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district Tramlink

#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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Tramlink

#36: New Addington – 10/01/2019

The last of my TramLink destination journeys, this time to New Addington, South East of Croydon. The tram station, like most others is an open air affair with no distinguishing features or anything to report as unique. This is in part largely due to the TramLink’s construction in the later part of the 20th Century and designed and built in such a way to improve accessibility and keep costs down.

Today is a cold and overcast day, and the depressing weather conditions does nothing to enhance what seems to be a depressing area. I know first impressions are hard to dispel, but after wandering around for some time, my impression changes little.

For those who know my home town, you will be able to picture this area if I liken it to Penparcau but on a much larger scale. Both are areas of social housing specifically built in the mid-1900’s to cater for a growing population and the Wikipedia entry for New Addington is worth a read as it eloquently describes the area, it’s history and its social challenges. My comparison with Penparcau I believe is now no longer valid though as the two communities seem to have matured in different ways; maybe their relative sizes had something to do with that, but I leave that to other social commentators to debate.

Getting off at the tram stop at the northern end of Central Parade looking south I see the main low level shopping parade to my left with evidence of regeneration to my right. The dividing avenue is tree lined which in Spring I’m sure would look attractive with the trees in foliage. Immediately to my right is a collection of four wood sculptures of a bear, gorilla, dolphin and an eagle. There’s nothing around to explain their origins and other online commentators are also unable to find any helpful references.

Planned Regeneration

At the end of Central Parade is the library within which there’s a display of the planned regeneration of the area, and outside there’s a rather tired looking mosaic created by the local high school some time ago. The mosaic has been designed to reflect local scenes and characters, but like the surrounding area, it is somewhat scarred with damage that has remained un-repaired for some time.

Towards the centre of the parade there’s a memorial stone to those who died and were affected by the nearby Tram crash in November 2016. My observation here, as with other memorials I see around and about is ‘what’s the right length of time to leave flowers besides a memorial?’ This picture sadly depicts what ‘too long’ looks like.

Some regeneration work is well underway with the erection of a new leisure centre and in conjunction with the construction company, Wilmott Dixon, Croydon Council have partnered to set up a training academy for any local residents wishing to work in the construction industry; although  there is no evidence of anyone working in the academy at the time of my visit.

Heroes Walk – ‘a celebration of New Addington’

This is a local description of a walkway created between the current leisure centre and the new building encased with hoarding as either side is a building site. The full length of the hoarding is adorned on both sides of the walkway with black and white photographs of local residents who have been selected as having gone ‘the extra mile’ and provides a brief glimpse into the community spirit created by this art installation. The linked newsletter explains who they are and what they have achieved – well done to them!

Two miles, as the crow flies south from the library is Biggin Hill Airport, and I can hear the occasional plane taking off/landing. I’m tempted to head over, but the local bus service timetable makes that a slow journey. Equally, although within walking distance (about 3 miles by road), the daylight isn’t at its best and with the short wintry days I reckon it will be dark before I need to return home.

Addington Village

I decide, instead, to head north as I noticed on my tram journey to New Addington a stop named Addington Village. A mile and a half later, after passing housing estate after housing estate, and off the main road, I come to a very picturesque, albeit a very small village.

The village is dominated by the 11th Century flint encrusted Anglican church: St Mary the Blessed Virgin. Walking carefully over the gravestones outside the church, my thoughts turn to those I have known who are no longer with us. I’m particularly affected by a gravestone for a very young child which seems to have been placed discreetly in a corner and slightly obscured. Out of respect, I decide not to take any photographs other than of the once Archbishop of Canterbury, John Bird Sumner’s rather ornate memorial.

The church is open so I head inside and I’m in awe of the high vaulted ceiling, stained glass windows and altar, and I read about a War Hospital in the nearby Addington Park during World War 1 as part of the church’s history display.

Adjacent to the church is an appropriately named ‘Flint Cottage’ and just down the road is the ‘The Old Forge’ which is claimed to be the ‘last surviving working forge in the area’

Picture of the Day

This is the altar inside St Mary the Blessed Virgin church in Addington Village.

I took a series of shots with different settings, but this one is the most striking. I’ve not used flash here as I wanted to glorify the stained glass windows by keeping the rest of the church in the shadows. The combined effect of the light coming through the windows, and the low uplights in each recess transforms the final effect.

I’ve marginally cropped the picture to balance the three windows so that the middle one is centrally aligned, and a Bazaar (blue) filter to enhance the colours in the alcoves and windows. This is as close to the real image I could get, and I’m pleased with the outcome.

11th Century stained glass windows – St Mary the Blessed Virgin, Addington Village

Settings: Camera – Canon EOS 200D; Aperture – ƒ4.5; Shutter Speed – 1/100; Focal Length – 27mm; Film Speed – ISO5000; Google Photo Filter – Bazaar

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For more info, lookup New Addington on Wikipedia

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Tramlink

#31: Elmers End – 26/11/2018

I forget as I travel that I know where I’m going, but I was asked recently ‘where is Elmers End?’ so if you follow this link it will take you there on Google Maps. It’s a suburban area just south of Beckenham, east of Crystal Palace and north east of Croydon. It’s also one of the ends of the London Tramway that serves an area in the west at Wimbledon and Beckenham in the east.

I hope this helps?

However, when I told my wife where I was going, her first reaction was to ask if it was anything to do with Elmer the patchwork elephant…I leave you to make up your own minds.

Elmers End – a neighbourhood

I have to say this was a very disappointing day out as Elmers End had very little to offer as did its neighbouring surrounds as I stroll aimlessly to Birbeck, Clock House, New Beckenham and a return to Beckenham which seems to be the focal point for the surrounds.

This is very much a commuting area relying on transport links to Croydon and Wimbledon by Tram and Central London and south to Hayes by mainline. The station is adjacent to a large Tesco superstore, and it’s about a five minute walk to ‘the green’ surrounded on one side by local shops, and on the green is a local description of how Elmers End may have acquired its name.

I spot a ghostly shop sign above a closed down cafe: Greenwood’s Corner and on close analysis the sign claims to have been a ‘Noted House of Leather…..Repairers’. If you can decipher the remainder, do please let me know.

Religion in the community

My mood for the day is also affected by the dull, overcast and showery conditions, so understandably there is no one out and about and I find  myself taking solace from the religious building I walk past. As I pass the main cemetery and crematorium, I find a discarded packet of cigarettes warning of the risks of lung cancer quite an interesting juxtaposition. The cemetery is also the resting place for the final remains amongst many others, of W.G. Grace and Thomas Crapper.

Other buildings I passed included: the parish church of St James Beckenham, St John Coptic Orthodox Church; St Michael and All Angels in Birbeck and St Paul’s Church in New Beckenham.

Birbeck and Clock House

More streets with few shops and rows upon rows of houses with only the transmitter from Crystal Palace in the background for company. However some artwork in Birbeck catches my attention and what I can only describe as a de-antlered naked reindeer which I assume has been left in an empty shop in preparation for the festive season. Either that, or an unwanted artefact left when the shop closed.

Clock House’s main attraction is the redeveloped area outside the library where the Beckenham Baths once stood but now replaced by a fashionable spa. The Baths were where Duncan Goodhew and Margaret Wellington, both Olympic swimmers, trained. There is also an impressive Victorian building, Venue 28 now a community centre, where Lord Byron’s wife and mother to Ava Lovelace once lived.

Christmas is coming

…and finally, as I walk around the oak tree lined avenues of very fashionable New Beckenham, I look up and see how the mistletoe has manifested itself. A reminder of the seasonal changes and that Christmas is coming…

Picture of the Day

It was a cold, dank and miserable winter’s day in Elmers End, and to be honest there was nothing inspirational about the area…

BUT, this made me smile…that of a laundry service with a catchy web address emblazoned across a delivery van ihateironing.com – the name says it all really and a brief chat with the van driver reveals he gets quite a few smiles from drivers when he’s stuck in queues.

No particular photographic technique used here, it’s a simple point and shoot, but the picture does help to remind me of the day out at the terminus of one of London Tram’s lines.

Settings: Camera – Canon EOS 200D; Aperture – ƒ6.3; Shutter Speed – 1/200; Focal Length – 41mm; Film Speed – ISO61600; Google Photo Filter – Auto

Social Media

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For more info, lookup Elmers End and its station on Wikipedia

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Tramlink

#22: Beckenham Junction- 12/09/2018

Arriving at the terminal station courtesy of Tramlink, Beckenham Junction is one of the three destinations created to serve the growing population east of Croydon. The platform is also adjacent to the main line station which offers through trains into Central London and into the heart of Kent.

Beckenham has a villagey feel but probably large enough to be called a town comprising of two main streets. Nothing unusual other than being relatively quiet as school has now resumed so the streets aren’t littered with school children. However walking deeper into the heart of the town I found myself on a wildlife adventure as I explored and circumnavigated the lakes in Kelsey Park.

The Town and its historic landmarks

Turning south out of the station I entered the meandering High Street which is dominated by St George’s Church and as well as being an imposing building, it’s adjoining cemetery is a Commonwealth War Graves location although sadly looking a little unkempt. Across the road is The Public Hall another equally imposing building, a multi-purpose Victorian built venue. It’s rooftop catching my eye as it has a Gothic Swiss villa look to it.

Walking down the hill, I  pass the old police station, now a trendy spa and restaurant, recessed from the main road where the local Farmer’s Market is occasionally held. In contrast, and slightly tucked away from the main road is The Coach & Horses, an attractively decorated traditional pub.

Continuing through HIgh Street, I note a mix of independent shops interlaced with a modicum of closed shop fronts, however the town is working hard to improve the landscape by repaving a significant part of the street.

At the bottom of the HIgh Street, there’s an iconic art deco Odeon Cinema still trading as a cinema, and this landmark acts as my turning point back up the High Street.

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Walking around the town I notice several alleys, cut throughs and dead ends that have novelty and informative street names highlighting their historic past. An interesting way to draw attention to otherwise bland and forgotten places. Here are some examples found at: Church Hill Alley; Thornton’s Alley; Legion Alley; Wood House Alley and Burton’s Yard

Wildlife at Kelsey Park

I stumble across Kelsey Park by chance at its entrance in Manor Way and take a peek in through the main entrance looking for shelter as the rain starts to fall. I later realise the stream flowing from the lake is named The Beck, no doubt helping to give the town its name?

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A combination of the rain and it being school term meant the park was quiet with only the hardy few, dog walkers and parents with non-school aged children in tow. Most were polite as we exchanged pleasantries, and some chit chat followed.

Time to swap the standard lens for the 75-300 mm zoom telephoto to take advantage of the wildlife. The lake was awash with a variety of birds and on a distant island two herons were encamped high up. Every now and then, a gathering of geese started their runway wing flapping take off display flying off seamlessly and in harmony with each other.

Most of the birds close to the shore were inquisitive enough that they came in close almost posing to have their picture taken, so I took advantage. Overhead, there was an unexpected sound, but for regulars tuned into wildlife around London will know that it’s no longer unusual to hear the squawking of a flock of parakeets; yes even in sleepy suburbia. I think I counted at least a dozen in a free flowing aerial display.

I probably spent an enjoyable hour bird watching under a chestnut tree sheltering from the rain, engaged in conversation with passers by equally enjoying the bird displays; but time to move on. And on leaving, I spotted a baby heron fishing in the stream; his/her eyes in a steely gaze mesmerised on a hidden fish…AND WHAAAM! Fish for lunch as the heron gulped it’s prey down it’s slender neck. It’s movement so fast, the best I got was a picture of the drips falling from the heron’s mouth. Satisfied with its catch, the heron walks onto the path and uses it as a runway to glide gracefully into the trees..

The day was an interesting sojourn,  reminding me to simply embrace whatever each location offers up as points of interest and record for my personal pleasure and entertainment.

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Picture of the Day

The lake in Kelsey Park boasts having at least two cormorants, one proudly displaying its wings high up in its tree perch, and another doing likewise perched on a post mid lake; a good opportunity to test my camera handling skills at full zoom. I rest against railings on a wall to steady myself whilst standing under a large tree sheltering from the downpour of rain.

I’ve enlarged and cropped the original photo to showcase the cormorant’s extended wingspan. There’s a little degradation in the quality and sharpness, but given I was a good couple of hundred metres away, I’m very pleased with the outcome. And a good test of the zoom lens’ quality at full stretch too

Settings: Camera – Canon EOS 200D; Aperture – ƒ8; Shutter Speed – 1/200; Focal Length – 300mm; Film Speed – ISO800; Google Photo Filter – Auto

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

For more info, look up Beckenham Junction Station and Beckenham on Wikipedia

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district 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

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