In 1848 a railway line was built to extend the London and Southwestern line from its terminus in Vauxhall, south London, to the new station of Waterloo on the south bank of the Thames. Two miles of brick viaducts were constructed. Much property was swept away—this was one of the poorest parts of London—but the extension swerved to avoid the Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens, a gasworks and the grounds of Lambeth Palace. The viaducts have been in heavy use ever since. A couple of years ago I began making recordings in the area. I was particularly interested in the reverberant acoustics of the long, tunnel-like arches just outside Waterloo, which magnify the deep throbs of the trains as they run overhead. The powerful low frequencies reminded me of mid-1990s visits to a venue housed in arches at the Vauxhall end of the extension, where a reggae sound system used to play. The piece is part of a larger investigation of the sounds and architecture of this part of south London. It won't be at its best if heard through small computer speakers. No processing besides filtering has been applied.
Right-click to download MP3:"Viaducts"
Photography by Brian Marley.