Way Out West…
Most of the 4,400 arches in London are owned by Network Rail, but the ones below the Underground tracks (where the tracks are above ground!) are the property of Transport for London (TfL).
The arches on the District/Piccadilly Lines that stretch between Turnham Green and Hammersmith are TfL, so we start our day in the leafy, genteel surroundings of Stamford Brook.
Firstly, two revisits… The Arch Studios Rehearsal Rooms and next door Arch 197, a dance studio. On to the W6 Gym with a lovely south-facing glass frontage. Next, to one of my “must-have” arches – The Laura Sevenus Swimming Tuition Pool in Wilson Walk. Veronika, the receptionist, shows us around, but I will need permission to shoot here from the owner*. The actual pool is amazing. It is situated on the mezzanine floor!
Further towards Ravenscourt Park, I see another auto repair arch that catches my eye. The Citroën Dyane alongside a BMW on a ramp will look good in my shot. Xavier (Xavier Autoclinic) is very happy for me to shoot here… “Go for it, Ted!”
Almost at Hammersmith in Cambridge Grove, we find another Crossfit arch, Crossfit Hammersmith. This one is full of “youngsters” pumping iron on a weights circuit. A nice scene to shoot – I know I’ll get blur with all that movement, this is a gym after all.
A few arches along we find Nicholas, a sculptor/ceramicist, working. A magnificent “arty” arch – his latest ceramics are lined up on benches. If I’m lucky I might even catch an Underground train going past in a small window at the top of the arch on the back wall of his studio?
A long walk next along the disappointing Shepherds Bush Market arches, past the old BBC TV Centre, towards Latimer Road. Nothing unusual here in the market, and all the arches have interior ceilings. But the walk is well worth it, as near Latimer Road Station I find a backdrop in an arch to compliment a shot I’ve taken earlier in the project.
It is another auto repair arch – actually only the third one I’ve shot in – but this one, Jack’s Garage, features a front (and only the front) of a VW Camper bus high on the walls. This scene will work superbly with my earlier shot at Scooterworks in Bermondsey, which has the fronts of two scooters on the exterior of the arch. Vaidas explains that he is busy, so I return to the garage at 8 a.m. the following morning, when his workshop is clear of vehicles. I shoot many frames on my Nikon FE and Pentax 67, as Vaidas works on an engine.
*I do get permission to shoot at the Sevenus Pool, so I return a few weeks later with my three “models” to photograph them in the water at this truly unique and amazing railway arch.