Special Post: Highgate

INTRODUCTION

Welcome to the latest installment in my series “London Station by Station“. I hope that you will enjoy this post and will be encouraged to share it.

OF MUSIC AND MARX

A CURIOUS HISTORY

One stop south of Highgate is Archway, which opened in 1907 and was for some time the northern terminus of the line. One stop to the north is East Finchley, which was first served by Northern line trains in 1939, having previously been part of the LNER. Highgate, our subject, only opened in 1941 – something of an afterthought.

TO THE UNKNOWN GODDESS

This title comes from a CD case, and concerns a story that began almost 400 years ago and that touches on Highgate…

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In 1619 a servant girl the household of the dramatist, librettist and poet Giulio Strozzi gave birth to an illegitimate child. The child, Barbara Strozzi, grew up in the household, becoming Giulio’s “figliuola elettiva” (elective daughter). Encouraged by Giulio she developed considerable musical talents and became known in her own lifetime as a composer and performer.

She is not so well known these days, but it was at Highgate that I first heard her music. The performance featured the same four people as the CD (Catherine Bott, Paula Chateauneuf, Timothy Roberts and Frances Kelly), which I bought that very evening.

A FAMOUS GRAVE

To be fair, quite a few well known people are buried in Highgate Cemetery, but I am confining myself to one. Karl Marx was buried there in 1883, and Marxism 2015, a five-day political event begins in London tomorrow afternoon. I will be there and I intend to put up regular blog posts and tweet about being at the event – watch this space.

TWO FINAL IMAGES

I finish this post as usual with two map pictures…

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The full map, spread out.
The full map, spread out.

Special Post: Hampstead and Golders Green

INTRODUCTION

Welcome to the next post in my series “London Station by Station“. I hope that you will enjoy this post and be enocuraged to share it.

A RAPID ASCENT

The two stations in my title are neighbours on the Edgware branch of the Northern line. Hampstead is the deepest station on the entire network, 192 feet below the surface, and it is just north of this station towards Golders Green that the deepest point anywhere on the system is reached, 221 feet below the surface of Hampstead Heath. Yet Golders Green, the very next station, is at surface level, open to the air.

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Part of the explanation for the juxtaposition that introduced the body of this piece is that the gap between the two stations is quite a long one – an intermediate station was excavated at platform level but never opened…

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Golders Green was the original northern terminus of the Charing Cross, Euston & Hampstead Railway (now part of the Northern line) when it opened in 1907 and is still the site of the Northern line’s main depot.

Here is a final picture to end this brief post…

The Diagrammatic History
The Diagrammatic History

Special Post: Victoria

INTRODUCTION

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…

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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…

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The Diagrammatic History
The Diagrammatic History

Special Post: Triangle Sidings

INTRODUCTION

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.

TRIANGLE SIDINGS

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…

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The full map, spread out.
The full map, spread out.

Special Post: Aldgate and Aldgate East

INTRODUCTION

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…

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The full map, spread out.
The full map, spread out.

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Special Post: Southfields

INTRODUCTION

This is the latest post in a series I have been running on this blog called “London Station by Station“. This particular post as you will see has extra special relevance, and could only go up this morning. I hope you will enjoy it and be encouraged to share it.

THE HOME OF THE WORLD’S GREATEST TENNIS TOURNAMENT

Yes folks, Wimbledon is upon us once more. As usual, full coverage will be being provided by the BBC. Southfields, the third to last stop going south on the Wimbledon branch of the District line, opened in 1889 (so after William Renshaw’s seven titles) is the local station for these championships, as this reproduction of an old poster shows…

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As someone who grew up in South West London this tournament has particular meaning for me. I only got to see it at the venue once, but have always followed the tournament as closely as circumstances allow.

When I first started following the tournament in the mid 1980s a Brit in the second round was cause for banner headlines. These days things are rather different, although in the Men’s game there remains a veritable “Ginnunga Gap” between Murray and the next best Brit. Things are definitely looking up for British Women though, with Johanna Konta reaching the quarter-finals at Eastbourne last week and only going out to the eventual champion Belinda Bencic of Switzerland, and Heather Watson also playing well.

During the Eastbourne coverage, various displays showing people’s possible progress if all went to plan were shown, but I paid little attention because if I learned anything from 30 years of following tennis it is that one thing that does not happen is things going according to plan. If I was a betting person I would put money on at least one of the seeds being a goner by the end of day 1.

This stretch of line includes one of only two places where London Underground trains cross the Thames by way of  a bridge (the other is on the Richmond branch of the District line).

As usual with these posts I finish with a couple of map pics…

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The full map, spread out.
The full map, spread out.

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