Monday 28 November 2011

Platt's Eyot

Sunbury water works
Reaching Platt's Eyot involves walking through a strange landscape of gravel filter beds and the geometric buildings of the Sunbury water works. The spoil from the creation of the nearby Stain Hill Reservoirs was dumped onto the island at the turn of the 20th century, raising the height of the western end.
Platt's Eyot bridge
While I was photographing the bridge from the island's car park a man, named Neil, asked if I was interested in the island. He ended up showing me around the island and his own photographic studio where he had some amazing furniture designs on the go. I was surprised to find that there was no residential property, just industrial units of various shapes, sizes and states of repair. Thornycroft made Coastal Motor Boats here for the First World War – a fast ship designed to skim over minefields and release torpedoes. Nowadays, Neil said, most of the units are used by artists, musicians and designers of one kind or another.

A private but friendly island
Crossing the bridge to Platt's Eyot
The east end of Platt's Eyot
The west end of Platt's Eyot
Spice Girls studio?
One of Neil's stories involved this old brick building by the island's bridge. Apparently The Spice Girls recorded some early tracks within these walls and the young owners of the studio retired very early on a healthy £5 million payout! 

Current incumbents of Platt's Eyot
Industrial hanger on Platt's Eyot
This pleasant, creative state of affairs may not last too much longer though. Planning permission has been sought twice in the last decade by the owners for a huge development of housing and offices. Judging from the other islands along this stretch of water, it's surely only a matter of time before they get their wish.

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