#450 – Samsung Galaxy S7 Shoot – Crossness Pumping Station 3

And so down into the basement….

Well actually it’s not really a basement as such. Four triple expansion compound steam engines were installed into a new building adjacent to the original one in 1897 to provide additional pumping capacity, but these were removed not long after in 1913 and replaced with Crossley diesels.The diesel engines were installed below the original floor level of the triple expansion engines in what amounts to a huge pit.

And so ended my brief time as a professional photographer! It was 4.00 on Friday afternon and I was south east of London on the banks of the Thames, watching ocean going ships going up the river – along way from the sun drenched lowlands of Chorley where I live. Time to battle my way through London to Euston – the gateway t’north.

 

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One of the large diesel engines. The huge pipe to the right is a sewage pipe.

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A sewage pump, made by Gwynnes, a long defunct London engineering company.

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Can’t remember exactly what this was, but it was manufactured by Alldays and Onions of Birmingham.

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I saw this as being a big rusty industrial elephant – can you see the two eyes above the ‘trunk’?20160311_143309-Edit-10620160311_143348-Edit-107

The internet doesn’t know much about the Light Production Company, alas.

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Down in the pit

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Panoramic view of the giant sewage pipe.

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A rather old Health & Safety sign.

#449 – Samsung Galaxy S7 Shoot – Crossness Pumping Station 2

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Beam engines – f***ing big beam engines at that. Crossness is home to four huge beam engines – Victoria, Prince Consort, Albert Edward (the Prince of Wales) and Alexandra (the Princess of Wales). Prince Consort has been restored to full working condition and Prince Consort is now being worked on. At the other end of the building, Albert Edward and Alexandra lie unrestored and that is where I focused my attention.

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I loved this beautifully painted wrought ironwork, and the contrast it made with the silent, unrestored engines behind.20160311_140022-Edit-8020160311_140923-Edit-90

The late afternoon winter sun caught this huge wheel with a lovely colour of light.

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#448 – Samsung Galaxy S7 Shoot – Crossness Pumping Station 1

Crossness Pumping Station is somewhere I’ve wanted to go for years. The magnificent Kew may have a more central location, glossy website and some giant engines, but Crossness is a marvelous mixture of wrought iron, rust and symmetry that is incomparable.

I was really blown away by the place. I trained as an engineer, I’m fascinated by history and love art and design so this place appealed to me on every possible level and could have spent all day there if we’d had time. If it wasn’t for the fact that I live 250 miles away I’d visit again!

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I think this is a variation of the MBW (Metropolitan Board of Works) monogram that is seen at various locations around the works.

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The unrestored end of the works.The floor here is mostly stone flags, but note the cast iron lattice floor by the flywheels and on the floor above  – more of that next week.

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Sun shining through the cast iron floor and casting shadows on one of the cylinders.20160311_134126-Edit-64

One of the four 27 feet, 52 ton flywheels,

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More ornamentation. I love the Victorians way of beautifully (some would say needless?) ornamentation in places that few saw, but was put there to show the pride they had in their engineering and architecture. The sewerage system and pumping station, unglamourous today, were a major step forward and a huge accomplishment and it was only right that that this was celebrated.

#447 – Samsung Galaxy S7 Shoot – Caroline Gardens Chapel, London

So this was an interesting choice for the second location on our Samsung photoshoot. Caroline Gardens Chapel in Peckham is a small chapel that is rented out for ‘shabby chic’ weddings and other events. It’s not derelict as such, just maintained in a state of (aesthetic) decay to give the right ambience, and the pictures on the website make it look like it scrubs up, errr, nicely, if you see what I mean.

The place has an interesting history. It is part of a large complex of almshouses, originally built in the early 1820’s as the marvelously titled “Licensed Victuallers’ Benevolent Institution Asylum”. But titles can be deceiving, as it wasn’t an asylum as such, rather it was an old folks home for retired landlords, or as they were known at the time ‘decayed members of the trade’, which is quite apt given the now decayed state of their chapel.

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The site was hit by a bomb during world war 2, although the institution has evacuated its members out to Denham in Buckinghamshire. The website describes the damage as “..and the chapel was almost completely gutted by an incendiary device, with the astonishing exception of its important stained-glass windows and fascinating collection of carved stone funerary monuments. After the war, the chapel was stabilised and made watertight by filling the crypt with concrete and adding a rudimentary asbestos-cement roof.”

After the war, the site at Denham was kept on, and the board of management decided to move all their residents there so the last tenant was moved out in 1959 and the asylum complex was sold to the London Borough of Southwark which to this day still uses it as social housing. The site was renamed Caroline Gardens after Caroline Secker, a former resident and widow of James Secker, who was the marine in the Battle of Trafalgar said to have caught Nelson when he fell.

The chapel hasn’t really been used since, however, the current team started using it for art projects, theatre productions and photo-shoots, and it is now also licensed for weddings.

An interesting venue with some quite tricky lighting conditions that the camera manged to cope with rather well

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#446 – Samsung Galaxy S7 Shoot – St.Clements Asylum, London

First location in London was the old St.Clements hospital on Bow Lane. Built in 1848-49 as a workhouse, it later became a psychiatric unit before closing in 2005.

The site is now undergoing conversion by Linden Homes, and work had started to strip the place unfortunately. So I did what I always do in completely empty buildings, and photograph the windows!

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#445 – Samsung Galaxy S7 Shoot – London Road Fire Station, Manchester – 3


Final selection from London Road. Not much else to say really that I haven’t already said. A word or two about the phone – yes, I was being paid to shoot these photographs, but that aside, I was very impressed. The HDR mode was immensely useful in these high contrast conditions, and the screen was fabulous. These photographs have all had some processing in Lightroom and Nik Color Efex to lift them, but the pictures straight out of the phone were more than usable. If I was being fussy, then I’d say that when printed A3 on photo paper you can see a loss of detail, but let’s be honest – how many camera phone pictures are ever printed? The overwhelming majority never even leave the phone other than to be shared on social media.

I used a Joby Griptight mount to fasten the phone to my tripod (which I already owned) and this allowed me to experiment with longer exposures where required, but for the most part, I hand held.

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Layers of history

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Green door into a green room 

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You’d have hoped there wouldn’t be many fires in a fire station, but best to be prepared, yes?

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Fireman’s pole20160307_084530-Edit

And from a different angle.

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Laundry room I think, looking out onto the modem offices of Manchester on the other side of the street.

#444 – Samsung Galaxy S7 Shoot – London Road Fire Station, Manchester – 2

London road fire station is an amazing site, arguably well ahead of its time in that it was a multi purpose building featuring a fire station (plus accommodation), ambulance station, bank and a coroners court in one large triangular site in the heart of the city. It served as a fire station until the 1970’s and the coroners court was open until 1998. Since then the entire site has been derelict – owners Britannia Hotels having two planning applications accepted but failed to act on them. The city council grew frustrated and threatened compulsory purchase before Allied London stepped in to buy the site in 2015.

We were escorted by Ian the site supervisor and although we had 3 or 4 hours on site, we only really saw some of the highlights – it really is a huge place. But it was full of history and the decay gave it a real charm. It wasn’t decay in a kind of desolate / apocalyptic / roof collapsing / style like say Huncoat Power Station, rather it was more of a controlled decay, somewhere that had been largely emptied of furniture but then locked up and forgotten about. And yet, this is a huge building in the centre of the city, directly opposite Manchester’s main railway station with trams and buses running past it, and the city’s skyscrapers overlooking it. In that respect, the quietness was a form of sanctuary from the huge changes and gentrification that the city has seen in the last 20 years. And yet, all this will shortly change as the building undergoes redevelopment, so it was fascinating to be allowed to see it. Many thanks to Ian and Phil at Allied London for the opportunity.

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Training room – this was completely unlit, so I had to use a 10 second exposure (the max it will do) on a tripod and light paint it. There was various bits of extraction in the room so I imagine it was possible to fill the area with smoke to create a realistic training environment.

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The entrance to the fire engine garage.

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Closure notice for the courts.

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Courts stairwell

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Courtroom

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A lovely ceiling, albeit damaged with damp.

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Lovely tiled entrance to the courts.

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Prison cells. I think there were about 8 in total.

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Fire exit.

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Notice in the ambulance garage

20160307_092955-EditOld poster on the ambulance garage wall. I seem to recall the character being called Welephant when I was growing up in the 80’s.

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One of many decrepit corridors.

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This was a social club for the occupants, and quite big it was to.

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Gymnasium / dance hall behind the social club.

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Bar seating – might need a bit of re-upholstering, but it’ll be fine, I’m sure.

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The Green Bar