Category Archives: London Panorama

Panorama Images of London

Steel versus Stone

Cutting edge engineering of C18th Bath Abbey VERSUS cutting edge engineering of C21st London Olympic Stadium

I recently had the good fortune to spend a weekend in the lovely city of Bath and visited the Bath Abbey with it’s explosion of fine English perpendicular architecture. It might not be as old as Canterbury but despite it’s relative youth it remains a fine example of some of the highest-tech engineering solutions for the time.

It occurred to me that the works I am photographing as part of the ongoing commission at the London Olympic Stadium Transformation project perfectly illustrates the same high tech and cutting edge engineering brought up to the minute. So I thought it might be interesting to look at the two buildings alongside each other:

THE NAVE OF THE STADIUM

Image: Robert Greshoff

THE NAVE OF BATH ABBEY

Image: Robert Greshoff

STRUCTURAL DETAIL OF COLUMNS AND ROOF SUPPORTS – LONDON STADIUM

Image: Robert Greshoff

STRUCTURAL DETAIL OF COLUMNS AND ROOF SUPPORT – BATH ABBEY

Image: Robert Greshoff

THE CEILING OF THE LONDON STADIUM

Image: Robert Greshoff

THE CEILING OF BATH ABBEY

Image: Robert Greshoff

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London Pinhole images from early 1990’s

Pinhole Pics
I have begun 2015 by embarking on the mammoth task of producing hi-res digital files from my Uncle Jan (Greshoff’s) film archive. (My brother Martin is already well underway with the lower res scans and he regularly uploads some of these to the Jan Greshoff facebook page: (https://www.facebook.com/Jan.Greshoffs.Photographs?ref=br_rs).

So I have got my film scanner out of retirement and have upgraded my software but it still takes forever and the post-production takes even longer but it is actually quite refreshing not to be working on my own work with all that entails and to be putting myself in someone else’s mind to try and produce the kind of images that he would have printed. We have lots of his prints so it is relatively easy to see the kind of quality he was aiming for.

However, I digress… during a New Year sortout I came across a small pile of pinhole prints from negs that I did in the early 1990’s with an adapted Sinar. As my scanner is out again I thought I put them through and here they are. There are a few more tucked away somewhere but someone else can scan those when I am pushing up the daisies.

I just love the feel that pinhole images produce and still find it entirely amazing that they are possible in the first instance. I shot a few more a couple of years ago, using my last remaining large format camera (all the Sinars being sold off ages ago), a baby Linhof but the rolls of film are still waiting to be processed I am ashamed to say. I even bought a 6×12 custom-made wooden pinhole camera that is still waiting to be used, I am even more ashamed to say!

Maybe 2015 will be the year of dusting off my processing cans and reels as well as my scanner.

So here is the inside of Smithfield Market:

Image: Robert Greshoff

And one of the Loading Doors:

Image: Robert Greshoff

These are the fine bridges that are a signature feature of Conran’s Butlers Wharf development just east of London Bridge in SE1. It wasn’t long finished then.

Image: Robert Greshoff

Here is Greenwich’s finest gasometer, it is still there going up and down like a great breathing lung. This picture was done when it had just breathed out:

Image: Robert Greshoff

A slight gear change, this is the view towards Kent from near London’s oldest ancient woodland that is Oxleas Wood:

Image: Robert Greshoff

Back to the city, this is a random view in South East London very close to where IPC magazines used to be. (It is in fact the building adjacent to the then HQ for Sainsbury’s), I guess they have probably moved by now. I did this after dropping off some pictures for Homes and Gardens I recall:

Image: Robert Greshoff

And here is the Sainsbury’s building itself, with the reflection of the local bolthole for all those overworked subs and picture editors there were lot’s of them then:

Image: Robert Greshoff

I have saved the best, or my favourites at any rate, till last. Here is Canary Wharf when it was newly finished, at the height of the recession and pretty devoid of tenants. Interestingly, there were no private security guys then either. If you tried to to this shot now (you can’t because there are now buildings where I was standing) or indeed use any camera bigger than an iphone you will be pounced on by 2 or 3 security guards and they are amazing adept at appearing out of nowhere very fast:

Image: Robert Greshoff

And finally my most favourite pinhole from that period has got to be this view of the Houses of Parliament from the south bank, complete with marvellous with pinhole flare:

Image: Robert Greshoff

Better get back to my scanning now…

Broadcasting House, BBC, London

I was at Broadcasting House earlier this week doing an editorial shoot. As usual I had some time to wander the space before getting set up and these are a couple of the snaps I took enroute.

The first is looking down the atrium from the 7th floor to the ground floor. The second is the view from the 6th floor towards Oxford Circus with the unmistakable spire of the Nash designed All Souls Church.


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View of Excel Conference Centre from over the Thames on the Emirates Cable Car

©Robert Greshoff

View from Thames Emirates Cable car crossing

On a recent trip to Excel, the huge exhibition centre to the East of London, I decided to travel via the (Emirates) Cable Car which runs from Greenwich North straight to Excel.  (For those who don’t live locally but who may find yourselves in need to visiting Excel I recommend this way of getting there!)

The last time I did the trip, the sky was full of those characteristic cloud and sunshine combinations that make the weather here so great (and so difficult) for photography.  Just as I passed the mid point across the Thames and was approaching the north bank, the sun broke through and illuminated the structural spars of the exhibition centre.

To me, the picture has a lovely calm despite the dramatic atmosphere.

The Skinners, a City of London Livery Company

I often find myself in one or other of the various Livery Halls dotted around the City of London (Not as a guest but rather pursuing my own trade for which there is no company!).  Last week I was doing a regular annual shoot for the Architects Benevolent Society who hold their event in a different Hall each year.  This year it was the Skinners and it was one Hall I had not visited before.

For those who may not be familiar with the traditions of this land, the Livery Companies all go back a very long way, (in the case o the Skinners, they were awarded their charter by Edward the Third in 1327) and they are essentially trade associations that exist to protect and promote their particular trade.  There are 108 of them (I have only visited a small handful) and many of them are rather wealthy institutions.  Originally they had strong links to the church but nowadays these links are rather know tenuous but many still do a great deal of charitable work.  The Skinners is a case in point.  In fact the Skinners as a trade ceased to exist a couple of hundred years ago but the company is still doing very well and currently supports four schools in Kent and London, runs Sheltered Housing accommodations and make generous grants to other charities.  And then of course they have their fine building, right next door to Cannon Street station and within spitting distance to the Thames river.

An interesting aside is that in 1484 the Skinners and Merchant Taylors had a argument about who whose barge go in front during the Mayor of London river procession.  In the end the Mayor himself had to intervene and decreed that henceforth each company would take turns to be in front and when the fixed order was finally arranged they alternated between positions six and seven.  This probably gave rise to the phrase “to be at sixes and sevens”

I had a few minutes to kill last week so I made use of my time by looking at things that interested me.  (This is not meant to be a comprehensive study of the hall!)  In particular I really liked the huge chest with it’s impressively ornate locking mechanism in the lid, which was accidently closed and it took all the skills of the locksmith to get it open again and only once he had been given a photograph of the workings!  Otherwise they are all quite self-explanatory.

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Postmans Park, City of London – A kind of heart-rending 19C twitter feed in ceramics

On my way through the city last week, I had an hour or so “spare” after shooting a bunch of bankers so decided to revisit Postmans Park, just around the corner from St Pauls.

I was commissioned to photograph this wonderful space last year but at the time was too busy photographing the park itself to concentrate on the other significant feature of the space, namely the George Watts memorial wall.  I have now rectifed that omission!

By way of a very brief overview, the park is the biggest within the City of London walls and was once the city burial ground.  (Because space was at such a premium they laid the corpses down and covered them with earth rather than actually burying them which is the reason why the park is at a higher level than the surrounding area)  It narrowly escaped being sold for development in the early 1890’s and it was rescued in part by a substantial donation from Octavia Hill (later to become the founder of the National Trust).  It was at around this time that George Watts, the celebrated painter and sculptor, along with his second wife Mary Fraser Tytler proposed to create a space to celebrate and remember the bravery of ordinary people.  His original grand ideas were quashed the the great and the good of the city and the project had to be scaled down in size, ending up as a single wall of three rows of tiles with a tiled roof.  He was still able to use his connections in the art world to help in his endeavor.  In particular he sought the support of the renowned (at the time) ceramicist William de Morgan who designed and produced the first batch of tiles.

Unfortunately Watts himself was too infirm to attend the opening ceremony and indeed he died a year later and never saw the fruition of his work.  Mary carried the torch forward though and even though plagued by problems with suppliers (what’s new there then!) installed a total,of 54 tablets before she ran our of money in 1910.  A 55th tablet was added in 2009 commemorating Leigh Pitt who died rescuing a 9 year-old boy from drowning in Thamesmead canal.

All in all they make for a very poignant read and in their brevity they really are a kind of twitter in ceramics.

I recommend a visit if you fancy some downtime when next in the city.  If you can’t make it, you can always watch Jude Law in “Closer” in which the park was used as the opening and closing sequences and is pretty central to the plot as far as I recall.

The first image was commissioned and you can see the covered wall in sunlight ahead of the camera position. The others were shot last week.

(You can read a more in-depth description HERE:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Postman%27s_Park)

122190 Postmans Park, London EC1

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