Friday, 2 December 2016

A Backstage Tour of Hidden London


Photographers have the best job. They get to discover all those amazing hidden places some of us can only dream of seeing inside, let alone know about – just because it's

what they do for a living. I imagine if you're quite a nosey person, being a photographer is your perfect career move. Anyway... I'm digressing. Take Battersea Power Station for example. Despite growing up in London and living there for 26 years, I never once went inside that amazing once-abandoned 1930s icon. No one does! Except, as I've found out, London born-and-bread photographer, Peter Dazeley. Turns out he couldn't take the thought of it ever being torn down or changing without being documented, he got himself a backstage pass, put on his hard hat and ventured in – even getting the people to turn the beautiful Art Deco lights on for him, apparently. 


Inside Control Room A at Battersea Power Station.
Control Room B, built after Control Room B is filled with stainless steel consoles and pedestals and more utilitarian in style.
These beautiful shots inside the power station – as well as the one at the top of historic Repton Boxing Club in East London (where Audley Harrison trained his way to Olympic gold, and Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels was filmed) – are all part of his ongoing photo project called, Unseen London, about recording historic London buildings, their architecture and interiors as they stand in the 21st century – before some of them are likely to eventually disappear. Dazeley posts his photos on his website and Twitter, but for now, I thought we could take a backstage tour with a flick through his recently published book, Unseen London, (a serious contender for Dan's Christmas present...). The book contains pictures of the interiors of 50 buildings which makes it impossible to pick out favourites because they're all equally fascinating in their own right, but here's a taster:


The girls' quick change area at the Theatre Royal.

Inside HMS Belfast at the Imperial War Museum.

The Gate Cinema, Notting Hill.


In the sound effects drama studio at the BBC, is where old phones, doors and a range of household objects are as commonplace as digital instruments!


The Great Hall at the Royal Hospital Chelsea designed by Christopher Wren. This is the hospital's biggest room, used today as a communal dining room for the Chelsea Pensioners - retired British army soldiers who live at the hospital.

 This is a disused platform at Aldwych Station. It opened in 1907 at the time of the Theatreland boom, but closed in 1917 as it always struggled to become financially viable, mainly due to where it was located. Today it remains intact, and the booking office has been restored – making it a popular film and TV location.

This beautiful Victorian theatre inside Alexandra Palace is being restored, having been closed to the public for 65 years! 


Dead Man's Walk lies underneath The Old Bailey. It's a route those sentenced to death would take from Newgate Prison to the courthouse gallows. 


Big Ben, of course! 


The main pump room inside the magnificent Victorian Crossness Pump Station in South-east London. It's a Romanesque industrial structure, built as part of a plan to clean up the Thames.


You can buy Peter Dazeley's Unseen London, here.

7 comments:

  1. Brilliant research, would give alot to have walked around Battersea before the works started. Amazing photos.

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  2. Just magical! They all look like amazing film sets.

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    1. Oh hi Barbara! Glad you like them - I really want to see inside that boxing gym... might do some digging.

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  3. The really surprising thing is how Peter became aware of all these beautifully photographed places in the first place. People must past by many of them every day unaware of their existance, let alone of how unchanged they are. Unseen London is an excellent achievement.

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    1. It's sad to think so many of them might be gone in a few years, perhaps...

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  4. Would you be interested in writing a secret Brighton ?
    Thomas Jonglez
    www.jonglezpublishing.com
    info@jonglezpublishing.com

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    1. Hi Thomas, thanks for your message. I've sent you an email.

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