London skyline as you’ve never seen it before

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This is a photograph I’ve been wanting to take for some time. It’s of part of the London skyline but I very much doubt you’ll recognise it.

London skyline, Croydon skyline, south london skyline, photography, #mysundayphoto, dadbloguk, dadbloguk.com, dad blog uk, daddy blogger, SAHD
A part of the London skyline you’ve probably never seen before. This is the London Borough of Croydon, also known as mini-Manhattan.

This, my friend, is a photograph of the London Borough of Croydon right on the fringes of the city. For any readers in South East England, it was taken a short hop, skip and jump from the Ikea outlet.

I noticed that Croydon, or the Cronx as some call it, put on a good light show at night some time ago. I’d been meaning to try and get an image of the skyline for ages but was never in the area at night. It’s an area I know well as, many years ago, I lived in the centre of the borough.

One evening earlier this week, Mrs Adams went to bed early and it was such a clear night I simply couldn’t resist grabbing my camera and driving up to Croydon to see if I could get the image I wanted.

As soon as I parked the car I began to regret my decision. To get this view I had to park in a relatively isolated spot near an expensive looking Mercedes Benz with tinted windows. Goodness knows what was going on inside, but the female occupant gave me a very strange look when I left.

There was no street lighting whatsoever. Over the road were a number of light industrial units, recycling facilities, storage units and downtrodden warehouses. It’s the kind of place petty criminals go to die and here I was, on my own, in the dark with my expensive camera equipment.

It takes quite a bit to make me nervous of my surroundings, but on this occasion I confess I did feel on edge! On the plus side, it didn’t take me long to get my picture and I left very quickly.

It is a long-exposure shot and for me, one of the most fascinating elements is in the top right hand corner. Look closely and you’ll see I’ve captured the navigation lights of two aircraft in the sky.

Before I sign off, here’s some detail about Croydon that may come in useful one day (I doubt it, but you never know). Croydon does not sit on the clay that most of London is built on. Until modern building techniques were developed, London couldn’t have really tall buildings because the ground wasn’t stable enough.

As Croydon doesn’t sit on clay, it was never bound by the same building restrictions. High rise buildings have been in the borough for much longer than the rest of the city, hence why it has a distinctive skyline of its own and why it has been dubbed ‘Mini-Manhattan’.

Have you a favourite city skyline or urban landscape? More to the point, would you risk your safety and camera equipment to take an image like this? Please do leave a comment and if you want to see some great photography from other bloggers, click on the badge below and visit the #MySundayPhoto linky hosted by the Photalife blog.



33 thoughts on “London skyline as you’ve never seen it before”

  1. Hi John, you should have scheduled a post saying goodbye, just in case you didn’t make it back! You are probably lucky you didn’t get arrested for loitering hanging around dodgy areas with camera equipment in your hand… Saying that though, I can see why you did it.. Croydon looks so lit up and you seem so far away, I like the effect. I had no idea London was built on Clay or that Croydon was known as Mini Manhatten, but then I’m a West country girl and only ventured to the big bad city for the airports.


    1. I’m delighted to hear you’ve learned a bit about the capital Debs! It did cross my mind the police might want to know what I was up to. As you can see, I got away with it.

    1. You and many, many others Sarah. I think people overlook the Borough because it is so far south. Glad you liked the backstory!

    1. This shot was taken just off the Purley Way and I was stood on what would once have been the airport but is now playing field. HOw do I know about the industrial untits etc? Well, I have previously hired storage space there and it;s near our closest Costco!

    1. No chance of seeing stars at all Tara. Once I made it back to Surrey, however, and looked to the sky, it was full of them. Shows what impact light pollution can have.

    1. The borough does receive a lot of negative publicity so plus sides like the skyline tend to be ignored. Maybe my photo will do that tiny bit to improve its profile??

  2. Your so looky to live near the capital. I’ve only ever been once for work so never got the chance to explore or take images. Nice image though. Now I bet on a clear still night when the river is calm the reflections here would be amazing.

    1. Alas the only river running through Croydon in the Wandle and that is nothing like the Thames. A stream in comparison. There is some good urban photography to be done in the Cronx though. I plan to go into the centre one night and see what I can do.

  3. Blimey who knew Croydon could look so beautiful. I used to go a lot for work and I definitely have never seen it like this!

    1. It is quite a good skyline, even if I say so myself. It could probably do with a few seconds less exposure time, but as you can possibly tell, i wasn’t in the mood for hanging around too long!

  4. Paul @ Topsy Turvy Tribe

    Great photo and hilarious story to go with it. Never realised the Croyden skyline was so impressive!

    1. I’m sure most people don’t appreciate Croydon has such a great Skyline. That’s partly why I had to share it, if I’m being honest.

    1. Alas Nigel, it was Croydon London, not Croydon, Melbourne! I did make it back okay, although there was a detail or two I left out of the blog post and I won’t be returning to the same spot late at night again!

  5. I think I’d have felt the same with expensive camera equipment. Great photo though. I only know Croydon for the industrial estate part that Superdrug HQ is (or was) on, as they were a client way back in my first graduate job.

  6. Sounds like it was quite an interesting experience getting this shot – glad both you and your camera equipment managed to get away unscathed! I was trying to work out what part of London this was – I wouldn’t have guessed it was Croydon though. Fascinating to read about Croydon not sitting on clay though and therefore not having the same building restrictions. I’ve learned something new today! 🙂

    1. Thanks Louise. As I say, that info is probably utterly useless to you….but you never know. It could prove useful!

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