#127: Greenford 08/10/2021


Before I begin, here’s a lesson for all photographers. When you plan an outing, a day out, in my case, always check what lenses you have. I thought I had checked, but not carefully enough, as it turns out, as I approached Greenford station to check my camera, I found I only had my 10-18mm lens. It seems I had not packed my trusty 18-200mm workhorse of a lens.

Hmmm, but my instant reaction was, ‘Oh OK, it means I have to get closer to my subjects today, so not a bad thing. But, I wonder if I’ll learn from this lesson?

Today’s journey is courtesy of the Great Western Railway (GWR) who operate a branch line service from West Ealing to Greenford. The daytime service runs every half hour, and as I boarded the two carriage turbo diesel Class 165 trains, I was almost alone. Only three other passengers, as far as I could tell.

The line is 4 km long, with intermediate stops at Drayton Green, Castle Bar Park and South Greenford. The line originally opened in 1903 to coincide with the opening of a station at Park Royal to serve the Royal Agricultural Show held on the grounds of the Twyford Abbey Estate. For historians, this article by Matthew Lyons provides a brief history of this now-abandoned gothic building.

Greenford Station

Transport for London (TfL) operates this above-ground station. It’s a pass-through station on the Central Line with its westerly destination at West Ruislip. The GWR branch line terminates on a bay platform with the Central line platforms on either side.

The station opened in 1904, and a new station at its current location opened after World War II in 1947. The station entrance exterior is typical of its era and is functional and bland. It nestles by the bridge that carries the platform as the railway line crosses Oldfield Lane North.

My lasting memory of the station is not of the station but the waft of fish and chips drifting up from Maggie’s Fish and Chip shop opposite the station’s entrance.

Greenford

There’s a small parade of shops immediately outside the station and to the south. The road then meanders through various suburban residences until it reaches the William Perkin Church of England High School adjacent to the A40 Western Way.

The school takes its name from an industrial chemist who created modern dyes in the mid-1800s. He had a factory nearby where he mass-produced the dye mauveine, which became popular during the Victorian era.

To the north of the station, there are several light industrial parks, conveniently located to access the A40 Western Way, less than a kilometre away. Until recent years, this would have defined Greenford, but a new waterfront development is emerging.

Greenford Quay

Greenford Quay is an ambitious project to construct up to 2,000 new homes, supporting infrastructure and services such as new roads and a nursery. The development is being built on an industrial wasteland once the homes of Sunblest Bakery and GlaxoSmithKlein.

One phase is already constructed, with other phases well underway on both sides of the Grand Union Canal, which has been re-energised and restored into a destination location. On the north side of the canal, there’s an open piazza that’s been designed to attract residents and visitors and where there’s a water fountain splash zone for the brave or foolhardy to walk through.

Grand Union Canal

Part of the excitement of not planning my visits is that I never know what I will discover. Greenford is no exception, as I find the Grand Union Canal runs through the area. Once used to carry goods up and downstream, it is now predominantly the domain of leisure craft and wildlife – can you see the spider in this dried flower head?

Domestic barges line the canal side along Lichfield Grove, the part of the Canal from the Black Horse pub as it heads west south westerly down to the Western Avenue A40. Some are well maintained, others look dishevelled, but most portray colourful scenes. You can also peer into Sotheby’s Fine Art storage facility located behind high fencing nearby if you look closely enough.

Much has been done to the east of the pub to improve the canalside, which has no doubt been dredged at some point as this relic would suggest. I found this bivalve encrusted moped dumped on the towpath. Given all the works underway, why wouldn’t this have been removed as well?

However, the towpath is busy with runners, dog walkers and casual strollers along the way to Horsenden and Perivale.

Picture of the Day – Industrial Wasteland

This is a view from Berkeley Avenue with the Ferrero building behind me. It’s taken through a gap in the hoardings that surround the old Glaxo building site as it remains derelict. I’ve captured it in black and white to help accentuate the grittiness of the scene.

The Glaxo building was first built in the 1930s to house the world’s 3rd largest manufacturer of pharmaceutical products. However, the building is not even a shadow of its past and Tillerman’s Court, phase one of Greenford Quay is seen on the right-hand side.

The site’s developers are awaiting planning approval, and once received the plan is to build up to 593 new homes with new retail, restaurant and community spaces, as well as a new cinema. Maybe if I return in a few years time, all this will have been realised? Time will tell.

  • Location: The old Glaxo Industrial site, Berkeley Avenue, Greenford
  • Date/Time: Friday 8th October 2021 12:04 pm
  • Settings: Camera – Canon EOS 200D; Aperture – n/a; Shutter Speed – n/a; Focal Length – n/a; Film Speed – ISOn/a

Social Media

If you like what you see, please follow me on my social media channels.

  • Instagram – for my photo portfolio where you get to see more from each visit before I publish my blogs
  • Facebook and Twitter
  • YouTube – for my video clips where I present a compilation of my day’s pictures to music

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