Sunday, 24 December 2017

A Lunchtime Urban Wander around Hammersmith (flyover, mews and stinkpipe)

Just before I finished work for the Christmas break, I was working up in London for a few days. One of those days was the classic, cold-but-crisp December days where it seemed a crime to sit in the office and eat my sandwiches over a hot laptop filling the gaps between the keys with crumbs, so off I went in search of some space ...

There is something simultaneously ugly and beautiful about the underside of a flyover, almost a little like no-man's land. It also reminded me a little of J.G.Ballard's Concrete Island.

Beneath the Hammersmith flyover, London
Beneath the Hammersmith flyover, London

Beneath the Hammersmith flyover, London
Beneath the Hammersmith flyover, London

Despite this building being quite unique, it took more than a little research to reveal its purpose, although I probably could have guessed. Allowing a clear view along the Thames, it's used a starting box for rowing races.

Hexagonal starting box, Upper Mall, Hammersmith, London
Hexagonal starting box, Upper Mall, Hammersmith, London

As anyone who has read this blog for a while will know, I have been through various phases of things I'm interested in. More recently it's been doorway mosaics and ghost signs, but several years ago it was London mews, or mews-style dwellings. I can't remember the last time I shared any picture of London mews, but here's one I am very sure I have walked past before but never previously photographed.

Mulberry Place, Hammersmith, London
Mulberry Place, Hammersmith, London

Mulberry Place, Hammersmith, London
Mulberry Place, Hammersmith, London

I've seen these structures many times before, but never really stopped to consider what thy might be. It is in fact a stinkpipe, or stenchpole, built in Victorian times to allow gas to escape from underground sewers. Many are quite elaborate in design as well as functional.

Stinkpipe, Hammersmith, London
Stinkpipe, Hammersmith, London

Now I know what these intriguing structures are, stinkpipes are something I may return to at a later stage when I have more to share. In the meantime, and much to my surprise, there seems to be plenty of reading material available on these, firstly in this wonderful Londonist blog post, and also of course in physical format ...

    


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