Saturday, July 03, 2021

Westminster Underground Station

 

London The Unfinished City
Walls like catacombs.

Sunday, June 27, 2021

Most of the Unfinished City's underground stations have unique features or something that stands them apart from the others. The surface stations are different as they were all built to the same standard, although some, which were added later, were designed to stand out.

London The Unfinished City
Supports, staircases & escalators.


My favourite underground station is Westminster, which has a uniqueness to it that I have not seen at any other subsurface station. From the giant box that you descend into, to the staircases, escalators and elevators all supported from giant steel pillars, it is like descending into the bowels of the Earth.

London The Unfinished City
Structural supports.


The lighting is just right to show off the skill and workmanship that went in to constructing this behemoth of a station and, considering the depth to which you descend, this station only has four platforms: Circle & District line eastbound, Circle & District line westbound, Jubilee line eastbound & Jubilee line westbound.

London The Unfinished City
'Station Box'


Brief History

Westminster Bridge underground station was originally opened on Christmas Eve 1868 and was built using the cut-and-cover method. Originally the station was just a temporary structure, with individual awnings for the platforms, and was the terminus for the District Railway.

The railway passes diagonally beneath Parliament Square and lies close to Westminster Abbey. Because of the poor ground around Westminster Abbey and St. Margaret's Church work had to be conducted with care, to avoid damage to the foundations. 

With the Metropolitan Railway and the District Railway now using the station, resulting in more footfall, it was decided, in 1905, to electrify the lines and purchase some new rolling stock. In 1907 the station had its name changed to simply Westminster.

In the mid 1890s the station had been incorporated into a larger building, but it would take until 1922 for a new canopy to be designed for the Bridge Street entrance.

The platforms were gradually extended, between 1962-64, to allow for longer eight-carriage trains to operate at the station.

During the 1990s the entire station was redesigned and had to be rebuilt, to allow for deep-level platforms to be built to accommodate the Jubilee line extension.

These works included the demolition of the existing buildings, around the station, and what would become the deepest excavation in central London, which at its deepest point reached 128 feet. This massive void would eventually house the escalators, elevators and stairs down to the Jubilee line platforms, would become to be called the 'Station Box'.

One consideration was The Elizabeth Tower which stands just 112 feet away from the giant excavations. 

In November 1999 trains began passing through the station, but would not stop at the station until December 22, 1999, 131 years after the station had originally opened.



Thursday, July 01, 2021

King's Cross Lighthouse

London The Unfinished City
King's Cross Lighthouse

If you are ever in the King's Cross area keep an eye open and see if you can spot what looks to be a lighthouse, atop a flatiron-style building.

The building stands on the junction of Euston Road, Grays Inn Road, Pentonville Road and York Way and is an enigma to the area.

During recent years the building, and said lighthouse, were boarded up and awaiting reconstruction work, as the entire area was transformed. The lighthouse itself had been daubed with graffiti and looked to be falling apart, due to a lack of care and attention.

There are many stories and suppositions as to why there is what appears to be a lighthouse atop a building, miles from any serious navigational river, but none of these are confirmed.

It is possible that was just an architectural whim, or was meant as some grander scheme.

The most prevalent story is that it was built as a kind of advertising stunt, in the 1870-1880s, when the shop below was Netten's Oyster Bar. 

Following much regeneration, in the area, I was glad to see that the lighthouse had been rejuvenated, too, rather than have being removed or altered.

So, if you are ever near the plaza, outside King's Cross station, look across and take a look at this lighthouse, in the middle of a busy thoroughfare.

Popular Posts