The edge or boundary of something, or the part near it.

Borders define the spaces in-between — the crossing points from one place to another. Following the course of London’s second river, the Lea, I’ve discovered the series of edgelands — real, historical and mythological that occur along it’s path.

Whether in transition from London to the home counties, the traditional Middlesex Essex border or the more ancient Danelaw Wessex border we are in a landscape of present and ancient liminal spaces a shifting space — a boundary land that is neither one thing or the other.

Borderlands is also available in book form from Urban Impressions.

An Elevated View

This is a commuter’s perspective of London – a passing view of the city defined by the top deck of a London bus.

How we negotiate and observe the urban space from the bus is constrained by the prescribed routes that define our commutes, the random flow of traffic and most simply by where we end up sitting. The familiar streetscape is caught in a series of momentary glances as the bus lurches and sways toward its destination.

The shifting seasons and the distinct districts of the city flicker across the screen of the bus windows — the leafy north, the cool grunge of Stroud Green Road and Hackney and the steel and glass of the City of London. This elevated view of the street is disconnected yet strangely intimate as we watch the city and its people unfold beneath us.

Created from multiple journeys, this series of photographs is a composite portrait of some of the fixed pathways through the city.

Meandering along the Lea

Meandering – to follow a winding course, to wander in a leisurely or aimless manner.

Meander originates from Maiandros, the name of a river, which flows through modern Turkey. It has come to define not just a wandering river but aimless journeys more generally.

This sense of an aimless journey was my starting point to explore the Lea, London’s second river, which rises in rural Hertfordshire and winds it’s way through East London to its eventual confluence with the Thames near the old East India dock.

The Lea has played a variety of roles in London’s development and history – as an ancient trade route for transporting wheat for bread and grain for gin, a border between Middlesex and Essex and more recently it’s winding path through East London has determined the boundaries of the island on which the London Olympics were held in 2012.

For centuries the Lea has been managed, re-routed and shaped to satisfy a variety of uses, blurring the demarkations between the natural and man-made. These cycles of history have left their traces in the landscape – a treasure map to explore and uncover.

The Lea is a landscape that shifts between the natural and the man-made – shaped through centuries of human habitation. This is what makes London’s second river such an engaging route to investigate. It is an integral part of London but one often forgotten.

My Lea river walk follows a meandering course up and down stream at will, building an iterative series of impressions of my experience of the river.


Regents Canal the linear London village

The Regents Canal in London runs from Paddington in the west to the Limehouse basin in the east. I’ve been walking the canal path for several years observing this little slice of London – a landscape in transition as a new wave of re-development transforms the environment of the canal towpath.

The plan for Regents Canal was developed by John Nash in 1811, as part of a larger development of north central london, which included Regents Park. The canal provided a link from the Grand Union Canal reaching to the industrial north – through to the Thames at Limehouse.

Constructed between 1812 and 1820 the canal was soon overtaken by the growing development of railways and road traffic and by 1969 the canal’s original function ceased. But growing environmental awareness has seen a re-use of the canal with cyclists and strollers competing for space along the narrow towpath.

The canal route takes in a broad microcosm of London. At the western edge are the grand houses and mansion blocks of the established affluence of Little Venice and the splendour of Regents Park. Not far beyond the gentrified grunge of Camden Town a new district of apartment blocks and a university campus is arising out of the old goods yards and warehouses around Kings Cross station.

As we move to Islington and Hackney, new housing developments, old council estates and a decaying industrial landscape define an urban landscape that is rapidly transforming. The old canal-side living of the narrowboat is being replaced by apartment blocks that crowd the canal path and define a new urban district for London.

As we approach the Limehouse Basin the landscape flattens and the rows of canal-side apartments disappear. For now the luxury apartment blocks remain constrained by the green spaces of Victoria and Mile End parks.

The evolving story of the Regent’s canal is perhaps a broader reflection of the history of London’s cycles of invention and re-invention.

London Southbank – a random walk

The Southbank is one of my favourite parts of London – a great public square along the Thames. From the London Eye to Tower bridge you can follow the course of the river and the concert halls, galleries and cinemas that line it’s path. At low tide the beaches emerge from the river and close to Tower Bridge is a flotilla of boats arranged in a square, facing the luxury flats along both sides of the river.

I wander along here as often as I can to catch the changing seasons and the ever changing enviroment around the Royal Festival Hall.

What I see from the London bus

I’ve been continuing to explore London streets from the viewpoint of the bus – what started as a bit of a distraction from my commutes to west London has evolved. I’ve been taking other routes and watching the London landscape pass by.

Some of the more recent images are along Holloway Road..



On the way back from Broadway market I travelled through Shoredtich and Hoxton..

The Eagle

The Eagle



And onwards via the Angel



You can take a look at the most recent updates at London from the bus or follow my tumblr blog to keep up to date with new image updates as I add them.

Kings Cross Journeys

I recently spent an afternoon wandering around Granary Square in Kings Cross London – a new public space arising out of the goods yards and sidings that surround the Victorian railway station. Granary Square is just a one part of a vast re-development of central London.  From 67 acres of post-industrial landscape a new district is arising from the detritus of the ‘railway lands’ that were built in the 1850s and 60s.

New streets and public squares are being created as well as thousands of new homes, and a university campus. Granary square is host to the new campus for the University of the Arts, social housing and the Global Generation Skip Garden – which uses the symbol of re-construction, the skip, to provide a new home for a garden in a landscape of cranes and barriers as the ‘railway lands’ are re-born for a new purpose.

If you want to read more you can visit the official site for the new kings cross

Random London

Through my journeys across London I often come across a rather random collection of images that interest me but don’t really fit into a larger group. So here we have a somewhat fragmented collection . Its a combination of parks, re-develevelopment sites and high streets, reflecting the changing urban landscape in London.

For years the site of the old Middlesex Hospital remained an open space in London – with just a few remanents remaining. Now a series of high-end luxury aparments are rising in the shadows of the old hospital.

Closer to my own London location is Alexandra Palace park at Hallowen and the Muswell Hill sports field and a rather determined dog..

Legs £7, is a rather unfortunate reflection on the changes happening on my own local high street in Muswell Hill. Independant shops and family busineses are being replaced by an influx of chains and charity shops.

London Southbank

I love walking along London Southbank – here a just a few things that have caught my eye…

Highgate Wood – London

Highgate Wood is my local park – a place to walk, dream, relax and play. Part wildlife reserve, part Victorian park it lies on the ridge just below Highgate village. A remnant of the ancient forest of Middlesex, today it’s an extension of our backyards – with a semblance of the village life in the urban metropolis.

In the summer the playing fields, centred around the mock-tudor cafe, become an idealised vision of the English village, with its cricket pitch, football games and children’s parties. Despite its village pretensions, it remains a truly urban space with joggers, dog walkers, buggies and tourists jostling for space along its paths and buses to central London running along the roads at its edges.

Within the grounds of the wood are the traces of it’s various residents, who have been adapting the space for centuries, from prehistoric earthworks to the asphalt paths laid out by the Victorians in the 1880s. Walking into the woods though reminds us of the ancient forest – and ponders the question – how will this place continue to evolve and be adapted?

Garden barge square – an oasis on the thames

Reeds wharf on the southern side of the thames near Tower bridge is home to a floating garden – formed from a series of barges at the 200 year old Downings road moorings.

The garden square is home to 70 residents with the gardens literally sitting on the barge roofs. Its a green oasis surrounded by the steel and glass of luxury apartments – all vying for their riverside space. Several attempts have been made to remove this floating barge square – thankfully without success.

Garden barge square not only adds a certain character to the Thames riverbank but provides a habitat for water birds and river fish. While a private space for its residents the garden square is open to the public during the Open Garden Squares Weekend every June. You should take a look. Read more here…