28DL Full Member
28DL Full Member
London teems with possibility, no matter what you're into, for whatever your comfort zone of risk and capability there's more than enough here to keep you busy for years. Part of the allure has to be the city's state of continuous development. What's doable one day, or week, or month might not be the next... so tracking the changes, researching new developments, uncovering old ones, and tapping the rumour mill, all form part of the game which has as much to do with temporal and historical process as simple geographical awareness. In this climate of ceaseless change it can be reassuring to latch onto something solid which makes itself available for those moments of leisure time that appeal whenever the mood strikes.
Temple Court was one such site. From time to time, in between various expeditions and recces and research stints, I'd come back here just to relax and enjoy the views. Access was a piece-of-piss and the views, in particular that of St Paul's, were grand; so the risk-reward ratio was always favourably balanced. I first came here about a year ago, just as they'd begun preparing the work site on the roof. The next time I went a couple of months later they were into the demolition phase, and I could see disconcerting chinks of light peeping through the rebar underfoot. That night I climbed up into the tallest crane, in a strong icy wind. My stomach was fairly churning as it lurched around from side to side (bollocksing up most of my long-exposure photos in the process), and my fingers soon went numb in the cold. Not the best of conditions in which the negotiate ladders and gantries, let alone manipulate camera buttons! I perservered and eventually managed to get a couple of good shots.
The next time I went there was a new crane on site, which was perfectly sited to provide generous views of St Pauls, from the counterweights, down Cannon Street. This crane became my favourite, for precisely the same reasons that the site itself was favoured (discrete access, rising up through an enclosure in the buildings, and great views!) By this time it was milder and the spring mists were drifting over the city. I revisited this crane a few times, whenever I felt like it, and enjoyed perching above the nighttime streets, listening to the barflies and City drones chattering away outside the local pubs, watching the rhythms of the traffic, and noticing the gradual shutdown of floodlighting on London's iconic monuments, like a model city being switched off, one circuit at a time.
On my final visit I went deeper into the structure than I had been before, exploring the basement I found a really interesting boiler-room, with lots of wonderful machinery still inside; antiquated banks of dials and meters, complex arrangements of pipes and ducts, and a weird little crawlspace with a grille to the street where I could hear passersby clickety clacking along the pavement. I wondered what their reaction would be if they looked down and saw my little grime-streaked face peering up at them from the depths beneath, or for that matter what mine would have been. Eventually, after a couple of hours in the basements the all-pervasive carpet of dust, and grey asbestos and God-knows-what-else, fuzzed up my throat and I began to catch a nasty cough, so it was time to leave.
But not before I ticked off the last crane on site. This one was a lot of fun. Sited right next to Queen Victoria Street, lit up like a Christmas Tree, the shell of Bucklersbury House a wrecked memory, the ascent was highly exposed to anyone who happened to glance that way, whether on-site or off. Nothing to it but to climb fast and not think about it. Every step anticipating a chorus of yells I made it to the top and breathed/coughed a sigh of relief. I enjoyed it up there, leisurely snapping away from the counterweights and negotiating the structure without any of the trepidation that blighted my earliest adventures in the high stuff... Well, apart from one sickening moment, when, having got to the top of the ladder to the crow's nest, I stepped onto the gantry only for it to swing down about a foot before clattering into place--
A few weeks or months later I planned a little circuit of some of the taller cranes in the City, and was disappointed to realise that Temple Court was no longer anything more than a hole in the ground, next to the ancient Mithraic Temple Ruins. The buildings that had first punctured the 100ft threshhold for the City of London were no more. I wouldn't miss them though. I'd thoroughly enjoyed being able to explore this site for so long and felt as if I had made the most of the opportunity while it was there.
so... in approximate chronological order, here are the photos:
C/N B&W Film
Fuji s3, 28mm
Cheapo 400 colour film, 28mm
Nikon D3100, 18-55
(spot the old bill! I didn't till I started editing these pictures! lol :crazy)
As you can see from this photo..
Temple Court was once the big boy on the block.. how times have changed since then!
Thanks for looking :)