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106 MIN READ TIME

UNDERNEATH THE ARCHES

WORDS JESSICA COLE @coleywole PHOTOGRAPHS ISSY CROKER @issycroker

In vaulted spaces once used chiefy as storage units and garages, a revolution is afoot: a new generation of makers, producers and creatives has brought fresh life to neighbourhoods below the tracks.

Through the first half of the 19th century, Brunel and his contemporaries transformed the landscape of Britain with a web of hulking railways, bridges and tunnels. In London, great brickwork viaducts built to carry steam engines cut paths above the city’s streets. The infrastructure would inadvertently bestow a secondary gift upon the city. Nearly two centuries on, the railways’ negative spaces – once nothing more than gaps between ground and brickwork – have provided opportunity for London to grow. It is arguably the ultimate of upcycling projects: from nothing into an ever-evolving something, a legacy surely worthy of its pioneering heritage.

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September 2017
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