I have previously written about the paucity of mentions of London Underground in the original Holmes stories, and there have been other posts in which I have pointed up connections between detective fiction and London Underground including:
And a tangential connection involving the test for taxi drivers called “The Knowledge”, and a theory as to the origin of that term while covering Charing Cross and Embankment.
This post returns to the best known of all London based detectives…
ENHANCING THE CANON
Holmes caught the popular imagination right from the first, and there was never any question of his fans being satisfied with the original canon of stories by Conan Doyle. Many writers have turned their hand to Holmes and Watson, either providing write-ups of cases that Watson mentions in passing in the canon or creating entirely new ones.
One of my more recent extra-canonical Holmes finds is Encounters of Sherlock Holmes, edited by George Mann. This is a collection of 14 short stories. Whereas London Underground gets only a couple of mentions in the original canon, two of the stories in this collection feature parts of today’s London Underground.
Stewart Douglas’ The Adventure of the Locked Carriage is set on a branch of the Great Eastern Railway which ultimately became the eastern end of the Central line. The action starts and finishes at Leyton Station.
The second story in this collection to be concerned with London Underground is set during the construction of the Central London Railway. The motive for incapacitating the workers (the criminal did not intend to cause deaths, though he ended up doing so) and sabotaging the project turns out be an attempt to engender the view that not only can private enterprise not deliver the project on time, but that they are careless of the health and safety of their workforce.
This post will cover the Northern line, and as such it is going to be somewhat convoluted.
ORDER DECREASES OVER TIME
This section of the post deals with the history of the Northern line. The title above, which makes reference to the laws of thermodynamics is apposite for this line which has certainly become more disordered over its history.
THE CITY AND SOUTH LONDON RAILWAY
On December 18th 1890 a new development in public transport history occurred. The development of electric traction allowed use to be made of the comparative ease of tunnelling through the blue clay that lies beneath London to build deep level railways, called tubes because of the tunnelling method used. The City and South London Railway, running from Stockwell to King William Street with intermediate stations at Oval, Kennington, Elephant & Castle and Borough.
In 1900 the King William Street terminus was abandoned in favour of new stations at London Bridge, Bank and Moorgate, while the line was also extended south to Clapham North and Clapham Common. In 1903 the line was extended to Old Street and Angel.
THE CHARING CROSS, EUSTON & HAMPSTEAD RAILWAY
This line was opened in 1907, ending the great tube building boom of 1905-7 which also saw the genesis of the Bakerloo and Piccadilly lines. It ran from Charing Cross to Golders Green with a branch to Highgate, the bifurcation point being Camden Town. The City and South London was extended to King’s Cross and Euston. Plans for an amalgamation were already developing.
THE NORTHERN CITY LINE
This was the original designation of what is now a section of mainline railway in tube tunnels running from Finsbury Park to Moorgate. This section of track opened in 1904, originally operated by the Metropolitan but a part of the Northern line for many years.
AMALGAMATION AND PLANS NOT COMPLETED
The 1920s saw a combination of the final amalgamation of the City & South London with the Charing Cross, Euston & Hampstead, with the latter being extended south to Kennington as part of the process. The complete line was extended to Morden, still the southern outpost of the system, in 1926. It was also in this period that the Northern line took over the Northen City section mentioned above, and that suburban branches of the London & North Eastern Railway (LNER) were subsumed, extending the northern termini to Mill Hill East, High Barnet and Edgware. As this map section makes clear, there were further plans that were never fulfilled.
At Edgware tunnels north of the station where the line was to have been extended are still visible. The last big change to affect the northern line was when the Northern City section became part of the mainline railway network in the 1970s.
Having looked at the past, it is time for a look to the future. Firstly, although I am normally a big fan of integration, I would split the northern line, so that there would be one line running from High Barnet to Morden via Bank, with a branch to Mill Hill East, and the other running from Edgware to Kennington via Charing Cross.
This line, comprising the Edgware and Charing Cross branches would be extended south from Kennington to East Croydon and on to Gatwick Airport, going via Brixton and Streatham among other places. Beyond Edgware, the line would go to Stonegrove, Newlands, Elstree High Street, Letchmore Heath, Aldenham and Garston, at which point it would share the Jubilee line route north to Hemel Hemsptead. There would also be a branch from Elstree High Street to Elstree and Borehamwood and then following the Thameslink route as far as Luton Airport Parkway.
HIGH BARNET – MORDEN
From High Barnet the line would go to Monken Hadley, Saffron Green, Well End, Shenley, Radlett and St Albans, possibly the running north to Luton Airport Parkway.
From Morden the line would extend south to Morden South, St Helier, North Cheam, Stoneleigh, Ewell West and Leatherhead, from where it would follow the existing route to Dorking.
Finally, the Mill Hill branch would be extended to Mill Hill Broadway, Edgware and Stanmore, from whence it could follow the Jubilee to Hemel Hempstead.
CONTINUED CONNECTIONS BETWEEN THE LINES
These lines while separate entities, would still of course be closely connected, with interchanges agt Kennington and Camden Town, and new connections at St Albans and Edgware, but the scope of their services would be greatly extended without the complications the arise from all the branching the currently exists. Also of course, the track connections at Kennington and Camden Town would be preserved for stock transfer purposes.
THE NORTHERN LINE TODAY
Our journey will run from Morden to High Barnet via Bank, with a diversion to Mill Hill East, before we bounce back to Waterloo and head north from there to Edgware. So with the itinerary set out we begin at…
The current southern outpost of the system, and the only station at the southern end of the Northern line to be open to the elements. The station building, like all of those we will meet until Clapham South, is faced in Portland Stone. Here is a picture of this station under construction for you…
Morden is also one of the two end points of the Wandle Trail (the other is Mitcham Junction station).
Leaving Morden, we enter the longest continuous section of tunnel on the system, 17.3 miles via Bank to Finchley Central. The first station we arrive it in this section of tunnel is South Wimbledon. The surface building has a curved frontage. A short walk in one direction takes one to Wimbledon Station and many potential routes. Another route from the station crosses Croydon Tramlink, emerging at Wimbledon Chase (the station name is reflective of the pernicious practice called hunting).
This station has a ‘three-eighths of an octagon’ type frontage. Near here is the Sava Centre, a Sainsbury’s hypermarket. It was at a pub close to this station that I watched the first part of the coverage of the 1997 General Election, the first in which I was eligible to vote.
The first of two stations to have Tooting in their name. Like South Wimbledon this station has a curved frontage. It is built on top of a subterranean lake. Not far from this station is Graveney School, which regularly supplies ball boys and girls for the Wimbledon Tennis Championships, and which I attended between 1986 and 1993. Also close to this station is the Sree Krishna, a high quality Indian Restaurant.
My home station for 20 years. This station, like Balham to the north has two surface buildings, on opposite corners of a four-way junction. This is one of them:
Tooting Bec Road is flanked by Tooting Bec Common on one side and Tooting Graveney Common on the other. Within Tooting Graveney Common is an athletics track. Nestling just near the railway which splits Tooting Bec Common is Tooting Bec Lido, a supersize outdoor swimming pool. Beyond the bridge, the common is bounded at one end by Garrads Road, while Ambleside Avenue takes one to Streatham Station and Tooting Bec Gardens leads through to Streatham High Road, by way of St Leonards Church.
BAL-HAM: GATEWAY TO THE SOUTH
This is one of the stations designed by Charles Holden and opened in 1926 when the Northern line was extended south to Morden (the southernmost point on the system, a mere 10 miles south of the centre of London – by comparison, Amersham, the most far flung station on the current network is 27 miles out, and Brill, the furthest ever outpost of any line is 51 miles out).
I can provide pictures of both surface buildings and some blurb about the station itself in the form of two photos of stuff in the book Bright Underground Spaces…
Although there are only five stations south of Balham on the Northern line, it is also a main-line railway station, and connects southwards to a number of destinations via three distinct routes, through Streatham Common, Streatham Hill and Hackbridge.
I made extensive use of Balham at one time, when I lived at Parklands Road and worked in New Malden, and it was easier to take a longer walk than strictly necessary and get a train to Clapham Junction, where I could change to another train for New Malden than to do anything else.
Also, given the the majority of it was through commons, the walk though long was quite a pleasant one.
To finish, as usual I have some map pics…
The first of three stations whose name begins with Clapham. This station is the last Holden designed station to feature in this post.
The southern terminus of the line from 1900 to 1926. This station and its neighbour Clapham North are the last two stations to sport the island platforms (one regular-sized platform between two sets of tracks) that were a feature of the City & South London Railway, although a couple of other stations have legacies of such platforms.
The other island-platform station. Near this station is Mary Seacole House, named in honour of a Jamaican born nurse who helped soldiers during the Crimean War. This deeply unprepossessing tower block houses offices used by Lambeth Council.
The first interchange between this line and another underground line (Balham and Clapham North both have connections to main line railway stations and IMO South Wimbledon is close enough to Wimbledon that that should be shown as an interchange) in this case the Victoria. This is a cross-platform interchange, one of four on the Victoria line. A change here is often advisable even if it means one more change than is strictly necessary for the journey (e.g Tooting Bec – Stockwell – Victoria – South Kensington is a quicker journey than Tooting Bec – Embankment – South Kensington) due to the extra speed of travel on the Victoria line.
IN THE SHADOW OF THE GAS HOLDERS
I am treating these two stations together because they are at opposite ends of the Oval cricket ground. Oval was one of the original six stations of the City and South London Railway, the world’s first deep-level tube railway, which opened in 1890. Vauxhall only opened as an underground station in 1971, part of the newest section of the Victoria line, but is also a main-line railway station and would have opened in that capacity long before Oval.
Today is the Saturday of the Oval test, by tradition the last of the summer. At the moment things are not looking rosy for England, but more spectacular turnarounds have been achieved (bowled at for 15 in 1st dig and won by 155 runs a day and a half later – Hampshire v Warwickshire 1922, 523-4D in 1st dig and beaten by ten wickets two days later – Warwickshire v Lancashire 1982 to give but two examples). The Oval in it’s long and illustrious history has seen some of test cricket’s greatest moments:
1880: 1st test match on English soil – England won by five wickets, Billy Murdoch of Australia won a sovereign from ‘W G’ by topping his 152 in the first innings by a single run.
1882: the original ‘Ashes’ match – the term came from a joke obituary penned after this game by Reginald Shirley Brooks. Australia won by 7 runs, England needing a mere 85 to secure the victory were mown down by Fred Spofforth for 77.
1886: A triumph for England, with W G Grace running up 170, at the time the highest test score by an England batsman. Immediately before the fall of the first England wicket the scoreboard nicely indicated the difference in approach between Grace and his opening partner William Scotton (Notts): Batsman no 1: 134 Batsman no 2: 34
1902: Jessop’s Match – England needing 263 in the final innings were 48-5 and in the last-chance saloon with the tables being mopped when Jessop arrived at the crease. He scored 104 in 77 minutes, and so inspired the remainder of the English batsmen, that with those two cool Yorkshiremen, Hirst and Rhodes together at the death England sneaked home by one wicket.
1926: England’s first post World ward I Ashes win, secured by the batting of Sutcliffe (161) and Hobbs (100) and the bowling of young firebrand Larwood and old sage Rhodes – yes the very same Rhodes who was there at the death 24 years earlier.
1938: The biggest margin of victory in test history – England win by an innings and 579. Australia batted without opener Jack Fingleton and even more crucially no 3 Don Bradman in either innings (it was only confirmation that the latter would not be batting that induced England skipper Hammond to declare at 903-7)
1948: Donald Bradman’s farewell to test cricket – a single boundary would have guaranteed him a three figure batting average, but he failed to pick Eric Hollies’ googly, collecting a second-ball duck and finishing wit a final average of 99.94 – still almost 40 runs an innings better than the next best.
1953: England reclaim the Ashes they lost in 1934 with Denis Compton making the winning hit.
1968: A South-African born batsman scores a crucial 158, and then when it looks like England might be baulked by the weather secures a crucial breakthrough with the ball, exposing the Australian tail to the combination of Derek Underwood and a rain affected pitch. This as not sufficient to earn Basil D’Oliveira an immediate place on that winter’s tour of his native land, and the subsequent behaviour of the South African government when he is named as a replacement for Tom Cartwright (offically injured, unoffically unwilling to tour South Africa) sets off a chain of events that will leave South Africa in the sporting wilderness for almost quarter of a century.
1975: Australia 532-9D, England 191 – England in the mire … but a fighting effort all the way down the line in the second innings, Bob Woolmer leading the way with 149 sees England make 538 in the second innings and Australia have to settle for the draw (enough for them to win the series 1-0).
1985: England need only a draw to retain the Ashes, and a second-wicket stand of 351 between Graham Gooch (196) and David Gower (157) gives them a position of dominance they never relinquish, although a collapse, so typical of England in the 1980s and 90s sees that high-water mark of 371-1 turn into 464 all out. Australia’s final surrender is tame indeed, all out for 241 and 129 to lose by an innings and 94, with only Greg Ritchie’s 1st innings 64 worthy of any credit.
2005: For the second time in Oval history an innings of 158 by a South-African born batsman will be crucial to the outcome of the match, and unlike in 1968, the series. This innings would see Kevin Peter Pietersen, considered by many at the start of this match as there for a good time rather than a long time, finish the series as its leading run scorer.
2009: A brilliant combined bowling effort from Stuart Broad and Graeme Swann sees Australia all out for 160 after being 72-0 in their first innings, a debut century from Jonathan Trott knocks a few more nails into the coffin, and four more wickets for Swann in the second innings, backed by the other bowlers and by Andrew Flintoff’s last great moment in test cricket – the unassisted run out of Ricky Ponting (not accompanied by the verbal fireworks of Trent Bridge 2005 on this occasion!).
The above was all written without consulting books, but for those who wish to know more about test cricket at this iconic venue, there is a book dedicated to that subject by David Mortimer.
As usual I conclude this post with some map pics…
At this station the Northern line splits into two branches, one going via Charing Cross and the other via Bank, before a brief recombination at Camden Town and then a further bifurcation. If travelling from a point south of Kennington to a destination on the Charing Cross branch the advice is to get the first train and change at Kennington if necessary, since some Charing Cross branch services start from Kennington. Not far from this station is the Imperial War Museum.
ELEPHANT & CASTLE
An interchange with the Bakerloo line and also with mainline rail services. This area is being redeveloped.
One of only three stations on the Bank branch to have no interchanges. This station serves London’s most renowned food market.
Interchanges with the Jubilee line, in which context I wrote about it in detail, and mainline railways.
I covered this station in great detail when writing about the Central line.
This station has a connection to mainline railways (the Northern City section referred to earlier in this post). It serves Moorfields Eye Hospital.
This station has no interchanges. It possesses the longest escalators on the system (these claimed the record from Leicester Square, not Holborn as erroneously stated in this article). Shrewd observers may note that one of the platforms at this station is exceptionally wide. This is because until its fairly recent refurbishment, including the building of the escalators mentioned above, Angel still had an island platform, which was replaced as part of the work.
KINGS CROSS ST PANCRAS
I have written extensively about this station elsewhere on this site, so all I shall add is that the Northern line platforms at this station are the deepest of any at the station.
EUSTON AND EUSTON SQUARE
Euston Square, served nowadays by the Circle, Hammersmith & City and Metropolitan lines is one of the 1863 originals, and as with Baker Street has been restored to look as it would have done when first opened. The City and South London Railway station at Euston was opened on May 12th 1907 and the Charing Cross, Euston and Hampstead Railway on June 22nd 1907. These two together are now the Northern line, and occupy four platforms here – although widely separated – to change between the two branches you would be well advised to continue northwards to Camden Town where the interchange is cross-platform. The Victoria line station opened on December 1st 1968.
The southbound platform on the Bank branch of the Northern line is very wide at this station because when it was opened as the City and South London Railway station there were two tracks either side of an island platform (an arrangement still in evidence at Clapham Common and Clapham North), and the extra width of that platform comes from the reorginastion when this arrangement was deemed unsuitable for such a busy station.
INTRODUCING THE RAILWAY DETECTIVE
Euston was the first of London’s railway terminals to open, serving the London and North Western Railway, and it was on that route that Edward Marston’s greatest creation, The Railway Detective (a.k.a Inspector Robert Colbeck) investigated the case that first earned him that title (and introduced him to his future wife). These stories are set thus far) in the 1850s, before the opening of the Metropolitan Railway in 1863, but I could see Colbeck still being in business when that momentous event occurs. He would undoubtedly embrace the underground railway wholeheartedly, although his colleague Sergeant Leeming would take some persuading of its virtues!
CONCLUSION AND PICS
I hope that you have enjoyed this post and will be inspired to share it. Here are a couple of pictures to finish…
The Diagrammatic History.
This station is best known for having given its name to a game.
A double bifurcation point, as south of here the line splits in Bank and Charing Cross branches, while to the north it splits into High Barnet and Edgware branches. This is also the closest station to London Zoo.
For more on Camden Town, and a view of the area from a different perspective you can see what Ester makes of it on her Travelling Around The World blog by clicking here.
From 1907 until 1924 there was an intermediate station called South Kentish Town, which was closed due industrial action at Lots Road Power Station and in the event never re-opened. This station has an interchange with mainline railway services. The surface level platforms are spanned by a pedestrian bridge which means that direct access to streets on both sides of the station is possible.
This station is currently closed, officially expected to reopen in 2017.
One of the original northern termini of the Charing Cross, Euston & Hampstead. Close to this station is the point at which Dick Whittington legendarily turned back towards London and a career that would see him become Lord Mayor of London.
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…
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. For much more detail and a different perspective on Highgate Cemetery I recommend this post onalicevstheworld.
One of three stations with Finchley in its name. This is also the last station on this section of the line to be in tunnel.
This station is at surface level, and looks exactly like a rural railway station, not least because that is how it (and the rest of this section of the line on to High Barnet) started life, as a part of the London & North Eastern Railway’s network of local services. Thus we have the paradoxical situation whereby the oldest stations on the line (dating from 1872) have been served for less long by this line than ay of the others. Although we will be following the mainline to High Barnet first we have a little diversion to make to…
MILL HILL EAST
Although this is a very minor spur of track it does include one system-wide record holder. The Dollis Brook Viaduct on this branch is 60 feet above the surface, the highest point of elevation above ground anywhere on the system. Mill Hill East station is itself elevated, though not sufficiently so to warrant up escalators from the street as seen at Alperton.
The third and last of the Finchleys.
WOODSIDE PARK and TOTTERIDGE & WHETSTONE
These two stations are attractive, with platforms in the style of the LNER with whom they started life.
The end of the line. There is open country beyond the station.
Having finished the Bank and High Barnet branches, it is time to take on the Charing Cross and Edgware branches, and of course we have already covered Kennington. I have written in great detail about Waterloo in my posts on the Bakerloo and Jubilee lines.
I wrote in detail about this station in my post on the District line. However a couple of Northern line specific things deserve mention here. Firstly, there are floodgates on the the Northern line platforms because the Thames is directly overhead. Second, this station is further below sea-level than any other on the system, 67 feet to be precise. Third and final due to the fact that the southbound platform uses what was a terminal loop in the days of the Charing Cross, Euston & Hampstead there is famously a gap between the platform edge and the trains, hence “Mind The Gap”.
This station was originally called Strand, and was not recognized as having an interchange with Charing Cross main line station. Both Charing Cross and its close neighbour Embankment have been through many name changes down the years. The Bakerloo line platforms that now have the name Charing Cross were originally opened as Trafalgar Square. It was the opening of the Jubilee line in 1979 with it’s southern terminus at Charing Cross that led to these two stations being shown as an interchange, because both did have an interchange to the Jubilee line, although the interchange from the Northern to the Bakerloo at this station would not have been advisable in any circumstance – Embankment and Waterloo are both much better options. Charing Cross Station is the centre of the 10KM (6 Miles) radius circle within which drivers of black cabs are required to know everything. This is called “The Knowledge”, a designation which may come from a quote from the world’s most famous consulting detective, in The Adventure of the Red Headed League, when he tells Watson “It is a hobby of mine to have an exact knowledge of London”. For more specific detail about Charing Cross and its neighbour Embankment check out this post.
Until the refurbishment of Angel this station possessed the longest escalators on the system at 161 feet in length. It serves an area of London known both for its Chinese Restaurants and for its Theatres – one designation for this part of London is Theatreland. Additonally, for map lovers, Stanford’s, the greatest of all map shops, is just down the road from this station. There is an interchange to the Piccadilly line here.
TOTTENHAM COURT ROAD
An interchange to the Central line, and from 2017 (if the project is completed on schedule, which in British public transport terms is a big if) Crossrail. This postcard shows the current layout of the station:
Tottenham Court Road is in London’s busiest shopping district. Unique among the shops to be found here is Bookmarks. Also, very close to this station is the British Museum. Recent Developments at this station are covered in this piece from Time Out.
A very long and convoluted interchange with the Victoria line is possible here – although one stop beyond, to Euston would surely be better. This station is even closer to UCL than Goodge Street, while a stroll round the corner takes one to Euston Square, and the Circle, Hammersmith & City and Metropolitan lines. Also, like the previous two stations this one is within eyesight of a very distinctive tower, in its case the BT Tower.
ON TO THE EDGWARE BRANCH
Euston and Camden Town have already been covered while talking about the Bank branch, so it is time to move on to…
This station was at one time my aunt’s local station. Access to the surface is provided by lifts here, as also at the next two stations.
This station opened in 1907 as part of the original section of the Charing Cross, Euston and Hampstead Railway, which was subsequently amalgamated with the City and South London Railway to form the Northern line. It is located on the Edgware branch, two stops beyond the bifurcation point of Camden Town and one stop south of Hampstead. Like its northerly neighbour it is very deep, and accessible from the street only by lift or staircase. Although it is shown on the maps as offering no interchanges, Gospel Oak on London Overground is walkable should one ever have reason to make such a change.
MURDER ON THE UNDERGROUND
This is the title of a book by 1930s crime writer Mavis Doriel Hay. The murder itself takes place on the stairs mentioned above, and all the action is set around this section of the northern line. Having just read the book I heartily recommend at and am looking forward to reading the other book of hers I have located at one of thelibraries I patronise, Murder on the Cherwell, set in another place I have a more than passing acquaintance with, Oxford.
This is the deepest station anywhere on the system, 192 feet below the surface. Just north of here is the deepest point on the network, 221 feet below the surface of Hampstead Heath. This gives the Northern line three records relating to the station’s vertical location – deepest below sea level, deepest below surface and highest above surface. The remaining record, highest above sea level is held by Amersham, 500 feet up in the Chilterns. Access the the surface is gained by lifts, or if you are up for major climb or are seriously claustrophobic by way of 350 stairs.
A station to have been called either North End or Bull & Bush was excavated at platform level but never built, meaning that the next station we reach is…
Given the record held by Hampstead, and the supplementary record held by a sport just north of Hampstead towards this station, you might expect that this station would still be in tunnel, but it is actually at surface level. The principal depot for the Northern line is located at this station.
Brent Cross is home to a major shopping centre. For this part of the route the line is elevated above surface level giving rise to the infrequent sight of a viaduct with the London Underground logo on the side.
Although this station is correctly shown as having no interchanges, it is only a 13-minute walk from Hendon Thameslink Station. This station is in two fare zones, 3 and 4. This is not very frequent, although the Northern line boasts several examples: South Wimbledon (3 and 4), Clapham South (2 and 3), Elephant & Castle (1 and 2), Archway (2 and 3) and here. Hendon was the birthplace of sporting legend (5,000 test runs for England and FA Cup Winners medal with Arsenal) Denis Compton.
This station is located near Hendon Aerodrome, which now houses the RAF Museum.
The second last station on our journey, and not notable in any way.
Just beyond this station two tunnel openings can be seen, all that currently remains of plans for an extension to Elstree and Aldenham. Like Uxbridge and Stanmore among other London Underground termini this has bus stands directly outside the station building.
HISTORY AND MODERN CONNECTIONS IN MAP FORM
These final maps show the whole line, first its history, and then its modern day connections…
For mainstream non-specialist books I always direct people to book depository because they do free worldwide delivery. The books that I have mentioned in this post to which this applies are:
I have only used two maps in this piece. One of those, the modern London Connections Map, which has Southeast England’s railways on its reverse side, is obtainable free of charge at a wide variety of locations (I picked mine up at King’s Lynn bus station). The other, the Diagrammatic History, can be obtained from Stanford’s, the map specialists based in Covent Garden, very close to the London Transport Museum.
My thanks and congratulations to those of you who have made it all the way through this long and convoluted post. I hope consider ti worthwhile, and will spread the word both about this post and about the website.
This post deals with two very close neighbours on the system. These stations are covered in my posts on the Bakerloo, Districtand Jubileelines, but this offers a closer focus.
WHAT‘S 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:
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.
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…
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.
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.
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.
Only one of the original canon of Sherlock Holmes stories features any action on what is now London Underground, the Adventure of the Bruce-Partington Plans, which features tracks on today’s Metropolitan, District, Circle and Hammersmith & City lines. In The Adventure of the Beryl Coronet mention is made of the fact that Baker Street station is visible from 221B. The rest of this post is going to examine that lacuna from the London Underground viewpoint.
THE SPAN OF HOLMES’ CAREER
Mr Sherlock Holmes set up his consultancy practice in rooms on Montague Street some time in the 1870s (1874 and 1877 both have their adherents, and there is no obvious case against it being 1875 or 1876 either), and moved to Baker Street, initially sharing the lodging with the man who would become his chronicler, Dr John Hamish Watson, in 1880. With a three year hiatus in the years 1891-4 (although The Adventure of Wisteria Lodge refers erroneously to the year being 1892) when he was pretending to be dead in order to throw off surviving members of Moriarty’s organisation, Holmes was based in London until 1903 when he retired to Sussex to keep bees.
LONDON UNDERGROUND 1870-1903
What then of London Underground in the period covered above? Well by 1880 the Metropolitan had reached out as far as Harrow, what is now the Hammersmith and City had an eastern terminus at Aldgate, and in the west had branches to Olympia (then Addison Road) with a through connection to mainline railways going south, Hammersmith and a track connection by viaduct to Ravenscourt Park for the run to Richmond, the District ran from Ealing Broadway, Richmond and Putney Bridge in the west to Mansion House in the east, with a side branch to High Street Kensington, while the Circle line (then the Inner Circle) was yet to be completed, horseshoeing from Aldgate to Mansion House (completion after some knocking together of heads would occur in 1884). There were as yet no deep level tube lines.
By 1890, the Metropolitan would have extended north to Chesham, the Disrict would have a new branch to Hounslow (the origin of today’s Heathrow branch of the Piccadilly), the District and Hammersmith & City lines had opened what is now a section of London Overground, but was for many years the East London line, and the world’s first deep level tube line, the City & South London Railway opened on December 18th, 1890, then comprising a mere six stations, with no official interchange to the older network, although the northern terminus at King William Street would have only been a few minutes walk from Monument.
The District, Hammersmith & City and Circle lines did not change by 1890. The Metropolitan reached further from Central London than any other of London Underground lines, with two branches beyond Aylesbury, the main branch to Verney Junction opening in 1891 and a side branch to Brill utilizing what had been the Duke of Buckingham’s private railway opening in 1899. Verney Junction was 50 miles out from Baker Street, while Brill just topped that at 51 miles. The City and South London had abandoned the poorly sited King William Street station, and had three new northern stations, London Bridge, Bank and Monument and two new southern stations, Clapham Road (now Clapham North) and Clapham Common. Also, in 1898 the second deep-level tube railway, the Waterloo & City, opened for business, while in 1900 the Central London Railway opened, running between Bank and Shepherd’s Bush.
In between 1900 and 1903 the only significant changes were to the District, which expanded to the east and also, in the latter half of 1903 opened what is now the Uxbridge branch of the Piccadilly – it was not until the great tube building boom of 1905-7 that the state of the deep-level tube network changed substantially.
Thus, although more use could definitely have been made of the older ‘subsurface’ lines, especially given that a station was visible from Holmes’ window, there was not a lot of tube network for him to use.
I have five maps for you, in the modern style, showing the network as it looked in 1870 (before Holmes moved to London), 1880 (the time of the move to Baker Street), 1890 (the last year before the great hiatus), 1900 (near the end of Holmes’ time in London) and 1910 (seven years after the move to Sussex, and by when Holmes was apparently already preparing for his last bow as ‘Mr Altamont’):
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In my post on the District line, originally published on aspiblog, I presented a scheme that would see the western end of the line turned into a giant loop, incorporating two suburban railway branches which currently serve Windsor & Eton. I deferred covering my plans for the remaining branches other than indicating that they would not remain part of the District. I am now going to fill in that gap.
LONDON OVERGROUND AND FURTHER INTEGRATION OF THE SYSTEM
TheMetropolitan and District lines and their spin offs such as the Hammersmith and City line were built to the same specifications as main line railways, and I make use of this fact. Put simply, this section of the district would become the nucleus of a new section of London Overground. Kensington Olympia is already part of London Overground, and I would run trains on this branch, which might approach under my scheme from either Wimbledon or Edgeware Road through by way of the existing Willesden Junction connection to Watford Junction and a connection to my envisaged London Orbital Railway, outlined in this post. Edgware Road serves little purpose as a terminus station, and I would do one of two things to improve this situation:
Project this route over existing tracks to Aldgate East, reopen the old track link from Aldgate East to Shadwell, connecting to that section of London Overground (formerly the East London Line).
A more modest extension along the north side of the Circle line, followed by establishing a track connection to the Thameslink platforms at Farringdon, then utilising the currently unused former Thameslink platforms at Barbican and Moorgate, giving this part of the network a connection to the city.
That leaves the Wimbledon spur to attend to. A southern extension would provide this with a connection to the orbital mentioned earlier in this piece, and a further southern extension beyond the orbital would afford yet further connections to main line rail services. The full extension would run as follows from Wimbledon: Bushey Mead, Motspur Park, Malden Manor, Tolworth, Hook (connection to the orbital), Claygate, Oxshott, Pachesham Park, Leatherhead, Boxhill & Westhumble and Dorking.
The Dorking terminus is not just because from Leatherhead the line follows an existing route. It also opens up some extra connections – southwards to Horsham, and also a very short walk enables one to get to Dorking Deepdene station and a line that runs from Reading to Redhill.
SOME HIGHLIGHTS OF THESE ROUTES
I am going to start my metaphorical journey at…
Aside from the connections already mentioned, Dorking has a place in cricket history as the birthplace of Harry Jupp. Jupp was an adhesive (in more ways than one as we shall see) opening batsman, who with designated gloveman Edward Pooley still confined in a New Zealand prison after a fracas there, kept wicket for England in the first ever Test Match in March 1877. Once playing in a benefit game in his home town he was bowled early on and coolly replaced the bails. On being asked “ain’t you going Juppy?”, he said “No, not at Dorking”. This line of Jupp’s was subsequently used as the title of a radio programme about cricket history.
BOXHILL AND WESTHUMBLE
This station is the start and end point for a splendid walk on which many moons I go I led a walking group of which I was part. The website www.walkingclub.org.uk has a Box Hill walk which you can view here.
As well as offering interchanges to mainline railways and the Croydon Tramlink, Wimbledon has much to offer in its own right. Wimbledon Common, home of the Wombles is here. It is a great place to walk around, and for those who like to follow a set route, walk 81 in 100 Walks In Greater London starts at Wimbledon Station and takes you across Wimbledon Common and adjoining Putney Heath to finish at East Putney Station…
The book can be bought from Book Depository (free worldwide delivery) for £8.99
This is the local station for the most famous tennis championships in the world, covered in detail in this post. For those who want to look ahead, the Wimbledon 2016 website is already available for viewing.
One of various points from which you can watch the Boat Race (second oldest of the “varsity” sports contests – the first varsity cricket match was played in 1827, two years before the first boat race). Also the home station for Fulham FC, who number Richard Osman of Pointless fame among their fans.
Under previous plans for a Hackney-Chelsea line, District line trains would have terminated here. In my scheme, this station would be an interchange between London Overground and the Woking-Chelmsford line (my extended version of the Hackney-Chelsea as described here).
The London Overground route from Clapham Junction to Kensington Olympia has a stop here, so this would be a link between the existing London Overground network and the extensions thereof proposed in this post.
Although at the moment there is no London Overground station at Earls Court, this would change in my scheme, to provide interchange with the District and Piccadillylines. While pretty much everything else to be said about Earls Court is contained within my previous post “Triangle Sidings“, I include here a link to the website of the Save Earls Court campaign, who are fighting to prevent demolition of the historic exhibition centre.
Beyond Earls Court our route diverges, one branch heading north via Kensington Olympia to Watford Junction and the northern and western parts of my planned Orbital Railway, while the other goes to Edgware Road, and thence on to Baker Street, Great Portland Street and one of two possible developments beyond there.
It is that latter section that I am going to concentrate on next, starting with…
HIGH STREET KENSINGTON
This station is now directly below a major shopping centre, and therefore has no surface level building.
NOTTING HILL GATE
This station has been the subject of a full length blog post, which I reproduce below…
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…
PADDINGTON (PRAED STREET)
Here is some detailed information about this station. I am going to top it up with this which has previously appeared in the piece about the District Line but bears repeating because it is quite immportant.
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.
The current terminus of this branch of the District, but under my scheme will be an ordinary through station.
Lots of detail about this station:
HISTORY, HORROR AND DETECTIVES
Baker Street was one of the original stations that opened in 1863 as The Metropolitan Railway, the world’s first underground public transport system, on January the 10th 1863. Those platforms, two of 10 at that station (the most on the entire system) to be served by underground trains, are still in service today, and have been restored to look as they would have done when first opened. Ironically, they are no longer served by the Metropolitan line, which uses two terminal and two through platforms just to the north of the originals, its tracks joining those of the Hammersmith and City and Circle lines just east of Baker Street. By way of explanation I turn to Douglas Rose’s London Underground: A Diagrammatic History
The other two lines that serve this station are the Bakerloo and Jubilee lines. Baker Street is a division point between the old and new Jubilee lines – south of Baker Street is all new track, northwards old, dating from 1939, when it was opened as a branch of the Bakerloo, taking some of the strain of the Metropolitan by taking over services to Stanmore and assuming sole responsibility for intermediate stops between Baker Street and Finchley Road, and also between Finchley Road and Wembley Park. When the Jubilee opened in 1979 it comprised the old Stanmore branch of the Bakerloo and three stations south of Baker Street.
Reverting temporarily to the Metropolitan, those four platforms at Baker Street, from which trains go to a variety of destinations developed from what started as a single track branch going only as far as Swiss Cottage. It grew out of all recognition during the tenure of Edward Watkin, who saw the Metropolitan as a crucial link in his plan for a railway system to link his three favourite cities, London, Paris and Manchester. At one time, as my next picture shows, the Metropolitan went far beyond it’s current reach…
Baker Street is home to Madame Tussaud’s which merits a visit. The Planetarium that used to be next door to Madame Tussaud’s has been relocated to Greenwich while the old Planetarium building is now part of Madame Tussaud’s.
Of course, no post about Baker Street would be complete without something sbout it’s most famous ever resident, Mr Sherlock Holmes, consulting detective.
I am an avid fan of the great detective, having read all the original stories and many modern stories that feature the great detective. As well as owning a respectable collection of my own, I regularly borrow books about this subject from the libraries that I use…
To end this post, along with my customary hopes that you have enjoyed it and that you will share it, a couple more maps, first a facsimile of the original Beck map of 1933 and then for comparison a facsimile of the 1926 Underground Map…
The current Farringdon station opened in 1865, when the Metropolitan Railway (as it then was) expanded eastward for the first time from the old terminus just to the south of here at Farringdon Street (it had already reached west to Hammersmtih in 1864). As the colours of the heading indicate it is currently served by the Hammersmith and City, Circle and Metropolitan lines. There is also an overground station served by Thameslink.
I have a couple of shots from an old A-Z to show the area at surface level…
For three months in 1997 I worked (for experience plus travel expenses) at Interpretations, based in Bakers Yard, the near the junction of Farringdon Road and Rosebery Avenue, the first job I ever had.
Also, tying in with two of my interests (real ale and English literature), just to the north of this junction is a pub called the Betsey Trotwood, which I would recommend anyone to visit.
Just south of here is City Thameslink, a train station with exceptionally long platforms, owing to the fact that it was created by amalgamating two old stations, Holborn Viaduct and Ludgate Hill into one.
I end but setting this historic station in context with the aid of the Diagrammatic History…
This is the point at which the other version of my scheme would part ways with the Hammersmith and City, making use of an old track link to Shadwell, and a link up to that section of London Overground.
An interchange between London Overground and the Docklands Light Railway.
This is the deepest station to have been built using the old cut-and-cover method of construction, 60 feet below the surface. The tunnel connecting this station to Rotherhithe was originally opened as a pedestrian tunnel. This project was designed by Marc Isambard Brunel, and when the chief engineer died and he needed to find a quick replacement he gave his son the job. Isambard Kingdom Brunel proved more than adequate for the task in hand, and an illustrious engineering career was launched.
A new station on a very old section of track, this station was created to provide an interchange between the Jubilee line and what was then the East London line.
This in the old days of the East London line used by a bifurcation point, but is now a trifurcation point, with lines going to New Cross, West Croydon & Crystal Palace (via New Cross Gate, the other original terminus) and Clapham Junction.
At this point we will revert to our other section beyond Earls Court, that going via Kensington Olympia.
This is two stations in one, with a low level station featuring the Bakerloo line and London Overground (the branch we will be joining), and a high level station featuring the original Silverlink Metro line that became the nucleus of London Overground, which started life as a Richmond-North Woolwich service and is now Richmond – Stratford, with the section beyond Stratford incorporated into the Docklands Light Railway.
HARROW AND WEALDSTONE
The current northern terminus of the Bakerloo Line.
The first stop for long-distance trains from London Euston.
AN EXTRA SPECULATION
Astute observers who have reached this point may have noted that my suggested extension along the north side of the Circle makes use that lines platforms at Liverpool Street, and that there are actually some London Overground services that currently depart from Liverpool Street. Although it would require much ore work, which is why I have not listed it as something for current consideration, I could envisage the creation of a track link from Moorgate to a point just beyond Liverpool Street on that section of London Overground, and through running of services to Cheshunt, Chingford and Enfield Town.
This is the first time I have produced an entirely speculative post, as post to including a speculative section in a post about a current line. Whether it has worked or not is up to you to decide, but I have enjoyed creating it.