28 July 2015

Whittington Park's hidden mural

Whittington Park near Upper Holloway Station is just a short walk from my house. I often go there to sit, meet friends, relax, attend events or just people-watch.
I met a friend for some tea and cake at the park's cafe recently and then showed her the little wooded area that abuts the back wall of Yerbury Primary School. Walking through there in the past I had half-noticed that there was paint on the walls but hadn't ever taken a closer look. Jen always has a camera hanging round her neck and so we investigated further.

The first two rows show the mural.
The images in the bottom row show the construction of some hideous container-style apartments being built along the Wedmore Street side of the park, some lovely meadow flowers and thistles, and a tree with a face.
On closer inspection we found, hidden behind the climbing plants and graffiti, an old well-painted mural depicting people partaking in different kinds of sport. The only ones we could identify easily were table tennis and football. A woman in a striped dress and hat may have been intended as a spectator or just a park-goer.
I have no idea how when this mural was painted but suspect it's at least 20 years old judging by the Gary Lineker style shorts on the footballers.
Any info welcomed.

24 July 2015

A Walk Along Kings Road

The groovy shops and cafés of the King's Road in its 1960s heyday have all disappeared but there are a few interesting details along the street that hint at this might have once been a road fit for a king.

Starting at the corner of Sydney Street by Habitat and walking east towards Sloane Square... 

The Curzon Cinema and some of its Art Deco details 

Opposite Habitat and the cinema there's Chelsea Town Hall, the Scottish Methodist Church and a lovely Shoe Repairers' sign
And then there's 'Antiquarius' the lovely Grade II listed Arts and Crafts billiards hall constructed by The Temperance Movement*. By the second half of the twentieth century the balls had been packed away and the building had been converted into small retail spaces, home to many boutique shops and antique dealers. These days it houses some big name High Street brands.  
Actually, I think I'll save the rest of this walk for some future posts.

Meanwhile check out this link about Kings Road in the 1960s.

* Ha ha... hope you enjoyed that diversion.
Here's a link to the 'correct' Temperance Movement.

21 July 2015

Dirty Millennium Bridge – here we go again

Just like the Golden Jubliee Bridges, the Millennium Bridge's handrails are the only clean bits to be found along the structure as people take in the views left and right.
View from Millennium Bridge looking east

Beneath the rail, once shiny areas are now really grubby, and dirt sits tight in the textured metal underfoot. Chewing gum has been trodden into the grooves onto which Ben Wilson paints his wonderful little designs. Indeed, he was busy creating a new one on the evening I took these photos.

And now they calculating the cost of a bloody garden bridge... what kind of state will that be left to get into?

Oh... re chewing gum, and the disposal thereof... #GUMDROPLTD have come up with this clever recycling solution which turns discarded gum into plastic receptacles for disposal. There are many pink recycle points across central London already.

14 July 2015

A cherubic view

As you know, I like to look at the details on buildings. The top deck of a bus often affords a better view and a chance for a few dodgy snapshots complete with window reflections, greasy marks and blurring.

There is a lovely frieze along the terracotta gothic of the Prudential building on High Holborn, and a marvellous view can be obtained from the bus stop directly outside the front door, especially of the little cherubs below the window. 
But look closely... check out the little fella who is kneeling; his arms don't look to be the only thing that's stretched out.
It's just not right!

3 July 2015

Westminster Cathedral, the mother church

I expected it to be an embarrassing admission telling my friends that up until early June this year I had never before set foot inside Westminster Cathedral*. But most of them said they hadn't been in there either. That's what happens when you live in a big city with so much to see and do; you are always going to do it next week, next month, next summer, after this, after that. Or we wait until out-of-towners come to stay and then go out on a mad tourist trip.

I have often admired the cathedral sitting on its piazza like a very showy Neo-Byzantine Battenberg cake, reflected in the glass windows of Victoria Street.

But go inside and Oh My (Catholic) God!
It's just wonderful in there. Bare walls and intricate mosaics – a glorious work in progress. My phone camera wasn't really up to the job, but this gives you some idea what to find in there:

Suffice to say I need to go back for a longer visit and it's now sitting quite high on my list of 'things to see and do' (just after RA Summer Show and Alexander McQueen Savage Beauty). And I must go to the top of the tower there as I hear that's quite an experience too.
Westminster Cathedral's website here.

*More admissions...
I haven't set foot inside Westminster Abbey either. Or Buckingham Palace, Kensington Palace, Churchill's War Rooms, Hampton Court Palace, HMS Belfast, The Guildhall, The Bank of England, The Cutty Sark, The Fan Museum and Malcolm's home.