This is the latest post in a series I have been running giving a station by station guide to London. Today’s post will feature a measure of London Underground history, a bit of tennis and some music…
BARONS COURT – A MEETING OF TUBE AND SURFACE
Barons Court opened in 1906, as part of the original Piccadilly line section from Finsbury Park to Hammersmith. District line trains had been travelling the route since 1874 but there was no station at Barons Court before the Piccadilly line opened. The Piccadilly when it opened was either a compromise involving elements of three different plans or if you prefer a bodge job trying to combine elements of three different plans. Desmond F Croome’s “The Piccadilly Line: An Illustrated History” gives full details. Of relevance to our post, one of the roles that was subsumed into the making of the Piccadilly line was that of ‘deep level district’, easing congestion on the older subsurface level route. Thus, from South Kensington to Earls Court the Piccadilly follows the district, and from Barons Court, where the Piccadilly surfaces, it shares a set of four tracks with the district as far as Acton Town, and on the Heathrow branch as far as Hounslow West and the whole of the Uxbridge branch the platforms are at the compromise height used for platforms shared by ‘tube’ and ‘surface’ stock, as the district used to run these routes as well. A couple of pics between subsections…
Barons Court is the home of the Queens Club, host of the best known of all the Wimbledon warm up tournaments. For most of the year tennis is played on a variety of surface other than grass, and Queens gives men (it has no women’s section) a chance to get to used to both grass and London before the big one,
THE MUSICAL CONNECTION
Barons Court’s musical connection comes by way of St Pauls Girls School, just across the A4 from the station. For some years the Director of Music at that establishment was Gustav Holst, famous both as a composer and for collecting folk stories to serve as an inspiration for his composition. His best known work today is The Planets, which focuses on the attributes of the gods whose names the planets bear (yes I would wish for the focus to be astronomical rather than astrological/ mythological – but it is still excellent music).
CONCLUDING REMARKS AND PICTURE
I hope you have enjoyed this post and that you will be encouraged to share it. My final picture is of a Piccadilly line promotional poster…