The February Set of my London photos is now available at
Once again, it has been difficult getting out to take photographs in any dry weather and I have had to go twice on a Saturday – my least favourite day because the trains are more packed than normal with shoppers and football (and other sports) fans.
I have photos from three locations this time: firstly some of Earls Court; then of the exciting massive new development at Nine Elms – around Battersea Power Station; and finally some of suburban Wembley.
I had intended to take photos of quite a number of suburban areas and put them all together but going round to different suburbs is quite time consuming, so I have published the Wembley ones that I have taken already.
Earls Court near to the exhibition centre is to be the subject of large scale redevelopment based on a master plan produced by Terry Farrell. It has taken a long time to get approved because there are two local authorities involved – Kensington & Chelsea, and Hammersmith & Fulham – to say nothing of the Greater London Authority.
I am sure that the photos I have of some of the posher streets on the Kensington side of Warwick Road are unlikely to change as a consequence, but the area to the other side – including the Earls Court exhibition centre itself will be subject to great change over an extended period. These posher streets show some lovely examples of London mansion blocks.
The Earls Court photos include the “Empress State” office tower (behind the exhibition centre) – so famous they named the local bus stop after it…This, it has already been mooted, may well be converted into residential. The Exhibition Centre will go – and will not be much missed, I think.
The redevelopment of the huge triangular site at Nine Elms in Wandsworth – from the Power Station at the base of the triangle in the West to the St George’s tower next to Vauxhall Bridge in the East – is a very large scale development indeed. The American Embassy is moving there from St James Square – and construction on it has started – though as yet there is little to see – just the pile drivers and drills of a new construction site. I have a couple of photos of the new and adjacent Embassy Gardens – now proceeding at a pace. The “Riverlight” – Richard Rogers designed towers at the river end of the site are one of the more advanced parts of the overall development – except of course for the St George’s Tower (stated as “complete” just this week) and Wharf development at the Vauxhall Bridge apex.
Work was supposed to have started on the chimneys of the Power Station this month. They are to be taken down and rebuilt because whilst they are of concrete, they have to be rebuilt in reinforced concrete and to look the same as now. Originally they were to be dealt with one at a time but the developer has agreed with the local authority (Wandsworth) that the overall redevelopment of the Power Station will be considerably speeded up if all four are dealt with at once.
I have a couple of photos of the Power Station – one of which shows the great bulk of the building and one which rather shows the desolation of it as it is now.
The developers are intending to suggest at the March Public Inquiry into the Super Sewer that if the proposed nearby work on the Thames Super Sewer is undertaken, the Power Station development is at risk, as is the associated tube line extension. They are not the only developers of posh riverside apartments to make this argument. Of course we know that the residents of posh skyscrapers on the river use their loos a lot less than the rest of us…One of the objectors to the Super Sewer work is even St Pauls Cathedral on the grounds that truck noise will disturb weekend weddings! I would have thought sewage in the river would be rather more disturbing.
But back to the photographs…I have three of the Sudbury Court Estate in Wembley – a very English suburb – though whilst the residents may all be British, no longer are most of them English. However the worst excesses of “architectural asian-isation” (if there were to be such a phrase) have been avoided by virtue of its being a Conservation Area. I have to say that I much prefer proper Indian architecture – such as the wonderful nearby Hindu Temple at Neasden to the ruination to the English style that the worst excesses of Indian double glazing and external décor can bring.
For those who read the blog in addition to looking at the photos, you may be interested to learn that Boris – London Mayor – has stated that he will not permit the proposed changes on the South Bank if the existing skateboard park (as opposed to any new one) is not retained. This will no doubt cause some ructions.