Grenfell Tower: The views before the tragedy


 

View of Grenfell Tower from Trellick Tower 2009

 

No one will ever forget the tragic events of two years ago at Grenfell Tower. The images of the burning tower are seared indelibly into the nations mind. It was a national tragedy, a human disaster and as we came to realise quite quickly, nothing short of a callous politcal scandal. 

Whilst we take time today to remember, I thought I would offer an alternative memorial. I spent 6 years making periodic visits to Grenfell Tower and as we mourn the terrible loss of life, I share these words and images to also commemorate some moments of beauty that occurred there before the tragedy. 

Grenfell Tower was a place I personally visited to seek happiness and inspiration. It had a wonderful view and as a block densely populated with families, the lifts were always buzzing with people of all ages and races. In the days that followed the disaster, memories of the conversations I had with residents there and the faces of the children I joked with kept playing over and over in my mind.

I felt helpless as we all did. Wondering whether or not those faces made it out alive and if they did, whether they would ever overcome the trauma. The only thing I could think of doing was to help with the fundraising by selling off photos captured from Grenfell. The generosity of the public response was truly overwhelming and over £4000 was raised in just a couple of days. 

Nevertheless, the feeling utter helplessness lives on.  I'm not sure how I feel about doing this in all honesty but my reason is a simple one. There were moments of beauty there that I witnessed and the thought that some of the residents were also enjoying it at the same time helped me feel connection to those souls whose home I had visited to do my work.

So please, just consider this collection as a tribute to the serenity that some Grenfell residents may have been feeling whilst gazing out the window at that time and others. Although the fate of Grenfell's residents was sealed by the criminal mismanagement of the block, whilst it was home, there was undoubtedly times of peace and happiness too. 

The roof area in 2012 before refurbishment

Peering through the concrete apertures that crowned the roof. Brutalist architectural features considered ugly and in need of covering up. (This really makes me mad).

Frosty roof at dawn, January 2011

Misty dawn view looking east 2011

Battersea at sunrise 2011

Contrails at dawn 2011

Twilight view over the estate 2011

View towards Westfield 2011

Latimer road panoramic 2012

Trellick Tower on a winter's morning

The Westway 2012

The moon from Grenfell 2012

Clouds over Trellick Tower 2012

'Y' just Why?

Westway at night 2016

View towards Central London 2016

Incredible red sky at night, 2016

Panoramic summer's view east 2016

The 'have's' from the 'have not's'

The last shot I ever took from Grenfell. A feint and brief rainbow of hope, just before sunset. 

 

RIP to the 72 that died that tragic day. Sending thoughts of strength and love to everyone else who's lives were changed forever by the events of the tragedy.