Brentford to Bull Bridge


My mum and I are walking parts of the Grand Union Canal. On 21 March 2008, we walked a section from Brentford to Bull Bridge, then into Hayes where we got a couple of buses back to my parents' house.

This walk ended at the same place as the last canal walk we did, so I'd been hoping to get a sharp picture of the factory chimney that looked great a couple of weeks before. Unfortunately the wind didn't co-operate, but more later.


From Brentford station we walked down to the canal.

Well-maintained buildings along the road to the lock.
1/250 at f8, 22mm, ISO200
A tower block and the spire of a large church in Brentford.
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We followed the canal path through Brentford (which largely involved going back the way we'd come except along the canal instead of the road, but never mind).

Rail bridge by the canal.
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Nice bricks and sign under the bridge.
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The canal

The canal tended toward picturesque (yeah, I know, near Brentford?) with actual trees and such.

A pleasing shade of yellow on this rail bridge over the canal.
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Canalside building with dirty skylight.
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Then the towpath passed through a huge warehouse structure built over a canal dock. It appears to still be owned by British Waterways (and you'd have some difficulty converting it to luxury canalside apartments), although there wasn't much going on in the water; just a crowd of logs floating there. The day was extremely windy and the whole structure made really loud, disturbing, and unusual creaking and cracking noises. Still, nothing actually fell off it while we were inside.

Warehouse, part 1...
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...part 2...
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...and part 3 (sorry, having trouble coming up with captions here).
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After that the canal continued with various buildings on our side. The towpath crossed over at one point.

A painted fence.
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Pretty canal footbridge that took the towpath across. This is called a 'roving bridge', we learned, even though it doesn't actually move.
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A very tall bridge took the confusingly-named London Underground over the canal.

But it was a pretty cool bridge.
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Look, a tree! I like that walkway, too.
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I didn't mention the weather but it was, um, variable: rain and grey and a little sun.

Here's a cloud just to prove it.
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Top of a canal barge carrying a huge load of dredged junk, moored by a weir.
1/180 at f8, 55mm, ISO200

A rather bizarre sign by the towpath attracted our interest: 'British Waterways Kerr Cup Pile Driving Competition. Prize Length Of Piling 1959.' Hopefully somebody's pressing for that sport to be included in the 2012 Olympics. Opposite, a stretch of industrial premises began.

In which could be seen this orange 'UNIGLORY' container. What?
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Another bridge. How awesome are those drips? It might be paint. Maybe.
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Old and new across the canal.
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More of those buildings.
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A flight of six locks took us by the side of Hanwell Insane Asylum (no, it isn't still operating - I think it had largely been knocked down for flats). Then we encountered an industrial-archaeology landmark: an aqueduct takes the canal over a railway line from Southall to the docks at Brentford, in the same place that a road crosses the canal.

Arches and beam.
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Looking down from the canal towpath to the rail line.
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Canal and railway (the road is overhead).
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Shorly after we came upon a British Waterways canal dredger named, appropriately, 'Pride of Slough'. I don't know if Slough really takes great pride in digging muck out of the bottom of canals, but let's face it, they've not got much else to write home about.

We continued toward Southall and the rain really set in; we sheltered by a hedge from a serious downpour, although I emerged briefly to take a few pictures.

Across the canal, before the rain started. Looks like this building could have done with a bit of rain back when the kids torched it.
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Grey bridge, grey sky.
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Gurdwara Sri Guru Singh Sabha Southall through the rain; this is the largest Sikh temple outside India, acccording to Wikipedia. (Yes, I had to look up the name there.)
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And here's the temple to gas, a repeat appearance from the last walk. It's rather faint in the rain; minutes before, this had been clearly visible.
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The gasholder again after rain stopped; taken from near Maypole Dock, which once served the largest margarine factory in Europe (yes, this is the kind of trivia you learn from reading information boards beside the canal).
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Dry again, we continued toward the Nestlé factory that marked the end of the last walk, and this one too. Unfortunately despite lots of trying I wasn't able to get the shot I'd wanted; the time of day was about right, but strong wind meant the steam wasn't blowing in the direction I needed. I took a few other pictures of those chimneys, even so.

Three of the chimneys...
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...and two of them.
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That's it! Thanks for reading this far. :)

All images © Samuel Marshall. All rights reserved.