Dirty Old London  published by
Yale University Press (October 2014)

Thursday, 19 June 2014

London Bridges

The Museum of London at Docklands has a major new exhibition coming up ...
Bridge is the largest art exhibition ever to be staged at the Museum of London Docklands. Drawing on the museum’s significant art collections, the exhibition will feature rarely seen contemporary and historical artworks, alongside photography and film to consider the significance of bridges within London’s landscape.

From Hungerford to Blackfriars, Westminster and Millennium, Bridge also looks at how London’s bridges allow people to move around and experience the city. Thomas Heatherwick’s ambitious ‘Garden Bridge’ proposal, playing with the ideas of destination and crossing will feature, along with other debates and issues confronting London and its bridges today.

The exhibition is free, and features photographs and artwork, old and new. There's some great photos visible on this site including an unusual shot from inside London Bridge, by Lucinda Grange, resembling something from the movie Alien.

The Museum generously provided a river tour for folk on their press list today, and, even more generously, included me. There was ebullient chat from Dan Cruikshank, particularly about Bronze Age bridge remains at Vauxhall; endearing enthusiasm for industrial structures from Lucinda Grange; and there was someone called Scanner, which/who rings a vague bell from 1990s. He will be recording people's thoughts on bridges and playing them back, doubtless, in some kind of nifty and artistic arrangement.

Anyway, I watched, listened but mainly took photographs, probably annoying people around me immensely; but surely in the spirit of the proceedings. Here they are ...

[start of the journey]

[London Bridge]

[Southwark Bridge]

[Millennium Bridge]

[Blackfriars Bridge]

[Hungerford Bridge]

[Battersea Power Station; technically, not a bridge, I admit]

[Grosvenor Bridge]

[cranes outside the power station]

[Grosvenor Bridge in close up]

[cross purposes on Chelsea Bridge]

[Albert Bridge]

[Battersea Bridge, in close-up]

[Battersea Railway Bridge]

[impressionist boat]

[impressionist bridge]

[Lucinda Grange, photographer]

[Dan Cruikshank, architectural historian]

[Vauxhall Bridge]

[Lambeth Bridge]

[Westminster Bridge]

[Hungerford Bridge]

[possibly Blackfriars]

[Millenium Bridge]

[impressionistic bus]

[and a photographer, not yours truly]

Thursday, 5 June 2014

New Cross Gate to Deptford

On the corner of Queen's Road and New Cross Road, a lovely gas lamp, which apparently belonged to an underground toilet from 1897 (full story and pics here). The first underground toilet was built by the City of London in 1884 (see my blog, here and here) and other districts were becoming very keen on the idea by the end of the century. I did wonder if it was a toilet lamp. The tell-tale signs, even if you didn't know the history, are the fact that this is a 'ventilating' lamp - there are holes in column to circulate air from below - and the 'island' location.

Nearby, on Pepys Road, unusual to spot decorative 19C ironwork balconies on the back of a house (although, obviously, the backs of London houses are often not visible to the passer-by) ..

At Deptford Town Hall, the skeleton of a gas lamp ...

And some magnificent pub signage across the way ...

On Vulcan Terrace (great name), there seems to be an infestation of insect life ...

Some very graceful window guards on Wickham Road ...

And a late 19C Bank in what I guess would be called Queen Anne style, majestic on its street corner ...

A very gentle and pleasing bow on the end of these low terraces ...

Greenwich Flour Mills, naturally now flats ...


Deptford Creek ...

And one of London's oddest statues, Peter the Great and his dwarf (some further details here)

Then on to a rather gothic ruined pier, which @BillEllson tells me once served the local power station ...

And finally Convoys Wharf ... which might one day look like this