16th of July. I had a 12 month overdue visit to London to research and photograph some London sporting venues in preparation for some future works. I had to pre plan it like a military operation in order to get to all the locations in one day!
First stop Tottenham.
Id already walked about 4 miles by the time I arrived at the new stadium. Im not a big fan of the appearance of the majority of modern purpose built stadiums as an architectural statement and my views remain. I still have mixed feelings about the new architecture and the realisation that the Victorian/Edwardian row of buildings which includes Red House (which features on my White Hart Lane painting) had been bulldozed was saddening. I'm certain the ground will be an improvement in terms of facilities, extra capacity, increased leg room and revenue but apart from sporadic cast concrete embellishments of the club badge at intervals around the perimeter base of the exterior its pretty much characterless. Im not convinced it will age any better.
Lords Cricket Ground
A fabulous sporting venue which has a blend of Georgian era architecture to the very latest in design. Its history and development over its 200 years existence are plain to see and due to good design, superior craftsmanship and detail its all rather agreeable in my opinion. I wanted to try and gain access to inside but it was 2 days after Englands dramatic Cricket World Cup triumph and the ground was closed in order to dismantle temporary structures etc.
Another Characterful cricket venue. Ive Always been impressed with the majestic scale of the Pavilion. This subject will make a nice composition when I get round to painting it. An interesting fact I learned while doing some research is that the land is owned by the Duchy of Cornwall (Prince Charles).
Leyton Orient Brisbane Road.
I was really happy to end my day in Leyton. Brisbane Road Is a fantastic stadium in my opinion as It ticks the majority of the boxes that makes a a brilliant ground.
Its only a 5-10 minute walk from Leyton Railway/tube station and the walk down the colourful High Street full of independent shops is a joy.
The Ground is nestled in a tidy residential area. streets lined with Victorian terraces which Ive always liked.
The ground has a mixture of new and old independent stands. On the whole very well maintained but still has some signs of age and fair wear and tear.
I always like a ground with some unique or quirky features that make it instantly recognisable. The East Stand Roof gable with Leyton Orient upon it is quirky these days especially so as leytons isn't even in the middle of the stand for some reason.
The south stand has residential properties incorporated into it. some have balconies
which overlook the pitch. The rear of the South stand backs onto a beautiful
Victorian Park & Gardens. I know of no other ground that has a proper maze 50
Brisbane Road has to be in my top 10 grounds I've visited. maybe top 5.
On a sad note. At the time of my visit the club and football in general were shocked by the unexpected death of Manager, Justin Edinburgh. Peeping through the gates at the corners of the ground, scarfs, flowers and other tributes were still in place on the railings which was nice to see.
I aim to visit London next year to see some other grounds for some new material. Brentford may have a new home then.