Photos of London’s railways and train passengers are filling a camera shop at the moment, offering a look back at pre-Overground services. The link between the photos is that they’re all on stations that were once part of the unlamented Silverlink railway.

They’ve all been taken by London-based photographer Simon Wheatley, who has become known for his raw and intimate photographic portrayal of the city and its communities. The photos almost look as if they were taken in docklands in the 1980s prior to the arrival of Canary Wharf, but in fact, they are all barely 20 years old. They are from the millennium, before the Overground delivered its orange-coloured blessings on the inner edges of London.

Ranging all the way around the old North London Line, there are photos of the old North Woolwich station, Custom House before the station was rebuilt, all the way around the Kew, where you can see the concrete footbridge prior to its restoration.

The photos can be seen as a snapshot of the railway architecture of the past, but they’re much more than that. They’re really about the people using the railway. From school kids to the homeless, this is a look at the London of the not-that-distant past, but it feels ancient.

Even something as simple as the number of people smoking feels like another country, not London at the turn of the millennium.

The exhibition, Simon Wheatley – Silverlink is at the Leica Gallery on Duke Street, just around the corner from Bond Street tube station.

It’s open daily and is free to visit until 21st July 2024.

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5 comments
  1. NG says:

    Talk about nasty flashbacks & nightmares ….

  2. Michael says:

    I worked on the TfL transformation of what is now the Overground and indeed it was that bad (and in places even worse!)

  3. Andrew S says:

    While the station have indeed generally been improved, TfL aren’t faultless. The public toilets at Harrow & Wealdstone are out of service most of the time. On the rare occasions they are open, TfL’s eagerness to remove all trace of Silverlink has backfired; the paint used to cover Silverlink’s rather nice tiling is peeling off and hardly adds to the ambience of the prety grim loos!

  4. Tony Bowyer says:

    I remember trying to report a fishplate with 3!!! missing bolts at Highbury & Islington at the Railtrack office on Liverpool St station and the blonde bimbo saying it wasn’t there section!!

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