoom on the phone let me down and the ghost sign was much clearer to the naked eye.

A.WILLS & SONS LTD

Ghost sign in Bath
Ghost sign in Bath 

Another mystery ghost sign, possibly NUMERAL  or NUMBER ?

Ghost sign in Bath
Ghost sign in Bath


This next ghost sign was probably my favourite of the short visit, especially with the false window beneath, and so from a circulating library we move to a lending library.

BOOK STORE
LENDING LIBRARY
WELL STOCKED WITH ALL THE
LATEST FICTION

Ghost sign in Bath
Ghost sign in Bath


I wasn't quite sure what the sign CORRIDOR referred to when I took this photo, but it would seem to be the name of the original shopping arcade which opened here in 1825. Just a bit nicer than today's soul-less, out of town, retail parks.


Corridor shopping arcade, Bath
Corridor shopping arcade, Bath 

Just as well we didn't need any diary products today, as this shop beneath this ghost sign is now occupied by a photographers.

HAND'S DAIRY
SPECIALISTS IN
CREAM
DAIRY PRODUCT
SINCE ????

Ghost sign, Bath
Ghost sign, Bath

Hmmm, this doesn't happen very often, and in fact it's usually the opposite in that if I take a picture of a very faded sign, then the process of transferring it from phone to computer enhances the lettering. However, on this occasion the lettering in the photo is completely missing. I am sure there was definite an 'S' at the end.

Ghost sign, Bath
Ghost sign, Bath

Fortunately this next ghost sign was much easier to read:

SHEPHERDS HALL
Ghost sign, Bath
Ghost sign, Bath

This is by no means anywhere near a complete collection, as a few quick internet searches will show you, but I don't think my haul was too bad. And just to prove that I did look at some of the other wonderful features that Bath has to offer, here are a few pictures taken of and around the Pulteney Bridge, with the waters full from the recent flooding and featuring a part of a tree that I would imagine is not usually there.

Pulteney Bridge, Bath
Pulteney Bridge, Bath 

Near the Pulteney Bridge, Bath
Near the Pulteney Bridge, Bath

Pulteney Bridge, Bath
Pulteney Bridge, Bath

And finally, if you're wondering why there are no photos of Royal Crescent or The Circus, then the reason is that both contained scaffolding and plastic clad houses pretty much bang in the middle.

    

Wednesday, 19 February 2014

An Urban Wander from Battersea to Chelsea

Following on from my Urban Wander from Vauxhall to Battersea this post focuses on the second part of the drift which took me from Battersea to Chelsea. As mentioned in the previous post, the weather made a significant improvement in the afternoon giving a much greater opportunity to take some decent pictures. 

The first picture was taken in Battersea Park, on the southern side of the Thames. I think I have been to Battersea Park just once before, and many, many years ago, so it was like a brand new adventure for me.

Street lamp in Battersea Park, London
Street lamp in Battersea Park, London

We crossed back over the River Thames across one of my favourite bridges, the Albert Bridge, where I seem to have become slightly obsessed with street lamps.

Street lamp with Albert Bridge in background, Battersea, London
Street lamp with Albert Bridge in background, Battersea, London

This next photo is the view looking west from the Albert Bridge. The two chimneys in the background are on the Lots Road Power Station which I covered in a recent Urban Wander around Imperial Wharf and have also become a recent, mild obsession, inspired by a book I picked up recently called London's Lost Power Stations and Gas Works. If you enjoy industrial architecture then I cannot recommend this book highly enough.

Crossing the Albert Bridge, looking towards Lots Power Station
Crossing the Albert Bridge, looking towards Lots Power Station

Once over the Thames it was street lamps once more that caught my eye, although the Battersea Power Station is starting to make an appearance in the background.

Street lamp, with Battersea Power Station in background
Street lamp, with Battersea Power Station in background

Street lamp on the Chelsea embankment, London
Street lamp on the Chelsea embankment, London

As we walked along the embankment, Battersea Power Station came into view in all its glory, and this picture is a double whammy with the gas holder in view as well, although the flappy bit of the phone cover struck again with a light darkening towards the top of the picture.

Battersea Power Station
Battersea Power Station

Looking across the road instead of the river briefly we have the magnificent pumping station on the Chelsea Embankment.

Chelsea Embankment Pumping Station
Chelsea Embankment Pumping Station, London

Focusing back across the river, Battersea Power Station is once again in full dominance, this time with the Chelsea Bridge.

Battersea Power Station, London
Battersea Power Station, London 

Battersea Power Station, London
Battersea Power Station, London 

Battersea Power Station, London
Battersea Power Station, London 

Another small diversion off on to a side street, Paradise Walk, revealed some fascinating mews-like streets and houses.

Paradise Walk, London SW3
Paradise Walk, London SW3 

Paradise Walk, London SW3
Paradise Walk, London SW3

And this was further demonstrated by finding an actual mews, Clover Mews.

Clover Mews, London SW3
Clover Mews, London SW3 

Clover Mews, London SW3
Clover Mews, London SW3

Overall this was a great day out and I really felt like I'd made the most of the weekend. I feel there's still a lot more exploring to do around Vauxhall, Stockwell and Battersea, but that will have to wait for another day.

    

Saturday, 15 February 2014

An Urban Wander from Vauxhall to Battersea

My latest Urban Wander is split into two. The first chronicles my drift from Vauxhall to Battersea, the second part will cover Battersea to Chelsea. I've separated them for several reasons, firstly the weather experienced on the two different sections of the wander make them look like two separate explorations, secondly there are about 25 pictures in all and probably too much for a single post, and finally I'm running out of material to share as I've not been able to get out anywhere this week so far, although I'm hoping that will change tomorrow when it looks like we are finally due a break in the miserable weather we've been having.

So, after spending an hour or so in the Tate Britain, we headed across the Thames and into Vauxhall, one of the boroughs in London that I've not really explored much before. It was a really cold and windy day and we wandered around looking for somewhere to grab some warming food, when we came across Harleyford Road Community Garden, just off the main road and sheltered from the wind. A nice enough garden in itself, but was was more interesting was that there was an open doorway leading through the ground floor of what seemed like the ground floor of residential flats or houses, which lead through into Bonnington Square. It had a bit of a Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe feeling about it. Coming out into Bonnington Square was not quite Narnia, but impressive nevertheless.

Bonnington Square also had its own gardens with some interesting sculptures.

Bonnington Square Gardens, Vauxhall, London
Bonnington Square Gardens, Vauxhall, London

My favourite was this hand, balanced on a pergola.

Sculpture in Bonnington Square Gardens, Vauxhall, London
Sculpture in Bonnington Square Gardens, Vauxhall, London

After a brief walk around the gardens, we headed out along the Vauxhall Grove towards Battersea and eventually found somewhere to eat, a small vegetarian café called the Bonnington Café. They were closing in 10 minutes so we were lucky to get in, but I have to say the food was excellent. Just a shame we only had time to try the excellent soup. We will be back.

Old House in Vauxhall Grove, London
Old House in Vauxhall Grove, London 

From where I was sat in the café I could see what looked like a very feint ghost sign on the former Bonnington Square Bakery, but as sometimes happens, when I load a picture up from the phone onto the computer, the picture contrast seems to adjust itself and reveals the lettering better than it appeared in situ.

BAYS
FOR QUALITY
???
DAREN
BREAD
WEDDING & BIRTHDAY
???
Ghost sign in Vauxhall Grove, London
Ghost sign in Vauxhall Grove, London

Leaving the quiet back streets of Vauxhall we headed on towards Battersea. Naturally I couldn't resist taking pictures of the power station, but the gasometer and gas tower were also both quite impressive, although a shame about the dreary sky (there's a much better sky in the second installment of this post).

Gasometer and gas tower, Battersea, London
Gasometer and gas tower, Battersea, London
Gasometer and gas tower, Battersea, London
 Gasometer and gas tower, Battersea, London

Gasometer and gas tower, Battersea, London
Gasometer and gas tower, Battersea, London 

Battersea Power Station, London
Battersea Power Station, London 

Battersea Power Station, London
Battersea Power Station, London 

Battersea Power Station, London
 Battersea Power Station, London

    


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