CHARING CROSS AND EMBANKMENT

INTRODUCTION

This post deals with two very close neighbours on the system. These stations are covered in my posts on the Bakerloo, District and Jubilee lines, but this offers a closer focus.

WHATS IN A NAME

Although only two stations currently appear on the map, we are actually dealing with three stations, the Bakerloo and Northern line Charing Cross platforms only getting that name and official linkage to each other in 1979, when the Jubilee opened with it’s southern terminus at Charing Cross (since abandoned when sensible plans for a south-easterly extension were warped out of all recognition by the greed of one government and the vanity of another).

Rather than list in detail all the name changes that have happened over the years, here is a close-up of the relevant section of the Diagrammatic History:

DSCN7979

THE DRAIN BRAIN

No I have got my words in the wrong order – the above heading is a family nickname for Joseph William Bazalgette, who designed London’s sewer system, and was also responsible for the embankment after which one of these stations is named. The District line tunnels were completed as part of the building of the embankment in 1868. I first learned about Joseph William Bazalgette from a piece about his great-great grandson, TV producer Peter Bazalgette in the April 1984 Bridge Magazine.

The whole double page spread
The whole double page spread
A close-up of the key paragraph.
A close-up of the key paragraph.

THE KNOWLEDGE

This is the test that all London Taxi drivers are required to pass to gain their licence. The knowledge in question is of every street within a ten kilometre radius of Charing Cross Station and the term ‘The Knowledge’ is believed to be derived from Sherlock Holmes who in The Adventure of the Red Headed League told Watson “It is a hobby of mine to have an exact knowledge of London”.

PLACES OF INTEREST

We will start with…

TRAFALGAR SQUARE

The Bakerloo line station was originally named Trafalgar Square, in the centre of which stands Nelson’s Column, flanked by Edwin Landseer’s four bronze lions. The square is noted for the number of pigeons that congregate there. It is also noted as a venue for protests, a fact which derives both from its location plumb in the centre of London and its size.

THE NATIONAL GALLERY

Just adjoining the square is the National Gallery. There is currently a campaign running over plans to privatise a large number of National Gallery staff – click here for more details.

“CLEOPATRA’S NEEDLE”

This 3,500 year old obelisk, which stands on the embankment, has very little if anything to do with Cleopatra after whom it is colloquially named. This obelisk gets a brief mention in “Seven Ancient Wonders”, the first in Matthew Reilly‘s series of novels featuring Jack West, which currently runs to three (The others are The Six Sacred Stones and The Five Greatest Warriors) and may end up running to seven with a grand finale “The One …..”, although it’s sister obelisk in the heart of Paris is the particular object of interest in that story. 

THE ELEANOR CROSS

These were the monuments that Edward I had erected in honour of his first wife, one of which gave Charing Cross its name.

CONCLUSION

I hope that you have enjoyed this introduction to these two stations and some of the places interest close to them and will spread the word about this website.

 

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