The Springfield estate at night – Charlton, August 2018

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A walk to the pub on Bank Holiday Sunday evening (because you have to go out on a Bank Holiday Sunday evening, don’t you?), the rain almost stopped after pouring down all afternoon. This shot taken from Charlton Road, looking into the Springfield estate. I’d love the chance to take my camera to the top floor of one of these blocks, with their view across the river and over to Canary Wharf.

Down by the river: the signs they are a-changin’

The view from the Thames Barrier looking towards Greenwich Peninsula and Canary Wharf

Down to the Thames Barrier on Bank Holiday Sunday morning to take photos for a few different projects:

While in the area it’s impossible not to go and have a look at the river. The light was only so-so, and the view’s been photographed a million times but it still feels worth it, though, as the landscape keeps changing. How long before it’s impossible to see the Millennium Dome/O2 Arena from this part of Charlton?

Nearby, it was amusing to see how Greenwich Council have fixed their signage department’s peninsula(r) error, and also good to see the Barrier memorial settling into the landscaping.

The Thames Barrier Memorial

Later on rain it rained torrentially for much of the rest of the day in classic Bank Holiday weekend style, so I was pleased to have achieved something in the morning, even if it was mostly photographing fly tipping and dereliction.

The Victoria pub, Woolwich Road, Charlton – August 2018

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The Victoria pub, Woolwich Road, CharltonThe Victoria pub, Woolwich Road, CharltonThe Victoria pub, Woolwich Road, CharltonThe Victoria pub, Woolwich Road, Charlton

A Bank Holiday Sunday morning look around Charlton’s Flytipping Quarter* to take some photos, and have a look at the current state of the abandoned and derelict Victoria pub on Woolwich Road. It’s a sorry sight, with much of the back missing. It’s difficult to see now how it could be restored and, if it could, how someone could run a viable pub business on this stretch of the road, unless the new residential developments spring up quickly and are populated by keen pub-goers. Planning objections to proposed new pubs around East Greenwich’s new developments suggest the two may not go hand in hand

Update: From The Murky Depths blog had a post last year on plans to build accommodation at the back of the pub. It’s not clear if any progress has been made with this plan, though. A cynic would suggest that any developer would benefit from the pub falling apart further before making a new application to demolish it as unsalvageable.

A few more photos of the Victoria pub here.

(*AKA, New Charlton Industrial Estate, shortly to be rebooted as Charlton Riverside – read the latest in the planning saga here)

Seen in Rochester, Kent – August 2018

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A trip down the A2 to Rochester, to take my Dad – a former history teacher – to see Rochester Castle, the seige (1216) of which he taught generations of schoolchildren in Co. Durham. We also took in the cathedral – pretty vast and somewhat sprawling but also quite beautiful; I particularly liked the floor tiles and Wheel of Fortune. Then a wander along the High Street, with its ‘biggest in England’ secondhand book shop, charity shops, daughter-pleasing sweet shop, and array of Dickens-themed cafes.

The Queen’s House, Greenwich Park, and Canary Wharf – August 2018

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The view from Greenwich Park, Queen's House, Canary Wharf skyline
A Sunday afternoon walk to Greenwich Park, through the flower garden, past the bandstand to say hello to my uncle playing piano with a Big Band on the bandstand, then on to the Wolfe statue for the classic view over the park looking north.

One day – one day – I’ll pull together some proper then-and-now photos taken from this spot over the last 15 years. But this is how it looks now: the grass in the park very slightly greened up and recovered after weeks without rain; the Isle of Dogs and Canary Wharf stopped at this particular moment of development, a brief pause before the glass and steel buildings spread further out from Canada Square. I’ll no doubt be back there in the coming weeks – maybe I’ll try a then-and-now then.

Mondrian fence, Bedfordshire – August 2018

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Taken on a late afternoon walk to the pub, on public footpaths winding between villages in rural Bedfordshire. I loved this fence, and the thought behind it: Mondrian’s clean lines and colours placed right in the middle of classic, pretty Middle England – thatched roofs, cottage gardens, village greens, and all. A hearty round of applause to whoever did it.

Arriving in Newcastle from the north (Tyne Bridge Slight Return) – August 2018

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Back in Newcastle for a night after a few very nice days in Edinburgh spent seeing friends and family, and taking in a very small amount of the Fringe. 4pm on a Saturday is not a bad time to leave Edinburgh: the train was quite quiet, and the passengers weren’t really the wrecked specimens you see retreating from the festival later in the month.

I would write a bit about the shows we saw, but they were mainly seen in a social way, and booked by other people. Another year we’ll fully engage in festival planning and pack our days with the full range of offerings. (I’m pretty sure I said that last year, though).

This year’s personal Edinburgh highlight was climbing Arthur’s Seat with my daughter on a perfect blue-skied Thursday morning. Just the right amount of difficulty to feel like a challenge without taking up a whole day, and more than enough to give us both a feeling of achievement.

The sun was shining on Tyneside as we pulled into Central station, lighting up the Tyne Bridge and Sage Gateshead; not the classic view of the bridges from the Quayside or looking east from the King Edward bridge, but distinctively Newcastle. Home, or A Home, anyway. Back to our other home tomorrow, sadly travelling by car rather than train.

The Tyne Bridge shot from the Millennium Bridge last weekend

Newbiggin-by-the-Sea, Northumberland – August 2018

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A post-heat wave day on the Northumberland coast. The sand still hot underfoot, the water on the cool side, and the sky over the sea changing constantly. The sculptures are Sean Henry’s The Couple – two figures on land, then again on a platform 300 metres out to sea (Britains’s only offshore sculpture, apparently). I’m not sure that the future will judge this kind of public sculpture kindly, but I think I’ve seen worse (hello Kissing Couple in St. Pancras station).

‘About the North: Imagined Dialogues’ at Side Gallery, Newcastle-upon-Tyne

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I very much enjoyed a Saturday morning trip to see the Side Gallery’s ‘About the North: Imagined Dialogues’ exhibition, which brings together a range of work from AmberSide’s collection with that of other photographers’ work from across the North.

Amongst the old favourites (I’m always very happy to get up close to John Davies’s big prints – seeing his work in the Deutsche Bourse prize show at The Photographers’ Gallery some years ago remains a key trigger in how I have come to think about photography – and I still get a thrill from seeing Henri Cartier-Bresson’s photos from the North East), there was a good number of pictures I’d not seen before.

I particularly liked Simon Roberts’ Protestors occupy Leeds city council budget meeting, from 2011, which made me wonder how the contemporary photography of the Austerity era will look in 20 years’ time.

The show leans, perhaps unsurprisingly given AmberSide’s roots and location, slightly more to the north east than north west, though there’s representation of Merseyside beyond Martin Parr’s New Brighton photos. This felt refreshing – to me, anyway – in a context where media coverage of the Northern Powerhouse and recent Northern Tail travails have focused so much on Manchester and around.

The images that left the biggest impression were these below, amongst a few others printed large and pasted in the entrance way to the gallery. Until recently the juxtaposition of John Davies’ large format shot of the now long closed Dawdon colliery with James Sebright’s work in Nissan’s Sunderland car plant would have had a fairly simple reading: here is the old work of the north east, with its obvious environmental impact; and here are the new, high-tech jobs. But with politicians from both major parties pursuing a Brexit that would likely take the UK out of the Customs Union, and the likely devastating impact that that would have on all kinds of just-in-time manufacturing businesses, future perception of the second image starts to look somewhat different. What will documentary photos of the north east’s car manufacturing industry represent in 2, 5, or 10+ years’ time?

Orange cars of south-east London: Bond Bugs

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I’ve never been too bothered about photographing vintage cars, bar the odd snapshot, on the (possibly flawed) basis that someone else is bound to be doing it much better, but a little while ago I noticed that there was a collection of photos of orange cars building up on my iPhone camera roll. And once I’d noticed that, I realised that there aren’t many orange cars out there (a shame – some of today’s blander car designs would be improved by an orange paint job), and so I started ‘collecting’ them.

These pics are of two Bond Bugs, caught at the July meet of Park It The Market, the monthly vintage car and bike event that has turned into one of Greenwich’s best (and free) social occasions.

More orange cars of south-east London here.

PS. Got an orange car, live in south-east London, and want some nice photos of your car? Get in touch!