A little bit more detail on my latest acquisition.
Those of you who read my post about James and Sons last auction of 2017 will recall that I secured a collection of copies of Acts of Parliament relating to the development of railways. I am now going to provide a little more detail about each item in that collection.
LOT 544 ACT BY ACT
I am going through these documents in the precise order in which I came across them when I photographed them individually on Friday, starting with…
FARNHAM AND ALTON
The section of line this refers to is a branch that diverges from the main line towards Basingstoke and Salisbury at Brookwood, calling at Ash Vale, Aldershot, Farnham, Bentley and Alton. These days there is also a side branch from Aldershot to Ash, Wanborough and Guildford.
This little branch, which is still very much in service today diverges from the main line at Surbiton and has only two further stations, Thames Ditton and Hampton Court. More information about Hampton Court itself can be found here. I cover a potential use for this branch as part of a greater whole in this post.
EGHAM AND CHERTSEY
This branch, which diverges from the Waterloo-Reading route at Virginia Water has stations at Chertsey, Addlestone and Weybridge, the last named of which offers an jinterchange to the main London-Portsmouth route. This branch, still very much in service, is a part of my envisioned London Orbital Railway.
ARRANGEMENTS WITH OTHER RAILWAY COMPANIES
Rather than dealing with specific infrastructure plans this one seeks to provide the London & South Western with powers to make arrangements with other railway companies. The necessity of bills of this nature, and the fact that on many occasions the companies concerned were at such loggerheads with each other as to be chiefly concerned with doing one another down rather than with providing the best possible service hints at serious weaknesses with having railways in private hands.
READING, GUILDFORD AND REIGATE
This is a substantial line, running in fact from Reading to Redhill, one stop beyond Reigate, and these days having a southern spour from Redhill to Gatwick Airport. There are intermediate stations at Earley, Winnersh Triangle, Winnersh, Wokingham, Crowthorne, Sandhurst, Blackwater, Farnborough North, North Camp, Ash, Guildford, Shalford, Chilworth, Gomshall, Dorking West, Dorking Deepdene and Betchworth.
This was a matter of gaining access to a major London terminus. Today London Bridge remains a very major station, with interchanges to London Underground’s Northern and Jubilee lines.
WHITCHURCH, ANDOVER & SALISBURY
This refers to the section of line that heads west from Basingstoke calling at Overton, Whitchurch, Andover, Grateley and Salisbury.
GUILDFORD, FAREHAM AND PORTSMOUTH
This covers half of the line between Portsmouth and Southampton on todays network and the stretch from Portsmouth to Guildford which goes by way of Fratton, Hilsea, Bedhampton, Rowlands Castle, Petersfield, Liss, Liphook, Haslemere, Witley, Milford, Godalming and Farncombe.
RICHMOND TO WINDSOR
Both the Hounslow loop and the line to Windsor are still very much part of the network. This is one of two lines to Windsor, the other of which runs as a shuttle service between Slough and Windsor. These two branches which currently have terminuses so close together feature in a scheme I have in mind for the District line.
STAINES TO WOKING AND WOKINGHAM
These days there is no direct connection from Staines to Woking. The other route, with stations at Egham, Virginia Water, Longcross, Sunningdale, Martins Heron and joining the western end of the Reading and Reigate line referred to earlier at Wokingham. When I attended Richmond Upon Thames I sometimes used trains travellingf this route because they used to go non-stop between Richmond and Clapham Junction. In those distant days the rolling stock had doors that had to be opened and closed by hand – no push buttons on that line, and it needed either considerable care or a willingness to make a very loud bang to be sure that the doors actually were closed.
WIMBLEDON TO CROYDON
This little line is now the northern spur of London Tramlink. For more detail on this line and its possible role in a wider scheme go here.
This can be though of as tying up a loose end, and the arrangements still hold to this day.
HAVANT TO GODALMING
This line comprises the majority of the main line between London and Portsmouth, and still fucntions today pretty much as it did then (save for South West Trains’ continuing problems with reliability and punctuality).
SALISBURY TO YEOVIL
This little section, which from Salisbury calls at Tisbury, Gillingham, Templecombe, Sherborne and Yeovil Junction was conceived as a useful link. Yeovil has two stations, Yeovil Junction and Yeovil Pen Mill which are so close together as to be considered effectively an interchange.
YEOVIL TO EXETER
A short western extension, which is still in use today, with stations at Crewkerne, Axminster, Honiton, Feniton, Whimple, Pridhoe, St James Park, Exeter Central and Exeter St Davids.
BRANCH TO CAMBRIDGE TOWN
No misprints here – what was then known as Cambridge Town, Surrey is now called Camberley, and this branch, which diverges from the line to Reading at Ascot and calls at Bagshot, Camberley and Frimley (well known to those who enjoy darts) before joining the Aldershot line at Ash Vale, is still very much functioning.
SUSSEX AND SURREY
The London, Brighton and South Coast Railway clearing the way for future developments in Sussex and Surrey, many fo which came to fruition and are still in service, and some of which fell beneath the Beeching axe in the 1960s.
The London and South Western getting the go-ahead for expansionism.
BASINGSTOKE TO NEWBURY
There is these days no direct connection between Basingstoke and Newbury. The mentions of Tooting, Merton and Wimbledon are of interest to me as this is the part of the world I grew up in. The station referred to as Lower Merton is nowadays called Haydons Road. All of Tooting, Merton and Wimbledon nowadays have London Underground stations serving them as well – the District reached Wimbledon in 1869, while TootingBec, Tooting Broadway, Colliers Wood and South Wimbledon (which between them cover Tooting and Merton) were all opened in 1926 when the Northern line was extended southwards from Clapham Common to Morden.
Purely about improving access, and having travelled that way many times over the years I can tell you that the track widening referred to did take place. There are still regular services from Bournemouth and Poole up to the Midlands, as well as between London and Weymouth.
Something of a ‘portmanteau’ act – covering operations in a vast area and relating to many different sections of railway. Over 2,100 years ago a Roman consul named Titus Didius recognised the undesirability of unrelated matters being tacked together in big unwieldy pieces of legislation and outlawed the practice – an aspect of Roman law that we would have been well advised to incorporate into our own laws.
— Stop Heathrow Exp (@StopHeathrowExp) November 19, 2016
It is time to move on to…
A KING’S LYNN WALK
Here are most of my pictures from today…
I have saved two pictures for their own section…
A SEAL SWIMMING IN THE GREAT OUSE
The Great Ouse is a tidal river, so occasionally one sees things that are more associated with the sea than with a river. This was one such – a seal swimming in the river. It was on the other side of the river from me, and only its head was visible above the water:
The title of this post comes from the title of Piers Connor’s history of the District Line, which is getting the aspiblog treatment this week…
As with that of it’s second youngest, the Victoria, almost precisely a century later, London’s second oldest underground line’s initial opening occurred in three phases between 1868 and 1871. After the third and final phase of opening the Metropolitan District Railway (as it was officially called at that time) looked like this:
A running theme of these early years were squabbles between the District and the Metropolitan over the completion of The Inner Circle (now the Circle line) and who could run their trains where. In the 1870s the District started producing maps for the benefit of their passengers, as these pictures show…
I do not know what these very early maps looked like, but here is a picture of my facsimile of a pre-Beck geographical map…
The Richmond and Wimbledon branches were both opened during the 1870s, followed by branches to Hounslow (the origin of the Heathrow branch of today’s Piccadilly line), Uxbridge (again handed over to the Piccadilly in the 1930s) and between 1883 and 1885, before being pared back to Ealing Broadway, Windsor (more on this later). The current eastern terminus of Upminster was reached (by a grant of running powers rather than new build) in 1902, and for a brief period as this reproduction postcard shows occasional District line trains ran to Southend and Shoeburyness…
Additionally, a branch to Kensington Olympia was created, which linked to a corresponding branch south from whatt is now the Hammersmith and City. Also, sometimes services ran from the district line north of Olympia to Willesden Junction. Additionally, there was a spur to South Acton and even briefly a terminus specifically to serve Hounslow Barracks.
In the 1930s a lot of the western services (Hounslow and Uxbridge specifically) were transferred to the Piccadilly line, while the Hounslow Barracks service ceased to exist, and the South Acton spur was abandoned.
Nevertheless, with main western termini at Wimbledon, Richmond and Ealing, and a cross branch serving Wimbledon, Edgware Road and Kensington Olympia the District remains a very complicated line.
Although I leave the eastern end of the line unchanged, my suggestions for the District involve some very dramatic changes. My plans for the Wimbledon, Edgware Road and Olympia branches will form the subject of a later post, and for the moment I will settle for saying that these branches would cease to form part of the District line, and that as with my changes involving branches that would remain part of the District line the plans involve making use of a feature that might otherwise be problematic (see The Great Anomaly), the fact that being one the older lines, this line was built to mainline specifications. Although my plans for the Richmond and Ealing branches are big, they involve only a small amount of new track – enough to link the lines that serve Windsor and Eton Riverside and Windsor and Eton Central forming a giant loop at the western end of the line. This loop would link with my suggested London Orbital Railway at Staines and at West Drayton. Thus in place of the current fiendishly complex District Line there would be ‘horizontal frying pan’ line, with Upminster to Turnham Green serving as the handle in this model. It would also make possible a reissue with appropriate modifications of this old poster…
A GUIDED TOUR OF THE PRESENT-DAY DISTRICT LINE
From Richmond to Gunnersbury the District and London Overground share a route, which features one of only two above-ground crossings of the Thames on the entire network (the other is Putney Bridge – East Putney on the Wimbledon branch of the District). Richmond features a deer park, as advertised on this old poster…
Kew Gardens actually has a pub that is built into the station, and serves a world famous botanic garden…
Gunnersbury is not very significant, although the flying junction that this branch forms with the rest of the District line just beyond here and just before Turnham Green is very impressive, to the extent that it too has featured in a PR campaign back in the day…
The section from Ealing Broadway to Acton Town includes a depot which features the steepest gradient on the system at 1 in 28 (passengers are not carried over this gradient – the steepest passenger carrying gradient is 1 in 32). At Ealing Common the District and Piccadilly lines converge, not to diverge again until the Piccadilly goes underground just east of Barons Court and even then, the Piccadilly follows the District at a deeper level until South Kensington. Between Acton Town and Turnham Green the District calls at Chiswick Park. After Turnham Green the District has stations at Stamford Brook and Ravenscourt Park. From the latter the remains of the viaduct that once carried trains from what is now the Hammersmith and City lines onto these tracks can still be seen. Beyond Hammersmith and Barons Court the District calls at West Kensington before arrving at the grand meeting point of Earls Court. Immediately east of Earls Court is Gloucester Road (pronounced glos-ta not glue-cess-ta – Americans please note), which at platform level has been restored to something like it would have looked in 1868, while the frontage at surface level is as nearly restored as the creation of a new shopping centre permits…
One stop further east at South Kensington is an original shopping arcade of the sort that several stations were provided with back in the day, complete with some splendid decorative ironwork (pictures photographed from London underground: The Official Handbook…)
One stop on from South Kensington is Sloane Square, which I remember from growing up in London is the station that served Peter Jones (a huge department store). Also, a large pipe above the platforms here is the only routinely visible sign of the river Westbourne (for more detail click here). From Sloane Square, the line visits Victoria (the ultimate transport hub). We are about enter a section of the journey featuring a lot of landmarks, so I will be giving each station I cover a section heading, starting with…
ST JAMES PARK
This station is the local station for London Underground’s official headquarters, located at 55 Broadway. It is also, along with Temple and Mansion House one only three stations on this section if the district to be served only by the district and circle lines.
The local station for the Houses of Parliament and Westminster Abbey (officially the Collegiate Church of St Peter). The Abbey was originally founded by Edward the Confessor, who reigned from 1042-1066. While many look askance at the amounts of money trousered by folks in the House of Commons these people are at least elected, whereas in the House of Lords large sums of money go to people who are not elected, some of whom barely bother to attend and the vast majority of whom have demonstrated time and again that they are a waste of space. Even Baron Kinnock of Bedwelty, who has personally profited hugely from the existence of the House of Lords reckons that it is ripe for abolition. Since the opening of the warped (I will not dignify it with the word modified) Jubilee line extension in 1999 there has been an interchange here.
The station that has been through more name changes than any other on the system (people couldn’t decide whether Charing Cross, Embankment or both should be emphasised). The issue was put to bed for good in 1979 when the Jubilee opened, and its Charing Cross terminus created interchanges with what had previously been separate stations, Trafalgar Square on the Bakerloo line and Strand on the Northern, which meant that with Charing Cross definitively settled on for the marginally more northerly of the stations, this one had to be plain Embankment. The Embankment from which this station takes its name was designed as part of the building of this line by Joseph William Bazalgette, who also designed London’s sewer system. His great-great grandson Peter is a well known TV producer with some good series to his credit and Big Brother to his debit. This, photographed from the Piers Connor book is a diagram of the profile of the Embankment…
This is the only station name to feature both on London Underground and the Paris Metro (it also features on the Hong Kong network). In the days before the Aldwych branch of the Piccadilly line was axed there was an interchange here, as Temple is very close to Aldwych.
A station which derives its name from the Dominicans, who were referred to as black friars because of the colour of their habits. There is an interchange with both Thameslink and South Eastern here. Also, it is one end point of short scenic walk, which takes in a bridge over the Thames, Gabriel’s Wharf, The Oxo Tower, the Bernie Spain Gardens and the vast collection of attractions that between them constitute The South Bank, finally ending at Waterloo. Also if you go East instead of West after crossing the river you can take in the ruins of Winchester Palace (the former London residence of the Bishop of Winchester) and Clink Street, once home to a prison so notorious that ‘clink’ became slang for prison, a building that now houses London Dungeon, ending at London Bridge (you could continue yet further east – to Greenwich or even Woolwich were you feeling strong). I have done Waterloo – London Bridge and also Greenwich-London Bridge, and indeed Woolwich-Greenwich, so all these indvidual stretches are comfortably manageable. Also in this part of the world is Sainsbury’s main post-room where I once temped for a week (giving the agency feedback I took the opportunity to make it clear that I would not take any more work in that particular establishment – it was hell).
This name is either contradictory (a mansion is different from a house, being much larger) or tautologous (a mansion in a kind of large house) depending on your definitions. From 1871-1884 it was the eastern end of the District. The building after which the station is named is “the home and office of the Lord Mayor of the city of London” – an office filled four times by Richard Whittington (for once the story underplayed the the truth) in the fourteenth century.
A mainline rail terminus, albeit not a very significant one.
I mentioned this station in my post about the Central line because it is connected to the various lines that serve by Bank by means of escalators. This interchange was first created in 1933, but the current arrangement dates only from the opening of the Docklands Light Railway terminus at Bank.
At Aldgate East the Hammersmtih and City line joins the District and they run together as far as Barking. In between Aldgate East and Whitechapel there used be a line connecting to Shadwell (formerly East London Line, now London Overground). Whitechapel has been in the news recently because a museum that was given planning permission on the basis of being dedicated to the women of the East End turned out when it opened to be dedicated to Jack the Ripper. This has been the subject of a vigorous 38Degrees campaign seeking both to get the monstrosity closed and to establish a proper East End Womens Museum. Some of those involved in the campaign met with the mayor of Tower Hamlets recently, and he has apparently been sympathetic and has confirmed that he too is unhappy with the way the planning process was subverted by an act of calculated dishonesty. Beyond Whitechapel, the line has an interchange with the Central line at Mile End which is unique for an interchange between ‘tube’ and ‘subsurface’ lines in being cross-platform and underground, Bow Road, which has an interchange with the Docklands Light Railway station at Bow Church is the last station on the line to be in tunnel. East of Bow Road the line rises on a 1 in 45 gradient to emerge into the open some way before Bromley-by-Bow. West Ham is nowadays a major interchange, featuring mainline railways, the Jubilee line, the Docklands Light Railway (this section which runs from Stratford to Woolwich was once part of the line that became the nucleus of London Overground, which originally ran from Richmond to North Woolwich, but now terminates at Stratford) and of course the District and Hammersmith & City lines. The main line railway runs side by side with the District to Upminster, and then continues to Southend and Shoeburyness. Upton Park is until 2017, when the club in question move to the Olympic Stadium, the local station for West Ham United’s home ground. Barking in the eastern limit of the Hammersmith & City, also the terminus of London Overground branch from Gospel Oak and an interchange with mainline railways. Upminster is the easternmost destination currently served by London Underground.
EDGWARE ROAD, OLYMPIA AND WIMBLEDON
For this section I will be reverting to individual headings for station names…
A four platform station, where the Hammersmith & City line and the District and Circle lines meet (do not be fooled by the fact that both have stations called Paddington). This is the only one of the original 1863 stations to be served by District line trains.
PADDINGTON (PRAED STREET)
Why have I given this station a suffix that does not feature in it’s current title? Because the current plain “Paddington” designation is misleading – although the interchange to the Bakerloo line’s Paddington is a sensible one to have, you do far better for the mainline station and Hammersmith & City line to go on one stop to Edgware Road, make a quick cross-platform change to the Hammersmith & City and arrive at platforms that are structurally part of the mainline railway station (the two extra stops – one in each direction – plus a cross platform interchange taking less long between them than the official interchange up to the mainline station from here. Therefore to avoid misleading people the title of this station should either by given a suffix or changed completely, and the only interchange that should be shown is that with the Bakerloo. I have previously given Paddington a full post to itself, but failed to make the foregoing points with anything approaching sufficient force.
This station is on the north side of Hyde Park, and like the two on either side of it still has the same style of roof over the platforms as when it opened – a style now not seen anywhere else on the system.
This is the point at which this branch of the District diverges from the Circle line. The District branch continues south to the “Crewe of the Underground”, Earls Court, while the circle goes round to Gloucester Road (this section of track features in the Adventure of the Bruce Partington Plans, being the point at which the body of Arthur Cadogan West was fed through a rear window of a flat occupied by one Hugo Oberstein onto the roof of a conveniently stationary train, where it remained until being shaken off at Aldgate. Mycroft Holmes was sufficiently discombobulated by the case to change his routine (a thing so rare that his brother the consulting detective Sherlock Holmes likened it to seeing a tram car in a country lane) and pay a visit to Baker Street to seek assistance.
Trains to all manner of destinations pass through this station, but for the District it is a mere side branch..
An interchange with a London Overground branch. This station is fully open to the elements, as are all the others we have still to pass through.
The local station for Chelsea FC’s home ground, Stamford Bridge.
This would become a District line terminus, with an interchange to the new Hackney-Chelsea line, under official plans. In my personal ideas for the future it would be an interchange point but no terminus.
The local station for Fulham FC’s home ground, Craven Cottage. This would also be the best station to travel to if you wished to catch the Boat Race, second oldest of all the inter-university sporting contests.
The oldest of all the inter-university sporting contests is the Varsity Cricket Match, first played in 1827, two years before the first Boat Race took place.
This station is the first of a section that used to be mainline railway.
Another stop with a sporting connection – this is the local station for the world’s most famous tennis championship – Wimbledon. Although I have already given this station a full post, I show this picture again…
The second to last stop on our journey.
As we approach this station, we first join up with the mainline services from Waterloo coming in from Earlsfield, and then with Thameslink services coming in from Haydons Road. Wimbledon is also one terminus of the London Tram system. Along the north side of the tracks as one approaches Wimbledon runs Alexandra Road, and we pass underneath a bridge carrying Gap Road across the tracks to a junction.
ODDS AND ENDS
I have a few promotional pictures still to share, and some maps to round out this post. Other than that, I hope you enjoyed the ride…
The Metropolitan line’s Uxbridge branch, on which Ickenham is located, opened in 1904. The District line started running services along there in 1910, and these were subsequently switched to the Piccadilly line in the 1930s. Central line services were extended to their current western terminus at West Ruislip in 1948.
The two stations are quite close together (about 10 mins walk apart at surface level) and the largest depot anywhere on the London Underground network also provides track connections between them, as it used by the Piccadilly, Metropolitan (Uxbridge) and Central (West Ruislip) lines. Also, unlike some other interchanges that go unacknowledged (e.g Belsize Park and Gospel Oak) it is not especially difficult to think of journeys where this interchange might be useful (Uxbridge to Hanger Lane is one example).
A brief overview of the London Underground line that includes the original section that opened in 1863, with a few important links that relate to various statiions.
Previously I have limited this series to coverage of individual stations, but now I am introducing something new – full line coverage in single posts. I will give a brief glimpse of this history the line and then a little journey from west to east along the current line. I hope you all enjoy this.
THE GREAT ORIGINAL
On January the 10th 1863 the history of public transport changed forever. It was then, having been constructed at the urging of city solicitor Charles Pearson in conjunction with a major road building scheme, that the world’s first underground railway, The Metropolitan Railway, opened for business. It covered just seven stops (about one fortieth of the number now served by London Underground) from Bishop’s Road (Paddington) to Farringdon Street (a little to the south of present day Farringdon). Only one line serves all of the surviving original stations (the circle and district station at Paddington is a later creation, originally called Praed Street), and that is the Hammersmith and City line. Although this was only officially separated from the Metropolitan line in 1990, it makes sense for the purposes of this section to talk about all the branches the relate to this section as though it had always been separate. Viewed in this way, there were a total of three branches that are no longer served:
Latimer Road to Kensington (Addison Road), which latter station is now called Kensington Olympia – the London Underground connection to it from the north was severed in 1940 and has never been reinstated. Goldhawk Road to Richmond, which was served between 1877 and 1906. The only station which was completely lost as a result of the cutting of this connection was Hammersmith (Grove Road). The final connection was a track connection via a long since defunct station called St Mary’s to Shadwell on what used to be the East London line and is now part of London Overground, though deeper below the surface than any of the remaining ‘subsurface’ stations on London Underground.
Before moving on to the journey, here are a couple of map pics…
I am not going to cover every station – just those that have a particular association for me. Those who have read previous posts of mine about this subject will be aware that I was disgusted by Philippe Parreno’s failure to meet the brief (in my eyes) for his contribution to Penguin’s 150th anniversary series of books when he got this line and produced a book that contained no words, just a series of very ethereal pictures which bore little apparent relation to the subject.
There is a shopping centre here, also the Lyric theatre, and although I mentioned him in piece on Baron’s Court, you are withing easy walking distance of St Paul’s Girls School, where Gustav Holst was once director of music.
It was from this station that the line to what is now Kensington Olympia diverged, and because this is an elevated section, track heading towards Olympia is clearly visible from the train as you travel past here.
This is the only one of the London mainline railway termini where a London Underground line is structurally part of the station. This dates to the original opening of the Metropolitan railway in 1863, when they used locomotives supplied by the Great Western Railway before falling out with that company and switching to stock supplied by the Great Northern before finally developing some of their own.
This is where the Circle line and a spur of the District meet the Hammersmith and City line (the District and Circle “Paddington” represents a decent interchange to the Bakerloo, but for the Hammersmith and City you are much better off travelling the extra stop to Edgware Road and making a cross-platform interchange.
The Hammersmith and City line platforms here (nos 5 and 6 out of a total of 10) have been restored to look as they did in 1863. This is also home to Madame Tussauds, The Planetarium and of course it is where the world’s first consulting detective had his practice.
As well as being across the road from London’s first mainline railway terminal (Euston), this is the home station for University College London (UCL for short). Just round the corner from this station is Warren Street (Northern and Victoria lines), and a view at surface level that includes both the BT Tower and Centrepoint.
KINGS CROSS ST PANCRAS
At the surface a complete contrast in styles between the ‘fairytale castle’ that is St Pancras and the largely anonymous Kings Cross. The train from King’s Lynn to London terminates at King’s Cross, usually in the ‘side’ section that comprises platforms 8-11. It is here that claims to be the site for platform 9 3/4 from which the Hogwarts Express departs.
A cross-platform interchange to Thameslink services running between Bedford and Brighton. When I worked at Interpretations I used this station regularly. I also recall this area as home to the Betsey Trotwood, a pub that combined two things I love – Dickens and Real Ale.
This station opened as Aldersgate Street, then became Aldersgate before finally getting its present name of Barbican. This is one of the venues where I listened to live classical music when I lived in London. I also saw various Royal Shakespeare Company productions here.
There is a terminus here for mainline trains coming in from Finsbury Park, and there used to be a spur of Thameslink to here as well, but all of these were below the surface here, so there have never been any above ground tracks. With my home station being Tooting Bec, I used the Northern line platforms here more often than the others. Although St Pauls on the Central line is closer, I used to use this station on occasion to visit the Museum of London – accessible from there by way of the Barbican Centre.
An interchange to mainline railways, and also to the Central line. Also the point at which the Hammersmith and City diverges from the Circle and Metropolitan lines which go to Aldgate, while the Hammersmith and City heads to…
This is where the Hammersmith and City and District lines meet, and from the platforms here you can see Circle and Metropolitan line trains heading in to Aldgate as well. It was just beyond this station that a side branch used to diverge to St Mary’s and Shadwell, joining what was then the East London Railway, has subsequently been the East London line of London Underground and is now a section of London Overground.
An interchange between the District and Hammersmith and City lines and London Overground. Currently in the news because a museum supposed to be dedicated to women was actually a Jack the Ripper museum, which led to a petition and a project to create a museum that really is dedicated to the women of the East end.
The only underground cross-platform interchange between a deep-level tube line and subsurface lines on the entire system. This station also has large enamelled maps from times past featuring the Metorpolitan and District lines.
Interchanges with mainline railways, London Overground, The Jubilee Line and the Docklands Light Railway (this branch has taken over Stratford-North Woolwich, which was previously on Silverlink Metro (London Overground’s predecessor) with the addition of a trans-Thames extension to Woolwich Arsenal).
This is the eastern end of the Hammersmith and City line, although the District continues to Upminster (logic would seem to suggest that the H&C with far less to the west than the District should do the longer haul east rather than vice versa). This station has interchanges with main line railways (to Southend and Shoeburyness) and London Overground (a branch line the other end of which is at Gospel Oak).
Whitechapel, which today serves the District and Hammersmith and City lines with a quirky interchange to London Overground, first opened in 1884, although the current station dates only from 1913. The quirkiness of the interchange to London Overground lies in the fact that the direction of travel from London Underground to London Overground is downwards.
A while back a museum was given planning permission on the grounds that it would be dedicated to women of the East End. It turned out that the person behind it had been lying through their teeth and the museum was actually dedicated to Jack the Ripper. A petition having been launched against the Ripper museum, a determined group of people are now setting out to create a museum that genuinely is dedicated to the women of the East End, featuring stories like the one in this book:
Welcome to the latest installment in my series “London Station by Station“. I hope that you will enjoy this post and be encouraged to share it.
THE ULTIMATE IN TRANSPORT NODES
A SOUPCON OF HISTORY
Victoria Underground station first opened as part of the Metropolitan District Railway in 1868. The construction of this of the system was combined with the building of the Victoria Embankment, and was designed and overseen by Joseph William Bazelgette who was also responsible for the design of London’s sewer system. Peter Bazalgette, the TV producer who has a bridge programme from the 1980s to his credit and Big Brother to his debit is a great-great nephew of Joseph William.
The infighting between the Metropolitan District (now the District line) and it’s supposed senior partner the Metropolitan meant that the Inner Circle (now the Circle line), the other line to serve these platforms was not completed until 1884.
In spite of giving its name to the line in question, Victoria was not one of the original Victoria line stations, opening as part of the second of three tranches in 1969, before the final section from Victoria to Brixton opened in 1971.
A PHILATELIC DIGRESSION
One of the quirks of the Victoria line is that every station features a pattern o a picture of some sort used as a motif. The pattern used at Victoria, is based on one of the most famous items to feature a picture of Queen Victoria, the 2d blue postage stamp. I do not have a picture of the London Underground pattern based on it to hand, but this was lot 682 in James and Sons’ May auction…
THE TRANSPORT HUB
Victoria is the most used station on the entire London Underground network. In excess of 60 million passenger journeys per year start or finish at this station. Victoria is a major train station, serving a wide variety of destinations to the South and East of London, including running the Gatwick Express, which connects to London’s second busiest airport. There is at the moment a bitter rivalry between Gatwick and Heathrow over who will get a new runway. My own view? Neither – do not build the thing at all – instead encourage people away from aeroplanes.
In addition to the train services there is Victoria Coach Station, from which you can reach most parts of the country, although some of the journey times are very long.
THE PHOTOGRAPHIC FINALE
As usual for these posts I have some map pictures…
Welcome to the latest post in my series “London Station by Station“. This one is a little bit of a departure from the standard because it takes in three separate stations. I hope that you will enjoy it and will be inspired to share it.
The triangle of the title has Gloucester Road, Earls Court and High Street Kensington at its corners. The first two stations are also served at tube level by the Piccadilly line. High Street Kensington and Gloucester Road both opened in 1868 under the aegis of The Metropolitan Railway. The first station was opened at Earls Court in 1871, and replaced with the present one in 1878. Both the Piccadilly stations were part of the original section of that line that opened in 1906.
The curve of track from Gloucester Road to High Street Kensington, now used exclusively by Circle line trains, plays a role in a Sherlock Holmes story, The Adventure of the Bruce Partington Plans, because at that time there were flats overlooking the line in that area, and Holmes was able to work out that the German agent Hugo Oberstein lived in one of them, and from that how the unfortunate Arthur Cadogan West had made his involuntary entrance to the underground system.
These days the land above triangle sidings is occupied by a Sainsbury;s supermarket.
The complexity of this section is largely down to Earls Court being the chief hub of the District line. Trains leave Earls Court going East to Upminster, North to Edgware Road, Northwest to Kensington Olympia, South to Wimbledon, West to Turnham Green, whence some services go south to Richmond and others continue West to Ealing Broadway. Platforms 1 and 2 carry trains to Upminster and Edgware Road, while all the other services, which for London Underground purposes are going in the opposite direction leave from platforms 3-4.
To finish this post I have some maps pics and a couple of photos from London Underground: The Official Handbook…
Welcome to the latest post in my series “London Station by Station”. I hope you will enjoy this post and will be encouraged to share it.
A FOUR WAY TRIANGLE
I am treating two stations together because they are so close to one another that one can stand o the platforms of one and watch trains pulling into the other. The title refers to the number of current lines using this segment of the system and the shape it very roughly resembles. Aldgate opened in 1876 and has been open ever since. The first Aldgate East station opened in 1884 and was closed in 1938, with the current station opening the very next day.
The confluences and divergences are as follows: at Liverpool Street the triple route of Circle, Hammersmith & City and Metropolitan lines diverge, with the H&C going to Aldgate East and the other two to Aldgate, where the Met terminates. At Tower Hill the District and Circle part ways the Circle continuing round to Aldgate and the District going to Aldgate East where it joins the H&C.
To assist with orientation and to finish this brief post here are my usual map pics…
Welcome to the latest installment in my series “London Station by Station“. I hope that you will enjoy this post and be inspired to share it.
A CARNIVAL, A THEATRE AND A FILM
The District and Circle line station at Notting Hill Gate was opened in 1868. In 1900 The Central London Railway, forerunner of today’s Central line, opened between Shepherd’s Bush and Bank, with a station at Notting Hill Gate. It was not until 1959 that the two stations were officially linked. There is no surface building at all, merely a staircase leading down from each side of the main road to an underground ticket hall. The District and Circle line platforms still have their original roof, a remarkable arched canopy.
Probably these days this film is what most people think about when this area comes up. I did enjoy it the one time I watched it, but I am far from being convinced that it actually did the area any favours.
Taking it’s name from the pub above which you can find it, The Gate Theatre has staged some remarkable productions in its tight confines. I remember seeing several plays by Lope De Vega performed there.
THE NOTTING HILL CARNIVAL
Before the making of the film, this was what the area was most widely known for – London’s biggest annual street festival. Unfortunately beyond mentioning it I can say little of it because I never attended since neither vast crowds nor continuous loud noise have ever appealed to me.
ODDS AND ENDS
Before displaying a couple of pictures, a little more about the area. The layout and some of the names of the streets in this part of London reflect the fact that a racecourse was planned for the area but the developers went bankrupt. Now for those pictures…