Copyright 2007-2012
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DRILL TOWERS

A memorial to the ten fire stations closed in the mid 2010s by Boris Johnson during his mayorship of London. Of the ten London fire stations closed at least five were of the older early 19th century redbrick variety which are all now being redeveloped as luxury private apartments.

Drill towers, incorporating practice staircases, are located in most 20th century London fire station yards. Many of them were built in a similar era which parallels the design, rise and construction of social housing in the UK. They are incongruous secular towers watching over housing projects and high streets. The fire station practice staircases escape the internal structural logistics of towers, eschewing the panoptic, the sentinel, the defensive and the grandiose. The height does not depend on the size of the domain that they command, the top is no vantage point and the architectural style simply mimics the stairs of the homes they hope to save. They are the antithesis to the structural economics that led to their demise.

The final project consists of nine acrylic paintings. Five of the nine fire station drill towers in this project were decommissioned and four still stand. These images were photographed on film on a 60-year-old Roleicord mechanical camera. The black and white prints were sent to the Haitian artist and sign-painter, Michel Lafleur, who recreates them in acrylic on canvas with little knowledge of the grimmer monotone palette of London’s streets.

https://www.leahgordon.co.uk:443/files/gimgs/th-41_RESIZE_BOW_REDJI.jpg
Bow Fire Station
https://www.leahgordon.co.uk:443/files/gimgs/th-41_RESIZE_PECKHAM_DSC_2635_V1_SPOTTED_ROUGH EDIT_LOW.jpg
Peckham Fire Station
https://www.leahgordon.co.uk:443/files/gimgs/th-41_RESIZE_KINGSLAND_FIRESTATIONS 1.jpg
Kingsland Road Fire Station
https://www.leahgordon.co.uk:443/files/gimgs/th-41_RESIZE_CHURCH_ST_DSC_2634_V1_SPOTTED_ROUGH EDIT PERSP.jpg
Stoke Newington Fire Station
https://www.leahgordon.co.uk:443/files/gimgs/th-41_RESIZE_SHADWELL_MICHEL LAFLEUR.jpg
Shadwell Fire Station
https://www.leahgordon.co.uk:443/files/gimgs/th-41_RESIZE_FIRESTATIONS 3.jpg
Silvertown Fire Station
https://www.leahgordon.co.uk:443/files/gimgs/th-41_RESIZE_CLERKENWELL_REDJI.jpg
Clerkenwell Fire Station
https://www.leahgordon.co.uk:443/files/gimgs/th-41_RESIZE_OLD ST_Michel_CROP.jpg
Old Street Fire Station
https://www.leahgordon.co.uk:443/files/gimgs/th-41_RESIZE_DOWNHAM_REDJI_.jpg
Downham Fire Station