London Open House Preview
I spent the weekend of the 21st and 22nd September viewing buildings open to the public just the one weekend of the year and on the Sunday afternoon taking photos of the final stage of the Tour of Britain Cycle Race through the streets of London.
Highlights of Open House included the insides of City Hall, Lloyds and Battersea Power Station. I tend to be a perfectionist in terms of choice of picture and getting the processing just right to display and image at its best before it appears on Flickr or appears on my website for sale. It is likely to be months before I finish processing and showing the best of these pictures
For this preview I will be telling the story of the weekend while it is still fresh and showing some of the pictures in small resolution all without any processing save for sizing.
The light was pretty rubbish all weekend with dull overcast skies but for photos of the inside of build ings this was an advantage as it meant less contrast.
The weekend started with City Hall on the South Bank. The amazing spiral staircase inside is the centrepiece of this building. I had been to it in 2011 but wanted to try out my fisheye lens on it. I was surprised that the queues were quite light.
I arrived an hour before opening but very few people were there and when I came out there was no queue. Last year there was apparently a long wait.
The pictures show how incredible this place is inside.
Next it was on to the Angel Building north of the Barbican. Tube engineering work meant a bus for part of the journey. A one day travel card from my local station made transport quite easy with the train to London and all underground and bus travel included. There is a great Atrium at the Angel Building with a black sculpture in the centre all enhanced with the fisheye.
Next it was on to the Broadgate area north of Liverpool Street. The Broadgate Tower was not open this year but I went first to the lobby of nearby Exchange House.
Then a few blocks along the lobby of 155 Bishopsgate.
I went to the inside of the Lloyds Building in 2011 and had not originally planned to go there. However as this was only a short distance I decided to pay another visit.
The queue was round the block but I knew from previous experience that it moved quickly and I was inside within half an hour. By contrast I heard the very long queue for the Gherkin opposite moved very slowly. I think this is because for Lloyds you go up by escalators to the main area whereas for the Gherkin people have to enter the viewpoint via lifts. At Lloyds I visited the the main floor and the higher viewpoints.
I just made my last visit of the day the Foreign Office by about 3 minutes before last entry. No queue at that time, straight in. There is a great courtyard, lavish rooms and last a splendid staircase.
On the way to night shots round St Paul’s I stopped off for a sunset view of I New Chance offices and shops.
I stayed at a hotel overnight and made an early start Sunday to get shots of Leadenhall Market empty.
The main target for Sunday morning was Battersea Power Station or its ruins. This was open for one time only over the weekend before its redevelopment starts. I later heard that 18,000 people got in on Saturday with 5 hour queues.
I was quite lucky. I arrived there just before 10.00 for the 11.00 opening and joined a fast walking queue as they decided to open an hour early at 10.00. I probably only waited about 40 minutes. There was a tent inside with details, plans and models of the redevelopment and then an open area in the front of that for viewing and photos .
I did find it difficult photographically to get a good shot. With the fisheye I did manage to get all 4 chimneys. Some went for the Camera Club "details of rust" kind of shot much to the puzzlement of everybody else. I went for the multiple photographers shot.
My last Open House visit was to Tower Bridge House where the Atrium could be viewed from the ground and top floors.
Next it was on to the Tour of Britain final stage being held in London in the afternoon. Starting from Whitehall there was a circuit which went along the Thames Embankment road to turn by the Tower of London and then back past Big Ben and back into Whitehall. I based myself on the corner by the houses of Parliament. Not long before the race start about 6 official Agency Photographers settled on the road just in front of me but sitting down for low angles. I decided my choice of location had been pretty good. As expected Bradley Wiggins won the Gold Jersey for overall race winner and Mark Cavendish won the day’s stage.
Keywords: angle, architecture, arts, atrium, Battersea, Battersea power station, building", change", City, city hall, spiral, staircase, angle, , courtyard, culture, engineering, england, exchangel house, foreign office, glass, history, image, interior, leadenhall, lines, Lloyds, Lloyds of London, London, lutine, marble, market, museum, new, Open House, Open House Weekend, patterns, roof, space, st pauls, steel, sunset, tower bridge house, travel, trip, uk, urban, viewpoint, white, window, windows
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