Sunday, November 28, 2021

Leake Street Graffiti Tunnel & Arches

London The Unfinished City
Spray Art Graffiti 

Saturday November 27, 2021

Beneath Waterloo Station lie the Leake Street Arches and the famous Leake Street Graffiti Tunnel. It is this 300 metre (985 feet) wall that I had the good fortune to visit on one of my latest walks.

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Judge Dredd.

Every piece of wall was covered, including the ceiling and rubbish bins, with amazing artworks. Some had been up for a few hours, others were still wet while some were still being created.

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Ceiling Art

It was awe inspiring watching the artists work and to see their ideas come to life, in front of me. 

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Heading into the Leake Street Graffiti Tunnel.

Thankfully it was a chilly afternoon, so not too many people were in the tunnel. I would think that in the summer months the heat from people mixing with the spray paint fumes could prove to be a little intoxicating.

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Graffiti Bins

Bars, restaurants, London’s first board game cafĂ©, kitchens, venue spaces and much more are all situated in the various arches, of which there are eight, beneath Waterloo Station.

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Words of Wisdom.

If you are ever in the area, or, even if you are not, you should definitely pay this place a visit.

Monday, November 01, 2021

Channel 4 Headquarters


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Big 4.
Wednesday October 27, 2021.

It was a beautiful October morning as my youngest, Keilyn, and I made our way around London. Having stopped to see the Changing of the Guard at Buckingham Palace, we decided to go for a stroll in which Keilyn would be the navigator.

We headed south down Buckingham Gate and on to Artillery Row, before turning westward towards Great Peter Street. The smell of street food emanating from Strutton Ground was intoxicating, but it was the giant number '4', off to our right, which had Keilyn's attention. So, we crossed on to Horseferry Road to investigate. 

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Channel 4 HQ.

Keilyn had soon put two-and-two together and realised that this was the home of Channel 4 television. We took some photos, trying not to get passers-by in the images, but, as it was close to lunchtime, this proved difficult.

We then headed up to Strutton Ground and enjoyed some street food, before continuing on our walk around London.

Tuesday, September 21, 2021

Shri Vallabh Nidhi Mandir Hindu Temple


London The Unfinished City
Shri Vallabh Nidhi Mandir Hindu Temple

Saturday September 11, 2021.

While wandering along Ealing Road, in Wembley, I was struck with the sheer craftmanship and architecture of this Hindu Temple.

Considering that the road is predominantly shops and housing along its length, give or take the odd surgery, a Mosque and Indian Community Centre, I was surprised to see this Temple, set back from the road.

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Shri Vallabh Nidhi Mandir Hindu Temple

Unfortunately, there were tents being setup, on the grounds, with vans and people coming and going, so I couldn't enter the grounds to get a closer look. However, it will be a place that I look forward to exploring, when I get the chance.

Sunday, September 12, 2021

Alperton Bus Garage Farewell Open Day


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Alperton Garage Farewell Open Day
Saturday September 11, 2021

After 82 years of operation the Alperton Bus Garage ceased being operational on Friday September 10, 2021. The following day they opened up their doors and invited the public in to enjoy the various buses and chat with staff, for the final time.

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Keilyn takes Erin for a ride.

Myself, Erin, Keilyn and my uncle Martin arrived at the depot a few minutes before the gates opened. Joining the queue we didn't have to wait long. A £2.50 entrance fee for adults (accompanied children were free), which would go to local charities was a small price to pay.

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Centrewest (Preserved) BL81 (1977).

Saturday, July 03, 2021

Westminster Station


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Walls like catacombs.

Sunday, June 27, 2021

Most of the Unfinished City's underground stations have unique features or something that stands them apart from the others. The surface stations are different as they were all built to the same standard, although some, which were added later, were designed to stand out.

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Supports, staircases & escalators.

My favourite underground station, from the extension of the Jubilee line, is Westminster, which has a uniqueness to it that I have not seen at any other subsurface station. From the giant box that you descend into, to the staircases, escalators and elevators all supported from giant steel pillars, it is like descending into the bowels of the Earth.

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Structural supports.

The lighting is just right to show off the skill and workmanship that went in to constructing this behemoth of a station and, considering the depth to which you descend, this station only has four platforms: Circle & District line eastbound, Circle & District line westbound, Jubilee line eastbound & Jubilee line westbound.

London The Unfinished City
'Station Box'

Thursday, July 01, 2021

King's Cross Lighthouse

London The Unfinished City
King's Cross Lighthouse

If you are ever in the King's Cross area keep an eye open and see if you can spot what looks to be a lighthouse, atop a flatiron-style building.

The building stands on the junction of Euston Road, Grays Inn Road, Pentonville Road and York Way and is an enigma to the area.

During recent years the building, and said lighthouse, were boarded up and awaiting reconstruction work, as the entire area was transformed. The lighthouse itself had been daubed with graffiti and looked to be falling apart, due to a lack of care and attention.

There are many stories and suppositions as to why there is what appears to be a lighthouse atop a building, miles from any serious navigational river, but none of these are confirmed.

It is possible that was just an architectural whim, or was meant as some grander scheme.

The most prevalent story is that it was built as a kind of advertising stunt, in the 1870-1880s, when the shop below was Netten's Oyster Bar. 

Following much regeneration, in the area, I was glad to see that the lighthouse had been rejuvenated, too, rather than have being removed or altered.

So, if you are ever near the plaza, outside King's Cross station, look across and take a look at this lighthouse, in the middle of a busy thoroughfare.

Tuesday, June 29, 2021

London Dungeon


London The Unfinished City
It's time to scream

Sunday, June 27, 2021

Planning things to do in and around the Unfinished City is tricky at the best of times. With the pandemic affecting ticket sales and the capacity of attractions, planning becomes a major factor. Then, you have to wonder what the Morrissey girls want to do. Erin decided that we should visit the London Dungeon, which Keilyn seconded. 

Having visited the Royal Observatory, Greenwich, the previous afternoon, stayed at a Premier Inn for the night, we were in the perfect position to make the most of our Sunday.

After breakfast we collected our things, from our room, and checked out of the hotel.

We then headed along the River Thames, towards the MillenniuM footbridge and St. Paul's Cathedral.

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St. Paul's Cathedral.

From here we headed along Ludgate Hill to Fleet Street, from where we turned onto Essex Street and down onto the Victoria Embankment.

From here it was a short walk to Embankment Station, where we grabbed a drink and the girls made use of the facilities. 

We then headed across the Golden Jubilee Bridge and down on to the South Bank and the Queen's Walk. A spot of lunch and rest, was followed by the girls going for a ride on a Carousel.

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Erin and Keilyn on the Carousel.

After being entertained by some of the street performers, that pepper the Queen's Walk, we headed off to the London Dungeon.

Monday, June 28, 2021

Royal Observatory


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The Royal Observatory, Greenwich.

Saturday, June 26, 2021.

There is a line in the 1982 film 'Who Dares Wins' where a character states that 

"Only tourists go to Greenwich."

This line has stuck with me through the years, but, although completely accurate at the time, it is no longer the case.

We decided to take a trip to London, as a family, and visit Greenwich Market, the Park and the Royal Observatory. We would then stay a t a hotel, near The Monument, so we could spend Sunday in The Unfinished City, too.

Our first stop was the Market, where we perused the stalls before deciding what each of us wanted for lunch. Street food was the order of the day. Emma opted for sushi, while Keilyn went for a hot dog and chips. Erin had some noodles, while I chose noodles with spiced beef.

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Noodle van.

Suitably fed we made our way up towards Greenwich Park, passing the Maritime Museum and headed up the sloping hill to the Royal Observatory.

Now, I have visited the Old Royal Naval College and Greenwich Market before, but I had never ventured into the Park, much less to the top of the park.

Wandering ahead with Keilyn beneath the tree-lined avenue, which offered welcome protection from the sun, Emma and Erin took a more leisurely pace. Reaching some benches, Keilyn and I waited patiently for them to catch up, before we headed up the slope to the Observatory and the viewing area. And what a view. I had seen photographs taken by others, but I had no idea how grand the vista that now greeted us would be. I was spellbound.

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The view from the top of Greenwich Park.

We stopped for a well-deserved rest, before making our way to the entrance of the Observatory, with tickets ready.

Thursday, February 25, 2021

Samuel Lowdell


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Samuel Lowdell (1864-1887).

Samuel Lowdell, of Bow Common, was a bargeman that worked on the barge 'William and Mary', on the River Thames. During his short life Samuel had previously saved two other people from the dangerous waters of Old Man Thames.

On the night of February 25, 1887, Samuel was working on the barge, near Blackfriars, when a shout went up that someone had fallen into the River. A boy, named Buck, had fallen in and, without any hesitation, Samuel dived into the frigid, murky waters to save him.

Unfortunately, on this occasion, after saving the boy, Samuel became stuck beneath a smaller boat, which was moored next to his barge. Despite frantic efforts to free him, Samuel never resurfaced and was presumed drowned. Buck was pulled from the water by another boat.

Samuel's body would not be recovered from the River Thames until March 23, 1887.

On April 3, 1887, Samuel Lowdell was buried in a common grave at Manor Park Cemetery.

This plaque is situated on the wall of the G. F. Watts Memorial to Heroic Self-Sacrifice, in Postman's Park. 

Memorial to Heroic Self-Sacrifice

Monday, February 15, 2021

Cathedral and Collegiate Church of St Saviour and St Mary Overie (Southwark Cathedral)

London The Unfinished City
Cathedral Church of St Saviour and St Mary Overie (Southwark Cathedral).

Southwark Cathedral dominates the area around London Bridge, Bankside and sits right next to Borough Market.

It is a remarkable building that is gradually being swamped by other buildings in the area. One of the best ways to get to see the building in all of its glory, besides going inside, is to look down on it from The Shard.

If you are ever in the area then it is well worth exploring the building and its history, in which it is steeped. But, you must remember it is a working building, so entry may be refused on special occasions, so check their website or signage before visiting.

Sunday, February 14, 2021

London Necropolis Railway


London The unfinished City
London Necropolis Railway Station

Wandering around the south of the River Thames, near Waterloo Station, you are surrounded by some fantastic architecture. 

This building which, to me, looked like an old fire station is actually the entrance to the London Necropolis Railway. 

Sunday, February 07, 2021

Brydges Place


London The Unfinished City
Brydges Place, Bedfordbury entrance

Brydges Place is an odd curiosity, that I stumbled upon quite by accident. It has the distinction of being London's narrowest passageway, being just 15 inches at its narrowest point.

It was during one of my meandering strolls around the West End that discovered this entrance on Bedfordbury, Charing Cross. I decided to wander along it, to see where it took me.

The entrance was of a typical width of about 6 feet and about 80 feet along another entrance appeared, on my left, which leads to Chandos Place. This entrance was considerably wider and was obviously built to allow vehicles to enter for loading and unloading. 

Continuing along Brydges Place, which runs for roughly 280 feet, the only people I saw were restaurant staff exiting the rear of their premises to place rubbish in the bins. It did make me wonder if, besides those who work along its length, anyone does use this alley as a shortcut.

A sense of unease started to plague me as, slowly, the walls appeared to be closing in on me. By the time I reached the end of Brydges Place, my shoulders were almost touching both sides of the alley. 

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Brydges Place, from St. Martin's Lane.

London is full of alleyways and narrow streets, some of which hide hidden gems like pubs and old shops and building. Brydges Place is not one of them. Instead, it is, quite simply, a straight walkway between one place and another. Its only saving grace, is its ability to make you feel uneasy as the walls start to close in on you. Obviously, if you entered from St Martin's Lane the opposite would be true.

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A comparison of both entrances.