#45: Chingford – 28/03/2019

The Station

Serving the north east of London out of Liverpool Street, this Overground line terminates right at the edge of Epping Forest. Built in the Victorian era, the station still reflects its original charm with three platforms and many sidings.

Chingford sits within the Borough of Waltham Forest, who have cleverly remodelled the Underground Roundel to promote itself as the first London Borough of Culture. I think the use of the roundel is quite creative.

As with many Overground stations, attempts to green up the station are well intended, with bursts of planting providing a colourful interest, but unless looked after, the flowers soon decay and look somewhat dishevelled. Sadly, Chingford station is no different.

A Royal Connection

Turning right out of the station, I’m confronted by a welcome sign into London’s Great Forest – Epping Forest and I’m immediately drawn to an elaborate looking building in the distance up Ranger’s Road. Alas when I get there, it’s a faux tudor style Premier Inn (yuck) but next door is The View, a visitor centre cum gallery, and Queen Elizabeth’s Hunting Lodge. Both turn out to be worthy of visiting for different reasons.

The View provides visitors with a wealth of information about the Forest and offers interactive displays about the Forest and it’s upkeep. I learn, from one of the exhibits, that the social reformer Octavia Hill, who also co-founded the National Trust believed that good environments make better people and proclaimed: ‘…we want four things. Places to sit in, places to play in, places to stroll in and places to spend a day in. The poor should never be denied beauty…’

The View also housed an art exhibition which had paintings inter-dispersed amongst these displays. What strikes me is the quality of the artwork especially when I learn they have all been painted by students from Bancroft’s School. Sadly the exhibition is no longer there, but if you ever get a chance, I highly recommend seeing their work; or maybe the school will put them on their website? Here are a couple of examples.

A hunting lodge, built by King Henry VIII in his later years stands proudly overlooking the forest, and the lodge was re-modelled by Queen Elizabeth I on her succession to the throne. Used as a starting/end point for royal hunts, it’s alleged that Queen Elizabeth after one such hunt, rode her horse up the stairs to the top floor. There’s no evidence to dis/prove this, but it does add to the colourful character of the building.

My journey to Chingford Mount

I return to Chingford and somewhat disappointedly find little of interest. A long winding street, typical of London, full of independent shops and a variety of religious buildings, however the architecture offered little of interest. My eye catches one spectacle in the window of Solution, a high class clothing alteration service – that of a window display full of buttons. I stepped into the shop and the seamstress seemed quite proud of the display which had been built up over the years.

Further down the road, I pass Chingford Assembly Hall and stop to view, not the building itself, but a mosaic commissioned for the millenium depicting twelve scenes with a local interest. If you look closely at the outlining design, and apply your imagination, you could be right in seeing the underground ‘roundel’ has been incorporated as well…or maybe that’s just my imagination.

From here I head south to Chingford Mount via the Ridgeway, and on this hot sunny day, it is a slow walk through row upon row of typical London houses. My only stop is a brief diversion into Mansfield Park to view the scene overlooking the Lee Valley and its reservoirs.

I later forayed into the Lee Valley Regional Park looking for a short cut, but soon realised this was not possible and had to do a U-turn. Passing a very uninteresting London Energy centre, I did find one item of interest that became a contender for my picture of the day. Not for its beauty, but more for its symmetry. This shot is taken directly under, and in the centre of an electricity pylon that straddled the road.

Tottenham Hotspur (Spurs)

By now it’s late afternoon and I’m feeling weary and ready for home, but I notice in the distance looking southwards as I was standing on the North Circular slip road (safely and on the pavement) that I can see the new Spurs ground. I decided it would be a shame to be so close and not visit so a short hop by bus takes me to Fore Street and I walk through Edmonton – a familiar location where I once worked.

As I approach the stadium, I know it is soon to open as it is hosting an exhibition match on the coming Saturday and its first home game the following Wednesday. However as I climb the open staircase, I am challenged by security who explain the ground and the raised walkway are still deemed a ‘building site’ and declared out of bounds to the public. Nevertheless, as the stadium is right on the pavement, I am able to walk right around this impressive, expensive and late opening stadium. I have no doubt though that these facts will soon be forgotten once football returns to White Hart Lane.

I speak at length with one of the security guards who is happy to share stories of his time working here and he highlights some of the high tech features of the ground. Much has been made of its retractable pitch which reveals an artificial pitch for NFL games and concerts. Here’s a collection of some of the pics I took.

I ended my journey at White Hart Lane overground station, a station which will soon have a name change to Tottenham Hotspur station. This photo-opportunity is a homage to the new stadium in the shadow of the old station name.

Picture of the Day

This is a seating area in the centre of Chingford Mount, by the war memorial and bus station. Today’s bright sunshine accentuated the colour of the seats, which on one side was occupied, but this side was free. The combination of the colour and shape makes for an interesting shot; and I’ve tried to accentuate the offset nature of the individual seats with the straight edge on the left and some measure of movement with the slightly blurred passer-by in the top right hand corner. This took several attempts to get right by changing the shutter speed but maintaining the depth of field at a time someone walked by in the corner of the frame.

Camera Settings: Canon Canon EOS 200D; ƒ/32; 1/30; 55mm; ISO100

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