Bethnal Green Tube Disaster: ‘I tried to black it out’ – BBC News

Courtesy of…

The Bethnal Green Tube Disaster of 1943, in which 173 people were crushed to death, was the UK’s largest single loss of civilian life during World War II. Dr Joan Martin MBE had been qualified for just one year when she led the hospital team treating the casualties.

Source: Bethnal Green Tube Disaster: ‘I tried to black it out’ – BBC News

Kenton and Northwick Park


Welcome to this post about two unremarkable stations.  This post came about because on Wednesday evening I was looking through a Railway Atlas that I had acquired at the auction that my employers were running (for more on this click here) and saw a picture that gave me an idea.


Kenton, nowadays the one stop south of the northern terminus of the Bakerloo line, was first served by that line in 1917, five years after it opened (although the line on which it sits had been in operation since the 1830s), services that far north being suspended in 1982 before being reintroduced in 1984. Northwick Park, on the Metropolitan, though being on a stretch of track built in 1885 did not open for business until 1923, when it was originally called Northwick Park & Kenton before losing the suffix, which is a good place to share some maps as a lead in to the next section…



The picture that gave me the clue that led to this post was this one…


Noting that although showing no features these maps seemed to be paying at least lip-service to geography (as Mr Beck’s creation and the zillions of imitations it spawned do not) I decided this warranted investigation to see whether these two stations really were close enough together to be considered an effective interchange. Google Maps today yielded the following…

Kenton - Northwick Park

Given Google Maps’ habitual over-estimation of walking times I would say that this constitutes prima facie evidence that indeed Kenton-Northwick Park and vice versa does deserve to be considered a genuine interchange. I have put Kenton first in this suggestion because I could see a situation where if you lived significantly north of Baker Street on the Bakerloo and needed to travel somewhere on the outer reaches of the Metropolitan a short walk from Kenton to Northwick Park would save time on travelling away from destination and then back towards it (even allowing for the possibility of a second change at Harrow-on-the-Hill, since Amersham services do not stop at Northwick Park).


There are just two places worthy of individual mention in this area, and I append links to their respective websites below:

St Albans and St Albans Abbey


I was inspired to create this post by reading a wonderful piece about a walk in Roman St Albans by Debbie Smyth on travelwithintent, of which much more later. Walking will bulk quite large throughout this post.


St Albans station is a reasonably major station just beyond the official boundary of Greater London. Services to this station are fast and fairly frequent – a non-stop service from St Pancras takes approximately 20 minutes to reach St Albans.

St Albans Abbey station is at the end of a small branch line with not very frequent services (I have travelled it more than once). The other end of the line is at Watford Junction, and there is at present no through connection. Here are some maps for your assistance…

The connections.
The connections.
A closer focus on the branch and two St Albans stations.
A closer focus on the branch and two St Albans stations.
The walking route between the two stations (extracted from google maps)
The walking route between the two stations (extracted from google maps)


I have made mention of St Albans and its potentialities for greater public transport integration in a number of previous posts:

  • In “The Great Anomaly“, my post on the Metropolitan line, I mentioned it in explaining my idea for the using the Amersham and Watford branches (which would cease to be part of the Metropolitan) as part of an envisaged London Orbital Railway.
  • In my post on the Bakerloo Line I wrote about re-extending the Bakerloo to Watford Junction and then having it take over the St Albans Abbey shuttle service, with a through connection being established at Watford Junction.
  • In my post on the Central Line I explained in detail my envisaged London Orbital Railway and its connections.
  • In London Underground’s Worst Bodge Job, my post on the Northern line, I suggested splitting the line into two halves, with the Edgware/ Charing Cross half being extended north from Edgware as to Luton Airport Parkway, following the mainline from Elstree & Borehamwood on, and south from Kennington to Gatwick Airport.

Tying all these together my future for St Albans’ public transport connections involves:

  1. The Metropolitan’s current Watford scheme (extending to Watford Junction from Croxley, abandoning the current terminus) would be subsumed within the Orbital Railway, which would also make use of an adaptation of the plan outlined in Colne Valley Transit Proposal shown below:
    DSCN4159In my version of the scheme, which sees it become part of the London Orbital Railway, the Met keeps its Chesham terminus, and the new scheme runs service through Amersham.
  2. The Bakerloo takes over the St Albans Abbey branch, running services straight through to St Albans. As will be revealed later in this post I have an idea for a further possible extension in St Albans to increase integration.
  3. The Northern line Edgware and Charing Cross branches become the nucleus of a line running from Gatwick Airport to Luton Airport Parkway.



I start this section with the walk Debbie Smyth talks about in “A Roamin’ Walk through Roman St Albans“. To encourage you to read and comment on Debbie’s splendid post I offer you two pictures and the opening paragraph…

St Alban’s is first recorded as a Celtic British Iron Age settlement, known as Verlamion.  After the Roman conquest of Britain in AD 43, it grew into Verlamium, the third largest town in Roman Britain…

The route map
The route map

To view the original map picture click here.

A sample picture (there are many more in the original)
A sample picture (there are many more in the original)

The original of the above picture can be viewed here.

To view the full post (and I reiterate my encouragement of you to do so) click here.


This walk, which I did many years ago when I still lived in London is also well worth a look. I have the route map, a picture showing the whole walk, and individual shots of each double page it occupies…



DSCN4153 DSCN4156 DSCN4155 DSCN4154


Mention has already been made of St Albans’ significance in Roman times, and this final section adds to that by pointing to the Verulamium Museum as an establishment comfortably walkable from both stations at which you can find out more about this history. Here are some maps showing the walking routes…

Walking there from the minor station.
Walking there from the minor station.

To view the original of this map and written instructions, click here.

Walking there from the major station.
Walking there from the major station.

To view the original of this map and written instructions, click here.

The plan that occurred to me based on these maps (and it would need to very sensitively devised if it were to go ahead) was for an extension from St Albans Abbey to a dedicated station for the Verulamium Museum and then a new terminus at St Albans for an interchange to the main station.

I hope that you have all enjoyed this look at St Albans, a fascinating and historic town on London’s doorstep.

Manor House


This is a post that owes its existence to serendipity – a piece of imaging at work yesterday and something I saw on twitter yesterday combining to give me the idea.


Manor House was opened as part of the first northerly extension of the Piccadilly line in 1932 (the extension from Finsbury Park to Cockfosters happened in three phases during 1932-3). It has had the same name for its whole history, although later in this post I will be suggesting a change. Here are two maps to show its history and modern connections:

The history.
The history.


Modern connections.
Modern connections.


While on twitter I spotted a tweet about a development called Woodberry Wetlands and being impressed by what I saw decided to do some digging. I soon established that the site is practically next door to Manor House station, and it did not take much longer, having located an official website to decide that this was something entirely worthy of my support – cherishing nature while being deep within the capital city. For those who (like me) do twitter, they have a presence there too.

I have a number of pictures for you, some gleaned with the help of google maps, and some extracted from the official website (individual URLs accompany each of these pics)…

Woodberry Wetlands 4
One way for a public transport user to take in this attraction once it is opened without retracing their steps – travel to Manor House, and back from Stamford Hill.

Woodberry Wetlands 1 Woodberry Wetlands 2 Woodberry Wetlands 3×550.jpg×550.jpg×550.jpg

Woodberry Wetlands opens on May 1st 2016, and I wish them all the best. I finish this section with…


There is historical precedence for name changes on the Piccadiilly line – the name of Gillespie Road station was changed to Arsenal at the request of the club’s then general manager Herbert Chapman. I respectfully suggest that this project outweighs a mere football club in importance and that TFL would be well advised to at least consider changing the name of Manor House station to Woodberry Wetlands (effective from May 1st).


Lot 681 in James and Sons’ April auction is the following…

DSCN3904 DSCN3905

This led me to look up Manor House Hospital, and I found this listing which I urge you to check for further details.



Crystal Palace


This is a post about a place I visited many times in my youth, since I grew up not very far from it.


Crystal Palace was one of two stations opened to serve Crystal Palace (the other being Sydenham), when the building was moved from its original location in Hyde Park to Southeast London. The building itself was destroyed by a lightening strike in 1936, but the area still has much to commend it. In 2010 Crystal Palace station took a step up in importance when as part of the incorporation of what had been the East London Line into London Overground the New Cross Gate branch was extended south to West Croydon with a spur from Sydenham to Crystal Palace. More about the history of this station can be found here.


The area where Crystal Palace once stood is now a public park, noted for its display of model dinosaurs (some of which are poorly posed as little was known of their lifestyles when they were constructed). There is a bust of Joseph Paxton, creator of Crystal Palace there as well. There are a variety of sources of further information available, including visitlondon, who have an excellent page featuring the image below, and the London Borough of Bromley’s official site, which has an excellent location map, also featured below.

The visitlondon pic.
The visitlondon pic.
The full location map, URL
The full location map, URL


Cropped to focus exclusively on the key area.
Cropped to focus exclusively on the key area.


In 1899 Dr W G Grace, having quarreled irretrievably with his native Gloucestershire, established the London County Cricket Club at Crystal Palace. Sadly, so entrenched were pre-existing prejudices that even with him running the show the new venture folded after a mere ten years, having had first class status only for the first five of those years.


Earlier in the post I mentioned that I grew up not far from Crystal Palace. Here are a couple of pics obtained by way of google maps, based on my old home address that show just how close…

This shows the public transport option (and btw nine minutes for the walk down to the running track bus stop is a risible over estimate - five would be more accurate)
This shows the public transport option (and btw nine minutes for the walk down to the running track bus stop is a risible over estimate – five would be more accurate)
This one just shows the basic distance.
This one just shows the basic distance.


A fabulous series of books by Edward Marston, the first of the series which has the same title as the whole series features a dastardly plot to blow up Crystal Palace. More about this book and others in the series can be found here.


To end this post, here is a picture of part of lot 602 in James and Sons‘ April Auction…




This post deals with a station at the eastern end of the central line, and was in part inspired by an auction lot that I recently imaged.


In 1903 the Great Eastern Railway opened what was then called the “Fairlop Loop“. In those days it connected Woodford on the Ongar branch to Ilford on the mainline, with an eastward connection for goods trains and stock transfers to Seven Kings. Nowadays these latter two connection have long since been severed, and since 1947 the loop under the new title the Hainault Loop has been part of the eastern end of the Central line.


From north-west to south-east

Fairlop Loop diverges from the Ongar (now Epping) Branch at Woodford Junction

  • Roding Valley, opened 3 February 1936 as Roding Valley Halt by the LNER, closed 29 November 1947, re-opening 21 November 1948.[2]
  • Chigwell, opened 1 May 1903 by the GER, closed 29 November 1947, re-opening 21 November 1948.[2]
  • Grange Hill, opened 1 May 1903 by the GER, closed 29 November 1947, re-opening 21 November 1948.[2]
  • Hainault, opened 1 May 1903 by the GER, closed 1 October 1908 to 3 March 1930. Closed 29 November 1947, re-opening 31 May 1948.[2]
  • Fairlop, opened 1 May 1903 by the GER, closed 29 November 1947, re-opening 31 May 1948.[2]
  • Barkingside, opened 1 May 1903 by the GER, closed 22 May 1916 to 30 June 1919. Closed 29 November 1947, re-opening 31 May 1948.[2]
  • Newbury Park, opened 1 May 1903 by the GER, closed 29 November 1947, re-opening 14 December 1947 as part of the Central line.[2]
Former connection: Fairlop Loop joins Great Eastern Main Line via westward curve between Newbury Park Junction and Ilford Carriage Sidings Junction
    • Ilford, opened 20 June 1839[15] by the Eastern Counties Railway. Operated by TfL Rail as of May 2015. Connection closed 30 November 1947.[2]
Former connection (freight-only): Fairlop Loop joins Great Eastern Main Line via eastward curve between Newbury Park Junction and Seven Kings West Junction
    • Seven Kings, opened 1 March 1899[15] by the GER. Operated by TfL Rail as of May 2015. Connection closed 19 March 1956.[2] (not served by scheduled Fairlop Loop passenger trains)

Remainder of Fairlop loop connects with Central line tube from Leytonstone (nowadays both parts referred to as the “Hainault Loop”)

re-joins the Ongar (Epping) Branch at Leytonstone Junction

  • Leytonstone, opened 22 August 1856 by the ECR, closed briefly, re-opening 5 May 1947.[2]


There is one significant site served by this station: Fairlop Waters Country Park. If you visit the link I have just given you, you will see that many outdoor activities are available there.


Lot 259 in James and Sons April auction is a copy of Edmund Blunden’s English Villages, and one of the illustrations (it is superbly illustrated) that caught my eye was this one:


The full photo gallery for this lot, and plenty more good pics can be found here.

Postscript: I have just received a notification from Fairlop Waters’ twitter account that this years Fairlop Fair will be on Saturday 2nd July.

London Bridge


This post features a hub station which is also close to numerous attractions.


Like all of London’s major railway stations this one has its origins in the mid 19th century. This map shows London Bridge and its connections in 1897…

This is an extract focussing on London Bridge.
This is an extract focussing on London Bridge.
This is the full map.
This is the full map.

In 1900 The City & South London Railway, the world’s first deep level ‘tube’ railway abandoned its badly sited King William Street terminus and opened three new stations at its northern end, London Bridge, Bank and Moorgate (for more about the subsequent history of this railway and what it became click here. In 1999, delayed and warped out of recognition by the greed and vanity of successive governments, the Jubilee line opened its long-awaited extension, one of the new stations on which was London Bridge. London Bridge was until recently part of the Thameslink route but is no longer so. These days there is an interchange available to Transport for London’s Riverboat Service as well. 


There are two major attractions served by London Bridge. HMS Belfast is a historic warship, which for many years has been a floating museum (I visited several times as a child) and is now run under the aegis of the Imperial War Museum. The second attraction is the London Dungeon, which occupies what was once the notorious Clink Street Prison (from which the phrase ‘in the clink’ for ‘in prison’ comes) and styles itself London’s most frightening place.


London Bridge is ideally placed as a starting and/or finishing point for walks along the Thames. Westward as far as Waterloo is all good walking, while eastward lie Maritime Greenwich and, for the seriously energetic, Woolwich. This, from 100 Walks in Greater London, is a recommneded walk featuring some of what I have just mentioned…


Note that the Museum of the Moving Image has closed down since this book was produced.


This, conveniently tallying with the theme of this post, is lot 604 in James and Sons‘ March Auction (two day sale, 30th and 31st March at Fakenham Racecourse – this item will be going under the hammer early in the second day)…



I conclude this post with two map pictures, one from the Diagrammatic History and one from a modern London Connections Map…

DSCN4612 DSCN4613

Covent Garden


Although this station is on the original section of the Piccadilly line which opened in 1906 Covent Garden did not open until 1907. The reason for this omission is that it is actually a mere 0.16 miles (0.26 km) from Leicester Square, the shortest distance between any two stations on the same line anywhere on the system (this distinction is there for situations such as Euston Square and Warren Street which are round the corner from one another). However, in spite of the proximity of Leicester Square, Covent Garden does have enough to offer to justify having its own station, as the rest of this post will endeavour to show. Here are some map pictures showing the crowded nature of the area:

The Diagrammatic History
The Diagrammatic History
London Connections, 2015
London Connections, 2015
The A-Z, early 1990s.
The A-Z, early 1990s.


Dealing with these in the order above, Covent Garden is home to the English National Opera. Covent Garden Market is very famous, and more information is available at their website. Finally in this section, just down the road from Covent Garden station is Stanford’s, the map dealers. If you are going to find a map anywhere, Stanford’s will have it.


Covent Garden is in the heart of Theatreland. In addition to the information in the website to which I have just linked, there is a walk (no 3 to be precise) in “100 Walks In Greater London” which takes in theatreland, and a century ago a map was produced combining London Underground and Theatreland…

DSCN4109 DSCN8906


I have, of course, saved Covent Garden’s most important attraction until last: it is here that you will find the London Transport Museum. This is an absolute treasure house for anyone interested in London Transport. You can explore old rolling stock, look at maps and much else besides. As this shows, the enthusiasm is mutual:



It is a little tenuous but I cannot miss this opportunity to mention one of my favourite writers, Edward Marston. His series set in the Restoration period (a couple of centuries before London Underground – but his Railway Detective series needs only to move forward five more years to overlap with the beginning of London Undeground) features Christopher Redmayne as its leading character, and his errant brother Henry lives at Covent Garden.



This post provides a brief look at one the outlying stations and highlights a couple of features as well as pointing you to sources of further information.


Cheshunt is on one the oldest railway lines – The Northern and Eastern Railway opened its route between Stratford and Broxbourne in 1840, and Cheshunt got its station, by then under the aegis of the Eastern Counties Railway, in 1846. It is now a terminus of London Overground, and through services via Broxbourne on Abellio Greater Anglia also call at this station. More details about this station and it’s history can be found here.



My attention was drawn to Cheshunt by this picture which appeared on my twitter feed yesterday:


This set me thinking about the post I am now producing. Fortunately, as well as this endeavour by the skate park which I am pleased to support, Cheshunt is close to some prime walking territory. As this map shows, it is not a very long walk from the station to Hooks Marsh, and various walks involving the Lee Valley Regional Park:

Cheshunt - Hooks Marsh

For a walk highlighted by visitleevalley click here. Also, walk number 96 in “100 walks in Greater London” is this:


More information about this area can be found by visiting the local authority website and following the various links from there.