We weren’t even really meant to be in the Leake Street Tunnel on Saturday. Heck before we arrived I hadn’t heard of it, despite it being under the train tracks at Waterloo, our point of arrival into London whenever we travel by train.
We arrived there as part of a group taking part in a “night photography tour of London” trip that I had booked through Red Letter Days for Mr B’s Christmas present (sneaky that, booking it for two people don’t you think, so I could learn too. Shhh I don’t think Mr B realised that), having started over the bridge in Westminster. It was fascinating learning what our cameras could do when you took them off automatic mode and started playing with the manual settings. Adjusting the ISO, shutter speed and F numbers was a very steep learning curve for me, and I am not sure how much I can remember at all but I will share the other pics in another post.
Katrina, our guide, brought us to the Leake Street Tunnel as a bit of a bonus as there is scaffolding all over the tower that houses Big Ben and so photographs of that in the dark are sadly lacking. Feeling that she wanted to compensate in some way, Katrina led us past the London Eye where we turned immediately right and into what is known as London’s graffiti tunnel.
I get really excited by street art, and have written about it before (Shoreditch Street Art) , but I have never thought to photograph it in the dark so as soon as Katrina mentioned heading down there from the Southbank I squealed a bit.
I should say here that if you had asked me if I wanted to go into a tunnel under a train station, in the dark, at 9pm I would have asked if you were mad. I would have been nervous and really reluctant to go anywhere near it if I am honest. Which would have been a great shame as it is really great place to hang out for an hour. Busy, there were people spraying pictures, lad on bikes, and what looked like a party in full swing at the far end it was buzzing and not for one second did I feel intimidated or scared.
If you are into your street art, or want a place to try out the manual settings on your camera to take some night shots, I really recommend heading down there.
The tunnel (also known as the Banksy tunnel) was set up as part of the Can’s Festival in 2008, with grafitti being tolerated on the walls. When the Eurostar operated out of Waterloo the tunnel was owned by Eurostar and was still a road, but when they vacated the ownership of the road changed to Network Rail and it became pedestrianised.
These photos don’t really do the tunnel and the art work justice to be honest, as I say, it was my first time shooting on manual and I really had no idea what I was doing. But now I know the space is there we will definitely be back!