Monday, 1 May 2017

An Urban Wander from Deptford Bridge to Greenwich, London

Having stayed up in London one or two nights per week on-and-off for the past few years, since changing jobs it's quite a rarity I get to London these days, and staying over is even more unusual. However, there was a very special reason we were visiting the capital ... to see The Orb at the Royal Festival Hall, for an ambient evening with them and some of their friends, one of who was Youth who I'd last seen at the Stroud Leisure Centre in 1982 as part of Killing Joke (but that's another story). Whilst the majority of this post will be about the Urban Wandering we did the following day, I couldn't resist sharing just a couple of pictures from the evening.

The Orb, playing live at the Royal Festival Hall, April 21st 2017
The Orb, playing live at the Royal Festival Hall, April 21st 2017

The Orb, playing live at the Royal Festival Hall, April 21st 2017
The Orb, playing Little Fluffy Clouds live at the Royal Festival Hall, April 21st 2017

Anyway, enough of the ambient-dub diversion, and on to the urban wandering. I've been to Greenwich plenty of times before but never really to the nearby Deptford Bridge, nor to the parts of Greenwich we ended up wandering around. My only real association with Deptford was through the 1970's record label Deptford Fun City, which was the label who released the very first single by Squeeze, Packet of Three, and also a vast array of records by Alternative TV who I have only recently discovered.

Our wander started from just outside the hotel where we stayed for the gig and soon we were into areas of London I'd never seen before but started firing up my psychogeographical yearnings once more.

First up we have the former Mumford's Greenwich Flour Mills. I had seen this before but only ever from the Docklands Light Railway. Whilst this has now been converted into some fairly luxurious apartments, it's good to see that the exterior architecture and signage remains in place.
Mumford's Greenwich Flour Mills, Deptford Bridge, London
Mumford's Greenwich Flour Mills, Deptford Bridge, London

Deptford Bridge is an area of contrasts. It's undergoing a fairly major redevelopment with flats being built everywhere, so I guess it's only a matter of time before this property is updated. If you ever wondered why your internet connection was a bit slow, then this may be the reason why.

Derelict building, Deptford Bridge, London
Derelict building, Deptford Bridge, London

Trying to find a way to walk along the side of Deptford Creek we cam across more abandonment, this time in the shape of a former pub, The Thames.

Abandoned pub, Deptford Bridge, London
Abandoned pub, Deptford Bridge, London

Abandoned pub, Deptford Bridge, London
Abandoned pub, Deptford Bridge, London

After wandering through some more of Deptford Bridge, we headed back into Greenwich. I have deliberately not included any pictures from the more usual parts of Greenwich, although I did try and take a shot of the entrance to the foot tunnel but there were so many tourists posing there to have their picture taken I gave it up as a bad job. Instead we continued on along the bank of the Thames, past the Cutty Sark towards Greenwich Power Station, which I was very surprised to find is still in use today. Those of you who have read my previous blog posts will know that at one stage I was slightly obsessed with power stations and gas works, driven mainly by the fantastic book, London's Lost Power Stations and Gasworks by Ben Pedroche. The power station is quite magnificent and can be seen from a good distance away.

Looking towards Greenwich Power Station from the west
Looking towards Greenwich Power Station from the west

Sitting beneath the shadow of the power station, but predating it by centuries is the Trinity Hospital and Alms Houses, originally built in 1613, rebuilt in 1812 and still in use today providing sheltered accommodation.

Greenwich Power Station and the Trinity Hospital, Greenwich, London
Greenwich Power Station and the Trinity Hospital, Greenwich, London

Trinity Hospital, Greenwich, London
Trinity Hospital, Greenwich, London

The next set of pictures are all of the former coal jetty attached to the power station. Despite trying a variety of angles I couldn't quite get the picture I was hoping for.

Coal jetty, Greenwich Power Station, London
Coal jetty, Greenwich Power Station, London

Coal jetty, Greenwich Power Station, London
Coal jetty, Greenwich Power Station, London

Coal jetty, Greenwich Power Station, London
Coal jetty, Greenwich Power Station, London

Coal jetty, Greenwich Power Station, London
Coal jetty, Greenwich Power Station, London

Greenwich Power Station, London
Greenwich Power Station, London

Coal jetty, Greenwich Power Station, London
Coal jetty, Greenwich Power Station, London

A little further along the Thames from the power station is the former Harbour Master's Office, still displaying the signage.

Former Harbour Master's Office, Greenwich, London
Former Harbour Master's Office, Greenwich, London

Not as if anyone needed it, but there are reminders of Greenwich's maritime heritage everywhere. Here we see a quaint little row of houses in Union Wharf.

Union Wharf, Greenwich, London
Union Wharf, Greenwich, London

Union Wharf, Greenwich, London
Union Wharf, Greenwich, London

You may have noticed the sky becoming increasingly duller in each photo, and sure enough it started to rain so we headed back for the warmth of Greenwich itself. Having completed a circuit around the
power station, this is the view from the back. And as a bit of a bonus there was a sundial on the back of one of the Trinity Hospital buildings. Alas however the sun was not shining.

Greenwich Power Station, Greenwich, London
Greenwich Power Station, Greenwich, London

Sundial on the back of Trinity Hospital, Greenwich, London
Sundial on the back of Trinity Hospital, Greenwich, London

As we headed back into Greenwich the heavens really started to open so pictures are few and far between, but I was determined to take this one despite the rain running down my neck into my shirt.

Canary Wharf through the Royal Naval College, Greenwich, London
Canary Wharf through the Royal Naval College, Greenwich, London

As way of reward after battling our way through the rain, we treated ourselves to spot of lunch at the really rather wonderful Champagne et Fromage in Greenwich. I have to confess that initially we only went in there to get a hot drink, get out of the rain, and plan the next part of our day, but having seen the food we simply couldn't resist.

Lunch at Champagne et Fromage, Greenwich, London
Lunch at Champagne et Fromage, Greenwich, London


    

Saturday, 28 January 2017

A lunchtime wander around the other end of Hook, Hampshire

Before we get into the pictures, I have become a bit curious about Hook as it's quite an odd place. Thousands and thousands of houses, only a few shops, and a relatively small train station at which the central platforms have been removed a while back, leaving just two remaining platforms, and many trains simply spped through on their way to London or Exeter, and do not stop there. I've come across a book called The Planning of a New Town written in in 1961 which describes a private new town, sponsored by the London County Council (LCC), to be built at Hook in Hampshire; a scheme that innovatively combined Garden City/New Town traditions with sensitivity to modern design. It would not appear though that the Hook of today is a result of this study, and that perhaps efforts were diverted to Basingstoke instead. Anyway, on with the show ...

Following on from my earlier wander around the less well trod paths surrounding Hook, today I wandered in the opposite direction, south along Holt Lane until it petered out into footpaths, eventually reaching and crossing over the busy M3 motorway. The day was bitterly cold but gloriously sunny. The ground was frozen and crisp underfoot, with just a few sticky patches where the weak sun had managed to thaw out some of the frozen mud.

Looking south along Holt Lane, Hook, Hampshire
Looking south along Holt Lane, Hook, Hampshire

As the lane became thinner it was not particularly obvious where the path went until I caught sight of a footbridge in the distance. A tranquil walk interrupted rudely by the noisy motorway.

Footbridge over the M3, Hook, Hampshire
Footbridge over the M3, Hook, Hampshire

Annoyingly I didn't manage to capture this view of the footbridge very squarely, but an interesting contrast between the clear blue sky and turquoise railings of the bridge.

Footbridge over the M3, Hook, Hampshire
Footbridge over the M3, Hook, Hampshire

After crossing the bridge there were a couple of footpaths I could have taken, but lunchtime was running out, and also they looked a bit muddy to attempt in my work attire, so I headed back north the way I had come. If I'm still working here later in the year then maybe there will be more options open to me in the drier weather.

Looking north along Holt Way, Hook, Hampshire
Looking north along Holt Way, Hook, Hampshire

  ;  

Wednesday, 18 January 2017

In Search of Space, in Hook

Well, not as promised, but possibly as expected I have once again neglected my blog. I have recently started a new job and the first couple of weeks have been a little hectic, getting used to my new commute, and orientating myself around the work. I had hoped to travel by train, but after the first week it became clear that it would take twice as long as driving so reluctantly I have abandoned public transport and taken to my car.

I've managed a couple of lunchtime wanders from my new work location in Hook. The first couple of wanders were simply to stretch my leas and get some lunch, and were not particularly inspiring, but more recently I found a footpath that I'd spotted on google maps, and discovered a more rural setting, and as the title of my blog insists, some space. I only managed a short wander, but this route definitely calls for a bit more exploration, in both directions.

Anyone who has read my blog before will know that I'm a bit of a sucker for railway bridges, especially ones no longer in use, and whilst this one is most definitely in use, carrying the main line between Basingstoke and Waterloo, the bridge is an old brick arch, which is very much to my liking.

Railway bridge across Holt Lane, Hook, Hampshire
Railway bridge across Holt Lane, Hook, Hampshire

Railway bridge across Holt Lane, Hook, Hampshire
Railway bridge across Holt Lane, Hook, Hampshire 

Farm track off Holt Lane, Hook, Hampshire
Farm track off Holt Lane, Hook, Hampshire 

Railway bridge across Holt Lane, Hook, Hampshire
Railway bridge across Holt Lane, Hook, Hampshire

Tomorrow I'm off to London, so with a bit of luck I'll get an opportunity for some early morning urban wandering before my meeting, so maybe this week will see another blog post ... but then again maybe not. We'll just have to wait and see.

In other news, I am desperately trying to find time and energy to read a book I got for my birthday last year called Timekeepers, How The World Became Obsessed With Time, by Simon Garfield, partly because I want to finish reading the book, but also so I can start on a more recent purchase, Post Punk Then and Now.

  

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