26 March 2015

Gnome House tranformation

For years this 1930s factory building was just part of the run-down semi-derelict landscape on the west side of Blackhorse Lane. I took this photo in 2012 when there seemed no prospect of the place being done up. Now though, it's at the cutting edge of the redevelopment plans for this whole industrial area between Blackhorse Lane and the reservoirs. The building is named Gnome House to commemorate the Gnome engines which were used on both British and German fighter planes in the First World War - presumably only the British ones being manufactured here.

The ground floor of Gnome House will be an exhibition space and meeting room that can be hired by community groups, a cafe, and it will be the new home for Inky Cuttlefish print studio. Round the back a brick factory chimney survives - one of only two left in the area. A great start to what will be mainly a residential development.

The photograph was taken for the Walthamstow in Perspective series, first shown on the Art Trail and then at the Mill in 2012/13: images of around 50 interesting buildings around Walthamstow. This was one of the most derelict looking of the lot, second only to the old cinema on Buxton Road. The image was pieced together from five separate shots because I didn't have a sufficiently wide angle lens. The group of people was passing at the time, but it's probably obvious that they are cut out and rather crudely pasted on top.