Wednesday, 20 January 2016

A return Urban Wander around Brackenbury, London W6

From our offices, I frequently used to take lunchtime wanders out towards Brackenbury, which is a residential area of London with a village-like feel, situated near Hammersmith and Ravenscourt Park. When I looked back through the notes from my various urban wanderings, or dérive, I was surprised to see that I had not been here since 2013. With the weather clear, but crisp and cold, I wrapped up warm and headed out.

It never ceases to amaze me that I always spot something new, even on familiar wanders, and this building was no exception. This is a former mission hall, sitting rather curiously in the middle of a row of neat terraced houses, and now home to the John Campbell Scenic Studio.

John Campbell Scenic Studio, former Mission Hall, Iffley Road, London W6
John Campbell Scenic Studio, former Mission Hall, Iffley Road, London W6

Not far from Iffley Road, although I'm kicking myself now for not noting down the road name, was an unexpected and isolated piece of street art in an otherwise pristine neighbourhood.

Street art, London W6
Street art, London W6

I took the photo for the combination of chimneys, towers and scaffolding.

Holy Innocents Church, Dorville Crescent, London W6
Holy Innocents Church, Dorville Crescent, London W6

I'm now wishing I had taken a picture of the full doors rather than just the stained glass windows.

Stained glass windows, Ravenscourt Park Mansions, London W6
Stained glass windows, Ravenscourt Park Mansions, London W6

And finally on this short drift, a brightly painted bridge carrying the Piccadilly and District lines. I'm always curious about this road and wonder whether the road itself was dropped beneath the level of the houses to allow higher vehicles to pass beneath. 

London Underground railway bridge, near Ravenscourt Park, London W6
London Underground railway bridge, near Ravenscourt Park, London W6

    

Friday, 15 January 2016

A rural bike ride near Long Parish and Whitchurch, Hampshire

Last weekend I was lucky enough to be able to find time to make the most of the dry but cold weather, and took the opportunity for a bike ride down to Whitchurch in Hampshire. I've cycled this route, or more accurately a slightly off road version of it, before but as always each visit reveals new things. The first revelation was a little sad, and that was of yet another closed pub. A couple of summers ago I stopped here mid bike ride for lunch and a pint at the Hurstbourne Inn, in Hurstbourne Priors, but alas those days would now seem to be gone. I also noticed that The Coronation Arms in St. Marybourne had also closed.

The Hurstbourne Inn, Hurstbourne Priors, Hampshire
The Hurstbourne Inn, Hurstbourne Priors, Hampshire

As my ride continued, I came across more relics of a bygone ear, although these buttresses which supported the bridge carrying the railway line south from Whitchurch towards Winchester would have been closed to business several decades earlier than the pub above.

Buttresses of a former bridge carrying the railway south from Whitchurch
Buttresses of a former bridge carrying the railway south from Whitchurch


Buttresses of a former bridge carrying the railway south from Whitchurch
Buttresses of a former bridge carrying the railway south from Whitchurch

Buttresses of a former bridge carrying the railway south from Whitchurch
Buttresses of a former bridge carrying the railway south from Whitchurch

Buttresses of a former bridge carrying the railway south from Whitchurch
Buttresses of a former bridge carrying the railway south from Whitchurch


Whitchurch itself is probably about two thirds, or 20 miles, of the way around this particular loop and I'm always pleased to arrive and treat myself to a coffee, and sometimes a cake, at H's. The next two pictures are of the White Hart which I'm pleased to say is still open and sits proudly opposite H's, as I sat on the bench outside the café, sipping my takeaway Americano.

The White Hart, Whitchurch, Hampshire
The White Hart, Whitchurch, Hampshire

The White Hart, Whitchurch, Hampshire
The White Hart, Whitchurch, Hampshire

    

Wednesday, 6 January 2016

An Urban Wander from Hammersmith to Latimer Road, London W11

Thanks to the mild weather, I started my 2016 Urban Wandering much earlier than expected. The weather was kind enough at lunchtime today to allow me to get out and about. My drift today took me from Hammersmith up towards Shepherd’s Bush and Latimer Road, the latter of which I have never explored before. En route I passed a building on Woodstock Grove, to the west of the London Overground railway line between Olympia and Shepherd’s Bush. I’ve seen the building and its chimney a few times before but never really stopped to take a look as I’m guessing it must have been largely obscured by trees in leaf. However with the trees more or less bare of leaves I managed a better look, although still slightly distant as it was across the railway tracks. What I particularly noticed was that there were sections of blue paint on the brickwork between each floor. As it would seem very unlikely that they were an original feature, my assumption was that it had been used to cover up some previous signage, most likely some sort of name or advert. As I walked past the building and looked back towards it, I was afforded a glimpse of the side of the building, which confirmed by suspicions and revealed a section of white painted brickwork, with some black lettering still just about visible. I carried out a few cursory internet searches but could not find out any history of the road or its buildings, other than that it now seems to house a few film studios. I have a vague recollection of trying to access this road from the other side but seem to remember it was private – worth another look though now I think.

Chimney on a building in Woodstock Grove, London W12
Chimney on a building in Woodstock Grove, London W12

Chimney on a building in Woodstock Grove, London W12
Chimney on a building in Woodstock Grove, London W12

The ghost sign is just visible behind the trees. Not sure how I could get a closer look as the railway tracks are in between.

Ghost sign on a building in Woodstock Grove, London W12
Ghost sign on a building in Woodstock Grove, London W12

Heading towards Ladbroke Grove the whole area opened up a little, and although I had wandered there before, I had not really seen this side of it and it was good to connect the dots between my wander today and places I’d visited previously, and certainly not for the first time has provided me with another place to visit again.

Old house, Norland Road, London
Old house, Norland Road, London


Old house, Norland Road, London
Old house, Norland Road, London

There's something about wooden garage doors. I can't put my finger on what it is but I'm hard pushed not to take a photo, or two, each time I see some.

Wooden garage doors, Quensdale Road, London W11
Wooden garage doors, Quensdale Road, London W11

Wooden garage doors, Quensdale Road, London W11
Wooden garage doors, Quensdale Road, London W11

St. James' Gardens, London W11
St. James' Gardens, London W11

Following that pleasant enough diversion, I made my way to my destination. I had only ever really seen the Latimer Road area from the Hammersmith and City tube before, and that view only really shows off high rise flats and offices, and as you get nearer to Wood Lane, the Westfield shopping centre. I was quite surprised to find some remnants of earlier times, with a few small terraces and some old buildings like the People’s Hall, Barker and Co Coachbuilders, and the Bramley Arms, all now seemingly serving different purposes to their original intent.

Probably the one of most interest is The People's Hall, which has its relatively recent history made as part of Frestonia, which was the name adopted by the residents of Freston Road when they attempted to secede from the UK in 1977. It's also home to the recording studios where The Clash recorded their Combat Rock album, and Frestonia was the name of the final album by Aztec Camera.

The People's Hall, Freston Road, London W11
The People's Hall, Freston Road, London W11

The People's Hall, Freston Road, London W11
The People's Hall, Freston Road, London W11

The People's Hall, Freston Road, London W11
The People's Hall, Freston Road, London W11

I almost this old sign as the building looked quite new from a distance but as I drew closer I could see it had been renovated.

BARKER & CO (COACHBUILDERS) LTD

Old sign for Barkers Coach Builders, London W11
Old sign for Barkers Coach Builders, London W11

It's always a shame when a pub is closed and becomes either offices or a residential property, especially one with a history like this. The Bramley Arms was used in the film Quadrophenia, The Lavender Hill Mob, and The Sweeney.

Former pub, the Bramley Arms, Notting Hill, London
Former pub, the Bramley Arms, Notting Hill, London

Former pub, the Bramley Arms, Notting Hill, London
Former pub, the Bramley Arms, Notting Hill, London

Finally on my first Urban Wander of 2016, I ended up at Latimer Road tube station on the Hammersmith and City line. There are plenty of elevated sections with similar arches but unfortunately I was running our of time so these will have to wait for another day.

Bridge carrying the Hammersmith and City line, near Latimer Road, London
Bridge carrying the Hammersmith and City line, near Latimer Road, London

    

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