All my pictures show places of interest as they used to look, so they take quite a bit of research. Now and again I have to make an educated guess, but it is important to me to keep this to an absolute minimum.
A view from the Cumberland Basin in 1872, looking north west. The early tug ‘Fearless’ rests in steam beside a three masted schooner of unknown name. Many other vessels would have been stranded at nearby Rownham Ferry, waiting for the spring tides to float them again. Near the building on the left bank, the enterprising Col Holman F. Stephens would soon start building the Bristol and Portishead railway to reach the new docks at Avonmouth, four miles to the north west as an alternative to the difficult channel.
A well known spot with an irresistible composition, the posh residents of Princes Buildings at Clifton at the top right literally look down on the humble roadside inns & dock workers terraces of Hotwells below. The view along the narrow gorge has changed relatively little today, but many of the old buildings including the Hotwell Tavern at the bottom right have been swept away by the need for the bigger wider A4 roadway at this point.
Two of Edward Bury’s underpowered 2-2-0 locomotives head the Royal train of Queen Adelaide into the eastern portal of the tunnel, having just passed Camden roundhouse and, coincidentally, the Adelaide Hotel. The train itself would have begun its journey without any locomotives at all, as the incline out of Euston was too steep, and the coupled vehicles had to be cable hauled up to Camden using a stationary steam engine. Queen Adelaide (1792-1849) of Saxe Meiningen descent, was Consort to King William IV, and would have been travelling to Sudbury House near Uttoxetter, Derbyshire a few years after the passing of the King, (The house had been leased by the crown for three years while the Sudburys were in Italy).
The final part of the journey north from Birmingham’s Curzon Street station would have been by Royal horse carriage which would have been carried on the train, along with everything and everybody else! Behind the tunnel’s portal to the left, the ground rises up to Primrose Hill, and to the right the house of Sir Richard Steele appears on the southern slope of Haverstock Hill. A small group of dwellings here formed the hamlet of Chalcott, and this name evolved into ‘Chalk’ giving the overall modern district name of Chalk Farm. The old farm buildings had occupied the site of the new tunnel portal depicted, but the landowners, Kings College Cambridge agreed the siting of the tunnel as long as its architecture was suitably imposing.
The neo classical façade was repeated some years later to the left of this view as another tunnel became necessary to ease congestion. Both survive in use to this day but are sadly overgrown, neglected and worst of all daubed with graffiti, no respect for heritage unless it generates tourist income I suppose.
Oxford, St Mary’s tower rises behind with it’s spire of slightly greyer coloured masonry, and Brasenose College further along. This view is now spoiled with a myriad of stupid road signs and never ending queues of brightly coloured buses.
The village of Pinner, before it was surrounded by 1930s Metro land and the suburban Cedars Estate
Pinner High Street c1870.
The village became a busier place after 1885 when the Metropolitan Railway Company opened it’s station just around the corner from this viewpoint at the bottom of the High St. The nearest trains at this time were at Hatch End, at the other end of a rural Middlesex country lane.
The doctors house is on the right, the Haberdashers shop is next door, and the Market Hall was still there at the bottom, by the road to Amersham past Waterside, and through the woods. I plotted the figures and horse drawn vehicles into the scene to give it a bit of movement.
Looking north along Kings Parade, this is how the famous college appeared around 1900. The iron railings have now gone and some trees have grown, but otherwise the aspect is hardly any different today.
A quick study of the steep climb up to the churchyard from the road. Lots of layers in this one, with all the see through railings and well tended gardens behind.
Three more bays were added in 1911 to enlarge the quad, taking the place of the two small shops beyond the tower, the four nearest college bays to the corner date from as late as 1887 and were designed sympathetically by the late Victorian architect T. G. Jackson in the Tudor style in ashlar stone with fine oriel windows.
Looking up river from the lock, this is a favourite view of countless painters and photographers over the years, but this painting turns the clock back to 1900 for fun. A steam pleasure boat rests at the landing stage by the boat houses behind the church.
The old wooden sailing club house behind the bridge has now gone, replaced by a modern river view apartment block, and an ugly walkway now follows the line of the weir in the left foreground. Fortunately little else has changed and In past times, the ‘flash’ lock over the weir in the middle of the picture could be opened, and boats would occasionally woosh down river on the fast moving torrent of water! This of course no longer takes place, and the pleasure boats ascend and descend sedately in the river lock behind this viewpoint.
There are a few more, so they are here in a gallery.