Sunday, 30 March 2014

An Urban Wander from Shoreditch to Hackney (part 1 of 3, Shoreditch and Hoxton)

I've really been enjoying the lighter evenings and the weather over the past couple of weeks. Last week I was at a meeting in Shoreditch which gave me time to drift around one of my favourite London areas. I actually ended up wandering around more that just Shoreditch and made it all the way to Hackney, via Hoxton, which turned out to be quite a trek, with lots of photo opportunities, so this will be a two, or maybe even a three part posting.

First up we have the Shoreditch Tramshed which used to be the electricity generating station for the local trams and is now a trendy restaurant.

Tramshed, Shoreditch, London
Tramshed, Shoreditch, London

I'm always amazed by the ever changing landscape of London street art and particularly in and around the Shoreditch area.

Street art, Shoreditch, London

This next picture is of a ghost sign, featuring just the word GLASS. I have studied the picture but can see no other wording, but maybe the area below the first floor window once bore some lettering as the word seems a bit strange on its own.

Ghost sign in Shoreditch, London
Ghost sign in Shoreditch, London

Just further along the road was another ghost sign. Slightly harder to read but fairly sure it says KINGSLAND SHEET WORKS.

Ghost sign in Shoreditch, London
Ghost sign in Shoreditch, London

As my journey took me away from Shoreditch and into Hoxton, I found some more street art. The whole building was covered top to bottom, but this particular image stood out, Love Will Tear Us Apart.

Street art, Hoxton, London
Street art, Hoxton, Cremer Street, London

Street art, Hoxton, London
Street art, Hoxton, Cremer Street, London

And just behind the graffiti clad building was this fantastic old Citroen van.

Old Citroen van, Hoxton, London
Old Citroen van, Hoxton, London

Just before I headed under the railway arch that carries the London Overground northwards, I turned around and spotted this ghost sign for GORDON FABRICS on Cremer Street.

Ghost sign, Hoxton, London
Ghost sign, Cremer Street, Hoxton, London

And finally on this part of the wander, an old, abandoned pub on Geffrye Street, I presume, judging by the signage which reads FOSTERS LAGER and BEN TRUMAN EXPORT ALE.


Abandoned pub, Hoxton, London
Abandoned pub, Geffrye Street, Hoxton, London

Parts two and three of this urban wander will follow over the next few days and be linked here.


    

Monday, 24 March 2014

An Urban Wander along the Grand Union Canal from Paddington to Kensal Green

With time on my hands, and a blue sky, there was ever only one place I was going to go when working out of our Paddington office, and that was down the Grand Union Canal. I'd been about as far as the water tower on Ladbroke Grove previously, but today I was determined to go beyond. I walked fairly quickly to my last known spot on the canal, pretty much ignoring anything I came across so I could make best use of my limited time looking at the new stretches.

The first few pictures are of the houses along the Harrow Road which border the canal, which just looked better and better the nearer I got to them.

Grand Union Canal, near Harrow Road
Grand Union Canal, near Harrow Road

Grand Union Canal, near Harrow Road
 Grand Union Canal, near Harrow Road

Grand Union Canal, near Harrow Road
 Grand Union Canal, near Harrow Road

Grand Union Canal, near Harrow Road
 Grand Union Canal, near Harrow Road

After I'd finished marveling at the wonderful houses, I caught sight of a gasometer, which is in fact the Kensington Gasworks, and inspired by my current read this became my ultimate destination.

Looking along the Grand Union Canal towards the Kensington Gasworks
Looking along the Grand Union Canal towards the Kensington Gasworks

Looking along the Grand Union Canal towards the Kensington Gasworks
 Looking along the Grand Union Canal towards the Kensington Gasworks

Looking along the Grand Union Canal towards the Kensington Gasworks
 Looking along the Grand Union Canal towards the Kensington Gasworks

Before arriving at the gasworks however, I had to stop and photograph this converted water tower. I remember now I had been this far before but on a very overcast day, and only managed to get a picture from the road. I was much more pleased with today's shot.

Converted Water Tower, Grand Union Canal
Converted Water Tower, Grand Union Canal

Eventually I arrived at what would be my final destination for the day, the Kensington Gasworks.

Kensington Gasworks, London
Kensington Gasworks, London

Kensington Gasworks, London
 Kensington Gasworks, London

Kensington Gasworks, London
 Kensington Gasworks, London

Kensington Gasworks, London
Kensington Gasworks, London 

As I took one last look towards the distance, I wondered what lay just round the next corner of the canal. Unfortunately I had no more time on this wander, so after taking this next picture, I turned around and headed back.

Looking along the Grand Union Canal looking past Kensal Green Cemetery
Looking along the Grand Union Canal looking past Kensal Green Cemetery

Looking along the Grand Union Canal past the Kensington Gasworks
Looking along the Grand Union Canal past the Kensington Gasworks 

Another picture of the converted water tower, this time in the distance.

Converted Water Tower, Grand Union Canal
Converted Water Tower, Grand Union Canal

Just after the water tower, I turned on to Ladbroke Grove and headed towards the tube station. I would have liked to have taken more pictures on the bridge crossing the main line from Paddington but time was not on my side.

Bridge on Ladbroke Grove, London
Bridge on Ladbroke Grove, London

And finally in this urban wander, just time to revisit a ghost sign that I had found last year in awful weather. I was pleased that today's pictures came out clearer. Although despite this, the only words I can really make out are SANITARY and ENGINEER.

Ghost sign in Charles Place, London
Ghost sign in Charles Place, London

Ghost sign in Charles Place, London
Ghost sign in Charles Place, London

So, the end of another rewarding lunch time wander. Sorry for perhaps overdoing the number of pictures in this post, but I was hard pushed to choose.

    

Monday, 10 March 2014

Urban Decay and Abandonment in Hammersmith

A short Urban Wander before work late last week took me past this former pub between Hammersmith and the river, The Hope & Anchor. Research suggests it is now a private residence, but if so then slightly curious that so much of its original purpose remains visible, including the original signage, now a mere ghost sign.

Former pub, The Hope & Anchor, Hammersmith, London
Former pub, The Hope & Anchor, Hammersmith, London

As I headed along the river towards the Hammersmith Bridge, my drift took me along the Thames path to the east of Hammersmith. Among the buildings that have already been replaced by or converted into plus new flats, is this curious sight of a building, or collection of buildings, that have seen better days. It would seem that these buildings, once the former Queen's Wharf office blocks, have been empty for some time pending various discussions to convert the area into flats, which although would support the redevelopment of the nearby Riverside Studios is not without its controversy.


Derelict and abandoned, former office block, Queen's Wharf, Hammersmith
Derelict and abandoned, former office block, Queen's Wharf, Hammersmith

Hard to believe this derelict site is within a stone's throw of the Hammersmith Bridge.

Draw dock at Queen's Wharf, Hammersmith
Draw dock at Queen's Wharf, Hammersmith

Derelict and abandoned, former office block, Queen's Wharf, Hammersmith
 Derelict and abandoned, former office block, Queen's Wharf, Hammersmith

Derelict and abandoned, former office block, Queen's Wharf, Hammersmith
 Derelict and abandoned, former office block, Queen's Wharf, Hammersmith

Derelict and abandoned, former office block, Queen's Wharf, Hammersmith
Derelict and abandoned, former office block, Queen's Wharf, Hammersmith

These buildings are most definitely an eye-sore on the river landscape, and in no way hark back to the more historic wharf buildings further up the river, but it's imperative any restoration of the area is done sympathetically with an appreciation of the local surroundings, local residents and local community.


    

Sunday, 9 March 2014

More Urban Wandering in and around Holland Park, London

Having been inspired by my previous urban wander around the Holland Park area, I headed straight back there on the next available, sunny lunchtime, but this time with the intention of actually entering the park itself.

Archways in Holland Park, London W14
Archways in Holland Park, London W14

This next photo was taken looking down along the walkway where there are several murals painted by the artist Mao Wen Biao, depicting imaginary scenes from the garden parties held by the Earl of Ilchester here in the late 19th century.

Murals in Holland Park, London W14
Murals in Holland Park, London W14

The murals are in a semi-enclosed walkway. This is the view looking in from the outside.

Archways in Holland Park, London W14
Archways in Holland Park, London W14

The Orangery, Holland Park, London W14
The Orangery, Holland Park, London W14

I haven't stayed in many Youth Hostels in my life, but if I ever got the opportunity then this one would be high up on the list.

Youth Hostel, Holland Park, London W14
Youth Hostel, Holland Park, London W14

Youth Hostel, Holland Park, London W14
 Youth Hostel, Holland Park, London W14

Leaving Holland Park I wandered through Oakwood Court again, but this time through another side alley. Whereas before I had only seen staircases which went down from the top by 3 or 4 flights, these ones came right down to ground level.

Staircases in Oakwood Court, London W14
Staircases in Oakwood Court, London W14

These next two photos taken on the walk back to the office are actually in Kensington Olympia as opposed to the Holland Park area, but they are of something I've been trying to get a half-decent view of for a while now, the former Kensington Olympia Motorail Depot, which is now a car park and can just be seen in the distance beyond the allotments. As a kid I remember going into Paddington station early in the morning and seeing the motorail there being loaded up and readied for the trip down to Cornwall. Such form of travel is now, perhaps sadly, a thing of the past, having finished some time in the 1980's. There's a short, British Pathe, promotional clip of the motorail from Kensington Olympia here.

Former Kensington Olympia Motorail Depot, London W14
Former Kensington Olympia Motorail Depot, London W14

Also, as I reseacrhed the motorail depot, I found that Kensington Olympia boasted considerably more platforms than I had previously assumed and that the flats near these allotments have been built on the former site of the eastern most platforms.

Former Kensington Olympia Motorail Depot, London W14
Former Kensington Olympia Motorail Depot, London W14

Sunday, 2 March 2014

An Urban Wander near Holland Park, London W14

I was delighted late last week when not only did I manage to find time to take a lunch break, but also the weather was reasonable, and I found a few nearby streets that I'd not wandered around before. This particular wander took me to a collection of roads to the north of Kensington High Street, east of Addison Road, but west of Holland Park itself. Unlike a lot of my wanders which take me off in search of abandonment, decay and ghost signs, this drift was very much the opposite as I found myself drifting through tree-lined streets of magnificent houses, no doubt with a price tag to match.

Doorway on Holland Park Road, London W14
Doorway on Holland Park Road, London W14 

As always I'm pleased when I discover something new to me, so here was a museum I never knew existed for an artist I'd never heard of, Frederick Leighton, perhaps meriting a return visit one day to look inside. Also, many of the houses in this area bear plaques stating that various artists had lived in the area, known as the Holland Park Circle

Leighton House, Holland Park Road, London W14
Leighton House, Holland Park Road, London W14

Doorway on Holland Park Road, London W14
Doorway on Holland Park Road, London W14 

Doorway on Melbury Road, London W14
Doorway on Melbury Road, London W14 

Doorway on Melbury Road, London W14
 Doorway on Melbury Road, London W14 

Doorway on Melbury Road, London W14
 Doorway on Melbury Road, London W14

Melbury Road, London W14
Melbury Road, London W14

Doorway on Melbury Road, London W14
 Doorway on Melbury Road, London W14

The only part of this wander which did veer slightly off-piste and down a side road was here, where intrigued by the shapes of the back of the buildings, I turned into a service road for the flats in Oakwood Court.

Back of flats, Oakwood Court, London W14
Back of flats, Oakwood Court, London W14

Presumably these elevated, zig-zag stairways are some sort of fire escape, although strange that they don't come all the way down to ground level. Made for a good picture though.

Back of flats, Oakwood Court, London W14
 Back of flats, Oakwood Court, London W14

Back of flats, Oakwood Court, London W14
 Back of flats, Oakwood Court, London W14

As my wander drew to a close, I spotted this curious building on Napier Road. Little evidence though to suggest what it perhaps once was.

Napier Road, London W14
Napier Road, London W14

I think there are a few more side streets heading up towards the park itself which I didn't have time to explore, so will definitely be returning soon.

    

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