Twyford Abbey - West Twyford, Ealing, NW10
Never actually an abbey.....
Thousands drive past on the nearby North Circular everyday not knowing there is this great building crumbling away so close by. The access is via Twyford Abbey Road where various security warning signs greet you at the entrance gates. Moving along the road you can make out the abandoned building in the distance across a stretch of overgrown lawns. I first spotted this building in 2002 and I had forgotten about it and when someone mentioned it recently I was surprised that the site hadnt been redeveloped so decided to take another look.
Situated near Hangar Lane gyratory in the only corner of Ealing with a NW postcode this was the site of the West Twyford manor house. The manor house was partially demolished around 1715 and in 1806 the manor house a stagecoarch proprietor turned the house into a Gothic-style mansion with an extension around the original house infilled a genuine medieval moat and renamed it Twford Abbey and being the only building in the area, the name Twyford Abbey was applied to the whole of West Twyford.
In 1902 the Abbey was bought by the Alexian Brothers, a Roman Catholic order who set up a nursing home there. The Alexian Brothers enlarged and changed the house several times.
In 1988, due to changes in rules and regulations of running nursing homes and the costs associated with adaptations, the brothers who were short of funds closed the home & joined another part of their order in Manchester. The abbey, which is a Grade II listed building, now lies derelict and its on English Heritage’s ‘Buildings at Risk’ register where, not surprisingly, its condition officially described as ‘poor’. The interior is in an extremely dangerous condition and casual entering is not advised (or permitted) with much water damage, rotten floors, etc. Various outbuildings including one that one that probably served as a caretaker/gardener's cottage are also in very poor condition. All these pics were taken in Spring 2016.
On a stretch of no-mans land (for the moment at least, before the luxury apartments go up) on the border between Shoreditch and Bethnal Green is this disused railway arch as seen in films such as Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels and gritty TV drams such as Luther and Whitechapel.
Between the disused arch and railway tracks still in use are some interesting ornamental structures glimpsed when travelling past on the train when travelling to Liverpool Street. This 'graveyard' tucked away behind secure fencing, hence difficult to photograph, is architectural salvage from a building called Harwich House part of the Liverpool Street Station complex opposite Hamilton Hall that was demolished when the Station was restored and extended in the late 80s/early 90s. Harwich House housed the department that was responsible for British Rail ferries that operated from Harwich.
Above the the war memorial in the current Liverpool St Station there is a long stone Great Eastern Railway plaque which was also was salvaged from Harwich House.
St Patricks Social Club - Wapping, E1
Situated on Dundee Street (previously known as Upper Well Alley). The site was previously houses and the present building was previously used by St Patricks School Club and finally St Patricks Social Club which closed down a few years ago amongst various planning proposals which have not come into fruition. I had a few good nights at the Social Club myself and its closure was a sad loss. The main hall & bar area had some old photos of local dockers, beanos to the seaside, local amateur football teams & even one of Norman Wisdom who once visited the club!
Meanwhile the building has been left to rot with roof damage meaning that the building might end up getting demolished.
Current owners are the Westminster Roman Catholic Diocese Trustee, who are also owners of nearby St Patrick’s church.
Chingford Mill Pumping Station - Chingford, E4
In 1873 the East London Waterworks Company acquired an ancient water mill that was recorded in Domesday. The mill was demolished and in 1895 this red brick pumping station was built. It is over a well (at a depth of 141 feet) in the chalk and a steam engine pumped drinking water from a borehole.
Planning permission was granted in 2005 to turn the building into homes but this lapsed due to inactivity over the years. The occupiers carried out works which were not authorised & local enforcement officers were denied entry which resulted in a police raid late last year and someone was arrested with various charges including planning violations, fly-tipping and unlawful business operations. Nearby residents have also alleged anti social behaviour from people associated with this site.
As of 2018 the site is undergoing conversion.