After winding down from my morning adventure in London I really felt peckish. A snack would go down well and I also wanted to buy another bottle of water. Surely there was a Tesco or Co-op somewhere near the hotel? I went downstairs to the foyer and discovered that it had been raining (and the wind was still blowing like mad). I was very tempted to do a u-turn and head back to my room but decided to be brave and venture forth once more. A block away I found a 24 hour shop but there were 2 males at the counter seemingly having a loud convo with the proprietor so I decided to look around a bit and then return to the shop. Alternatively I could find Waterloo Station which was theoretically close by.
Instead I spotted what are known as the Leake Street Arches and I was drawn to the colours within.
I am a fan of street art, and am amazed at what artists can create with their paint. I do not however like random vandalism and tagging that seems to pop up in the stupidest places. Some of the art in this arch was spectacular. I did not photograph it all and was limited by size and light and the uneasy feeling of being in a possible high risk area. I was however suitably disguised with my mask.
By the time I exited out there the wind had picked up and I headed towards an underpass that I hoped led to the station.
It did not! (actually it probably did but I went the wrong way). When I left the shelter of the roof the wind was howling, blowing rain and spray in a mad torrent. I ducked and dived from shelter to shelter, trying to find my way back to the hotel. I did not want anymore of this! I managed to find my way back to the 24 hour shop only to find that the 2 guys were still in there arguing. Both were drunk and I edged my way past them trying to find water and a snack. After what felt like ages they staggered out and I quickly paid for my water and snack and left. The rain was not easing but fortunately I managed to get back to the hotel safely. Those railway arches were impressive, and I wish I had been in a position to see more of them.
London has large areas covered by arches that carry trains into the terminus stations that were developed by the various railway companies. Many have found uses as workshops or storage areas and many house small businesses. They are very old and are mostly brick lined so just imagine how many bricks there are and how many men laid those bricks by hand!
There is no real easy way to build a station in an established city and lead railway lines to it that does not involve tunnelling or bridging. In this case the arches were the solution, and they left a legacy across the capital that exists long after those bricklayers passed on.
Oh, as for Waterloo station? I was close!
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