Having taken this photo during my visit to London last year, and following on from yesterdays post and the theme of architecture I decided to find out just what this building was. I have since learned that it is called Strata SE1, is located in Elephant and Castle, Southwark and is the tallest residential building at 43 stories high. The feature that really sparks your imagination though is the 3 turbines sitting at the top of the building, looking like something from a futuristic James Bond film, ready to chop you into pieces should you skydive through them (as only James Bond would of course!). At one point in it’s history the building was voted ugliest building, however it was actually designed to be eco-friendly, with the 3 turbines designed to provide 8% of the electricity demands of the building. Unfortunately the residents in the penthouses complained that when the turbines were running, it was too noisy and the vibrations sent them insane, so the turbines were only allowed to run at certain times of the day. I cant decide whether I love it or hate it, maybe it should have been called the marmite tower…..you decide……
For over a year now I have been photographing the ordinary and the not so ordinary, the aim well to try to improve my photographic skills, to see new things that I never noticed before and to share then with the blogging community out there and hopefully make you smile now and again. I have also learned much from reading your blogs, and very much enjoy taking a peak into your worlds for a few minutes each day. Time is a huge factor in life and I have begun to feel like having too many social networking projects on the go is just not the way forward. So, I have decided to shut down my other pages on facebook etc and concentrate on my blog. I also want to change the direction of the blog just a little, it will still be about my photography journey, only I want it to reflect more about the places, people and wildlife that I find along the way. At some point i would like to change the format but I need to study how to do that before I dive in! So, a big thank you for all of you who like and comment on my blog and I look forward to continuing the journey with you all….
I just love this atmospheric derelict old building alongside the canal with it’s shattered fascade, the lifting platform where goods were once hoisted from the barges below as the smoke rose from the engines through the open windows to be breathed in by the workers with blackened faces. Workers who sweated and toiled from dawn until dusk and beyond. Stand for a moment and you may imagine the scene, smell the industry and remember the workers, the people who made this country great, a bygone era of industry and development sadly lost, the people gone, the skills gone too along with the pride in being a working man…… as the buildings melt towards the earth from where they once rose.
Some may call it a ruin other may disagree, for Holyrood Abbey still stands proud all be it a shell of its former glory. Founded in 1128 by King David 1st and was the home of the Canons who came from St.Andrews, it has survived attack by the English under Edward II and was burnt by Richard II in 1305 before being restored. In the 16th century Holyrood Palace was added by James IV but only a single tower remains of this addition and the palace that you see today was built by Charles II in 1670. In 1547 most of the main buildings, including the choir, lady chapel, and transepts of the church were destroyed by the commissioners of the English Protector Somerset, and 20 years later followers of John Knox destroyed the interior of the church in a Protestant frenzied attack. On July 22, 1565, the Catholic Mary, Queen of Scots married her cousin Lord Darnley in the Holyrood Abbey church, and just a year later her Italian secretary and suspected lover, David Rizzio, was murdered by her jealous husband and friends in the stairwell of the palace royal apartments. A plaque – and a bloodstain still visible on the floor – marks the spot where Rizzio died. For all its history it is still a place of inspiration, the workmanship of those who laboured to create it still evident and an atmosphere still hangs around its ruined stones, thought provoking and haunted yet calming and welcoming to those who find themselves stood at its heart.
I wrote recently about my travels across one of the most testing of Lakeland roads, the Hardknott Pass. I could’nt continue my blog without sharing some of the spectacular views that can be enjoyed at it’s highest point of 1289ft, views that would have been seen through the eyes of the Roman soldiers and generals that occupied the fort in the 2nd Century during Hadrians rule. There are substantial walls still remaining and the general layout can be clearly distinguished, from the grain stores that fed the garrisons, the Commanders quarters and the main gate into the Fort. Standing within these walls you feel the atmosphere that lingers, the remoteness of its location, how isolated must those soldiers have felt, far removed from their loved ones and homes far away on warmer shores. The hardship of existence over the seasons, the boredom that must have been mind numbing, military training combined with raw survival, the prospect of battles ahead and a longing for the comforts of loved ones and a Mediterranean summer. Depression and anxiety must have been rife among these men, many of whom never made it home, a road to nowhere for so many, an existence suffered, yet I took my photos, breathed in the air and saw beauty all around.
I’ve been taking a trip down memory lane with old photos, mainly because the weather has been so very wet and cold of late. I even looked back at the posts that I made this time last year and although the weather was still relatively cold it was bright and so enabled me to shoot outdoors frequently. So, having delved into the depths of my hard drive I found some interesting photos from various trips, including this shot of a section of the Forth Bridge taken during a stop off en route home from Speyside in Scotland. Now at this time I only had a small pocket camera but it interests me to see that I already had an eye for shooting detail rather than the whole view. I remember standing on the steps of the cafe that we had stopped at and looking across at the expanse of metal that spans the Firth of Forth, trying to imagine the men who constructed it in an age of manual labour and damned hard work! Blood sweat and tears a plenty no doubt. A feat of British engineering that still stands testament to our endeavours weathering the storms and carrying the weight of the travellers making their way to the other side.
Some years ago I had the fortune to stay at a fabulous Malmaison Hotel in Oxford. Some of you may have already looked at the image and guessed that this hotel was indeed a former jail and prison! It stands right in the centre of Oxford and alongside the actual hotel stands a museum which if you get the chance to visit you simply must go! I wont ramble on about the place but I have added a link below if you want more info as it really is a fascinating location. The rooms vary in size but the standard rooms consist of two cells joined together, original features such as the prison doors and windows are all still in place, as are the walls and general layouts, but the rooms are sumptious! The sound the door makes when you close it behind you is really chilling and you really feel like you are locked in! Upon walking through reception you enter the main hallway, and the view is breathtaking, two levels of cells with all the original railings and walk ways as well as the staircases at either end and the most fantastic view as you look up of the light coming through the ceiling. I can only imaging that the former occupants of this building were not quite so impressed about their surroundings and most definately wouldn’t have paid to visit! Visit www.malmaison.com/oxford for more info……
Not too much going on today so visited a sculpture park for something different to do and came face to face with, well a face! This sculpture was massive in size and was made from welded metal, truly impressive. As you moved around it, it seemed to move with you, the light changing as the angles changed.
My Father was from the city of Coventry, my Mother from a rural town in Shropshire. A few years after their marriage I arrived but Mum hated city life and so they moved to a smaller village called Burbage in Leicestershire. This was where I was to live until the age of 22 when I moved out into the town of Hinckley a mile up the road from Burbage. The two places almost merge together now but there is a really different feel in the village from that of the town. Burbage has held onto its village way of life with many cottages, churches and pubs to be found in a small area, mainly due to its prosperous past. As it was such a nice afternoon I decided to revisit some of the places I spent as a child, Burbage Congregational church’s hall was the location for the Playgroup that I attended prior to going to school, the Methodist Church hall was where I ran my dance school of 10 yrs, many happy hours spent teaching children of all ages how to dance. I drove to the centre of the village and walked around the grounds of the main church St Catherine’s with it golden weathervane shimmering in the late afternoon sunshine, and onwards to the smaller parish church of Aston Flamville, a hamlet on the outskirts of the village, a beautiful gem of a church, small and welcoming, a place you can step back in time as nothing has really changed for hundreds of years. Driving further round the village I parked up and walked onto the park where I spent hours with friends, and Saturday afternoons watching the cricket with my Dad, a match was in full swing as I arrived although it looked like the visitors were winning! I love the shot of the Pavillion where the expressions say it all, as does the chap laying flat-out on the bench! The image of the old factory shows the knitting and textiles industry was thriving here although it has long since gone and is now the home of a photographic studio, the pub opposite which was once full of workers now a trendy bar and meeting place. The image of the blue door is purely for the colour, although Id love to know what was hiding behind….a cottage garden maybe? And there it is, a small insight into the place I grew up in, a place I have known all my life and loved to share with you all.
Down the road from where I work there used to be a piece of land that was barren, void, neglected. In the last few months it has been transformed into a building site. Huge structures have been erected and deep drilling has ensured they remain upright for years to come. We are to have a new shopping centre, another commercial development purely for capitalist purposes…….making money! To me that piece of land could have been used for a wealth of endeavours, a community centre for the young, a place for all ages to go and socialise, have fun, learn and be entertained. But no, we have another shopping centre full of the same old stores selling the same old rubbish, mass produced and manufactured thousands of miles away, the cost to the environment huge as well as the cost to fill those stores with plastic, manmade disposable items that are desired, purchased and then outgrown, outdated and eventually ousted to the vast object graveyards that are the recycling plants, rubbish tips and landfill sites that scar the countryside. A recycled piece of land maybe, a recycling success??? Ask the owners of the stores, they are the ones that profit in the long run.