From My Archive I Choose…

I is for Italianate

Italianate Architecture – buildings created in the style of Renaissance Italy –  became fashionable in the UK after being pioneered by John Nash in 1802.  The style was further enhanced by the work  of (Sir) Charles Barry from 1830 onwards.

Italianate Architecture
Italianate Architecture - Princes Park Manor

Princes Park Manor was originally Colney Hatch Asylum. Building started in 1849 to an Italianate design by S W Daukes. The foundation stone was laid by Prince Albert. The asylum opened in 1851. It was built to hold 1000 patients and had 6 miles of corridors – it was the largest in Europe. The site was extended over time to hold 2000 patients and the name Colney Hatch became synonymous with madness, such that the hospital name was changed on several occasions, finally becoming Friern Hospital in 1959. It closed in 1993 and was converted to upmarket housing.  A fuller history is available from Barnet Online

One of the joys of childhood is to look down on trains passing under a bridge.   Often those first glimpses are from the shoulders of a patient parent.   We soon grow tall enough to see over the bridge parapet ourselves…. Oh! the pleasure of being enveloped by the clouds of steam and smoke as an engine passed beneath and then the rush to the other side to watch it disappearing into the distance leaving a smell of warm oil and coal.   Such were the memories of my childhood when trips to Hadley Wood were a popular picnic treat for the family and journeys to Scotland were by night train.   Back then all the mainline expresses were commonly in the hands of Steam locomotives.

Of course, sooner or later, we grow up and many of the joys of childhood are forgotten or become faraway memories of a time when the sun always shone.   For some of us though, that early encounter with the view from the bridge stays with us into adult life.   I still can’t resist standing on a bridge watching the trains go by and I’ve been doing it off and on for the last 40 years.

Willesden Junction has always been a popular mecca for trainspotters / railway enthusiasts, featuring a confluence of lines from all points of the compass and all regions of  British Railways (with the exception of the Scottish Region).   Around 1920, as the new lines were built for a local electric service to Watford Junction from Euston, a footbridge was built across the main London to Crewe lines for a new footpath connection.   Ever since it has been a popular location for enthusiasts to look down on the passing express, outer suburban and freight trains whilst also affording a view of the trains operating around the North London Line.   Here are a couple of then and now views looking down from that footbridge…

Willesden Junction 1982 and 2010
Willesden Junction 1982 and 2010
Willesden Junction 1986 and 2012
Willesden Junction 1986 and 2012

From My Archive I Choose…

H is for High-Rise

High-RiseApartment blocks in Paddington

I wanted to convey the starkness of High-Rise housing in this image so I retained the converging lines of the buildings whilst removing an intruding section of an adjacent block from the right of the frame.   I then converted the image to Black & White, upping the contrast, before applying a Charcoal filter and thin black frame.