I called this page 'Eyesores' and started off with examples of rubbish dumped where it (probably) shouldn't be, or abandoned shopping trolleys in interesting places. I had the intention of extending it to other unattractive sights around town if anyone contributed suitable material but that has never happened.
For many years the council operated a 'special collection service' for bulky waste and it always used to be free for the first few items (though this may have changed now, if indeed the service still exists). So it did make one wonder why anyone would go to the trouble to transport mattresses around to dump when they could just phone the council and have them collected (or indeed just take them to the dump if they were already in cars or vans).
I should point out that I am not making any association between the locations shown and those who might live near to them. I am also not specifically picking on these locations. They are just those that I have passed with a camera in hand in the past. The situation today may be completely different.
Sadly one almost expects waterways to have assorted junk in them and Salmon's Brook is no exception. The stretch just east of Latymer Road is particularly accessible. There is usually some form of litter floating there which is frustrating but sometimes you get to see more. A particularly bizarre sight some years back was an armchair neatly positioned upright in mid-stream. Perhaps the most annoying was what appeared to be several hundred copies of some junk mail leaflet or other. I don't mind not getting the stuff but if they are going to be thrown away couldn't they be slung neatly in a bin? In September 2003 I came across the inevitable shopping trolley. It was only a matter of time. Just to prove it wasn't a fluke another one appeared in April 2004 with a couple of balls to keep it company.
There is rather a pleasant stretch of brook running behind the houses in Balham Road and heading towards the culvert under The Green. On the whole I feel the addition in March 2004 of what I believe is an ironing board does nothing for it.
Further downstream, some effort has been made to make the stretch between Plevna Road and Montagu Road a more pleasant space. Sadly the southern bank doesn't seem to get maintained as the northern bank and the footpath does so you see plenty of wind blown litter and the odd car tyre. In February 2004 I came aross a rotting mattress in the brook itself. This wasn't surprising as I spotted about five mattresses in less than an hour that day.
While on the waterways theme I have permitted myself to drift out into Upper Edmonton and the corner of Pymmes Park where Pymmes Brook emerges from under the North Circular Road before disappearing under Victoria Road. Here a shopping trolley put in an unwelcome but not unsurprising appearance and it looks like there is another trolley of some sort on the bank too.
Inevitably Winchester Road is going to feature on this page. It might not be the scruffiest road in town but if it isn't it is right up there challenging.
The photo on the left shows an accumulation of rubbish on the site of the old petrol station on the junction with Glastonbury Road (and more latterly a car wash that turned out to be operating illegally as the site only had residential planning permission). I wouldn't normally want to comment on private property here but I feel an exception can be made in this case as the site wasn't in use and it seems likely that the public contributed to the mess. Since taking the photo in February 2004 the site was first boarded up and then a block of flats was constructed.
The above is just a Johnny come lately entry into the rubbish stakes. If you want to see how it should be done by a veteran performer you need the footpath that runs on top of Salmon's Brook across Winchester and Chichester Roads. The abandoned stub of footpath west of Winchester Road ended in a complete mess for many years but seems to have been cleared up since the culvert works in 2003. For sheer variety and creativity it palled into insignificance compared to the stretch joining Winchester and Chichester Roads. Dramatic improvements to collection of such illegally dumped rubbish mean that the displays are now more transient and instead of lasting a week or two may last only hours, but it is still rare to find the cupboard bare. Sadly though it is not at all rare to find a cupboard, or indeed beds, trolleys, televisions, clothes, and assorted other items of furniture and electical goods. The photo on the left above shows a particularly artistic arrangement from February 2004 and is followed by a less adventurous effort from March. The next two photos date from the same day at the end of March and show the sort of sights that can be seen in many other places around town as household refuse bags are scavenged.
Just to prove it is still in form, here is the more interesting of two shopping trolleys to be found on the path in late May 2004 and two particularly good efforts on the same day in June. These are followed by a truly impressive show from the end of July. Improbable as it may seem, this wonderful assortment was joined by even more over the next few days.
The footpath remains on fine form. The above effort from early September was very impressive and it isn't done justice by the photo. It built up over a few days starting with the fridge-freezer and one of the televisions but the addition of no less than five bike frames was the icing on the cake. One bike frame would have been unusual, five was impressive. There weren't any wheels, just the frames, though one wheel did put in an appearance the next week.
A couple more wheels did appear in October along with a vacuum cleaner, a microwave and assorted other treasures. You can't see the microwave in the photo as it is hidden under the sofa, or should I say the three piece suite? Yes, I should, as the two matching armchairs were there too.
They say that 'form is temporary, class is permanent' and after a spell of comparitive mediocrity in the rubbish stakes, the footpath came up trumps with a magnicent display of trolley art in late January. Someone really did throw in the kitchen sink with this one.
It is quite possible that I have several other photos of this path in my collection that I have yet to add to the site, but what I did find is one from June 2006.
For some years the footpath above was seriously challenged by the south end of Winchester Road outside Lambs Close which was normally at best messy, and at worst quite disgraceful. It may well be that some of the rubbish found there was supposed to be left there for collection, but the sign threatening large fines and/or imprisonment suggests that more often than not it wasn't. The mattresses piled up underneath the sign made for an irresistable photo opportunity in February 2004. Incredibly the photo next to it was taken two days later. A later effort was more modest but quite amusing.
A few years back, before a change in council triggered a change in attitude, I remember seeing an old mattress lying around here for several days during which there was much heavy rain. So I was somewhat surprised to later see someone walking along the road carrying the mattress over their head like it was a prized trophy.
The rubbish problem here has now been dealt with to some extent.
The southern end of Chichester Road where it meets Ruskin Walk has also been quite a popular congregating point for rubbish at times and again one assumes it isn't supposed to be there. The single bed above had been there a couple of days and was standing on its end at one stage. I am wondering if it was the same bed I saw on the corner of Durham Road several days previously.
Another favourite haunt is the private parking area on Ruskin Walk. Again I assume that it is the public at large contributing to the mess. Steps do seem to have been taken to deal with this problem area too.
Just to show I'm not concentrating too much on one area, here is an effort from elsewhere. This is the green space on the east of the railway station and Bridge Road is just behind the wall with the footpath off camera to the left. Not the greatest photo in the world but it serves the purpose.