The Petrol Station Series 3: It’s a Wrap and A Very Huge Sigh of Relief!!

Note: Mention of harassment, just an advance warning

Friday 28th February, the last day of the month and also the last night of shooting The Petrol Station Series. I was back in Croydon again, but finished in South Norwood. Thankfully four stops for the finale.

First stop was BP on Shirley Road in Croydon. A little far out from the town centre by bus, passing through Addiscombe. Once I got to the petrol station and got my camera out, I was met by a guy (who happened to be sitting next to me on the same bus). He asked if I was a photographer, to which I replied yes and briefly explained I was shooting petrol stations, however things turned a bit weird after he said he was interested in me and said ‘lived around the corner’. I told him firmly I wasn’t interested in him and to leave me alone. Then in panic mode hoping he would go away, I ran to the petrol station but he was soon following me. I went straight up to a staff member on the shop floor and told him I was being followed. So the kind staff member took me to the back, that was the warehouse, and he checked if the creep was on the shop floor or lurking around outside. I waited a few minutes until I was confident to see if the coast was clear, so I could take the photo of BP. It was quite scary, to be honest and I was glad that it didn’t escalate. I did thank BP, also an M&S Simply Food publicly over on my Twitter afterwards.

BP – Shirley Road, Croydon

Second stop also on Shirley Road was Tesco Esso, a ten minute walk from BP. I was constantly looking over my shoulder and walking at a fast pace, checking if the creepy guy was following me again but he was nowhere to be seen. It was a quick snap from an angle, capturing all three cars at the pumps in perfect harmony.

Tesco Esso – Shirley Road, Croydon

The next stop was Shell on Portland Road in South Norwood, which was a short bus ride to get there. It is located on the high street, surrounded by various shops, restaurants, a dental practice and Citizens Advice bureau. Norwood Junction Overground Station is even nearby, where I would go from to return back home after the next stop.

Shell – Portland Road, South Norwood

The last and final petrol station of the night was BP on South Norwood Hill. A walk up from the previous stop, not even a mile away. I shot the station from the side on Holmesdale Road, in a similar style with an Esso on Brighton Road earlier that week.

BP – South Norwood Hill

Click. The last exposure. Then the film began unwinding from 38 to E on the camera. It had been an absolutely adventurous couple of weeks – trekking around South London during the cold and sometimes wet nights.

As usual, thank you everyone for the support and kindness throughout this series!! I apologise for posts coming in a little later than usual for the last few weeks. I have been juggling work and my personal life quite a lot, especially during recent times.

That’s it. Third Series is a wrap and I am glad it is finally over!!

Take care and stay safe

The Petrol Station Series 3: Beyond Balham

Thursday 27th February, the penultimate night started from Balham with it ending in Pimlico. I shot four petrol stations that evening in three different areas, a perfect way to almost close the series.

The first stop was Sainsbury’s Local on Nightingale Lane in Balham, a five minute walk from Clapham South Tube Station, where I came straight from home via Angel Station; not from Brixton this time round! This Sainsbury’s also has a small supermarket similar to Tesco Express and M&S Simply Food. The petrol station is close to Clapham Common, quite a big park in the middle of South London, also on the other side of the park is BP on North Side, where I went to a week before. Worth noting that I was originally meant to shoot both BP and Sainsbury’s on the same night, however my plans changed a couple weeks prior to make my journey easier.

Sainsbury’s Local – Nightingale Lane, Balham

Next stop was Shell on Balham Hill. I walked there from Sainbury’s, passed the Tube station and crossed the road. The petrol station is on the main high road and it was easy to find. This Shell has it all: a car wash on site, Costa Coffee, plus a Burger King with the drive thru starting from the side of the station next to the kiosk!

Shell – Balham Hill

Third stop was Applegreen in Eccles Court down Kennington, heading towards Vauxhall. I had taken a bus straight from Balham, then walked for a good ten minutes from Oval through a few backstreets. This was the third Applegreen I had shot, with the previous one of this series being in Camberwell, and the very first one in Streatham when I began the first series last summer. I don’t know if Applegreen is a ‘South London thing’ like Morley’s – both a department store and chicken shop (not all in one place!). I haven’t seen any anywhere else so far, including East or North London. This particular stop has a Gregg’s bakery which is inside, something I never seen before.

Applegreen – Eccles Court, Kennington Lane

Last petrol station of the night was BP on Vauxhall Bridge Road in Pimlico. I walked it there from Applegreen rather than take a bus, a straight twenty minute walk on Vauxhall Bridge heading towards Victoria. This stop is quite unique in terms of design: there are residential apartments above, even some surrounding. This BP has a typical petrol station layout despite it missing a roof which would have been impossible to do due to the apartments and planning.

BP – Vauxhall Bridge Road, Pimlico

My night ended there, so it was time to get back home by Tube. Took less than an hour, thank goodness as it was getting late and a little bit cold.

The series would finally wrap up the next day, on the last day of the month. A perfect way to bow out after all this hard work for the last few weeks.

Take care and stay safe

The Petrol Station Series 3: Croydon Chronicles

NOTE: Apologies for the late delay in posting. I didn’t write the entry up until the very last minute. I was hoping to get it done and published as soon as possible on either Saturday or Sunday. I hope you enjoy!

Tuesday 25th February, I was back in Croydon again. I think I had been through Croydon more times than the Apollo 8 going around the moon! Thankfully, I was only shooting four petrol stations in the area, which was a reasonable distance from each other.

There are two petrol stations on Brighton Road in South Croydon. First one was Esso, also known as MFG Whitgift – quite fitting as the Whitgift Centre is a mile away down the town centre. Although Esso is on Brighton Road, I shot it from the side on Haling Road. Close to the station, there is a Volvo car dealership on the opposite side, and a car repairs literally yards away.

Esso – Brighton Road, Croydon

The second stop was Shell, on the same road but a ten minute walk away not even a mile apart. This stop is surrounded by a high road full of fast food places, restaurants and even a pub!

Shell – Brighton Road, Croydon

Third station of the night was another Shell (surprise, surprise) on Whitehorse Road. It was a bus ride to get there, which is down the other side of Croydon and even passed the town centre again!

Shell – Whitehorse Road, Croydon

The fourth and final stop was Esso (yes, another one!) on Lower Addiscombe Road. Not far from the previous stop, despite taking the bus there as it was late and cold. The station is actually in Addiscombe, still in the Croydon area; famous for its trams and supermodel Kate Moss, who hails from there. This Esso is also a Tesco Express, unlike the first one on Brighton Road. This stop has a few interesting surrounding ‘neighbours’ – from a Methodist church, a Scouts group, Chinese language school, business management consultancy to singing lessons.

Esso – Lower Addiscombe Road, Croydon

The night ended in Croydon, again. Now it was time to go return back to the East. I would return back there a couple days later to finish off the series once and for all.

Take care and stay safe

The Petrol Station Series 3: Lucky Lewisham

It was Monday 24th February, the last Monday of the month and the beginning of a new week. My evening was spent around Lewisham where I shot four petrol stations in the area.

My first stop was Tesco on Conington Road, next to the superstore and behind Lewisham DLR station. I had shot the stop from the empty car park, with the sky still a little bright despite it being early evening.

Tesco – Conington Road, Lewisham

The second stop was Esso on Loampit Vale, also a Tesco Express. It’s not too far from the first stop, which is walking distance, and close to the same DLR station.

Tesco Esso – Loampit Vale, Lewisham

The next station was BP on Lee High Road, in which I took the bus there. It had been a long while since going to Lewisham, but I can never forget Lee High Road. I remember buying my first Morley’s meal down there many years ago as a teenager; I think I had chicken and chips… Back to BP, this one also has a M&S Simply Food store (a smaller version of Marks and Spencers), something that is quite common to see at most BP branches.

BP – Lee High Road, Lewisham

My night in Lewisham was almost over when I went to the last petrol station, Shell on Lewisham High Street. Another bus ride and then a walk, from what I can remember. I think I walked through a park and a pathway near to the hospital, which happened to be opposite Shell!!

Shell – Lewisham High Street

My brief evening in Lewisham ended and I returned to the DLR station to go home, before going back made a quick stop at Canary Wharf for a hot chocolate run at Caffe Nero.

The week would go fast with the Series almost evening; I would go back to Croydon twice, go through Balham, and then face unwanted attention on my last night of shooting.

Blimey!

Take care and stay safe

The Petrol Station Series 3: Crawling Around Croydon

It was Saturday 22nd February, the fourth day of shooting the Petrol Station Series. That night I was in Croydon, however I would return back there twice the following week. Yes, there were so many petrol stations in Croydon that it was impossible to shoot them all in one night.

My first stop was Jet on Croydon Road, where there is a used car dealership next door. I was in Brixton for a darkroom session earlier that day and didn’t leave until 6pm. Originally I had considered taking the bus from there to Croydon, but the journey would have taken over an hour. Instead I took the Overground from Brixton to Penge East, then a ten minute walk to Jet. The train journey was half the duration than the bus.

Jet – Croydon Road

Afterwards, I went to Tesco on Croydon Road in Beckenham. Despite it being on the same road as Jet, I took the bus there. Tesco was situated nearby the superstore on an industrial estate off the roundabout. Just to note, Beckenham borders Croydon and is quite close by, despite it not being in the same borough.

Tesco – Croydon Road, Beckenham

Moving on swiftly was BP on Mitcham Road. I went back to Croydon proper, which was a bus ride away from the previous stop. Opposite this BP there is a Kwik Fit, a car repairs shop, and across the road there is a used car dealership called McCarthy Cars Croydon.

BP – Mitcham Road

The next stop was Esso on Purley Way. There are two on the same road, although I only shot one and had only discovered while researching for the series. According to Google this Esso is also known as ‘MFG Waddon Court’. MFG or Motor Fuel Group describes themselves as being ‘the largest independent forecourt operator in the UK’ on their website, where they operate many stations across the country such as BP, Shell, Esso and Jet, only to name a few.

Esso – Purley Way

The next stop was Sainsbury’s in Drury Crescent. This time this petrol station was right next to the superstore, where I went to buy a couple of Nakd bars and a drink. I needed some energy while on the road, especially when I last ate a few hours ago. Sainsbury’s is located in a huge retail park with surrounding shops like TK Maxx, Homesense and Hobbycraft.

Sainsbury’s – Drury Crescent, Croydon

I went to Asda in Wallington afterwards, which I walked there through a pathway. Mind you it was pitch black and I was careful not to trip over or get lost enroute. The station is next to the superstore, plus like many of them, this Asda is self-service where card payments are only accepted. This stop is also very close to the famous Ikea in Croydon which is a fifteen minute walk through the retail park.

Asda – Wallington

The final stop of the night was BP on Beddington Lane, literally across the road from Asda which I had no problem finding. This BP not only has their shop with a Costa Coffee, it also has a MOT repairs and a small car wash on the premises.

BP – Beddington Lane, Croydon

My time had almost concluded at another Esso (also a MFG chain) on Brighton Road in Croydon, sadly my phone battery went flat and I couldn’t get my Google Maps route there. So I had no choice to derail my plans and make my way to the nearest train station that would take me home. I would soon revisit Croydon in the next week, including the petrol station mentioned and others. I was already half way through shooting the series and was positive to get it completed sooner rather than later.

Take care and stay safe

The Petrol Station Series 3: When Everything Changes

It was the following week, Tuesday 18th February and I was in Brixton again but my stay at Photofusion was brief. I did manage to shoot around the area and beyond, despite there being a very last minute change along the way – all for good reason, which I will touch on a little later in the post.

First station of the night was Tesco Esso on Brixton Road in Brixton, of course. Just around the corner from Photofusion, also leading up to Oval and Elephant and Castle. I had almost forgotten about Tesco Esso’s existence until researching petrol stations around the South London area.

Tesco Esso – Brixton Road

The next stop was Jet on Hinton Road, not too far from Loughborough Junction Station and Coldharbour Lane. Unfortunately, once I got off the bus, it started raining so I had to juggle both my camera and umbrella. Jet was a five minute walk from the bus stop.

Jet – Hinton Road

Next stop was Applegreen in Camberwell. I took the bus there and it was still raining, even my trainers got soaked once I came off. This was the second Applegreen in South London I saw, the first in Streatham for the first series. I would eventually shoot another one in the third series in Eccles Court the following week.

Applegreen – Camberwell

The evening was going well after going to Tesco on Dunton Road in Bermondsey. Another supermarket petrol station, this time not an Esso but one with the namesake superstore nearby.

Tesco – Dunton Road, Bermondsey

Then I realised something: Old Kent Road was quite close. I looked at my list on my phone, then my Google Maps and thought to myself I could kill two birds with one stone if I went to the next stop on Old Kent Road, rather than the following week. At least get everything out of the way if altering my route.

Soon this would turn into a very long night out after the minor changes but was certainly worth it.

After Tesco, I went to Asda on Old Kent Road. Only a ten minute walk straight, I had to cross the road to go through the side road where the petrol station is located. Most Asda stations are self-service where they only accept card payments. The payment system is modern as many places like shops are taking more cashless transactions, not only from cards but from mobile smart phones and smart watches.

Asda – Old Kent Road

The sixth stop was Morrisons in Hanover Park, Peckham. This station was originally meant to be the last stop of the night before the last minute detour, which I am glad I went there after Asda. It made the bus journey less stressful and was completely straight forward without any changes. Like Tesco in Bermondsey and Old Kent Road’s Asda petrol stations, Morrisons also has a superstore located literally yards away.

Morrisons – Hanover Park, Peckham

The last three petrol stations were around the Clapham area. I took the Overground train from Peckham Rye to Clapham Junction, thankfully not a long ride but it was getting late and not for long it would rain again.

BP is located in Clapham Common North Side opposite Clapham Common park. A bit of a walk from the station to get there, although not too complicated to find. This was possibly the smallest BP I had seen so far. It has the little corner shop feel rather than a place to pump petrol in your car.

BP – Clapham Common North Side

The next stop was Texaco on Wandsworth Road, Nine Elms. I decided to walk there rather than take the bus. I did stop raining for a short while, I think. I went through backstreets and the main road to get to Texaco. I shot the stop from the outside entrance with the sign saying ‘Welcome’, with the person in front adding ‘character’ to the photo. Something a little different for this series.

Texaco – Wandsworth Road, Nine Elms

The last station of the night was Shell on Queenstown Road, Nine Elms, which is opposite Battersea Park and near to the famous Battersea Power Station. I took the photo from across the road next to the traffic lights and roundabout.

Shell – Queenstown Road, Nine Elms

The third night ended there as it was raining buckets. I got caught up again until I managed to get on the bus!!

Take care and stay safe

The Petrol Station Series 3: Two For Tuesday

It was Tuesday 11th February, I was down in Brixton again, this time for my evening darkroom session at Photofusion, however I went out for a bit to shoot a couple petrol stations on London Road. What I had initially thought would be a ‘brief’ trip, turned into an hour bus ride there and back on a cold February night.

The two stations on London Road were Harvest Energy and Tesco, ten minutes apart from each other walking distance. Although on the same road, they are in two different areas and even have different postcodes.

Harvest Energy is in Norbury, neighbouring Streatham which is over a mile away. This was the third Harvest I had shot since starting the project from last year; one in Finsbury Park and the second in Leytonstone both from the first series.

Harvest Energy – London Road, Norbury

The second and last stop was Tesco in Thornton Heath, which is in the Croydon borough. Although recently there has been some debate online on what part of South London Croydon is in. The Tesco station is less than a mile away from the previous stop, just a straight walk up on the same side of the road.

Tesco – London Road, Thornton Heath

My not-so-brief journey ended there, so it was time to head back to Photofusion where I had a delicious vegan pizza waiting for me. Spoiler alert: it was quite warm once I arrived back!!

Take care and stay safe

The Petrol Station Series 3: Down and Up The Hill

The third series began on Saturday 8th February 2020 in Brixton when I loaded an expired roll of Kodak Tmax 3200 into my Olympus Mju 1. From there my photographic journey officially started.

My first stop was Esso in Tulse Hill, which isn’t far from Brixton. I originally wanted to take the bus from Brixton to the petrol station, however I decided to walk there instead. It took at least twenty minutes, plus I went through a few back streets on my way. Luckily, it was early evening around 6pm, so the sky didn’t go completely dark just yet.

Esso – Tulse Hill

The next stop was Texaco on Norwood Road in West Norwood. It was my first time going to West Norwood, and I took the bus straight from Tulse Hill. Like the previous station, this Texaco is quite big however it was near empty at the time of shooting. This would appear to be a recurring theme for the next few stations throughout the series.

Texaco – Norwood Road, West Norwood

Walking up to the third stop was another Texaco on Knight’s Hill, still in West Norwood and less than a mile away from the previous Texaco.

Texaco – Knight’s Hill, West Norwood

The last petrol station of the night was Esso on Leigham Court Road in Streatham. This stop is near Applegreens and Esso off Brixton Hill; I shot these two stations for the first series last summer. I had originally planned to shoot this stop when I started the series, but it didn’t make the last minute cut.

Esso – Leigham Court Road, Streatham

My first night in South London was over, not for too long when I would return back the following week!!

Take care and stay safe

The Petrol Station Series 3: Third Is a Charm

It has finally landed – the third instalment of the Petrol Station Series!

For the third series I went down to South London (or ‘Sarf London’ as I like to call it) to shoot many petrol stations, which I began from Saturday 8th February through to Friday 28th February 2020, with eight days of those two weeks shooting. I went travelling through Tulse Hill, Streatham, Peckham, Clapham and even went to Croydon a few times than I should, mostly in the evening. Also I went to a few places I had never been before.

Planning began late last year around the time I was shooting the second series. There were many last minute changes along the way, quite literally even I had to make a few tweaks on the road. It didn’t impact the project overall, just my routes made some detours.

Like the previous two series, my camera of choice was an Olympus Mju 1. This time my chosen film was a roll of Kodak Tmax 3200, that expired in January of this year, and I wanted to go black and white. I had shot Tmax 3200 before, for the first time on a Canon compact camera where I was quite satisfied with the results and even wrote about it here for my Tried and Tested Thursday feature.

With this series I will be posting entries twice a week: Tuesdays and Saturdays, although there might some days I might miss however I will post it on another day. Unlike some of the previous series posts where I would go in depth, I might do some entries as photo essays due to the amount of stations I had shot per day. There were a couple of occasions, I had shot eight in one night. It would be better to do a summary with useful or relevant information, which I will try my best.

I will be posting the series over my Instagram at janninesphotos (if you haven’t, follow me). Alternatively you can follow the hashtags #petrolstationseries3, #petrolstationseriessarflondon or #petrolstationseries.

I’m very excited about the third series and finally unveiling it to everyone!! The first post will be from tomorrow!!

Take care and stay safe

The Petrol Station Series 2: Finally Finished!!

Sunday 10th November was the last night of shooting; four exposures left on my camera, it was finally time to end the series. After three weeks of trekking around parts of East and North London, I finished this chapter by going down memory lane to Beckton, where my old university is and where I had spent a great amount of time there. It was an evening mixed with old faces, nostalgia and memories.

The first stop was BP in Canning Town, located on Newham Way which is the A13. It did take me a long while to get there by bus, although I was coming through Stratford, and I had to walk for quite a bit. The petrol station wasn’t near the tube or DLR station. I had taken the shot from the side, capturing the traffic lights plus I managed to get the car wash in the frame which is on the left in the corner. It was early evening when I got to BP, the sky was dark indigo but  would soon gradually go dark afterwards.

BP – Canning Town

The next stop was Asda on Tollgate Road in Beckton. Many Asda petrol stations are self service, where card payments are only accepted. The Asda supermarket is just yards away near the car park. I happen to know this area very well since my old university is quite close by. During my time as a student, I would hang out with friends around the area and often go to Asda to do some shopping, sometimes food or alcohol. It had been years since I was last in Beckton and it looked pretty much the same…

Asda – Tollgate Road, Beckton

The third stop was Sainsburys in Beckton, over a mile away from Asda. The station is on Claps Gate Lane in Beckton Triangle Retail Park, with the supermarket nearby.

Sainsburys – Beckton Triangle

The fourth and final stop was Tesco in Armada Way, Gallions Reach. Less than a mile away from Sainsburys and also Asda. The lights in the sign were broken, so it only showed ‘Co Extra’! Gallions Reach is a retail park, similar to Beckton Triangle. During my uni days I would go there almost all the time – night and day with friends. We would go to the massive Tesco for a wander or shop, or have a McDonalds for either lunch or dinner. It was pitch black at this point and I highly doubted the shops would be open around the time I was there.

Tesco – Armada Way, Gallions Reach

Once I pressed the shutter of my last petrol station, I sighed with relief and joy. After hearing the film unwind, after three weeks of hard work and travelling around, the hard work finally paid off. Thirty six petrol stations later, I finally completed the second series!

I would like to thank everyone for supporting me throughout this project and my photography. As usual, I very much appreciate the love and kindness!!

It has been a mission but certainly worth it!!

To end on a high, I am happy to announce the third part of the Petrol Station Series will begin from next month. I am very excited about it!!

So stay tuned, take care and stay safe!!