28 February 2009
Chimneys usually add character to roofs and this is especially true here where they have been rotated off-square to produce interesting angles. However, what is pretty is not always effective and the two dark streaks down the wall show how the chimneys have channelled the rain.
27 February 2009
The attraction of using gravel to resurface the path between River Lane and Douglas Footpath is that it is cheap, easy to lay and, in this case, is kept in place by the walls on either side, but this is more than offset by how difficult it is to wade through gravel, particularly if trying to push a buggy or ride a bike.
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26 February 2009
This ambitious development on Dukes Avenue was an early casualty of the credit crunch and falling house prices and has been left like this for quite some time. With the economy as it is I suspect it will be another long time before it is completed.
Surrey County Council has long been banished from Kingston (though they forgot to take their County Hall with them when they left) and it's now a borough of London. However some signs of it's previous governance can be found among the trees and bushes between Royal Park Gate and the Thames.
25 February 2009
24 February 2009
Following the river north from Kingston presents you with a choice when the path dives into two at Lower Ham Road. The paths remain close but separate all the way to Teddington Lock where they converge again. This is the (newer) upper path as it passes Royal Park Gate. It is here that the mixed wilderness that is Ham Lands begins to the joy of walkers and intrepid explorers of all ages.
I love the cluster of bright white buildings at Ham Polo. These include the grandstand, umpire's lofty station, clubhouse and marquee. (Apologies if polo uses other terms for any of these). The imposing Star and Garter building behind shows how close Ham Polo (once part of Ham Common) is to Richmond.
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23 February 2009
22 February 2009
Cassel Hospital comprises an interesting collection of buildings of different ages, shapes and styles. Some of this cobbling together becomes evident when looking at the roof where steps have been constructed to connect two buildings. The raw industrial feel of the roof is enhanced here by the menacing grey sky.
21 February 2009
This seagull has an excellent vantage point on the top of the spire of St Thomas Aquinas church on the corner of Ham Common. But it is not the Common that the bird is interested in, instead it is looking straight down Ham Street towards Ham House.
20 February 2009
Forbes House is hardly my favourite building on Ham Common because it is too fake and too brash for its surroundings but its position, size and grandeur means that it warrants a closer look. Shown here out of context it looks respectable.
And it is worth taking an even closer look at the porch to reveal the sumptuous decoration of the pillars, door and roof.
19 February 2009
The collection of houses in the North West corner of Ham Common is bit of a mess of periods and styles and so while a few of the houses are worthy neighbours to the common the overall effect is somewhat disappointing. Amongst this hotch-potch of buildings are two Arts and Crafts style houses with their distinctive slanting chimneys and, on this one, some cute chimney pots.
18 February 2009
The Old Coach House to Sudbrook Lodge has a simple but rather charming weathervane which shows us that warmer air is blowing up from the South and is heading North along the Petersham Road towards Richmond.
17 February 2009
This sign is not very effective as a notice as it is hidden in the shadows next to the steps at the North- East end of Ham Parade and it is clearly out of date. However, it excels as a piece of street art because of its curved shape, bold red-on-white text and gently rusting edges.
16 February 2009
15 February 2009
14 February 2009
A little bit of history was revealed by fortuitously finding the large gates at Beaufort House and Cottage open as I walked past. The back wall, which is the boundary with a property in Wiggins Lane, shows the remains of two arches that I like to think used to lead curious children to a magical kingdom and not all of them found their way back.
13 February 2009
There are four ways of getting through Teddington Lock, in size order (and also right to left as you look downstream) these are the Barge Lock, Launch Lock, Skiff Lock and the rollers. The slipway links the two islands but is fenced off from both sides so that fun is unavailable.
12 February 2009
10 February 2009
When I took a picture of the open space behind Ham House back in the Summer I commented that it was not possible to see any of the houses nearby but Richmond Council has decided that these trees need to be cut too and now the buildings in Meadlands Drive intrude into Ham Lands. Coming close after the butchery of Ham Common Woods it is clear that Richmond Council has no interest in protecting the wild areas that make Ham so attractive.
A close-up of Park Gate House shows some interesting detail, such as the lamps, false windows and, er, a horse's head. It is somewhat weird having a fake horse on the first floor but it's fun and if it was lower down then we would not be able to see it.
9 February 2009
It is impossible to miss this jolly van that is often to be found parked on Dukes Avenue by Locksmeade Road. The attractiveness of the advertisement is increased by the attractiveness of the wonderful beer it advertises!
There are steep steps on the island to connect the two spans of the footbridge at Teddington Lock but a few years ago a long wooden ramp was added to give easier access to buggies and bikes etc. A similar ramp gives access to the bridge on the Ham side.
8 February 2009
7 February 2009
6 February 2009
The footbridge between Ham and Teddington has two spans and this is the smaller one from Ham to the island. It marks the way to the lock showing off its vibrant paintwork that makes it look like the mouth of a hungry boat-eating monster.
5 February 2009
I was looking for a photo of Cut Throat Alley recently and was astonished to find that I had not posted one so I went on a walk to take this one.
The alley separates the realms of the two great houses in Ham, Ham House (on the left) and The Manor House (on the right) and it leads from Ham Street to the formal Ham Avenues that march relentlessly around Ham House.
Unlike the straight Ham Avenues, Cut Throat Alley has a quirky kink in the middle that keeps its destination secret.
Update Jan 2015: Cut Throat Alley has been resurfaced and the access to it has been improved. See this post for details.
4 February 2009
As the sun set on the second day of the "snow event" I went for a final exploratory walk looking for places where the snow had not all melted or been commandeered to make snowmen. I found this patch of Ham Lands, lying between the river and Royal Park Gate, was still providing shelter to some stubborn snow.
The snow inspired children of all ages to build snowmen and places like Ham Common were quickly littered with them. It was refreshing to see a more imaginative use being made of the snow on the tow path by Teddington Lock where a gremlin was conjured to scare people away from the boats.
3 February 2009
Normally I find Grand South Avenue too wide too flat too clean and too straight and I prefer to head off piste into the narrow, hilly, muddy, bendy paths that wriggle aimlessly through Ham Lands. But the snow hides the urbanity and returns the Ham Avenues to nature making them a pleasure to walk along again.
2 February 2009
This has been announced as the most snow London has had for eighteen years and there was the best part of a foot of it on Ham Common today. The view towards Ham House was lost in the snow-filled sky and the walk towards it made the more enticing by the mystery.
1 February 2009
The A4 signs in the windows of what is becoming Wendy's Workshop have now been joined by some much larger notices announcing the grand opening on February 14th and explaining that the crafts on offer will include pottery, glass and enamelling.