Yesterday was Heritage Open Day 2021, and this is my account of the day as I experienced it.
Heritage Open Day in King’s Lynn happens on the second Sunday in September (except last year when for reasons not needing elaboration it did not happen at all), which this year was yesterday. This post describes the day as I experienced it, and is rather longer than my usual posts.
THE BEGINNING: TUESDAY MARKET PLACE
There is a classic car show in the Tuesday Market Place in conjunction with Heritage Open Day, and viewed as the museum pieces that such contraptions should become some of the specimens are seriously impressive…
THE CUSTOM HOUSE
The first building I visited this time round was The Custom House, one of the two most iconic buildings in Lynn (The Townhall/ Guildhall is the other). They have an excellent little display upstairs, and it was well worth venturing indoors to see it…
THE RED MOUNT CHAPEL
A favourite of mine, standing on its own in the middle of an area of parkland, with the bandstand visible through the trees and the ruins of the Guanock Gate about 100 yards away. There are actually two chapels, the upper chapel and the lower chapel, and the thick walls and small windows that the outside of the building features are testament to the need to guard against religious persecution in earlier times…
THE JEWISH CEMETERY
This is near the top end of Millfleet, and most of the year if one spots it one can glimspe through the gate and see some of it. It was fully open for Heritage Open Day, and with lots of extra information made available…
ST NICHOLAS CHAPEL
I know this place well, but was interested to see what might be happening there in Heritage Open Day, and have no regrets about having ventured in.
VOLUNTEERING: HAMPTON COURT GARDEN
I was assigned the 2PM to 4PM shift at Hampton Court Garden, also referred to as the Secret Garden, because most of the time very few people are aware of it’s existence – the only clue from the street any time other than Heritage Open Day is a very ordinary looking navy blue door set into the wall, an even the passage providing direct access from the courtyard is one that you would only know as such if you had been told (the extreme lowness of the door into the garden that way means that it cannot be used on Heritage Open Day for Health and Safety reasons). There are at least three places called Hampton Court, the famous one in Surrey, another in Herefordshire, and this one (Wolsey’s former pad in Surrey is the parvenu of the three). This Hampton Court is named in honour of John Hampton who was responsible for the newest side of the courtyard, which actually made it a courtyard (even this, two centuries younger than anything else there, dates from the 17th century). He was a baker who made good use of being based at the heart of a town that was the third busiest port in England at the time – he specialized in ship’s biscuits, for which he had a captive market.
The part of Hampton Court visible from the garden dates from 1440 and started life as an arcade fronted warehouse facing directly onto the river (it is the last surviving example of such a frontage in England). The earliest part of Hampton Court dates from 1350, and the first expansion happened in 1400.
The warehouse lost its raison d’etre through two factors: ships got bigger, and the river silted up. A new quayside was constructed resulting in the relocation of the river to its current location fractionally east of Hampton Court, and this left the warehouse quite literally high and dry.
It was nearly lost forever in the mid 20th century, because in the 1930s Hampton Court was basically derelict. At one time the council intended to knock it down and replace it with a modern block of flats but then a very determined lady by the name of Mrs Lane came on the scene. She bought the place up bit by bit and renovation work started. From this the King’s Lynn Preservation Trust came into being, and they own the freehold on Hampton Court to this day, with the individual flats, which are all different from one another, being leasehold properties.
My chief responsibility in my stewarding role was take note of numbers of people coming to visit. These numbers were reassuringly high – by the end of the day the tally was in the region of 500 visitors, and there were many expression of surprise and delight from those to whom it was a new place.
These remaining photographs were taken at various places in and around town during the day but do not belong in any specific section…
This year’s Heritage Open Day (Sunday 16th September) came in the middle of a very busy period for me. I was scheduled to cover the Bank House for two hours, and imagined spending a bit of time both before and after that taking in the rest of the event. As it happened I was laid up for the whole of the Saturday with a bug, and still not completely recovered by the Sunday morning.
THE DAY ITSELF
Eventually, at just after 10:30AM, I set off to visit Hampton Court, reassure my aunt that I was well on the way to recovering and then make a fairly leisurely trip round to the Bank House. I took in an arts exhibition and made myself known to the photographers there. I also visited a solicitor’s office which is set in a Norman house. I arrived at the Bank House a bit early, and after reminding myself what the cellars looked like I spent a few minutes watching my predecessor handle things before I relieved him a little early because he was doing another session immediately afterwards. After two hours of what was basically a crowd control job (right in the slot for an autistic person – natch) I was quite tired, so after a brief visit to a club on Ferry Lane where I could consume some lqiuid refreshment while looking out over the river I went home to chill for a while before having supper with my aunt.
I will be giving the solicitor’s office a post to itself, and will also be giving the Bank House extended coverage, so this pictures are from elsewhere:
Continuing my account of Heritage Open Day 2017 with an account of the unique opportunity presented by the fact that 2 Hampton Court is currently being renovated.
This post continues my account of Heritage Open Day 2017, which started with an overview and continued with a post about my experience volunteering at 27 King Street. This post deals with an opportunity that was available for the first and probably last time this year. Having anticipated the effect that my two-hour volunteering stint was likely to have on me I had decided this warranted being seen before that.
SOME HISTORICAL BACKGROUND
A double sided A4 information sheet about some of the history of the place had been put together by Hendrina Ellis:
There is no connection between this Hampton Court and the famous Hampton Court in Surrey (there are in fact at least three places with this name, the other being in Herefordshire, and the one in Surrey is the newest of the three, being a touch under 500 years old).
2 HAMPTON COURT IN PICTURES
As well as the building itself there was a small exhibition about the history surrounding it. For the rest of this post my camera takes centre stage, giving you the chance to see what I managed to capture of this unique experience:
An overview of Heritage Open Day 2017 and the solution to a mathematical problem.
Yesterday was Heritage Open Day in KIng’s Lynn, and as readers of this blog will know I was one of the volunteers helping to run the event. This post is a scene setter, giving an overview and indicating which parts of the day I will be giving individual posts to later on. At the end of this post I will include the answer the puzzle I posed at the end of my previous post.
STARTING THE DAY
I was going be stewarding at 27 King Street from 12 until 2, and knowing that I would find that experience a draining one I decided to see a handful of places before 12. The first place I visited was the one I had marked down as “must see”, because it was probably the only time the opportunity would be there do so –
NO 2 HAMPTON COURT
This property being currently vacant and of considerable historic interest it was open, and within was a little local history exhibition as well as the place itself. I will be giving this a dedicated post, so here for the moment is a single picture to whet your appetite:
I decided to head for King Street by way of the river front, and between this property and the river front is…
THE SECRET GARDEN
I knew that my aunt would be running things in this garden, so a quick visit seemed in order.
The main attraction (especially as the cockling boat Baden Powell was absent) down at the river front was, as on previous occasions…
THE IFCA RESEARCH VESSEL
IFCA stands for Inshore Fisheries and Conservation Authority, and their remit is to insure that population levels of sea creatures living within six nautical miles of the shore do not decrease too dramatically. I will be creating a dedicated post about this, so I offer this picture as bait…
My plan on leaving this vessel was to…
PAY A PRELIMINARY VISIT TO 27 KING STREET
I deemed it sensible to familiarise myself with the building that I would be stewarding, so that was my next port of call. As I was at the river front I decided to go by way of the Lower Purfleet, where there was sure to be something interesting happening…
THE TUESDAY MARKET PLACE AND ENVIRONS
After my preliminary look around No 27 King Street I had half an hour to spare, so headed in the direction of the Tuesday Market Place. I paid calls at three buildings in that area, Bishop’s Lynn House, St Ann’s House and St Nicholas Chapel before heading back to no 27…
VOLUNTEERING AT 27 KING STREET
I arrived back at no 27 a few minutes early. My fellow steward for the 12PM to 2PM slot turned out to be veteran councillor Lesley Bambridge. As I will be writing a dedicated post about this I will say no more here. For a picture, here is a quirky architectural feature:
A CLUB ON FERRY LANE
After finishing at 27 King Street I made my next port of call the Ouse Amateur Sailing Club, where I consumed a pint. After that I decided it was time to call it a day as I was unsurprisingly feeling ‘peopled out’ – 27 King Street attracted a lot of visitors while I was there. Here is a picture taken while at the club:
There at least three areas of mathematical knowledge that would give you an ‘in’ to this one – logarithms, compound interest and Pascal’s triangle. Since I have some knowledge of all three this problem barely brought a crease to my brow. Here are a couple of good solutions from others:
The second solution I am sharing here had a particular appeal to me:
Just to finish, the exact power (in terms of positive integers) of 101 that is the the first to begin with a number other than 1 is 70, and 101 ^ 70 runs to 140 digits.
Official publicity for Heritage Day 2017 in King’s Lynn.
I have mentioned Heritage Open Day 2017 several times in this blog, including the fact that I will be stewarding at 11-13 King Street between 12 and 2PM. The official pamphlet for the event is now out, and with just less than two weeks to go I take this opportunity to share it with you.
Here is the map that is in the middle of the pamphlet, to help you orient yourselves:
THE PAMPHLET IN ORDER
This section shows the full pamphlet in all its glory:
A COUPLE OF CLOSE FOCUSES
The first place I havce chosen to focus on is Hampton Court, where my aunt lives:
A continuation oof my personal Heritage Open Day 2016 story which takes it up to lunch.
This is my second post about Heritage Open Day 2016. There will be one more covering my post lunch activities.
On leaving the London Road Methodist Chapel I walked through the parkland and past the train station to the edge of the bus station and the..
I took advantage of the fact that it being Heritage Open Day admission was free to have a look round this establishment. The trip round the museum starts with…
This is a circle of standing timbers revealed by a particularly low tide (the North Sea coast has been progressively moving west since the end of the last period of glaciation some 10,000 years ago, and a lot of land from even historic times is now below the surface, including the well known fishing grounds now called Dogger Bank) and ever since taking its place in the museum has been the prime exhibit…
The rest of the museum, although it plays second fiddle to Seahenge is by no means devoid of interest either…
After this museum I got an inside look at something I had witnessed being worked on from my own humble abode…
NEW BUILD ON BAKER LANE
This owes its presence on the Heritage Open Day roster to the fact that it is in a conservation area and therefore obliged to be in keeping with what is already there. The stairs by means of which my flat is accessed are directly across Baker Lane car park from this development. I was reasonably impressed by what I saw…
I next paid a brief call at the building on Queen Street (Baker Lane is a side street off Queen Street) where the Civic Society had set up shop, where my eye was caught by this tapestry map of Norfolk…
I saw three more places before breaking off for lunch…
ALMSHOUSES, A COLLEGE AND A SECRET GARDEN
The Victorian almshouses, which like the Baker Lane development are visible from my flat, allowed admission to the upstairs of the front of the building and to a courtyard..
The Great Hall at Thoresby College has something in common with Headingley cricket ground – looking up is better than looking down!
The secret garden mentioned in the header of this section is behind Hampton Court, where my aunt lives. The land-facing wall is an old warehouse frontage which back in the day (14th century) abutted directly on to the river so that cargoes could be offloaded direct into the building. Later, when the river had assumed its current position, about 50 yards west of the old warehouse the site of what is now the garden was a waste dump. There is one original door, which used to provide access to Summerfeld & Thomas.
My aunt had laid out some food on her kitchen table, for which I was very grateful. It was very good food too.
The third post in my series dedicated to heritage Open Day 2015 in King’s Lynn. This takes in a Napoleonic era militia, a 15th century construction and the present day work of the Eastern Inshore Fisheries and Conservation Authority.
Welcome to this, the third post in my series on Heritage Open Day, which took place a week ago today. We are covering a lot of ground today, starting with…
A NAPOLEONIC ERA MILITIA STRUTTING THEIR STUFF
As part of the efforts to protect Britain against invasion by Napoleon, militias were organised everywhere coastal ready to act if necessary. Norfolk had two, the West and East Norfolk militias, and although King’s Lynn is on the western edge of Norfolk, it was the East Norfolk Militia we saw in action. There was also someone dressed as a captured Frenchman – note the dark blue jacket. It would be fair to describe this particular militia unit as not being the best drilled you would ever see (actually I would not have been that surprised to see Baldrick or hear someone shouting “Don’t tell him Pike”).
Once we had seen this, we crossed the lower Purfleet on the bridge you can see in the picture above (after a brief diversion so I could show the others the Navigators display) and headed across King’s Staithe Square to the…
BANK HOUSE HOTEL
Who had opened up their cellars for the occasion…
Then it was down to the banks of the Great Ouse, not at ultra high tide, but neither with vast areas of mudflat on display, and a chance to learn about the work of the…
EASTERN INSHORE FISHERIES AND CONSERVATION AUTHORITY
and to look around one of their research vessels, which also meant a chance to get down on to the pontoon/jetty where visiting boats have mooring space…
After finishing here we decided it was time to see how my mother and aunt were faring at the…
This is the communal back garden of Hampton Court, and unlike the courtyard itself which anyone can look in on at any time it is rarely possible for ordinary members of the public to look at it. By the time we got there my aunt had been temporarily relieved by my mother, and clearly lots of folk had already visited. Part of the garden had been blocked off at the request of one particular resident, but not being able to venture there did not lessen the experience…
The Central Line gets the aspiblog treatment! Along the way a wide variety of attractions are mentioned, plenty of pictures are shown and past, present and one vision of the future are covered.
Welcome to the latest addition to the series of posts themed around public transport in London. Although the main theme is the Central line, there is going to be much more in the speculative section than usual for reasons that will become obvious.
The first proposals for a Central London Railway were made in 1892, and the CLR opened, running from Shepherd’s Bush to Bank, in 1900.
Early proposals for extensions to this line included turning it into a loop, with a smaller loop through Liverpool Street to the east of the main line (think Ptolemy’s epicycles!).
After this was rejected, there were two plans involving connections to Richmond…
Neither of these went through either. In the 1930s two proposals, both involving existing lines operated by mainline railway companies did ultimately lead to serious extensions (before these two were incorporated into the line it still only ran from Liverpool Street to Ealing Broadway)…
When Central line trains started running to West Ruislip in 1957, the line had taken the shape it would have until 1994, with the closure of the Ongar end of the line. More about this and the history of the line can be found in J. Graeme Bruce and Desmond F. Croome’s book “The Twopenny Tube” (named in honour of the Central London Railway’s original flat fare back in 1900).
Another sine qua non for anyone interested in the Central line is Danny Dorling’s “The 32 Stops”, which takes us on a journey from West Ruislip to Woodford (the section of line within Greater London), and is comfortably the best of Penguin’s 150th anniversary series (albeit not by as big a margin as the Parreno travesty in connection with Hammersmtih & City line is the worst).
As mentioned in my introduction, this going to be detailed, because between the western and eastern ends of the Central line and my ideas for the Hainault loop I pretty much have to go in to detail regarding my vision of a London Orbital Railway. To set the scene, my plans for the southern portion of the Hainault loop are an extended version of the plans for a Hackney-Chelsea line shown on this adapted 1994 Journey Planner…
Rather than this proposal, which abbreviates but does not eliminate the Wimbledon branch of the district, my plan puts the central and Hainault loop portions of that line into a longer, better integrated whole that runs from Woking to Chelmsford. As for the northern part of the loop, that will have to wait for a later post except to say that trains running that side of the loop would follow the new line from Hainault to Chelsmford and that the rest of the plan also involves the Victoria line.
THE LONDON ORBITAL RAILWAY
This is not to be a completely new route, but to utilise existing track where possible, and link up all the major rail networks around London. In this vein, the points selected to be the extremities of the system are all major railway stations on exisiting networks. These are Maidstone East (Southeastern corner), Woking (Southwestern corner), Oxford (Northwestern corner, selected for historical reasons and Chelmsford (Northeastern corner). Oxford is on a spur which connects to the true orbital part of the network at Rickmansworth, having passed through Brill, Aylesbury, Amersham and Chalfont & Latimer en route (see my Metropolitan line post for more detail). Southwards from Rickmansworth it travels to Northwood, Ruislip Common, West Ruislip, Ickenham, South Ruislip, Hillingdon, Uxbridge, Uxbridge Moor, Cowley, Little Britain, Yiewsley, West Drayton, Harmondsworth, Heathrow Terminals 1,2 and 3, Heathrow Terminal 4, Stanwell, Ashford (Surrey), Staines, Laleham, Chertsey, Addlestone, West Byfleet (from where there is a spur to Woking). East from West Byfleet, the line would run Weybridge, Hersham, Esher, Hinchley Wood, Hook, Chessington South, Ewell West, Cheam, Sutton, West Croydon, East Croydon, Addiscombe, Shirley, Spring Park, West Wickham, Hayes, Keston, Locksbottom, Farnborough (Kent), Green Street Green, Chelsfield, Well Hill, Lullingstone Park, Eynsford, Maplescombe, with a spur to West Kingsdown and Maidstone. North from Maplescombe the line would then proceed to Farningham, Horton Kirby, Farningham Road, Sutton-at-Hone, Darenth, Fleet Downs, New Town, Dartford, Joyce Green, Purfleet, Aveley, Wennington, Upminster, Emerson Park, Ardley Green, Harold Wood, Harold Hill, Noak Hill, St Vincents Hamlet, Great Baddow and Chelmsford. Finally, west from Chelmsford it would head to Ongar, Broxbourne, Hertford East, Hertford North, Welwyn Garden City, St Albans, Watford Junction and completing the circle at Rickmansworth (see my previous posts, “Watford and Watford Junction” and “The Great Anomaly” for more details on this connection). Ideally every London Underground line (except the Circle for the obvious reason and the Waterloo & City) would have a connection to somewhere on this orbital route as well.
THE WOKING TO CHELMSFORD LINE
The Hackney-Chelsea line as shown in the adapted 1994 journey planner takes over the southern half of the District line’s Wimbledon branch. If it took over the entire branch, with an interchange to the District at Earls Court I could see the logic, but I see little point in taking over half a branch. Thus, my proposal for a more logical and better integrated Hackney-Chelsea line runs as follows: Woking, West Byfleet, Walton-on-Thames, Hersham, Fieldcommon, Hampton Court (there are actually at least three locations with this title, one in the midlands, one in King’s Lynn, and this one which is the parvenu of the three), Teddington, Ham, Petersham, East Sheen, Barnes Bridge, Castelnau, Parsons Green, from which it would follow the original as far as Hainault.
From Hainault, this line would then run to Chigwell Row, Lambourne End, Stapleford Abbots, Navestock, Kelvedon Hatch, Doddinghurst, Loves Green, Great Baddow and Chelmsford.
POSSIBLE EXTENSIONS TO THE CENTRAL ITSELF
Although West Ruislip is itself on the orbital route, my plan in the interest of greater integration would see the Central line run alongside the orbital through Ruislip Common and Northwood to Rickmansworth (and possibly services on the orbital would skip the two intermediate stops). This would give the Central line direct interchanges to both the northern and western segments of the orbital at that end. The Ealing Broadway branch would be extended by taking over the Greenford branch from mainline railways, and then rather than terminating at Greenford, services via Ealing would run through to Rickmansworth (yes there is scope for confusion, but I still think it could be made to work). Finally, the eastern end of the line would lose the Hainault loop, but the Eppin-Ongar section would be reopened, and then a further extension of 11.4 miles would take the line to Chelmsford, thereby connecting to both the northern and eastern segments of the orbital. The map below shows the area through which such an extension would run:
As you can see, this would give the Central line connection to three of the four segments of the orbital. I also have an idea for completing the set, namely reviving the old project for a Richmond extension, diverging from the main line at Shepherds Bush and running as follows: Seven Stars Corner, Bedford Park, rising to the surface at Gunnersbury, running along current District tracks to Richmond, and then calling additionally at Twickenham, Hanworth, Sunbury, Upper Halliford, Shepperton, Lower Halliford, Oatlands Park, Weybridge, West Byfleet and Woking.
Having had a look at the history of the line, and also at a vision for future developments it is a time to change tack, and as with the posts about the Hammersmith and City, Piccadilly and Metropolitan lines we will now journey along the existing line.
We start our journey on the section of the line along which life expectancy falls by two months per minute of journey time (see the Dorling book):
The western point of the line, and the starting point for the longest continuous journey currently makeable on London Underground – 34.1 miles to Epping. The mainline railway from Marylebone calls at this station en route the High Wycombe, Banbury and Birmingham among other places, but although the railway snakes away into the distance the station has a fairly rural aspect. For more please see my previous post “West Ruislip and Ickenham”
The point at which the railway into Marylebone diverges from the Central line.
The northern terminus of a small branch line from Ealing, which as I have already indicated I see as being suitable for being subsumed into the Central line. As currently constituted the station, which is elevated, although not quite so dramatically as Alperton on the Piccadilly line has three platforms, two through platforms for the Central and a single terminal platform for the branch line. In my scheme this would become four platforms, all operated by the Central line. Greenford is also notable for the presence of the old Hoover building (now a Tesco superstore).
The last station on this branch before the joining point at North Acton, this area is chiefly notable for four words capable in conjunction of reducing any London based motorist to a quivering wreck: Hanger Lane Gyratory System (a very regular feature of traffic bulletins for those who listen to the radio):
Before we continue our journey eastwards, we have a small gap to fill (no branches ignored by this writer)…
The other western terminus of this line, a junction with the District and with mainline railways (although trains going that far do not call at Ealing Broadway this is the original Great Western Railway, along which trains travel to Penzance, West Wales (the divergence point between these two routes is at Bristol) and also up to Banbury via Oxford).
One of no fewer than seven stations in London to feature Acton as part of its name (the other two Actons on the Central, Acton Town on the District and Piccadilly, South Acton and Acton Central on London Overground and Acton Mainline on First Great Western), and the only other station besides Ealing Broadway on this branch.
The point at which, in our direction of travel, the Ealing and West Ruislip branches merge.
Although the stadium is long since gone, and built over, this was the site of London’s first Olympics in 1908. These games may well have saved the Olympics, because although the first modern Olympics at Athens in 1896 had been a great success, and the intercalated games of 1906 back at Athens almost equally so, the 1900 and 1904 games were both in differing ways epic fails. Paris 1900 represents the only occasion on which the Olympics have been in the shadow of another event (the Exposition Universelle) – to such an extent that some of the medal winners were not even aware of the significance of their achievement. As for St Louis 1904, a combination of absurdly long duration (in excess of three months), and the cost of travel for non-Americans meant that it was more like an inter-college tournament than an international event. Just to make things even worse, after the games proper were finished, the organisers staged what they called “Anthropological Games” (I leave this to your imagination!).
These games, centred on a stadium designed by Charles Perry specifically for the occasion (he also got the same gig for Stockholm 1912 – he must have been good), were tremendously successful. There were a couple of unsavoury incidents, the ‘Dorando Marathon’, where Dorando Pietri of Italy entered the stadium first, but on the point of collapse, was assisted by officials, and the Americans submitted a protest on behalf of the second athlete into the stadium, their own John Joseph Hayes, which was upheld. The other incident also involved American athletes, two of whom deliberately crowded Wyndham Halswelle (GB) in the mens 400m, causing a British judge to declare the race void and order a rerun, which the Americans refused to take part in.
Among the other medallists was J W H T Douglas (better known as a cricketer – those who saw him bat reckoned those initials stood for Johnny Won’t Hit Today) who won gold in the middleweight boxing.
The station at White City was originally called Wood Lane…
Having said a lot about White City, other than a brief pointer to my previous post “Notting Hill Gate” I am going to skip several stops before paying a call at…
This is first of a run of four stations served by the Central line that take you through London’s best known shopping area. Speakers Corner is a few minutes walk from this station.
Once upon a time this station had a frontage designed by Charles Holden, but that has long since gone, as the space directly above the station is now a shopping centre called West 1 (name taken directly from the postcode). Bond Street, currently served by the Central and Jubilee lines, is one of the places that will be served by East-West crossrail. Also, Bond Street is the local station for a well known classical music venue, Wigmore Hall…
One of the busiest stations on the entire network, there are interchanges with the Central and Bakerloo lines here. Also, in conjunction with Bond Street, and the Bakerloo line route from here to Piccadilly Circus, which follows the curve of Regent Street, this comes closest of any stretch of London Underground to including a complete set of monopoly board properties.
TOTTENHAM COURT ROAD
The last of the four station sequence along London’s two best known shopping streets, this station has undergone huge redevelopment…
I covered Holborn in “Project Piccadilly“, and Chancery Lane deserves only a brief mention for the fact that officially, “The City” starts here, which bring us to…
The current St Paul’s Cathedral, designed by Christopher Wren (there is stone in there with a message carved on it reading “If you seek my monument look all around you”), is the third on the site in its long history. St Pauls is also the closest station to the Museum of London through one window of which you can view a still standing section of the old walls of the Roman trading post Londinium.
The heart of “The City”. The Central was the third line to serve a Bank, following the Waterloo and City (opened 1898, the second oldest of the deep level tube lines), and the City & South London, extended here in anticipation of the opening of the Central in early 1900. There are escalators connecting the various lines at Bank (including the Docklands Light Railway) to Monument (District and Circle, opened 1884). This latter station takes its name from another Wren creation, which stands 202 feet tall and is precisely 202 feet from the spot where the Great Fire of London started in 1666.
Skating over Liverpool Street, we come next to…
Bethnal Green features in some of Edward Marston’s Railway Mysteries, as an area so forbidding that even the exceedingly tough Sergeant Leeming does not relish visiting it. Also, Bethnal Green is home to the Museum of Childhood, which is definitely well worth a visit.
Although there are some small sections of the Central that are in tunnel east of here, this is the last station in the continuous underground section that begins at Shepherd’s Bush. As mentioned in my Hammersmith and City line post the interchange here is a unique one.
As currently constituted this is the easternmost station on the Central to have an interchange to other lines (The Jubilee, Docklands Light Railway, London Overground, mainline local, national and international railways. This is where London 2012 took place, London following Athens (1896, the intercalated games of 1906 and 2004) in staging a third games (The USA including its disastrous first foray in 1904 has actually staged four summer Olympics – Los Angeles in 1932 and 1984 and Atlanta in 1996 being the others).
This is one of the not so exclusive club of places where Essex County Cricket Club have played home games (at one time they played regularly at eight different grounds, which one player likened to being permanently on tour). Charles Kortright, author of the single most devastating put down that W.G.Grace ever suffered: “Going already Doctor? But there’s still one stump standing” was born here. On one occasion his fiery fast bowling led spectators to debate whether in the event of his killing someone the correct charge would be manslaughter or murder.
This is the point at which the southern part of the Hainault loop diverges from the rest of the Central line, and before continuing our journey on the main route we are going to sample it.
WANSTEAD – FAIRLOP
Redbridge has the shallowest platforms of any fully enclosed London Undeground station, just 26 feet below the surface. Gants Hill and Newbury Park are notable for their external buildings – Gants Hill features a tower, while Newbury Park has a remarkable covered car park. Fairlop, reminding us that we are getting into open territory has a Country Park, Fairlop Waters.
Hainault Forest has been publicised for many years. I customised this replica of a promotional poster originally advertising a bus route to suit the modern era…
THE NORTH SECTION OF THE LOOP
Grange Hill was the setting a childrens TV Programme way back when (it was old when I was a child). Chigwell also has a TV pedigree – the hit comedy series Birds of a Feather was set there. Roding Valley is utterly undistinguished.
BACK TO THE MAIN LINE
South Woodford and Woodford are the last two stations covered in the Dorling book, and the story he tells comes full circle here, ending as it began, with someone who works in the Office for National Statistics.
Buckhurst Hill is of no great significance, and Loughton, with its splendid Great Eastern style station (this whole section from Stratford on was originally part of the Great Eastern railway) has already had the full post treatment from me. I will pass Debden and Theydon Bois swiftly, bringing us to our journey’s end at…
We are now at the northernmost station currently served by London Underground (the line from here to Ongar, which when I last visited could still be seen runs virtually due north, while my envisaged route to Chelmsford would then be going practically due east from Ongar). This end of the line, even having been cut back from Ongar, does feel very isolated, because one has to travel a fair distance before meeting an interchange, and with Epping-Ongar being run as a shuttle service rather than a through route, Ongar felt exceedingly isolated. This is why I envisage a through route to Chelmsford, the county town of Essex, with a connection to mainline railways, and my envisaged London Orbital Railway, which given the way that network has developed I now see as forming the outer boundary of an expanded London Overground.
MAPS AND ENDNOTES
First of all, my last couple of pictures, one from London Underground: A Diagrammatic History and one showing the modern day connections:
This journey through the Central line’s history, with more than a glance towards the future, and then a journey along the line as constituted has been great fun to write – I hope you find it as fun to read, and for those who have reached the terminating point of this great ride I have one final message…