Sunday, 31 January 2010
Blackwall, Red Stone
At last I've been able to photograph one of my favourite London buildings. Countless times I have passed through this red sandstone portal, countless times I have said to myself "I really must get a shot of this". Last week I managed the task, albeit not the definitive photograph I'm looking for. But this is the southern entrance to the white glazed brick Blackwall Tunnel, the first of what became two tunnels taking vehicular traffic under the Thames. And now under The Dome, with a hugh hole in its roof that's one of the ventilation shafts. This is the 1897 Southern Tunnel House, designed by London County Council architect Thomas Blashill and perched on the north western tip of what is now euphemistically called the Greenwich Peninsular. I just love it, the pavilion roofs, the fanciful turrets. And the reminder it gives of the towers of Tower Bridge, completed just three years before. To stand here waiting for the sun (that never really came), is to feel like the proverbial fish out of water. It's only just possible to photograph it without the attendant huge control gantries, and to avoid being run over or splashed with pink mud by a continual succession of giant trucks sliding about ferrying material from supply depots, under the river to the Olympic site at Stratford.