On a recent rip into London I took a group of photographers round the Barbican. Not wanting to use the tube in these times of restrictions we limited ourselves to using the over ground train into Liverpool Street and walk from there.
From the Barbican we walked down to the Thames at St Paul’s Cathedral. My main area of interest for the day though was the Barbican area. I was intending taking just a film camera with me on this trip as I thought the Barbican with it’s grey drab concrete construction would prove ideal for black and white film.
As early as the late 1940s architects and town planners were looking at how people could live in high rise blocks and moved around the city on high level walkways. The idea wasn’t that they were so much concerned about pedestrians but more to do with keeping traffic flowing uninterrupted through the cities of tomorrow. As is often the case though that didn’t accord with human nature as people were more fond of following roads rather than being remote above where everything is happening,
The outcome of this is that London has some areas of remote and unlinked walkways. One area of extensive walkways though is the Barbican estate.
The gear used for this day was my trusty Olympus OM2n and 50mm f1.4 lens. I used a couple of rolls of Ilford HP5+ and developed it in Ilford ID11 diluted 1+3 for 20 minutes @20 degC.
Scanning of film was done using Plustek Opticfilm 8100 scanner and Silverfast software.
A walk with members of Bishops Stortford Camera Club.
As we were planning on starting our walk just before lunchtime we started with some of us meeting at a local establishment where we had a brunch to set us up for the day. Following this we caught the train into Liverpool Street.
Following on from this we caught the Cental Line tube to Bank then on to the Docklands Light Railway to end up at Royal Victoria DLR station where we met up with another two of our group who had caught a different train down to London.
We had to go over the high level walkway across the dock to continue our walk along the south side back to where the Emirates cable car. Some of our group didn’t particularly like heights but we all seemed to manage OK. The lift up to the walkway wasn’t operating so it was a bit of a climb up the steps.
Once we were on the south side of the docks we walked back toward the western end where we could get on to the Emirates cable car. Before getting on the cable car we found a nice cafe for some refreshments.
For those that didn’t fancy the high level crossing to Greenwich on the cable car thay went back to the tube to connect with the rest of us at London Bridge.
We went into a couple of cars so we didn’t feel too squashed up!
When you get to the end the cable does drop at quite an alarming rate. At this point I was hoping the maintenance people had screwed up tightly the car connections onto the cable !
Arriving at London Bridge we met up wit those who had decided to forgo the cable car to then proceed along the Southbank taking in the Thames as night fell.
We finished the photography in the area in Lambeth called Roupell Street Conservation area, an area of Victorian Terraces which have been used for filming for quite a few TV series.
We finished the walk around 6pm and we searched out a pub in Roupell that I’d found out about called the King’s Head. It has a Thai restaurant at the back which turned out to be very good and an ideal way to end the day before we set off home.
This was a walk planned to visit the recently opened rooftop garden at No 120 Fenchurch Street, London with members of Bishops Stortford Camera Club.
I had been notified of this new venue by a blog called ‘Look up London’ back in February but thought I’d wait until the weather improved. The day before the planned outing almost proved me wrong with storms and torrential rain However, I’m not put off easily by a bit of good old British inclement weather so went ahead with the trip anyway.
Just as we arrived at No 120 it started to rain but we did manage to get some lunch at Pret in Fen Court. Under cover and with everyone walking through with umbrellas up it proved to be a good opportunity for some street photography. I’d set a couple of assignments for the group, one of them being ‘Gestures in Street Photography’ so this proved to be an ideal time to get some shots.
After a while we did manage to get to the 15th floor and take some photographs before another black cloud came over and it rained again.
After around 20 minutes we decided to get some refreshment in the pub across the road and wait for the rain to stop.
One drink later we continued on down to London Bridge. Along the way we went into St Olave’s Church, founded in the 11th century it is one of the few medieval churches that survived the Great Fire of London.
Walking down Old Billingsgate Walk we went along the footpath on the north shore of the Thames and just before London Bridge there is a very good spot to photograph the Shard across the river with a triangular piece of art work in the foreground.
Crossing London Bridge we went for coffee before proceeding along the southbank to the area surrounding City Hall. There are great views across the river and back to the Shard as well as City Hall itself.
On past Tower Bridge is an area known as Shad Thames, one of the Victorian era’s largest warehouse complexes. Here were tea, coffee, dried fruit and spice warehouses which are now apartments. It was known as the ‘larder of London’ and you can still see the overhead gantries which connected the warehouses today.
Turning back on ourselves we then went over Tower Bridge to end our walk at The Minories pub which is built in one of the old railway tunnels. You can sit having a drink whilst listening to the rumble of the trains going overhead.
The collection of streets known as Roupell Street, Theed Street, Whittlesley Street, Cornwall Road and Windmill Walk are all situated in the north east corner of the London Borough of Lambeth. They constitute the Roupell Street Conservation Area and are a collection of Victorian terraces just south of the River Thames.
These streets have survived the march of time and the efforts of developers to be one of London’s time capsules of architecture in a modern city.
They have been used for TV for some episodes of Mr Selfridge and Call the Midwife to name a few.
I wanted to do some photography round this area to capture the character of these streets with the lamps lit at night. It is quite a good area for photography as there doesn’t seem to be too many cars parked around some of the streets, unlike some other areas
It certainly makes a nice change from the ultra modern architecture of The City and Canary Wharf and the Brutalist style of architecture around the Barbican.
My target photography subject was the Millennium Mills situated on the south side of the Royal Victoria Docks in London.
I had seen this vaste, derelict building before when on a photography club outing to photograph Canary Wharf and wondered if there would be any possibility to get any closer. This was constructed as a flour mill in 1905 in Silvertown in East London.
Starting off on the 10:13 train to Stratford we change at Harlow Town for the fast train into London Liverpool Street. Liz exits the train at Tottenham Hale to go for lunch with some friends whilst I continue on to Liverpool street.
Not sure where I’m going to end up for the whole day but but have it in mind to go on the DLR to Royal Victoria Docks for some photography then proceed along the Southbank.
The plan is to walk over the elevated walkway to the south side. I want to attempt to get some photos of the dilapidated Millennium Mills building.
Moving across the elvated walkway I took some photos of the Millennium Mills and then continued across to see if I could access the area any closer.
The mill converted imported grain into flour for the domestic market. The mills were named after their most famous product; Millennium Flour which won the Miller Challenge Cup in 1899 at the International Bakers Exhibition.
In 1917 a nearby munitions factory exploded and devastated the factory. 73 people died.
In 1920 the company, Spillers took over the factory to produce dog biscuits. In 1933 they had the building rebuilt in the current art deco style. The building suffered during the blitz and has since had various projects proposed but remains empty.
It would make a great dereliction subject but as always, it’s virtually impossible to get close enough. I have seen various photographs of the inside on some Urbex sites but they were taken a few years ago. I’m guessing that they have since upgraded the fencing around the site as the only thing I managed to do was to poke the camera through the fence to get some photos.
Giving up trying to get any closer to the old mill building I carried on round the southern side of the dock planning to return to the tube at Canning Town. I then had the bright idea of crossing the dock on the Emirates Airline cable car.
What I didn’t consider was that the wind was blowing very hard and gusting quite wildly. It turned out to be more like a fairground ride!
From Greenwich I caught the tube to Southwark where I found a nice little pub called The Ring, with a boxing theme, for some lunch.
At this point Liz rang my mobile to say she had finished her luncheon with her friends so we agreed to meet up at Green Park tube station.
We finished off the day by a walk round to Carnaby Street for some Christmas lights.
The Barbican scheme was a project of staggering scale and complexity. It took nearly three decades to design and build; involved the design of over 2,000 flats, two schools and an arts centre.
It is built in the style of what is now known as the Brutalist style of architecture.
Brutalist architecture, is a style that emerged in the 1950s and grew out of the early-20th century modernist movement. Brutalist buildings are characterised by their massive, monolithic and ‘blocky’ appearance with a rigid geometric style and large-scale use of poured concrete
The Barbican scheme was designed by the practice of Chamnerlin, Powell & Bon, who are now considered one of the most important modernist architectural firms in post-war England.
The architects initially suggested a ‘small exhibition hall’ in their first proposal but by 1959 this had grown into a major arts centre including a theatre, a concert hall, an art gallery, a library and a restaurant.
The Barbican’s distinctive tooled-concrete finish is the result of an extremely labour-intensive technique. After the concrete had dried, workers used pick-hammers or wider bush-hammers to tool the surface and expose the coarse granite aggregate. Pick-hammering involved pitting the surface to an average depth of 1.25 cm and bush-hammering to no more than 0.6 cm deep.
At the time of their completion, the Barbican towers were the tallest residential towers in Europe.
The area known as The City of London is it’s historic financial district. Home of the Bank of England and the Stock exchange. It’s a great place to wander round during the week as it’s buzzing with all the people. At weekends it’s dead. I love walking round with my camera fitted with my 9.5mm fisheye lens which enables me to capture the vast array of building styles. There is a good mix of the old and the new in some places too.
On a recent trip with members of the local camera club we visited a newly opened rooftop garden at No 120 Fenchurch Street in the financial district.
Typically it rained quite hard but it did prove a good opportunity to get some good rainy day photographs.
I do enjoy strolling around a city photographing the buildings and the people all rushing around at their own business. I’m fortunate that I have London on my doorstep. Well, maybe not quite the doorstep but an easy 30 minute train ride away.
I’ve had a few trips into London over the last few years. Often starting with a trip to a gallery or exhibition. The first photograph is taken at night from the north bank of the Thames near Tate Britain and looking over toward the south bank.
One of the trips was with some fellow members of the local camera club. I had researched the location for some night photography but what I had seen was a bridge of Royal Victoria Docks. What I hadn’t appreciated though was the height of this bridge which one had to get up to with a lift. It makes sense when you think about it as it’s designed to allow tall ships to move under. It was ideal though to set up our tripods for some photography of Canary Wharf with the sun setting.
At other times I’ve walked along the Southbank and photographed from the Millennium Bridge toward the east.
Another favourite is to set up the camera on a tripod on the Millennium Bridge and capture the ghostly apparitions of people walking across toward St Paul’s Cathedral. It’s because of having to use a slow shutter speed that the moving people are caught in this way.
Another favourite spot is just east of the northern ramp of London Bridge. There is a point where there is a staircase to an elevated point to photograph the Shard south, across the river. There is the added bonus of a triangular feature. Not sure what it is but it makes for a nice foreground interest.
On a more recent trip I’ve searched out the Roupell Street Conservation area, which is an area of Victorian Terraces which have fought off the advances of developers and preserved the area as it was in the 19th century. I wanted to capture the area at night for some additional character.