It was time to leave Ealing and head home. Before leaving I decided to go for a walk up to see the Hoover Building, as it was such a lovely morning. The Hoover Building opened in 1933 and is Art Deco in style. I’ve seen it from the car many times, so thought I’d go and take a proper look. It’s a gorgeous building, which has now been developed into luxury apartments – the smaller building, which was also part of Hoover, is now an Indian restaurant. After my walk we headed towards home, stopping on the way at Walton-on-Thames, which is a market town in Surrey close to the Thames. We didn’t have time to explore – we had a bite to eat, and visited Waterstones which is in a modern shopping centre. With its pale shelving and high ceilings, it has a nice light and airy feeling.
The Hoover Building
St Mary’s, Perivale
St Mary’s is a redundant 13th Century church, now used as an arts’ centre.
After Wandsworth we walked down to the River Thames and then to Putney to visit the Waterstones, which is located in a modern shopping centre. After that we walked to Barnes for lunch, which is a pretty part of London with a village feel. From there we hopped on a bus, hoping to see the Taskmaster House (from the Dave/Channel 4 comedy panel show), but sadly it was blocked off, so we could only glimpse a bit of it!
The sculpture pictured below, located in Wandsworth Park next to the Thames, is called Pygmalion by sculptor Alan Thornhill and was installed in 2008. Apparently it’s one of nine sculptures along this stretch of the river, but we didn’t spot any of the others. It has no explanation as the artist wanted people to put their own interpretation on it.
Whilst walking across Wandsworth Common we spotted a building in the distance so diverted to take a look at it. We thought it might have been a big church and were hoping to go inside, but when we got there we discovered it was a building called the Royal Victoria Patriotic Building. Built in the mid-19th century, it was originally used as an “asylum for girls orphaned during the Crimean War” – despite the use of the word asylum, this was actually a school. It now contains flats, some small businesses and a restaurant called Le Gothique. After taking a couple of photos we headed to the Wandsworth branch of Waterstones, which is located inside the Southside Shopping Centre.
The Royal Victoria Patriotic Building
According to their website, Waterstones Clapham Junction is in Battersea! The area is not part of London that we were familiar with, but is a nice area, especially the nearby Northcote Road, which has been (possibly temporarily?) pedestrianised and is full of independent shops and places to eat. After that we walked across Wandsworth Common towards our next stop of the day.
Northcote Road (left) and Wandsworth Common (right)
We were going to Ealing for the Easter weekend, so we decided to stop on the way to visit Next so that Peter could buy some new jeans, and also because this branch contains a Waterstones. This is not the first to appear inside Next – we’ve already visited the one just outside Leicester and there is also one in Enfield. This branch opened in December last year, so looks very new. Obviously being located in a retail park there was not anything else to look at, although due to its proximity to Heathrow, we did see lots of low aircraft in the area!
Godalming is a pretty market town in Surrey, located near the River Wey. The High Street featured briefly in the film The Holiday, starring Kate Winslet and Cameron Diaz as the location of the shop where Amanda goes shopping on her first night in the UK! Godalming was also the first town to get electricity. The Waterstones here is located in an attractive red-bricked listed building, once Little George Inn.
This distinctive building was completed in 1814 as a town hall, with the tower added about eighty years later. These days the upper floor is used as a hireable meeting room and underneath is used for occasional market stalls.
Before heading to the theatre to see A Christmas Carol we had time for one more stop at the trendy north London area of Crouch End. We didn’t stay here long, but would really like to come back and explore further – it has a number of interesting buildings including the clock tower, and the Hornsey Town Hall, which sadly was boarded up when we were there, as it was being redeveloped as a community hub with housing. The Waterstones is in a beautiful building, but sadly I have been unable to find any details of the building’s history.
The top two photos show the Couch End Clock Tower and were taken by me. Below are the Hornsea Town Hall, taken by Christine Matthews and are used under the creative commons licence (see below).
‘Ally Pally’, as it is sometimes colloquially known, originally opened in 1873 but burned down just two weeks later! It was quickly rebuilt, opening again in 1875 as a public centre for the use of education, entertainment and recreation. It succumbed to another fire in 1980, destroying the Great Hall, Banqueting Suite, roller rink and theatre dressing rooms and was once again restored, reopening in 1988. The building stands atop a hill with lovely views across to London. The photos below are mine, with the exception of the last one which is also used under the creative commons licence (see below). It was taken by Jack Rose by drone in 2021 – isn’t it stunning!
Creative Commons copyrights:
Hornsey Town Hall Photos © Christine Matthews (cc-by-sa/2.0)
Alexandra Palace Aerial Photo Jack Rose (cc-by-sa/2.0)
On the last day of our weekend in London we had tickets to see A Christmas Carol at Alexandra Palace – a gift from our daughter. We stopped in North Finchley for breakfast on the way. We were there early, and it being a Sunday not much in the area was open (although we did find a brilliant café!). We popped to visit the Waterstones just before we left – it’s a fairly small store in the High Street near to the wonderfully-named Tally Ho corner!
Brent Cross Shopping Centre was the first out-of-town shopping centre in the UK and opened in 1976. We hopped on the bus from Harrow to visit the Waterstones on our way back to our hotel in Ealing. It’s one of the stores which has light wood shelving, and as a result is light and airy.
As Brent Cross is out-of-town, there wasn’t anything else here to photograph, so here’s a picture of Peter sitting with a sparkly reindeer!
We were having a weekend in west London which was postponed from May. We had plans in central London, but there was to be a tube strike, so we decided not to risk it. Instead we got the bus from Ealing to Harrow. From there we walked up to Harrow on the Hill, location of the famous Harrow public school. It was a very pretty area, but nothing much was open as the shops were all geared to the school. The area is the site of the first recorded motor accident in Great Britain! The Waterstones in Harrow is located in a busy pedestrian area in the centre of the town.
Harrow on the Hill
‘Skipping Katie’ Statue
This statue, unveiled in 2004, is located at the end of the pedestrian shopping area. Created by sculptor James Butler, it was inspired by him watching his daughter skip.
Currently reading – Luckenbooth by Jenni Fagan