An awfully long time ago, last summer, I took a walk to see the Olympic Torch go by. As it was a topical event I tried to post about it fairly soon afterwards.
When the torch had gone by and the crowd dispersed, it was time to walk home. I often photograph other people's neighbourhoods. Perhaps it was time to shoot my own.
Back up Lyham Road, which runs broadly parallel with Brixton Hill, and was once known as Back Lane. It also runs parallel with Kings Avenue, which is as much Clapham as Brixton. Someone told me that the rich people lived on Kings Avenue, which has no pubs, and their servants lived on Lyham Road. When I arrived in the area there were five pubs: the Royal Oak, the Duke of Cornwall, the Red Lion, the Prince of Wales and the Waggon and Horses. Now only the Prince remains, and its future is in some doubt.
Incidentally, they're all terribly common English pub names, replicated in numerous places across the country. More interesting names elsewhere in the area. The Sultan and the Hand-in-Hand on New Park Road. The (former) Telegraph at the top of Brixton Hill, connected with the introduction of telegraph transmission. Slightly further afield, the (former) King of Sardinia and the Hero of Switzerland.
I was prompted to do this post by Slip House being mentioned on Twitter:
Its overall form consists of three slipped orthogonal box shapes, arranged to take full advantage of available natural light, and afford the best possible views.
I think the house next door to it is also attractive
The Wesleyan Mission Hall is now King's Acre Methodist church
Up until 1997 it was a Primary School called Ashby Mill, named after the nearby Windmill, often known as Ashby's Windmill. It was closed due to the number of surplus Primary School places in the area. Along with other campaigners, I said at the time that the population trend is upwards. And so this has come to pass, with pressure for more Primary places being very much in the news.
Many of these Victorian triple deckers remain and often contain good or very good schools. I suppose they make good use of small spaces in densely populated areas, but I'm not convinced they are any longer ideal for modern education. They are certainly a far cry from the modern well-designed schools that sprung up under Labour's Building Schools for the Future programme.
This sign comes from the former pub, the Duke of Cornwall. I knew it had been called the Duke of Cornwall, because I always thought it a step too far having that and the Prince of Wales on the same road. I've even checked with Jimmy. Yes, this is a sign from where the Duke of Cornwall used to be. Perhaps he shot a lot of white deer.
Modern flats and those from an earlier generation
The mural depicts wheat being ground at the local windmill ready to be baked into bread, and also reflects modern Brixton (in the winter there's a good view of the Windmill from Lyham Road, not so much in summer)
Modern cottages some with well tended gardens
Lyham Road's only remaining pub is about halfway along. I think they were still getting over the long-finished Euro 2012 football and not yet geared up for the Olympics, due to start the next day. A pub that's suffered, like so many, from being Tied to the brewery, who then charge a premium on the wholesale price of the drinks the licensee is obliged to purchase.
Many of the clientele, at least traditionally, of the Prince are Prison Officers. Rumour has it that the Red Lion was more popular with the inmates who would slip out the back gate. Probably no truth in that rumour!
The prison was built in 1820, as the Surrey House of Correction. In 1853 it became a women's prison for those that preferred that to penal transportation to Australia; a military prison between 1882 to 1898; and until recently a 'trial and remand' prison. According to Wikipedia,
the communal areas are overrun with mice and rats. The footings for the treadmill remain and are visible and the former 'hanging i.e. execution suite' is now an enlarged cell with six beds.
Before reading this I hadn't realised that, last year, it stopped being a local prison and is now a Category C training centre. I believe there has been another report recently recommendin it be closed and sold off. If it's no longer being used as a 'local' prison I imagine there's little rationale for maintaining this highly inappropriate building. I imagine the sale of the land would be handy receipt for the Exchequer. I wonder if the building would be convertible into Yuppy Flats, or whether simpler to raze it, and create a new development. It would be nice if there was social housing, or a mixture of social housing and 'affordable' private housing. Although the current definition of affordable is a bit of a joke; requires an annual income of up to £70k. Easier to pre-sell to buy to let landlords and overseas investors and create a transient set of people with no motivation to invest in building a community.
The Waggon still looks like a pub but I had to search on the internet to find out that it's now used as a private school - a slightly bizarre alternative use, at least to my mind, and one that questions the extent that they provide a broad enough curriculum in what was never a big pub. Probably not accessible for disabled children or staff, either.
The top of Lyham Road is pretty much the highest point for some considerable distance and often affords great views of London. The best view of all is from high up in Courtney House on New Park Road or the roof of an erstwhile friend's former flat on Felsburg. With binoculars you can read the time on 'Big Ben' or see Wembley Stadium and the hills to the North of London. So this is a pretty rubbish picture of the view. I didn't realise quite how tired I was from walking there and back, and standing and waiting, in blazing sun.
All Saints, a modern Anglican church is near the corner
These houses are also listed, although since I took the photo they have been let out as sub-divided rooms and 'sheds' for migrant workers and are now undergoing renovations, including some deep excavation, which I'm not convinced is consistent with their listed status
As it turned out, this was not the best day to take photos, being that it turned out surprisingly bright and sunny. I suppose I should re-do the walk, but, life's too short.