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Category archive: Bridges

Tuesday June 16 2015

Wikipedia, which I assume to be reliable on something so politically uncontroversial, has this to say about the Buck Brothers:

Samuel Buck (1696 – 17 August 1779) and his brother Nathaniel Buck (died 1759/1774) were English engravers and printmakers, best known for their Buck’s Antiquities, depictions of ancient castles and monasteries. Samuel produced much work on his own but when the brothers worked together, they were usually known as the Buck Brothers. More is known about Samuel than Nathaniel.

Samuel Buck was born in Yorkshire in 1696. After publishing some prints in that county he moved to London. With Nathaniel he embarked on making a number of series of prints of “antiquities”, which consisted of ancient castles and former religious buildings in England and Wales.  Starting in 1724, they travelled around these countries, and completed sets of prints for the regions of England by 1738 and for Wales between 1739 and 1742. These are commonly known as Buck’s Antiquities. During this time they also worked on a series of townscapes in England and Wales entitled Cities, Sea-ports and Capital Towns.

I mention these guys because here are their engravings of the Thames in London, seen from the south.  All are worth clicking on.

For the first time ever on the net, here are high quality images of Samuel & Nathaniel Buck’s complete sequence of five views of London as published in 1774.

That “first time ever” was in 2012, but news like this does not date.

Together the originals form a panorama of mid 18th Century London over 4 metres long. They show, in tremendous detail, the whole of the north bank of the Thames, between Westminster and the Tower.

Horizontality!  Each is fairly horizontal to start with, but stitch them together ...

Just how accurate these engravings are of the former times that the Buck Brothers were purporting to recreate, I do not know.  But I assume they give us a pretty good idea of how things were, until such time as aliens show up to reveal to us their tourist snaps from previous visits.

I especially like the last one:

image

I like this for a number of reasons.

First, it shows the spires of old London, and hence how very well the Shard fits into contemporary London.  The Shard is of course the very embodiment of new London, but it also evokes old London, far more that most more recent London architecture.

Second, this shows old London Bridge, with all its buildings.  What fun it would be for London to build itself another such bridge.  One of the reasons I so welcome the new Blackfriars Station, on its bridge, is that it sets a precedent for just such a bridge with buildings some time in the future.  This new Ponte Vecchio on Thames probably shouldn’t be in the middle of London, though, because that would spoil a lot of views.  Why not a big bridge of this sort further downstream?  Any decade now … If it were ever to happen, such a bridge would nicely complement the new Garden Bridge, full of plants, that Joanna Lumley wants to build.  This is going ahead (… ”will” …), apparently.

And the third reason I like the above Buck Brothers panorama is that to the far right, it nicely shows what an imposing edifice the Tower of London used once to be.  Here is the detail I mean:

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Okay, that big building to the left means that the Tower is not as imposing there as all that.  But it certainly gives you a clue concerning what an imposition it was when it was first imposed (scroll down to the quote there).

Friday May 29 2015

Indeed:

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You can tell that the bridge is Blackfriars Bridge because it has that written on it.

And then, moments later, I photoed someone else with the same combination of ideas:

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Both photoed at that magic hour in the evening when everything is lit like it’s in a movie and when pictures on other people’s cameras show up in my pictures .  Movie people call this magic hour “Magic Hour”, or so said a book I read a while back called Magic Hour.

Monday May 18 2015

Photographer on the upstream Hungerford Footbridge, me not on any Hungerford Footbridge:

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Photographer on the downstream Hungerford Footbridge, me on the same Hungerford Footbridge:

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Me on the downstream Hungerford Footbridge, photographer not on any Hungerford Footbridge:

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The first picture is the most visually dramatic, but the third is the most mysterious.

Deck chairs on a deck makes sense, but why is there a pretend lawn on the deck?  And why did the man need to be in the middle of the pretend lawn to take his photos?

I do not know.

Tuesday April 14 2015

Fantastic weather anyway.  I’m still not feeling a hundred per cent.  (Perhaps I never again will.  (This is one of the facts about getting old.  When bodily functions malfunction, they may never well-function again.  (And it feels like that even more often.))) But I went out anyway to do some shopping, and then went out again with fewer clothes on, to enjoy the first real warmth and sunshine of this year instead of getting too hot in it.

Here are some snaps I took that show what a good day it’s been.

On the top left, the top of the tower right opposite me, seen from Vincent Square, through the leafless trees.  Top middle, the Wheel (through more leafless trees) and that four-pointed Parliament Tower thingy that nobody knows the name of, with the Vincent Square cricket pavilion in the foreground.  Top right, the new and rather crass (but I’ll probably end up liking it (perhaps after some clutter has arrived on the roof)) apartment building going up next to Vauxhall Bridge.

image image imageimage image image

The bottom three snaps show what the sun, when it’s out and when evening approaches, does to the buildings on the other side of the river from me.

As you can see, from the all cranes, there is lots of new building activity in my vicinity.

Sunday April 12 2015

Here is a piece I did here about how Modernism got associated with whiteness.  And for most would-be Modernists, Modernism still is white.  But, here is another piece I did about coloured Modernism, in the form of Renzo Piano’s very colourful buildings near Centre Point.  (Renzo Piano also designed the Shard.)

Here is another photo I took of these, I think, delightful edifices:

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And here is a faked-up picture I came across not long ago, which suggests that Piano’s colourfulness may have struck a chord with other architects:

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That picture adorns a report about the footbridge that you can see on the right of the picture, the very same one that I saw being installed last August.  But I think you will agree that the towers on the Island there are a definite echo of that Pianistic colour.

The great thing about coloured architecture is that you can build the most severely functional lumps, and only worry about brightening them up afterwards.  Form can colour function, and then colour can cover up the form and make it fun.

But it need not stop at just having one plain colour.  Soon the artists will join in, and there will be giant murals.

If I had to place a bet about how different London will look from now in thirty year’s time, this would be the change I would bet on.  Both new buildings and dull old ones will be much more brightly coloured.

I’m guessing that outdoor paint is a technology that has had a lot of work done on it in recent years, and that such work continues.

I will be interested to see if those Piano office blocks become faded, or if the colour stays bright for a decent time.

Interestingly Le Corbusier was a great one for colour being slapped on Modern buildings, but the notion never really caught on.  Or rather, it is only now catching on.

As is illustrated in this posting at Material Girls.  Where the point is also made that another huge influence on the monochrome association with Modernism was early and black-and-white photography.  Even colourfully painted buildings didn’t look coloured in the photos.  (One might add that newspapers and magazines only burst into colour after WW2, in the case of newspapers only in the 1960s.  Until then, all newspaper and magazine photos were printed in black and white.  So even if Modernism was done in colour, its influence spread in black and white.)

Now, colourful buildings tend to look colourful, both for real, and in the photos.

Tuesday April 07 2015

Ages ago now, before I was ill, I checked out that Suicide Bridge in North London, as reported in this posting.  This was a fine destination to have picked for an photo-odyssey, both because the destination itself did not disappoint, and because it was in an unfamiliar part of town, and thus was only the first of many wondrous discoveries I would make that day.

As the years go by, I accumulate more and more photo-collections of such days, and get further and further behind in mentioning them here.  Which is fine, because there will soon come a time when I won’t want to be going out at all, just sitting here reminiscing.  Then I can catch up.  Then I can die.

So, March 8th of this year.  I hoover up snaps of the view from Suicide Bridge and then walk away from the top of it in a westerly direction, along Hornsey Lane.  I am in Highgate.  Then I go north (actually more like west north west) along the B519, past the Ghana High Commission, until I get to a turning that looks like fun again, turning west, again (actually more like south west).  I am climbing, still, getting higher and higher above central London.  And I take another turn, south, and come upon a miniature version of the Alexandra Palace Tower (that being a bit further out of London, to the north east), beside a lane called Swains Lane.

Here is a web entry that says what this tower is.

And here are some of the photos I took of it and of various decorative effects that it had on its surroundings, on a day that, although getting very dark in parts, is still topped off with a bright blue blue sky, worthy of Hartley himself:

image image imageimage image imageimage image image

And here is another web entry, which explains what an excellent war this contraption had:

The British immediately realised that the powerful Alexandra Palace TV transmitter was capable of transmitting on the transponder frequencies and instigated ‘Operation Domino’. Using the receiving station at Swains Lane, Highgate, the return signal from the aircraft’s transponder was retransmitted back to the aircraft on its receiving frequency by the Alexandra Palace TV transmitter and hence back to the aircraft’s home station. This extra loop producing a false distance reading.

The Swains Lane receiver station was connected by Post Office landline to the Alexandra Palace transmitter. By using a low-voltage motor, this line controlled any drifting in the lock-on carrier beam, thus eliminating any give-away heterodyning beat-notes.

Which you obviously wouldn’t want, would you?

I love the way things like this look.  Totally functional, but … sculptors eat your hearts out.  It beats most of what you guys do without even giving it a thought.

Actually, slight correction provoked by actually reading some of what I linked to above. The current structure at Swains Lane is the metal successor structure to its wooden predecessor structure, and it was the wooden predecessor structure which had a good war, but was then blown down by a gale in October 1945.

Had it not been for this extreme weather story, pride of place there would have gone to the report about Quisling getting shot.

I love the internet.

Sunday March 08 2015

Suicide Bridge being this one:

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And here is a closer up view of those Big Things in the far distance there:

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Photos taken last Monday.

The more I photo the Walkie Talkie, the more I like it.

Thursday February 19 2015

Whereas yesterday was the first first day of spring, today is right back to being just another day of winter, cold, damp, cloudy, miserable.  So I am back rootling in the archives for sunnier memories.

Here’s a good one, of me (in the middle), Goddaughter 2 (on the right), and (on the left) a suitably anonymised photographer photoing a suitably anonymised group of people:

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Taken last August, on one of the Hungerford Bridge footbridges.

When posting this, I was informed of a previous posting here entitled shadow photography.  Also fun.  Less anonymised strangers though.

Shadow photography (again)
Golden Gate being built – Severn Road Bridge ditto – C20 photography – Hitler’s paintings
Some photographers last November
Christmas Day photos
To Covent Garden (1): The twisty footbridge
In the City with Gus
Tower Bridge glass shattered by beer bottle
Looking down through the see-through Tower Bridge walkway – but what about looking up through it?
Recently on dezeen
My week in Brittany 2: A crane holding a bridge at Canning Town!
Smaller Old Thing in front of Big New Things
ASI Boat Trip 8: Bridges
Self-healing concrete
Quota bird
ASI Boat Trip 5: Individuals
New London bridge competition
Tower Bridge before it got covered in stone
The Dragon Bridge of Da Nang
I don’t know which building this is but it sure looks fine in the sunset
Two skyscrapers joined by a bridge that is a swimming pool
Jiaozhou Bay Bridge (aka Spaghetti Junction on Sea)
Lego bridge in Germany
Under Blackfriars Bridge
“In order to comply with Google’s regulations …”
Omaha dead
Vladivostock from above
Seven London bridges from the ME Hotel Radio Bar
Movable bridges
Confirmation that map use has seriously declined
How big should these squares be?
Mark Steyn on Obama’s Hoover Dam and me on paywalls
Michael Jennings photos the bridges of Porto
Crows nest made of coat hangers
Relocating the Porto bridge
Proposed new footbridges for London and for Changsha
I need to photo this again
Battersea sunset
Edwin is a bad person
The Walkie Talkie and its surroundings
Baltimore: cranes - a bridge - scaffolding
Chicago sunset
Bridges for animals
New apostrophe-shaped footbridge in Hull
More March 5th photographers (and more spaces between pictures)
Remembering a warmer day
Wandering about afterwards
Four crane photos
Tower Bridge with railway clutter in the foreground
London bridge photos
Viaduct from above
Rainbow Bridge
Chelsea Bridge under wraps
The Royal Victoria Dock is not (but looks like) a transporter bridge
A favourite Sunday snap
On the superfluity of the Paddington Basin rolling bridge
The graffiti says he won’t get his keys back
Strange footbridge over brick wall
New bridge in Melbourne
A Spanish high speed train bridge and a Spanish aqueduct
Fishermen photo
More bridge magic
The Wheel seen through Hungerford Bridge
Bay Bridge plus a new bridge next to it
I do love a steam train on a viaduct
Cats and bridges on Pixdaus
One man’s intellectual theft is another man’s marketing
Rubbish bridge in Shangai
Two bridges in Portugal
Quota bridge
Osprey pictures
Luxembourg church in hill and Luxembourg footbridge
Strange bridge
Monsal Viaduct
Sailing photos – and another bridge for the collection
Seto Ohashi Bridge
A thin bridge in Wales
Profundity and silliness
Big Pictures
Jellennium Bridge
Another great viaduct
Craziness done with austerity
Floppy road bridge where the cars nearly get wet
Narrow bridge
Switching from dumb bombing to smart bombing
The original Burtynsky Nanpu bridge picture
Nanpu Bridge in Quimper
Flickring and Googling for the AMGEN bridge
Wired bridges
Billion Monkey seen through the Millenium Bridge!
Malaysian footbridge for everyone except … gephyrophobiacs?
Politics again …
The Messina Suspension Bridge is on again
San Francisco from Sausalito
Outstanding and numerous aerial photos of St Petersburg
Three bridges
The moving bridges of Chicago
I love the internet
Flat viaduct and spiral bridge
Gherkin with men in front
Another target rich environment
Bristol footbridge photo
A Real Photographer comments
The goat menace
Millau Viaduct with goats
Thin Canadian bridge
“Don’t burn your bridges before they’re hatched …”
The bridge that was going to make Westminster a fine city and London a desert
Photo-ing Venus
At the dogs
Bridge over bright water
Sunset with bike
Assorted London quota photos
Shadow and light near Tower Bridge
Footbridge in the dark and cricket
Amazing map of amazing new Moscow bridge
New Moscow road bridge
New footbridge in Edinburgh
Me on a bridge by Goddaughter One
The Nanpu bridge approaches
Other people’s photos (6): More bridges
Other people’s photos (5): Red balloons on a monochrome bridge in Paris
London photos by Fabio
By the rivers and canals of East London with Goddaughter One
Pictures of and from Albert Bridge
The Hungerford footbridges