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#72:Upminster – 05/12/2019

Today’s visit completes the series of seven ‘ends of the line’ on the District line, and sees me returning to one of the most easterly stations on the network. I was here not that long ago via the Overground, so I need to ensure I don’t cover old ground. Consequently this is a relatively short blog.

The Station

Although it’s the end of the District line, there’s very little to demonstrate this as there is no signage that you’d normally see at other District Line stations. The signage is predominantly c2c, with Overground roundels on its own dedicated platform number 6. The cross platform footbridge spans all platforms and leads to a security gated entrance to the signal box; and platform seating, whilst recently installed, is sparse.

Platform 1 also provides a hearing induction loop for those passengers with a ‘T’ switch on their hearing aids, but what about similarly affected passengers on the other platforms? It’s all very well saying the service is available at the station, but it should say that it’s only a restricted service…

Hall Lane

Turning right out of the main station entrance, I head north up Hall Lane. My targeted destination is the Pitch & Putt course about half a kilometer away. I’ve driven past this many a time during my residency in Romford but had never been there. And I still didn’t see it as it is all covered up and locked away for the winter. Ah well… The Pitch and Putt course is within chipping distance of Upminster Golf Club with its course straddling the main road; its main entrance clearly defined as distinctly different to the adjacent Rugby Club.

The rugby club is all closed up, but en route, I explore the outside of the much advertised Upminster Tithe Barn. The Barn dates from 1450 and was part of an estate that supported the Abbey of Waltham. The Abbott’s hunting lodge next door was later converted into a private house and is now home to Upminster Golf Club.

The barn only opens periodically during the spring and summer months which now houses a broad display of domestic items from the last century as well as agricultural machinery.

Upminster Court

I continue north and head to Upminster Court; again another point of interest I’ve driven past many times and I naively thought this may have been a Judge’s House used for hearing Crown Court cases. Ha! How wrong am I?! It transpires that it was once a mansion house built at the turn of the 20th Century for the engineer and industrialist Arthur Williams.

Inscriptions either side of the main gate explain that Arthur designed and developed, and later patented steel-reinforced concrete piling. It was these that were used to construct part of the Dagenham jetties that helped grow the Dagenham industrial area and that once housed the Ford factory. The house is now a multi-occupied residential and business centre. My picture of the day shows the main entrance seen through the ironworks, but here’s an uninterrupted view of the mansion house.

Shopping area

Upminster has an eclectic and diverse shopping area made up of a couple of streets which form the shape of a cross. South from the station is the imaginatively named ‘Station Road’ which becomes ‘Corbets Tey Road’ at its intersection with ‘St Mary’s Lane’. Largely independent shops, with one local department store dominating the Station Road area with a large clothing and homeware store at the northern end, and a fashionable furniture store nearer the St Mary’s Lane end – welcome to Roomes.

I walk up and down past all the shops looking for an interesting window to admire, but I only find one that’s of particular interest that makes me stop and return to it. It is Sweet Rose Cakery in St Mary’s Lane. Inside this tea room I’m greeted very warmly and as I explain why I’d like to take pictures of their window, I espy several ladies who are busy socialising over a cuppa and a scone. The shop window catches my eye for its simplicity in explaining what’s on offer in the cafe, but it’s done in a very graphical way that clearly spells out the menu. Well done Sweet Rose on the stylised display…

Wintry views

A wintry day that’s not too cold as I walk about admiring the mackerel skyline and the gold and brown of the leaf fall and late changing trees, but still a little chilly when I stop for too long. So I decide it’s time to head home for the comforts of slippers and a hot toddy…

Picture of the Day

This is taken at Upminster Court along Hall Lane headed north out of Upminster showing off its grandeur, and highlighting its seclusion behind these locked gates.

This should have been a simple shot to capture if it wasn’t for the fact that to get the full frame of the gates in view and keep both mansion and gates in focus required that I stood at the very edge of the pavement set against a busy Hall Lane. So I keep one eye on the traffic and the other on framing this picture.

I take several shots with attempts to capture the right colour and vividness using flash for some fill in, and some shots using the camera’s in-built grainy  black & white filter. However, this one has been taken in full colour with flash, and in post production I’ve adjusted the final image with a harsh black & white filter to create the starkness that makes this picture work well.

Settings: Camera – Canon EOS 200D; Aperture – ƒ5.6; Shutter Speed – 1/160; Focal Length – 18mm; Film Speed – ISO100; Google filter – Vista

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#61: Upminster – 24/07/2019

If you want to find out why there’s a vague reference to Donald Trump in today’s blog, then read on – but don’t get too excited!

Upminster is local to me as I only live 3.5 miles away, so I’m somewhat familiar with the location. Consequently I try to stay objective and behave in the same way as with all my other visits. It’s a hard and harsh day weatherwise, as it’s a record breaking sunny day; not ideal for walking about, so I make sure I take on plenty of fluids and walk as much in the shade as possible.

Knowing I’ll be returning to Upminster again as the station serves as the terminus for both the District and Overground lines, I decide to take a somewhat rural view of this suburban town today.

The Station

Upminster is a surprisingly  busy station serving the two Tfl’s lines and c2c’s destinations through Essex to Grays, Southend and Shoeburyness, and today I arrive on the Overground from Romford. This single track line is one of the latest to join the Tfl network, and other than the two end destinations, it has only one other station (Emerson Park) roughly half way along its 5 kilometre journey.

The shuttle service runs every half hour taking just 9 minutes each way and I learn from the driver that each driver does just 9 back to back journeys a day as their daily routine.

As I explore the station, I watch a number of high-vis clad Network Rail workers as they manhandle sacks of ballast from the start of Platform 1, along its length,  up and down 50 steps over a bridge to platform 2 and then to the end of that platform where engineering work is to take place later. In the heat of the day, this was beyond physical, and the effort and heat are understandably taking their toll on the speed with which they work. Nevertheless, there are a couple of workers determined to carry two sacks at shoulder height to help shorten the overall time being taken.

As I leave the station, I spot some advertising for a mobile phone app to help find water refilling stations across London. On downloading it I find it’s a national service and try it out. Refill is a scheme encouraging local retailers to offer free water refills to customers to help reduce/avoid plastic pollution, and I note there are three outlets in Upminster: Costa (2) and Greggs. I try the service out during the course of my visit and confess that both suppliers were more than happy to accommodate my request for a refill even though I wasn’t buying anything from them. I later tried it in Brentwood Costa with the same success, so it’s well worth trying it.

Tfl’s end of the line depot is 1.5 Km further east in Cranham, where their rolling stock is maintained and stored overnight. Out of interest I make my way over but alas high fencing and shrubbery prevents me being able to see anything substantial. Nevertheless, I’m drawn to the landmark that is the lighting tower that can be seen from afar, and I talk with Mike, the driver of the 248 bus service to Romford Market who’s taking a break at the nearby bus terminus. He’s a Norfolk lad who tells me of his enjoyment of writing music and he plays one of his demo’s from his phone whilst he’s finishing his cigarette before starting his journey. Although not a performing band, they play under the name of ‘Lyric Assassins’.

In the Country

The walk from Cranham takes me past ‘Pond Walk’, a protected wildlife pond, but it seems that all the inhabitants are out for the day as both the pond and the island’s sole dwelling are empty. Maybe it’s too hot for them in the midday sun?

Onwards up The Chase, a narrow single track lane laced with private secure gated bespoke houses along its length. The walk is very much a country walk as I pass several wheat fields that look ready for harvesting and spot Upminster’s Windmill towering in the distance.

At the top of the lane, I reach my signposted destination: The Parish Church of All Saints Cranham. The church has a rich history with links to the foundation of the state of Georgia in the USA, and the present building reflects the early English architectural style. The church is attractive and has the appearance of being well cared for, but a walk around the back of the churchyard shows some neglect as the gravestones are overgrown with grass and weeds and the path a little difficult to navigate. Nevertheless it’s a very pleasant English country setting.

Heading back towards Upminster, I take a gander into Clockhouse Gardens, a public garden and wildfowl haven discreetly tucked behind the appropriately named Clockhouse. As I enter the garden, I find I’m confronted by a flock of Canada geese ground feeding everywhere around a pond full of a variety of ducks. And towards the centre of the pond, perched on a small rocky outcrop is a trio of terrapins basking in the sun.

There’s a mum and small child enjoying the spectacle and I turn my head to see what they’ve spotted as the mum says ‘…look at that duck with the funny thing on its head…’. And whilst I don’t know it yet, its here I meet Donald Trump. You can read about my encounter below in my ‘Picture of the Day’.

On the shadier far side of the garden, several ladies are resting and enjoying the relative solitude. It’s in a wooded area clearly set out as a children’s reading spot with carved animal characters and little toadstools set out in a reading circle and the wizard of the wood overseeing  his domain.

Back into Town

As the crow flies, the windmill is 1.6 km’s from The Parish Church of All Saints Cranham, but in reality it’s a slow 2.25 km walk along the length of St Mary’s Lane in the basking sun. I’m a little disappointed when I get there as I find the area is a building site and the windmill is without its cap, sails and gallery. But that takes nothing away from the restoration work that’s been going on over the last two years by way of returning the mill to its former glory. Over two miles of weatherboarding has recently been applied and painted and the shape of the windmill is clear to see, and along with the recently opened visitor centre, full access is to the windmill is expected in Spring next year.

The main shopping area runs from the station down Corbets Tey Road, and the shops are a mix of small local businesses, fashion and beauty. But if you look up above the ground floor ‘marketing noise’ you’ll see the hidden exterior of the early 20th century art deco style architecture, looking a little tired and in need of sprucing up.

Picture of the Day

Meet Donald Trump…well it’s a name I’ve seen given to this type of crested duck on the internet, and I can sort of understand why with its glorious bouffoned crest beautifully coiffed in an elegant ‘comb over’ effect. This duck clearly stood out from the crowd as it was the only one of this type I could see, as it waddled majestically amongst all the other ducks.

The picture was a little tricky to capture as I’m using the barrel of my 75-300 mm lens as the only stabiliser, so the risk of camera shake is high. The lighting is also tricky as the duck is in a shaded area which is heavily backlit by the sun creating a contrasting light & shade effect. The shot is taken almost at ground level resting the camera on the low level fencing surrounding a pond.

I’ve tried to find out the breed, and the closest I’ve got to determining this is that it’s a Crested Saxony as identified by the Domestic Waterfowl Club of Great Britain. Although the crested gene can be grown into most duck breeds, it does nevertheless have a breeding consequence as not all eggs will result in a successful hatchling.

Settings: Camera – Canon EOS 200D; Aperture – ƒ5.6; Shutter Speed – 1/1000; Focal Length – 255mm (75-300mm zoom); Film Speed – ISO5000; Google Photo Filter – Palma

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#42: Richmond (District) – 19/02/2019

Richmond is the end of the line for the District and Overground lines and a pass through station en route to Reading from Waterloo served by South Western Railways. So today I return to complete this story following my first visit over eight months ago.

But first a passing mention to Waterloo station which I travel through as today is the day the station re-opens the platforms that once served the Eurostar service. There is much confusion with commuters and travellers alike, but all questions are quickly resolved by the very large presence of customer service staff. The iconic curved and arched roof looks gleaming in the day’s sunshine.

The Town

Richmond is an attractive town full of character and independent shops (along with the expected high street ones), but there’s a different feel whilst I walk about as the streets are spotlessly clean and it feels like people are proud of their community. I’m drawn to several buildings and shops around the town which I share here by way of showing the eclectic mix I find.

The River

For those new to Richmond, I’d thoroughly recommend a visit as its location right on the river gives very pleasant views and an opportunity to ‘people watch’. Take a walk down the cobbled Water Lane and turn left onto Buccleuch Passage and enjoy a stroll along its grassy banks and you’ll see visitors and workers alike. Like those taking in the sun with a drink or ice cream from local vendors, or those busy repairing or preparing their boats in anticipation of the coming tourist season.

But beware though, as I found whilst returning later in the day, that the river is tidal and can burst its banks. No doubt a regular occurrence as those living nearby have erected flood defences, but it seems even local workers don’t check ahead for the river conditions before parking their vehicles.

The ‘Passage’ has a number of tea shops and restaurants, and this is where I take my ‘picture of the day’ (see below), but all along the walkway these eateries make every effort to make their spot attractive and entice passers by to spend a little time, and money, with them.

The Artist

At the point where the river turns, I spot an artist with canvas and easel, painting a river scene in oils. I invite a conversation and he is happy to chat and allows me to take some pictures: he introduces himself as Oliver Maughan. Oliver has been working as a professional landscape artist along the Thames for a number of years and will soon be exhibiting his works at the Russell Gallery in Putney.

Not content with the river scene he was mid-way through, Oliver explains he will be moving onto Albert Bridge later in the day as its decorative Victorian metalwork captured in oil is an attractive proposition for the casual art lover.

Check out Oliver’s website and if you happen to be in Putney at the right time, pop along and have a look at his works…

The Terrace

Making my way towards Richmond Park, I stumble across an underpass leading into Terrace Gardens which climbs up to Richmond Hill, and where it meets Star and Garter Hill there’s a fountain erected to commemorate the work of the local RSPCA in the late 19th Century.

There’s also a number of historic buildings here; two being redeveloped as upmarket apartments, and one still in a dishevelled state. All worth a look at and watch out for the building plaques that explain their histories. They are:

  • Wick House, the residence of Sir Joshua Reynolds which was rebuilt and equipped by the Order of St John and the British Red Cross Society in 1950 as a home for the nurses of the Star and Garter Home for disabled sailors, soldiers and airmen
  • Star and Garter House, and
  • Ancaster Gate, a building presented to Queen Mary for the use of the Star and Garter Home

The Park

Richmond Park is London’s largest site of special scientific interest and is part of the Royal Parks, and a focal point for walkers, ramblers and cyclists. I have to say that despite it being a bright sunny day, there were few people about and occasionally I felt alone and isolated. Perhaps though it’s more a reflection on the size and scale of the park.

Warning signs at the entrance remind visitors of an ongoing deer cull which renders the park closed to all during the night hours, and I hope the cull hadn’t been too effective as I don’t see one deer during my visit. I walk along Sawyer’s Hill, inland to the ponds and across to Queen’s Road and as I do, I’m befriended by a nine month old Irish Terrier which has decided to take a leisurely walk some distance from its owner whom I later catch up with. Whilst walking, I try my hand at some scenic shots of the skyline and felled trees; here are a few I hope you like?

Pembroke Lodge, a Grade II listed Georgian Mansion, sits at the highest point in the park, and I stroll around its grounds. Through the Dingle where children are playing through bamboo bushes, and along to King Henry’s Mount where there’s a feature point – looking ten miles in a north-easterly direction there’s an uninterrupted view of St Paul’s Cathedral which you can just see with the naked eye. For the less able, there’s a telescope…or as one child proclaimed excitedly to her mother…’and eye thingy’…

I exit the confines of the Lodge through Poet’s Corner and enjoy the view overlooking Ham House before ending my day.

Picture of the Day

I’ve taken this shot along the Thames at Buccleuch Passage, the footpath that leads you along the river from Richmond towards Richmond Park. The exact spot is overlooking the seated terraced area of Goucho, a fine dining restaurant.

Seeing the daffodil all alone, my first thought is that it’s been discarded on the table, but if so, it’s probably not been discarded for long as it’s still looking healthy.

What catches my eye is the colour contrast as the outside seating area is bedecked with artistically styled white chairs against a backdrop of black decor. The yellow of the daffodil just ‘spoke’ to me. Now maybe it’s because I’m Welsh and we’re fast approaching St David’s Day, but I felt the colour contrast was striking and it represented a ‘moment in time’. I’ve cropped the picture closing in on the star of the picture – the daffodil

Settings: Camera – Canon EOS 200D; Aperture – ƒ7.1; Shutter Speed – 1/320; Focal Length – 55mm; Film Speed – ISO100; Google Photo Filter – Auto

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#41: Wimbledon (District) – 12/02/2019

Today has been a 17 km figure of eight tour of the surrounds: starting at the station; up to the Village; onwards to the All England Club; onto the common; down to Raynes Park; back into Wimbledon; onto Wimbledon Chase and ending back at Raynes Park. Phew, my legs ache…

The Town and Station

I’m Returning to Wimbledon as this station serves as the terminus for both the Tramway and the District line, and today’s visit compliments my earlier visit seven months ago. Outside the station is a 10’ high steel installation of a stag, commissioned and erected by the local authority to mark the town centre’s regeneration which was completed in 2012.

Regeneration remains a constant as buildings continue to be reformatted and recreated over time and developers nowadays have high standards to maintain in order to protect the passing public ensuring their work is fully covered – a great opportunity to promote themselves. Equally, some are creative in how they display their hoardings, and this one in particular catches my eye. Can you work out which store is coming?

The Village

Almost a kilometer up the hill is Wimbledon Village. A very fashionable centre with a thriving local community with a wide range of independent shops and high end retailers. I’m drawn to some of the buildings either for their displays, or names – for example: Giggling Squid, Le Pain Quatidien, Gardenia, RKade Antiques and the Rose and Crown. I hope you agree they’re worthy of inclusion?

Tennis

Passing through the village, I hadn’t planned on heading to the All England Lawn Tennis & Croquet Centre, but as it’s only a short stroll away, and it is a fine breezy day, I think ‘why not?’ Look closely, you’ll see embedded in the pavement small round discs marked The Wimbledon Way’ so watch out for them as they’ll guide you around the area; I stop to admire one close by to ‘Dairy Walk’.

I’ve been to the tennis centre a couple of times over the years and was happy to have been marshalled into the venue along with thousands of others at the same time. Today, I seemed to be one of a few walking around and as I stop to take some pictures, I’m approached by Sam, a friendly security guard, at one of the many entry points, who’s interested in what I’m doing. I explain and we chat and I take heed of his friendly invitation to move on.

A little further on, I’m at the museum and restaurant gate and I meet Sam again, and I’m allowed in after a bag search and admire the work taking place to install the new roof on Court No. 2 which will be ready for this year’s tournament. I also say hello to Fred Perry.

The Common

Continuing past the centre turning into Bathgate Road, I can only begin to imagine the price tag on the fenced and gated detached properties that line the road. I understand why top ranking tennis players want to rent out these places during the annual tournament. I digress, onwards towards the common, but first I stumble across The Buddhapadipa Temple and admire this Buddhist Thai temple and as I do, I get talking with another visitor, a Danish lady who’s sitting on the steps. We chat a while before moving on.

The common is a short walk away and I skirt its boundaries until I reach Rushmere Pond and take in the distant view before heading south to Raynes Park.

Raynes Park

This is a long walk, and somewhat uninteresting as I pass, at a distance King’s College School and Wimbledon College along the Ridgeway. Into Pepys Road, I find I’m following a train of primary school children being led by their teachers all the way down to Raynes Park.

The area is a fairly typical of London suburbia served by a small parade of shops on either side of the railway station which acts as a focal point.

There’s a tunnelled footpath under the station which is creatively decorated with lowlights and I return later at dusk to capture the effect at its best.

Wimbledon Chase Railway Station

Returning to Wimbledon main line I set off again on foot to Wimbledon Chase passing the Nelson Health Centre en route, which was built originally as the Nelson Hospital in memory to Lord Nelson who once lived in the area. A little further ahead is Wimbledon Chase station, a quiet station which sits within the Thameslink loop service from Blackfriars via Sutton before returning through this station. Train services are few and far between, and the immediate surrounds paints a somewhat bleak picture, nevertheless, inspired by a joint venture with the railway company, local college students have had their artwork transformed into colourful murals.

Picture of the Day

High up in Wimbledon Village, along its High Street, is the cast iron radiator shop Castards, and as I walk past I admire the window display and walk into the shop introducing myself to Sam Mayel-Afshar, one of the owners. I explain my journey and ask his permission to take some pictures; he’s more than obliging. The window features rows and rows of miniature radiators in a very impressive display and this is today’s Picture of the Day.

Standing inside the shop and looking out of the window, I capture the silhouetted effect of the mini-radiators set against a backdrop of the street parking, over which I have no control. However, I position the shot in such a way by casting the blue van almost centrally and balance it with the decorative lighting peeking through the display.

This took some time to get the right composition and then waiting for pedestrians walking by or looking into the shop from outside to pass by. A slight blue filtering effect helps to complete the shot

Settings: Camera – Canon EOS 200D; Aperture – ƒ5.6; Shutter Speed – 1/160; Focal Length – 47mm; Film Speed – ISO100; Google Photo Filter – Bazaar

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#37: Edgware Road (revisited) – 15/01/2019

Reflective Moments

This, my 37th station, in almost 9 months, and it marks the midpoint through my travels; quite a journey so far and look out for changes to the blog as I introduce a new look and some new features.

One such feature is my emerging YouTube channel where I intend to post a short film of all the pictures I have taken on each visit, and is intended to complement my shared photo albums, Facebook page and Instagram space. I haven’t yet decided whether to create a back catalogue, but that would be a cool thing to do. Let me know if you’d like to see these?

Edgware Road revisited

Over eight months after my first visit here, I’ve come back to Edgware Road to complete my sojourn to this station which serves as the end of the line for both the Circle and District lines.

Today is a cold wintry day and I wanted to explore a different side to the area, so this time I trundle through the back streets heading south to Marble Arch on the eastern side of Edgware Road and returning north to Paddington through the western side streets. This map sets out my route.

Residential Marylebone

Stepping out of the station I head south and I’m impressed by the scale and architecture of the surrounding Hyde Park Mansions. They are architecturally characteristic of many a historic part of London with apartments retailing for anything from £2 million apiece with one reported to sell for £300 million! Further afield is the equally impressive Stourcliffe Court, and the more modernist Richbourne Court. The one thing these facades hide is the potential wealth that lurks behind their doors.

On the subject of wealth, I have to include a picture of this white Jaguar Car as its number plate just shouted out ‘look at me!’. After taking a few pictures, the car’s owner came out of his office and introduced himself as Mo and appreciated my admiring his car and number plate. He was too coy to tell me how much he’d paid for it…but it was good to talk with you Mo.

One final observation: I’m attracted to the interesting symbols on the lampposts and wonder if there’s are a hidden secret – and it turns out there is. The two symbols represent: a fanciful ‘W’ symbolising the Duke of Westminster who gave his name to the borough of Westminster; and the second is that of CoCo Chanel – from Lookup.London ‘…The legend goes that the Duke of Westminster during the 1920s was infatuated with Coco Chanel, repeatedly asking her to marry him. This is pretty well documented and it appears the feelings were mutual. Chanel spent many years in London and between 1924 and the early 1930s enjoyed a beneficial and happy affair with Hugh Grosvenor (richest man in the world at the time) according to the biography written by Justine Picardie in 2010…’ How interesting

Marble Arch

There aren’t many visitors about and even Oxford Street, still to de-Christmas itself is relatively quiet of shoppers. Neither did it stop one loving couple stealing a kiss in the shadow of Marble Arch. Even the local birds are less than enthusiastic, but suspect that may be more to do with the lack of people = food being less readily available. Nevertheless the adjoining gardens are making a good impression in providing colour.

Perched on one of the traffic Islands, I find a good spot to look at the constant passing traffic and this shot highlights the variety of transport options readily available to locals and visitors.

Many sculptors have taken advantage of the wide open spaces nearby to show off larger than life works of art. Three in particular caught my eye:

  • ‘Still Water’, a 30 foot outdoor bronze sculpture of a horse’s head by Nic Fiddian-Green
  • ‘Flight’, a magical sculpture of a flying man taking off from Marble Arch; a 7 meter outdoor bronze sculpture with black patina created by David Breuer-Weil, and
  • the ‘Animals in War’ memorial created by David Backhouse; a symbolic 58 foot by 55 foot installation that invites you into it to learn more about its history

Black & White

There’s a black & white theme with some of the pictures I’ve taken. Maybe it’s a simple and prevalent colour combination across fashionable London or maybe it’s a combination of the dull weather that makes the colour combination stand out. Whatever the reason, I’m drawn to some of the buildings by the simple design shapes created by their facade. Here are some examples which include:

Paddington

The majority of the properties on the return walk to Paddington are part of the Hyde Park Estate but I’m drawn to a particular art installation in the guise of a greenhouse. Entitled ‘Sacre Blur’, it’s a greenhouse constructed by Heywood and Condie from salvaged 18th and 19th century stained glass on a plot of land outside 25 Porchester Place.

Turning left into Praed Street and approaching Paddington Station, I reach St Mary’s Hospital and reflect that I’d never before taken any notice of this historic site as it was the professional home to Sir Alexander Fleming where he discovered penicillin; a discovery that changed medicine in the late 19th century. The hospital is a sprawling site originally built in the early Victorian age, and added to with little finesse since then. A poster on a hoarding surrounding an adjacent building site caught my eye as it’s design is rather striking, and as I walk around the old victorian buildings, I’m  amused by the travellers pulling their wheelie suitcases who struggle to navigate the cobbled roads.

I also look up at the towering building overlooking the station, now part of the HIlton chain, and admire its refurbished art deco facade enblazened with Great Western Railway (GWR) livery. Although in full view, it’s almost a lost piece of architecture as the thousand of passing travellers are unlikely to ever notice it.

Portobello Road

I’ve flirted with visiting Portobello Market for some time and as it’s only a few stops away on the Hammersmith and City Line at Ladbroke Grove, I jump on the first train taking me there. It is late on a weekday afternoon and traders are shutting up shop, but there’s enough flavour to entice a return one day. I hadn’t appreciated that the road runs all the way from Notting Hill, so I suspect on a nice day with the sun out, this could be a very long, slow and expensive one mile walk from end to end. For now, here are some samples of what I see which serves as a reminder that despite its popularity as a fashionable market street, it is also a residential area.

Picture of the Day

This is easy to explain – it just made me smile…

This scene, in a flat window in Porchester Place, a road that runs parallel with Edgware Road, is simply entertaining. I’ve cropped the picture and enlarged this portion, so I expected the quality to be affected. But I’m pleased that the detailed numbering on the Minions are still sharp enough to read.

Settings: Camera – Canon EOS 200D; Aperture – ƒ8; Shutter Speed – 1/200; Focal Length – 55mm; Film Speed – ISO1600; Google Photo Filter – Blush

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For more info, lookup Edgware Road on Wikipedia

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#35: High Street Kensington – 03/01/2019

OK. So I’m not sure if this should be included but I’m here now so I’ll get on with it. The reason for including is that the station serves as the end of the District Line shuttle service to Olympia (Kensington). The doubt I have is I haven’t included any other similar destinations on other lines where the scheduled service ends before the geographic end, for example West Croydon on the TramLink? A debating point maybe once I’ve completed this particular series. For now though I give you High Street Kensington…

The Station

Fairly typical of the period when stations were built out of traditional London brick with facades now influenced and somewhat defined by their modern towering neighbours, High Street Ken as it’s popularly known is no different.

As I explore the station platforms, I come across one of Mark Wallinger’s ‘Labyrinth’ artworks. You’ve all seen them in passing as you scurry through your stations, and you may have thought as I did, ‘how curious’ without a second thought. Today I stop to admire and ponder at its purpose and realise this is a unique piece of work given away by the numbering. This is number 237 out of 270…270 being the magical number of underground stations.

Follow this link to learn more about the artists and this art installation across the underground and then muse with understanding when you see the next one and realise its own uniqueness.

The main entrance, which opens onto the high street, is awash with travellers, mostly looking to see the sights and I spotted this group of girls hogging the central walkway taking a selfie.

High Street

Fashionable high street names and couture independent shops adorn The HIgh Street which is dominated by the once towering Barker’s department store. What remains is a classical Art Deco style building that you can’t but be impressed by. The real beauty of the area though is only a short stroll away across the road as I begin to explore the back streets and mews in the immediate vicinity.

First I stroll through the cloisters of St Mary Abbot Parish Church which is still bedecked in Christmas lights. I stop to read several of the memorial plaques that adorn its walls and porch, and wonder what a lonely worshipper is thinking as he makes his way through the cloisters.

And then into Kensington Church Walk and admire the bijou shops all with their independent stamp and marketplace. I’m particularly drawn to Hermione Harbutt, a bespoke wedding accessory designer, and just up the road, a gentleman’s clothier – Hornets.

Heading back towards the High Street, and westerly following the main road towards Holland Park I reach its entrance which is protected from traffic by some very ornate gates. The history of the park can be read if you follow the link, and I reflect on a visit I made to the park several years earlier when I decided to walk from Earl’s Court to Notting Hill via the park. My recollection of that steamy hot day was of a very steep incline as I trudged my way past the fields and the adjoining school.  

the Design Museum

the Design Museum is at the mouth of Holland Park and I feel my visit today is worthy of particular mention as my interest in design has been piqued since my recent (and last) employment with the Government Digital Service (GDS). One of its cornerstones of enabling transformation is that of understanding the User Needs and creatively designing services that are functional and so so easy to use that people choose to use them. My exposure to creative designers during this time, in particular Ben Terrett, has enriched my experiences and enabled me to look at shapes and patterns with different meaning.

What is ‘good’ design? In the 20th century the Modernists believed that good design was about usefullness.

Museums are a living exhibition encouraging, provoking and challenging you to think about what you see, and if you are repeat visitors, you know you do so in expectation of seeing something new and/or different each time. The Design Museum is no different and I am impressed by its hands-on approach to many of its exhibitions. Two items in particular catch my eye. The tower of numbers which is a 3D printer creation, and a construction hoarding for an Apple store in Taipei created using traditional Chinese paper-cutting techniques.

English Heritage Blue Plaques

Walking around the area I begin to think that those living here must feel rather inferior if they don’t have a blue plaque on their property as it seems almost every other property has one. Maybe a slight exaggeration, but there is a higher proportion of plaques on properties here than other places I’ve visited. There are many links to sites with maps of all the blue plaques of London, but most are out of date as the number of plaques continues to grow. I’d suggest a visit to the English Heritage website for the latest update or download their app.

There was one plaque that caught my eye: that of Ka Mpande Cetshwayo, King of the Zulus, which seemed out of place, but clearly has its place under the ‘overseas visitor’ category. I found this plaque in Melbury Road in a neighbourhood adjacent to Leighton House, the former home, and now museum, of the Victorian artist Frederic, Lord Leighton (1830-1896).

Addendum – Jimmy Page vs Robbie Williams.

I took a picture of The Tower House in Mebury Road but decided to exclude it. I hadn’t realised the significance of the building: it turns out it’s now owned by Jimmy Page, Led Zeppelin guitarist. Not only that, he’s also having a spat with Robbie Williams (of Take That fame) about Robbie’s plans to build a swimming pool in an adjacent property. See this BBC news report for details. I was particularly drawn to the shape of the house and the corner gargoyle.

Picture of the Day

I’m inside the Design Museum looking up at this rolling display and it reminds me of my time with the Government Digital Service (GDS) where the ‘user’s needs’ became the successful mantra on how to design public services. But this picture’s flamboyant use of colours catches my attention for several reasons particularly as there are m sany levels to this story:

  • my personal memories
  • On the walking gallery, there’s a narration of buildings styles influenced by different design principles;
  • Above is the changing mural (the picture snapped it at ‘USER’) leading into a hands-on exhibition; and
  • the partly exposed vaulted roof space gives a cavernous feeling to the setting

Settings: Camera – Canon EOS 200D; Aperture – ƒ4.5; Shutter Speed – 1/100; Focal Length – 27mm; Film Speed – ISO2000; Google Photo Filter – Vista

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For more info, lookup High Street Kensington Station on Wikipedia

Categories
Central District TfL Underground

#26: Ealing Broadway – 23/10/2018

Why a return to Ealing Broadway? In my first Ealing Broadway blog, I referenced that the station acts as a terminus for two lines: the Central and the District lines, so this concludes my travels to Ealing. Hard to credit it’s 6 months (almost to the day) from my first visit – so much fun and so many interesting things seen since then.

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The station is the same, of course, so a quick pass through, but as I do I take note of an evangelical saying written up on the Tfl update board that displays the current train status. Such boards have become popular across the network providing an opportunity for local staff to humanise the customer experience as you pass through. Today’s quote was from Robert H Schuller, a US televangelist who wrote ‘…Today’s accomplishments were yesterday’s impossibilities…’

I march out of the station careful to follow a different route from my earlier visit.

Town Centre Development

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The area around the Town Hall in New Broadway has seen significant redevelopment in  recent years, and continues to do so, but some are now close to completion. Adjacent to Christ the Saviour Parish Church stands the newly built Dickens Yard development. A mix of housing and soon to open retail opportunities on the ground floor. In the piazza between the church and this development stands an homage to George Formby in the form of a sculpture by Gordon Young celebrating words from one of his songs sung during a 1940 film produced at Ealing Studios – ‘…Make life go with a swing and a smile, Laugh at trouble and sing all the while, Now count your blessings and smile…’

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Close by is the former Fire Station, now repurposed into a smart retail outlet but sympathetically restored, and overlooking New Broadway is the imposing 19th Century Town Hall, a gothic masterpiece. A wander inside reveals intricate architecture and window displays, but alas I’m not allowed to take pictures although I was told a request to the council’s Chief Executive would get me permission – alas too late for my purpose. It turns out the Town Hall is also in line for redevelopment with one wing being turned into a boutique hotel, however there appears to be some residual opposition to this.

Across the road there’s another development branded Filmworks, which will blend historical art deco and contemporary styles into a functional and modern complex. Both this and the Dickens Yard developments have both been built by the Berkley Group under their St George brand.

I turn to head down Barnes Pikle heading for Walpole Park, but stop to consider the place name. Research suggests that Pikle is a derivation of Pightle –  a small field or enclosure usually near or surrounding a building (as a house, barn, shed)…the place name made me smile.

An Arboreal Study

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Returning into Walpole Park was my aim but the park wasn’t as busy as my first visit in April. 

Not surprisingly as although still sunny and bright, the ambient temperature was probably at least ten degrees (celsius) lower, nevertheless, lots of dog walkers, runners and mums with pushchairs about. In fact at one point there was a fitness class being taken by Jo Martin, a fitness instructor, with several new mums in tow. How do I know it was her? Well her t-shirt with her name emblazoned across it was a give away. Looking at her website, I see she specialises in pre and post natal fitness. I left all the ladies to it…

The main tree lined avenue is a pleasant walk and there is evidence of good tree management around as there are two distinct mounds of logs left around as play areas, so I took the opportunity to capture the autumnal colours and leaf fall.

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Heading for the southerly exit, I meet Ed, who is perched against a tree and is pencil sketching a tree ahead of him (see my Picture of the Day’ below). We chatted for a while and I learn that as a Mancunian he had spent time in Australia, and now enjoys sketching trees and life drawings. He explains he finds a synergy between the two formats as he works to capture how the tree growth and shapes created by trunks and branches symbolise life itself. The work he shows me clearly demonstrates his passion and eye for detail.

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Out of Walpole Park and directly across the road into Lammas Park where I try my hand at more tree studies. I’m not sure the pictures I take are in themselves of particular interest but after some post production Google Photo editing, cropping and colour filtering, this might help to bring the form and colour to life. You be the judge.

An Autumnal Walk Through Suburbia

Out of Lammas Park, I reach Northfields; not an intended destination, but the beauty of not having a plan is in itself a plan. That is – to just follow my nose to see where I end up.

Northfields is a small collection of shop , like many in London that have sprung up over the last century or so as suburbia has sprawled out of London to meet the demands of the growing population. Housing is typically London 1930’s terraces constructed from London brick, a colour easily recognisable.

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I follow the main road through to South Ealing, a route I could have done on the Piccadilly line, but I walk instead in the anticipation of finding some interesting distractions. The first comes in the guise of St Mary’s C of E Church north of the station. The church’s tower is the first thing I see from a distance, a somewhat imposing bell tower which no doubt helps to draw the congregation together when the bell tolls? The church has an interesting history which can be tracked from the 16th century to date, and outside, the church does much to promote this.

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South of the station, I go into South Ealing Cemetery to explore, but I soon realise it’s a 21 acre site so I stop to look at a couple of headstones and feel drawn to one in particular, and to my surprise I find interred therein is a Joshua Thomas. No relative (as far as I know), but it does so happen to be the name of one of my grandfathers. Because of this I take a closer interest and read the following:

  • Joshua Thomas aged 75 died 30/12/1868
  • Maria Thomas (wife) aged 87 died ??/12/1877
  • Elizabeth Jane Thomas (daughter) died 12/12/1905
  • Maria Pyne Sharp (eldest daughter) died 04/07/1906
  • William Sharp (husband) interred at Southport

Out of interest, I take note of the adjoining gravestone which records the following:

  • Marie Louise Kight aged 3 died 20/03/1870
  • Mary Louisa Maud Kight aged 3 months died 07/07/1872
  • Clara Agnes Kight aged 5 died 24/12/1874
  • John Kight (father) aged 74 died 18/03/1906
  • Louisa Kight (wife) aged 74 died 06/11/1906

Sad that the children died so young. But maybe a reflection of the squalour and disease associated with the urbanisation that accompanied the industrialisation of England at that time, and no doubt contributed to the Smallpox epidemic of 1871 along with its spread by refugees coming to England to escape the French-Prussian War. God bless the little children!..

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I decide to end the day by heading to Acton via Acton Town station, which is only one stop on the tube and walk northerly into the heart of the town along Gunnersbury Lane. It’s a short hop, but along the way I pass the Passmore Edwards Cottage Hospital. Now a nursing and dementia care home, but originally built by John Passmore Edwards, a victorian philanthropist, reported in The Times as someone who  “… did more good in his time than almost any other of his contemporaries…”

As the light begins to fade, I stop at the The Aeronaut pub, and view Twyford School through the railings before heading for the train at Acton Central station.

All in all, another varied and eventful day…

Picture of the Day

This is Ed, who I met sketching trees at the bottom of Walpole Park. My narrative above explains a bit about Ed who was kind enough to let me use him as the subject of an ‘ad hoc’ photo shoot. He was completely engrossed in his sketching and this was great to get the concentration on his face.

At one moment, the sun peered through the tree canopy and this shot captures that through his hair creating almost a halo effect. I have no knowledge of Ed’s saintly connections but he was angelic enough through the photo shoot.

I had the camera set up in Black and White mode and I think this helps to add depth to the picture and strengthen the final shot. I’m pleased with it, and ‘thank you’ Ed

Settings: Camera – Canon EOS 200D; Aperture – ƒ4.5; Shutter Speed – 1/125; Focal Length – 33mm; Film Speed – ISO100; Google Photo Filter – None

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For more info, look up Ealing Broadway Station on Wikipedia

My Route

ealing-broadway
Categories
District TfL Underground

#23: Kensington (Olympia) – 17/09/2018

This station has an interesting and chequered history as a London Underground station, but since December 2011, District line services terminating here have been restricted to a limited weekend shuttle service to/from Earl’s Court and a very early morning weekday service. Read TfL’s briefing note explaining the decision behind this.

This was a weekday visit, so I arrived on the Overground service on one of the shared platforms with Southern Rail. The station also once hosted a British Rail Motorail point, but this was closed in 2011 too, the space now used as a car park.

The main attraction of the day was a visit inside Olympia, but as I’ve been a frequent visitor to various IT exhibitions inside the centre over the years, and therefore had some knowledge of what to expect, I felt the surrounding area warranted an investigation first.

Blythe Road and Brook Green

Within a short walk of the station, Blythe Road skirts the western side of Olympia and reaches into a residential area with a mix of social housing, terraced houses and local shops. You can’t miss Blythe House though, on first glance, it reminded me of the large, isolated house in the Addams Family. A tall almost gothic like styled building inaccessible and surrounded by high railings and heavy security with access only gained by ‘invitation only’.

In fact the building is part of the Victoria and Albert Museum where the archives of all things art and design are stored. Blythe House is also adjacent to a Royal Mail sorting office with an interesting mosaic embedded in its wall, and further along turning into Caithness Road I find an interesting building ‘arofton lodge’; sadly though there’s no internet reference for this building

I reach Brook Green and discover St Paul’s Girls School where Gustav Holst once taught, and not far away, the Holy Trinity Catholic Church. This brings me out along Hammersmith Road and I reach another entrance to Blythe Road and I’m struck by the reflection of buildings along a mirrored office block – just nice to see.

Turning onto Hammersmith Road, and directly opposite Olympia, there’s a typical Kensington’esque mansion block. The one I admire is Glyn Mansion, but to be honest it’s fairly representative of the accommodation in the surrounding area. Prices are also fairly representative of the affluent area too: a one bedroom flat reaching £0.5 Million!

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Earl’s Court Exhibition Centre – Olympia

The centre is an architectural mix of Victoriana, Art Deco, and 70’s build. What was once the main Victorian frontage faces the station but is partly hidden by functional modern blocks; and the Art Deco facade sits on Hammersmith Road. Both iconic in their own way.

Plasa 2018

For those not in the know, Plasa is the ‘entertainment technology association’ bringing together ‘…the cutting edge of lighting, live sound, AV, rigging and staging…’. So why did I attend? Well, when researching my visit to Kensington (Olympia) I thought it would be novel to visit an exhibition as a photographer rather than a visitor with a professional interest in the wares on display. Previously having attended IT and Security exhibitions over the years, I knew the layout of the main centre, so I thought it would be an interesting learning experience applying different professional skills.

A brief exchange of emails with the organisers not only secured me rights to take pictures professionally, but also to enter free with a Press Pass – is this a new career?

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My first impression was that of a smoke filled arena awash with sound and bright lights from all types of light projectors, moving light walls, LED displays of all shapes and sizes, racks and racks of equipment that to my mind would sit more comfortably in an air conditioned IT network room and many types of smoke machines – great fun walking through them.

Oh yes, and thousands of interested professionals talking intensely about the minutest of detail…BUT that’s what an exhibition is all about; an opportunity for suppliers to show off their latest products, and those with bulging budgets, or more likely limited funds to play with the toys. As with all exhibitions, some folk rate the success of the event with how many free goodies they can walk away with. I didn’t get the name of the company, but my prize for innovation went to the company that gave away tool boxes as they were too big to be packed away in a rucksack, so those leaving the exhibition had no option other than to advertise the wares emblazoned with the suppliers logo…

For an exhibition partly promoting stage rigging, there was no better example than how the area had been set out with partially suspended ceilings over all the main exhibitors on the ground floor creating a vision of a false roof at the height of the first floor balcony. Miles of cables and tons of power winches.

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My professional interest was less in the tech and more in the visual impact or statement the exhibitors were making, and I learnt quickly there’s an art, I’ve yet to capture, in taking photos of digital lighting systems. You see, and it’s logical when you think about it, when lights are displayed either on a pixelated wall or as LED’s, which are clearly designed to create a visual overload by changing colour quickly resulting in different designs and effects, a camera set at auto takes the moment and not the effect, so my first hour was somewhat frustrated in not getting the picture I was seeing. Here’s an example…

But as time passed, I thought about the final presentation and believed a different approach might be more effective. Here are small collection of the lighting effects on display. Let me know what you think?

As with all exhibitions, there’s a main sponsor who, probably having made a significant contribution to the set up costs, gets the largest floor space, and in this case, the largest staged area to promote their products. Plasa 2018 was no different and it was ROBE lighting who excelled by giving a stunning stage show, showcasing many of their lighting products. Here’s a little sample..

West Kensington Design District

One of the Exhibition Centre’s challenges is how to constantly promote itself and on leaving the centre, Olympia clearly doesn’t rest on its laurels as advertising for the next exhibition was on display: 100%Display, which is also being used to showcase the recently launched West Kensington Design District, and signage around the area was beginning to emerge to point people to various locations.

Ah, another interesting day…

See all Kensington (Olympia) pics on Google Photo here – feel free to comment

See the side bar for a sample of Kensington (Olympia) pics on Instagram

For more info, look up Kensington Olympia Station on Wikipedia

Categories
District TfL Other Services TfL Underground Tramlink

#17: Wimbledon – 19/07/2018

A day out to the end of the District line and the relatively new Tramlink. This was a day of discovery to explore the Tramlink and its immediate surrounds at the home of British Tennis. Thankfully, the tennis Open had finished at the All England Tennis and Croquet Club, but then again I wouldn’t have travelled here when it was on. For those who know the area, or who have visited the tennis, you’ll know that it’s a good half hour walk away from the main centre. Be that as it may, the centre still had on show the remnants of the mega advertising/promotion that accompanies tennis championship with larger than life hoardings for Lavaza and Polo still on display.

The station at Wimbledon is relatively busy serving as a gateway to the south of England but it’s very commutable to central London too, via the main line services and the District Line.

My particular interest today was the Tramlink, so I decided to hop on and enjoy the ride and help visualise the route in preparation for its three other ‘end of the line’ destinations. The trams and track features are similar to those found on the Manchester Metrolink, a service I’d used frequently when working out of Salford Quays in that the track shares road space and in places re-uses redundant rail lines. In researching this blog, I’m surprised to learn that the Tramlink began operating in 2000, so by comparison to the rest of the Tfl network, still relatively new, serving the southern region of Greater London through Mitcham, Croydon, Beckenham and New Addington.

Today I go as far as East Croydon before doubling back to Wimbledon and take in the country scenery as we ride through Morden Hall Park and Mitcham Common before hitting the metropolis of Croydon. As with all Tfl lines, there is a distinct colour scheme enshrined in the Tfl Colour Standards, which looks like lime green, but for the ‘aficionados’ it is PMS 368, C57 M0 Y100 K0, R0 G189 B25, or NCS S 0580-G30Y

Back to Wimbledon, and a casual stroll around the town as I’ll explore in more detail on my return trip. However I’m attracted to the library turning right out of the station which is an architecturally blended mix of historic victoriana and 60’s build. As with most libraries these days, it’s a multi-purpose building in full use providing free access to all media forms: be it books, magazines or internet; an events space and an area for children’s activities. Outside, on the north west wall, is an interesting sculpture – see my Picture of the Day and take a look if you’re passing by as it’s easy to miss. Turn around and you’ll see a stylish red brick building proudly emblazoned with ‘Bank Buildings’ but now alas like a lot of bank buildings, converted into fashionable cafes and restaurants – this one is an ‘All Bar One’

Turning back into Wimbledon, I decide to turn my attention on interesting signs; well signs that I find interesting, for no other reason other than I find the shape, colour, pattern or message stimulating. The ones captured here are: Ideas Factory; Kindred Group; Bethel Baptist Church; CUBE Communications and RentalandSales.co.uk

Journey’s end is defined by a display of local festival posters, and the imposing spectacle of the Prince of Wales hotel which proudly promotes the imbibing of Brandies, Liqueurs and Wines.

I look forward to my return trip to explore in more detail the local treasures.

For more info, look up Wimbledon on Wikipedia

Picture of the Day

On the side of Wimbledon library in Compton Road, there’s a very interesting sculpture by Mohammed Sheibani entitled ‘Release’. It’s a composition of three murals depicting books on bookshelves made out of bricks or terracotta tiles.

It’s an imaginative representation stylised to blend into the red brick wall. A simple piece, but one that speaks volumes. It’s a shame it’s on the side of the building as many passers by will miss it. Even though it’s just around the corner from the main entrance, if you have no reason to go into the side road, then you’ll miss it.

The only enhancement to the picture is that I’ve applied a green filter (Alpaca) to help with contrasting the ‘books’ within the shelving.

Settings: Camera – Canon EOS 200D; Aperture – ƒ5; Shutter Speed – 1/125; Focal Length – 25mm; Film Speed – ISO100; Google Photo Filter – Alpaca

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Categories
District Overground TfL Other Services TfL Underground

#10: Richmond – 06/06/2018

I’ve been struggling to write about my travels to Richmond: I don’t know why, as the place has many interests, so whether it’s writers block or just tiredness after repeated visits across London I don’t know. So I’ve taken a short break away from my travels to help recharge my mental inspiration batteries. Who knows? But here we go again…please tell me if you think it’s something else…

This time to the south westerly corner of London and the leafy suburbia of Richmond. This will be the first of two visits to Richmond as it’s a terminus for both the District and the Overground lines. I don’t know if Richmond is classed as a town or village, but Wikipedia declares it to be a suburban Town – so there we have it.

Arriving at the station and exploring the immediate surrounds, I notice the station is betwixt Victorian metalwork and art deco architecture. Not unlike many of London’s stations built in the Victoriana hey-dey and added to in the 20’s and 30’s. Whatever your architectural preference, you can’t ignore some of the interesting designs and shapes of the old and new worlds that parade themselves around the station

Out of the station turning right I soon find myself at Richmond Athletic Ground, the home of Richmond Rugby Football Club (RFC) and London Scottish. I try and walk around the ground, but I’m politely asked to leave as the grounds are not open to the public. So I head in the direction of the nearest pub which overlooks the grounds, unsurprisingly named The Triple Crown Richmond, built originally under the name of The Tulip Tree in 1884 as can be seen on the inscription on the upper part of the building

Back to the heart of Richmond and its main shopping street, and you’re drawn to it’s cleanliness and tidiness, quality and upkeep of buildings and almost full occupancy of the main street shops with an overriding balance of independent shops in favour of the expected retail chains. All I believe an indication of Richmond’s prosperity and the community’s pride in its surroundings; the town has many side streets leading you westerly to Richmond Green, easterly towards religious buildings, and southerly to the river

Some notable attractions that caught my attention included a children’s bookshop, The Alligators Mouth; a new coffee shop about to open, Kiss the hippo coffee; Brewers Lane, a pedestrian alley full of bijou and artisan shops; and Richmond Theatre, which was on the day of my visit preparing for a George Michael tribute concert.

A brief mention of some of the religious building I passed. Firstly, St John The Divine which is situated adjacent to the Metropolitan Police and the First Church of Christ Scientist Richmond, a large imposing building overlooking Sheen Road. I also spent some time in and around St Mary Magdalene CofE Church where I was introduced enthusiastically to the intricate renovation works and choristers by Ruth, one of the church helpers and choir member. I’m grateful to Ruth for peaking my interest in the history of both Church and choirs, and being shown the delightful and colourful needle-craft work of the Royal School of Needlework Hampton Court Palace, a recent gift to the church, and the origami dove display. For those interested in the choir and its history, here are some related websites you may wish to explore further: StMarymagdalenechoir.co.uk; Saintmartinsingers.org and Choralevensong.org.

Some of the interesting, or architecturally curious properties that caught my eye included Michels Row, No. 7 Lower Mortlake Road, Spencer House at 23 Sheen Road, and The Gateways in Park Road. And during this time, I stopped and chatted with Richard, a delivery driver who explained he was on a Tacho break; and later in the day I stopped to feed Cooper, a fox red labrador pup who was being walked and trained by his owner. The route also took me past Hogarth House where Leonard and Virginia Wolf lived for nine years and founded the Hogarth Press in 1917. Sadly, an empty office building now.

You can’t ignore some of the attractive pubs whilst walking around, and a brief mention before heading to the river. The Sun Inn tucked out of the way at the northern end of the town; The Railway Tavern outside the station and beautifully adorned with bedding plants, and The Old Ship, on the approach to the river

On the day of visiting, it was a glorious sunny day, giving rise to many an opportunity for locals and visitors to sit on the banks with a drink and/or ice cream enjoying the view of the calm river traffic and of those brave enough to take to a rowing boat. An appropriate place to rest my weary feet and share in the delights…

For more info, look up Richmond on Wikipedia

Picture of the Day

This is a delightful narrow street of bijou style shops: Brewers Lane. A busy lane for the casual browser and attractive for the tourists no doubt intrigued by the array of advertising signs and banners all fighting for their own space and attention.

The decorative lights, strung across the lane will no doubt increase the attractiveness of the lane, but in broad daylight, it casts a net, as a canopy, over the area.

I’d originally planned to crop out the shoppers and browsers to focus on the shop signs, but on reflection decided to keep them in as they give more meaning and sense of purpose to the picture’s composition.

Settings: Camera – Canon EOS 200D; Aperture – ƒ5.6; Shutter Speed – 1/200; Focal Length – 55mm; Film Speed – ISO250; Google Photo Filter – Palma

Social Media

YouTube, Instagram, Google Photos, Triptipedia – here I share some tips I use when travelling around London. A different twist on my ‘end of the line’ story