Algernon newton

The beauty of gasholders

On 25 October 1960, a Boeing pilot aiming for Heathrow accidentally landed at an RAF base, only realising his error when the runway turned out to be alarmingly short. Disaster was averted, but the near-miss caused some embarrassment, and the minister of aviation had to answer questions in the House. What had confused the pilot, it emerged, was the advice from air traffic control to start his descent ‘in line with the gasholder’. He had picked the wrong one. Ever since, the gasholders near Heathrow and RAF Northolt have had painted on them, in 50ft-high letters, ‘LH’ and ‘NO’. There is a surprising amount of strange lore about these industrial

How Algernon Newton made great art out of empty streets and dingy canals

Quite late in life Walter Sickert paid his first visit to Peckham Rye. He was excited, apparently, because he had often heard about it but never actually been there. Evidently Sickert had a sense of London as an unknown city, full of potential. And he was far from being the only artist fascinated by the hidden recesses of this vast urban labyrinth. Algernon Newton, another case in point, was equally fascinated by unfashionable byways of the metropolis. For Sickert it was music halls and dingy bedrooms in Camden that seemed full of visual possibilities; for Newton it was terraced streets and urban water courses, their banks empty of people. Not