Kirk returns to Tarporley

Yesyerday I did one of my towpath cycle stints along the Regent’s Canal to King’s Cross, and even tho I reached my Granary Square destination as planned, I deemed I had sufficient time before it got dark so decided to extend the trip to the west portal of Islington tunnel.

When I approached the tunnel portal two boats were emerging. The second happened to be Tarporley.

Tarporley emerges from Islington tunnel in the evening of 16 May 2015

Tarporley emerges from Islington tunnel in the evening of 16 May 2015

I was surprised when I saw who the skipper was, its about 25 years since I last volunteered on Tarporley and pretty much the same period of time for it’s skipper too, who happened to be Kirk Martin.

Kirk & his Tarporley crew as they approach the King's Place moorings

Kirk & his Tarporley crew as they approach the King’s Place moorings

Its actually around 20 years since Kirk last regularly skippered Tarporley, bar one stint as part of a community trip as he tells me. On the Tarporley website he is described as ‘one of our current volunteers when he had more hair!’

Kirk on Tarporley (taking a rest from skippering!) as a boat emerges from Laburnum basin 1986

Kirk on Tarporley (taking a rest from skippering!) as a boat emerges from Laburnum basin, 1986

I had not seen Kirk for the best part of a decade so went over to King’s Place to very quickly say hi before cycling home.

Here are a couple of the many pics taken of our stints on Tarporley during the mid-eighties which I have featured on my London Canals website.

Kirk struggles with rubbish around Tarporley's prop at the entrance to the Hertford Union Canal - early 1986

Kirk struggles with rubbish around Tarporley’s prop at the entrance to the Hertford Union Canal – early 1986

Long before Kirk worked on the canals he was one of the crew on the steam operated Humber ferries, as well as being fireman on the LT pannier engines working the engineering trains between various places such as Upminster, Acton, and up the Metropolitan line to places such as the long forgotten Watford (aka Croxley) tips.

I certainly remember the red panniers as they thundered through King’s Cross Met/Circle platforms.

One book on the LT steam workings is Red Panniers co-authored by Kirk.

Another book penned by Kirk features his days on the Humber Ferries, this is Ferries across the Humber.

I have slides of the paddle steamers at work around 1976 when I took a day trip from New Holland pier to Hull.

Besides authoring these books and others, Kirk has also contributed to Waterways World and various railway magazines.

Incidentally this happens to be my 25th posting on my London Canals blog 🙂

Pre Cavalcade pics 1 May 2015

Today I ventured quickly around Little Venice to see what was happening…

Inside the new boat 'Brunel' at Paddington - looks like it'll be in use over the Cavalcade weekend.

Inside the new boat ‘Brunel’ at Paddington – looks like it’ll be in use over the Cavalcade weekend.

Update: No such luck this new barge stayed out of use! A white elephant for Cavalcade!

London Canal museum's Bantam tug arrives for the Cavalcade

London Canal museum’s Bantam tug arrives for the Cavalcade

Who are you looking at? Tug crew looks at goose who looks back. Both parties clearly browned off!

Who are you looking at? Tug crew looks at goose who looks back. Both parties clearly browned off!

Cavalcade steward tries to sort out the moorings for incoming narrowboats

Cavalcade steward tries to sort out the moorings for incoming narrowboats

Some boats not moved from visitor moorings yet! This is the notice on Kaszebe at about 18.00hrs on 1 May 2015.

Some boats not moved from visitor moorings yet! This is the notice on cruiser Kaszebe at about 18.00hrs on 1 May 2015, where Atticus should be moored.

Nice floral display & scarecrow doll on the roof of N/B Lola.

Nice floral display & scarecrow doll on the roof of N/B Lola.

Tug No5 Ann emerges from the tunnel en route from its St Pancras moorings to the weekend festival at Little Venice

Tug No5 Ann emerges from the tunnel en route from its St Pancras moorings to the weekend festival at Little Venice

 

Paddington Bears by the canal

The Paddington Bears by the canal in…. Paddington, London, W2! All of them!

There are quite a number of Paddington Bears around Paddington to commemorate the new Paddington Bear film starring Hugh Bonneville.

This features all of the Paddington Bears to be found in Paddington, W2, with a particular focus on those that are sited by Paddington Basin/Grand Union/Regent’s Canal.

Despite some of these bears not being by the canal, there is indeed a waterways theme that links all nine Paddington Bears in this part of London.

Mayor of Paddington

Mayor of Paddington

This is the Mayor of Paddington, right by the canal just outside Paddington Station, adjacent to Bishops Bridge Road, and designed by Costain Skanska/Paddington Partnership. (No 3.) Probably the most popular bear by decree of its location immediately outside the Hammersmith & City line entrance to Paddington Station and on the main walking route from Paddington to Little Venice. Typically the bears around here are sited some short distance from the canal (with the exception of Futuristic Robot Bear and Brick Bear.)

Futuristic Robot Bear

Futuristic Robot Bear

Futuristic Robot Bear at the eastern end of Paddington Basin – by Jonathan Ross. (No 6.) This bear is one of only two out of the six around the canals of Paddington & Little Venice that sit nearest the water’s edge, with Futuristic Robot Bear being just the one that is right by the edge of the towpath.

Original design for the Futuristic Robotic Bear

Original design for the Futuristic Robotic Bear

Jonathan Ross ‏@wossy tweeted this pic on Dec 27 2014: “Here’s the original ‘Future Paddington’ I designed for the NSPCC. They thought the cyber-eye was too scary!”

Bearing Up

Bearing Up

The striking fluorescent bear that is known as Bearing Up (No. 4) designed by Taylor Wimpey, again near the canal at Paddington Basin on the route that takes pedestrians across the canal from North Wharf Road to St Mary’s Hospital. This bear is one of my favourites.

Brick Bear

Brick Bear

By the Glass Bridge/The Point at Paddington Basin, just across the canal from Paddington Station, is Brick Bear, designed by Robin Partington & Partners. (No. 5) Brick Bear is sited very near the water’s edge, as shown below.

Brick Bear

Brick Bear

Love, Paddington x

Love, Paddington x

In Rembrandt Gardens, again by the canal, this time in iconic Little Venice, by Warwick Avenue, is the shiny Love, Paddington x, designed by Lulu Guinness. It’s No. 1 of the 50 bears around London. Number one might seem to many to be in an odd location, for this is Little Venice. Not really – author Michael Bond’s home is just a short walk away overlooking the canal.

Love, Paddington x can be said to be the ONLY bear sited adjacent to the Regent’s Canal. Its certainly very near that canal and its distinctive No.1 bridge at Warwick Avenue. One of the Little Venice based boats, Lady A, can also be seen in the picture below.

Love, Paddington x at Little Venice by Warwick Avenue/Regent's Canal

Love, Paddington x at Little Venice by Warwick Avenue/Regent’s Canal

Texting Paddington

Texting Paddington

In the amphitheatre known as Sheldon Square, deep below the level of the Grand Union Canal is colourful Texting Paddington, designed by Westminster Academy. (No. 2) Its not really near the canal although it is sited within the Paddington Central complex, opposite where British Waterways’ former Sheldon Square HQ was once located.

The three Bears of Paddington that are not sited adjacent to the canal are shown next. However, surprise – there is a strong waterways theme that links these three – and it’s something you wont find in any of the many sources describing these 50 Paddington Bears!

Paddington, the original bear

Paddington, the original bear

Paddington, the original bear  as depicted in the Paddington Bear books. Designed by Paddington Bear author Michael Bond. Picture taken in a totally empty Paddington Station on Xmas Day. (No. 7.) Its  a fair distance from the canal as one walks although the canal is actually very near this point.

In keeping with the waterways theme, this point was at one time where the Kilburn/Westbourne River once flowed (see notes below.) It’s valley was taken over for the construction of Paddington Station and the river diverted to the west.

A bit further away from Paddington station and indeed the canal’s environs are these three bears…

Paddingtonscape

Paddingtonscape

Paddingtonscape designed by Hannah Warren in Norfolk Square, quite near Paddington Station. (No. 8)

Ironically Norfolk Square WAS once part of the canal! Two reservoirs built by the Grand Junction Canal Company stood either side of Praed Street, W2, and these were for supply of water to this part of London. The southern reservoir was sited here, and after its closure Norfolk Square was built.

Paws Engage

Paws Engage

This one, Paws Engage, is the most distant of Paddington’s Paddington Bears. It’s just inside Kensington Gardens opposite Lancaster gate tube station, just a few minutes walk from Paddington Station. Designed by Canterbury of New Zealand. (No. 10 in series.)

Despite this bear apparently NOT being on any notable waterway, the illusion does not end there. This location was indeed where one of London’s more important waterways, the Kilburn, or Westbourne, River could be found. In fact the Long Water/The Serpentine are the remnant of that waterway.

The Kilburn/Westbourne (also known as the Bayswater Rivulet) soon met the fate of most of London’s rivers and it became known as the Ranelagh Sewer. Its waters still flow through Hyde Park, albeit on a different route from Lancaster Gate under Bayswater Road as far eastwards as roughly the point where the Titchbourne flowed into Hyde Park. It then traverses straight across the park to meet its original route at the eastern extremity of the Serpentine, and acts as an overflow for the Serpentine.

Keen spotters will note part of an original bridge, that once crossed the Kilburn/Westbourne River, still exists in the adjacent Italian Gardens. Its practically the only bridge left from the days when London had many tributaries off the Thames. Its an old structure and one that’s strangely never been listed or viewed as having any historic importance of any sort.

New walkway at Paddington

This week (24th September 2014) a new walkway along the south side of Paddington Basin was unofficially opened. The finishing touches were being done earlier in the week. The walkway provides a new connection between the moorings at St Mary’s and the plaza area around the eastern end of the basin. It’s a much shorter route compared to the time honoured one involving a walk along the north side of the basin.

Access to new walkway at Praed St end of basin

Access to new walkway at Praed St end of basin

View looking west along new walkway with Wood Hall & Heward's 'Church' & dumb barge in view

View looking west along new walkway with Wood Hall & Heward’s ‘Church’ & dumb barge in view

The start of the new walkway by the St Mary's hospital visitor moorings in Paddington Basin

The start of the new walkway by the St Mary’s hospital visitor moorings in Paddington Basin

Canal & River piss up at Croydon?

Take a pee and dream of a great day out on the canals!

Canal & River Trust’s advertising’s clearly ‘on stream!’

Shame the Croydon Canal is no longer open 😦

Seen in the public toilets at Croydon’s Whitgift shopping centre.

Canal & River Trust advert Croydon Whitgift Centre

Canal & River Trust ad by urinal Croydon Whitgift Centre

Canal & River Trust advert Croydon Whitgift Centre

Canal & River Trust advert Croydon Whitgift Centre

The guy from Friends of Regent’s Canal!

This afternoon I very quickly visited the Angel Canal Festival in Islington. This is held every year on the first weekend of September. Rather than focus on boats, this time round I have posted a social commentary picture (eg boat-free) of the entrance to Islington tunnel on the London Canals website.

My choice of picture from the festival (another boat-free choice!) is this study of Ian Shacklock, who runs the Friends of the Regent’s Canal advocacy group, in their stall by City Road basin.

The picture in the background is a painting of the bridge by the Regent’s Canal at Old Ford. This bridge forms the entrance to the Hertford Union canal.

Ian Shacklock Friends of Regent's Canal

Ian Shacklock Friends of Regent’s Canal

For those who are interested Friends of Regent’s Canal has meetings at the London Canal museum in King’s Cross to discuss matters related to the Regent’s Canal. The next meeting is on 10th September 2014 7pm to 9pm.