Wednesday, 24 February 2016

A Suburban Wander Around Moor Park, Hertfordshire


Inspired by a recent read of Metroland, I ventured out from Baker Street on the Metropolitan line in to the very heart of Metroland, Moor Park. As the tube approached Moor Park, I could feel the transition from the urban to the rural as we headed out through the borderlands of Pinner, through Northwood and Northwood Hills. Leaving the station at Moor Park, it’s hard to believe that this idyllic location is actually on the Underground network, just 15 miles from central London, but in Hertfordshire. This is the view north from the platforms.

The view, looking northwards from Moor Park tube station
The view, looking northwards from Moor Park tube station

And this is one of the relatively low bridges which carries the lines northwards.

Bridge carrying the Metropolitan line north from Moor Park
Bridge carrying the Metropolitan line north from Moor Park

The station, like many towards the ends of the various tune lines spreading out from the centre, is above ground. The station  building itself is quite small, set on a crescent which seems to double up as a car park for what must be prime commuter territory. I was there around 1pm and whilst it was full of cars, I saw very few people at all. I imagine the rush-hour scene would be somewhat different.

Moor Park tube station
Moor Park tube station

There’s a small parade of shops immediately outside the station, and some relatively modern flats.

Shop parade and flats, Moor Park
Shop parade and flats, Moor Park

And then the houses start. This is the Moor Park Estate, a private residential estate.

Sign for the Moor Park estate
Sign for the Moor Park estate

The word houses is perhaps an under-statement … these are what one might prefer to call homes, possibly mansions. These are mostly detached, all set well back from the road in mature gardens. Most of the houses had one, if not more, four wheel drive vehicles parked on their spacious driveways, many with personalised number plates. Most had visible CCTV, which no doubt caught me wandering in amazement.

I could have taken hundreds of pictures of the leafy avenues and magnificent houses, but these are some of my favourite ones. 

Moor Park estate, Hertfordshire
Moor Park estate, Hertfordshire

Moor Park estate, Hertfordshire
Moor Park estate, Hertfordshire

Moor Park estate, Hertfordshire
Moor Park estate, Hertfordshire

Moor Park estate, Hertfordshire
Moor Park estate, Hertfordshire

Moor Park estate, Hertfordshire
Moor Park estate, Hertfordshire

Moor Park estate, Hertfordshire
Moor Park estate, Hertfordshire

Moor Park estate, Hertfordshire
Moor Park estate, Hertfordshire

Moor Park estate, Hertfordshire
Moor Park estate, Hertfordshire

Moor Park estate, Hertfordshire
Moor Park estate, Hertfordshire

The next two pictures are of Main Avenue, the first looking up the hill away from the station, the second looking back down the hill towards the station.

Main Avenue, Moor Park estate, Hertfordshire
Main Avenue, Moor Park estate, Hertfordshire

Main Avenue, Moor Park estate, Hertfordshire
Main Avenue, Moor Park estate, Hertfordshire

The whole area was beautifully clean, no doubt kept that way but the estate’s various contractors who I saw as gardeners, builders and security guards. The one piece of litter I did see was, perhaps appropriately, a Waitrose paper cup, and even one small area of dereliction I spotted was neatly fenced off, presumably soon to be transformed into something more fitting for the area.

Behind the shops, Moor Park, Hertfordshire

Moor Park is also featured in John Betjeman’s, still available, wonderful 1973 documentary, Metro-land, as are several other places on my list. Croxley Green and Chorleywood to name but two. I’ve watched this many times and never tire of his commentary and wit.

    

In other news, I have recently finished reading Concretopia, which despite my kids asking me why I am reading a book about concrete, I have thoroughly enjoyed. It covers the history of the rebuilding of post-war Britain, from the Gorbals in Glasgow, to the new town of Milton Keynes, from Festival Hall to the Barbican. It will certainly make me look at 1950’s buildings, houses and tower blocks with a different eye now.

Sunday, 7 February 2016

An Urban Wander from Hammersmith to Shepherd's Bush, London

Once again last week I was fortunate enough to be able to get out and about for a quick, lunchtime wander. Determined to try and go somewhere I'd not been before, which is becoming increasingly difficult within a lunch hour's stroll from the office, I headed out towards Loftus Road, home of Queen's Park Rangers. I'm not a QPR fan, although technically I should support them as I grew up in Ruislip which was just a couple of miles from where QPR used to train, and more importantly, Stan Bowls lived in my road. However, football nostalgia was not the purpose of my visit.

First up we have a  couple of pictures Sinclair Mansions, between Goldhawk Road and Shepherd's Bush. I particularly liked the brickwork and the arches on these buildings. The more modern look of the area can be seen in the far distance, as one of the office buildings near the Westfield shopping centre.

Sinclair Mansions, London W12
Sinclair Mansions, London W12

Sinclair Mansions, London W12
Sinclair Mansions, London W12

If I'm honest I didn't find very much that was inspiring on my wander, which I suspect was more to do with my mood than the environment. I'm sure, as is often the case, should I return I would see plenty of interest What did catch my eye though was these old Public Baths in Lime Grove on my way back, which are now re-purposed for residential and/or office use.

Hammersmith Public Baths & Wash Houses, Lime Grove, London
Hammersmith Public Baths & Wash Houses, Lime Grove, London

Pleased to see that the original signage is still intact though, although the signage above the doors, which I'm guessing would have said "Men" over one door and "Women" over the other, has been removed. Curiously there's a third door .. I wonder what this one would have read.

Hammersmith Public Baths & Wash Houses, Lime Grove, London
Hammersmith Public Baths & Wash Houses, Lime Grove, London

So, not actually that many pictures considering the wander was about an hour, but hopefully the pictures I did take are of interest.

    

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