A strange discovery on the other side of the River from me

Just over a year ago, in May 2020, I went walkabout, across the River, after Lockdown had really started to kick in. At the time, I wrote here about how I crossed Lambeth Bridge, and then …:

… wandered in the general direction of Waterloo, and made a strange discovery, which I’ll tell you all about some other time, maybe, I promise nothing.

Just as well I said that, because nothing further materialised here about that strange discovery, until now:

I love that these galleries are now so much easier to contrive, and so much easier to click through for those on the receiving end of them, than they used to be with the Old Blog.

As for the photos in this gallery, I remember at the time thinking that maybe if I wrote here at the time about this discovery and how I wandered about in it, I might get myself into trouble, for, I don’t know, trespassing or something. The place was totally deserted, and I remember getting the distinct impression at the time that the front gate at the top of those stairs was only unlocked because whoever should have locked it forgot to lock it. So, I hesitated to show photos like these, and then the photos sank into the ocean that is my photo-archives, and I forgot about them.

I suspect that my then undiagnosed lung cancer was already making me a much more timid soul, less inclined to just barge into whatever places I felt like barging into (provided only that nobody physically stopped me), and more inclined to fear being filmed and then arrested. Silly, but as you get older, the answers you get when you ask yourself the question “What’s the worst that could happen?” start getting a lot worse. At that stage, I was still willing to do dodgy things, but was already reluctant to brag about having done them here. What if some legit inhabitant of this strange place were to google its name and encounter all my photos? What if I then got blamed, however unfairly, for some disaster that happened there, at around the time I visited?

Until I stumbled upon it, and stumbled up the stairs into it, I had no idea at all that this place even existed. I imagine these “creative” little districts eking out their existence where the owners are still making up their minds what they will really be doing with their property, and in the meantime could use a trickle of rent from the kind of people who are trying to get started in this or that line of “creative” business, but who don’t have a lot of heavy and complicated kit that they’ll have to shift if they make any sort of success of what they’re doing and then need to move somewhere smarter. I plan to return there to observe any changes I can, although I promise nothing.

In among all the creatives, there seemed to be some railway inspectors of some sort. Like I say, a very strange place indeed.

In several of the murals, there are strange creatures, as well as people. Hence this posting appearing on a Friday.

One thought on “A strange discovery on the other side of the River from me”

  1. “What’s the worst that could happen?”

    I suspect, in London, someone might shout at you to leave and/or not take photos. I really can’t imagine anything worse than that. Much more likely is that they would encourage you to take photos and/or want to tell you at length about their art, I suspect. And if they wanted you to leave, that they would ask politely rather than shout at you. If it is the sort of place that they genuinely don’t want random people coming into, there will almost certainly be a dog or dogs kept somewhere near the entrance that will bark at strangers.

    I’ve encountered such places in lots of other cities, too. I am a bit wary of entering them in places such as Istanbul, Tehran, or Moscow – ie places where the authorities are not necessarily friendly to foreigners – but it has never been an issue, in truth. “I’m just curious” is usually believed and understood. It’s a much safer thing to do than, say, photographing government buildings. (Times when I have been questioned by authorities have tended to have happened when I was photographing something sensitive from a governmental perspective without realising what it was).

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