Ah Bethnal Green. The station that has long but puzzled the Essex commuters. Nobody ever seems to get on or off at Bethnal Green during rush hour and the trains always seem to linger here slightly longer than is necessary. It’s existence also rather spoils the sense of efficiency on this part of the Central Line, interrupting what would otherwise be a 2.5 mile stretch of unadulterated speed between Mile End and Liverpool Street.
Lying both slightly too far south of Cambridge Heath and slightly too far north of it’s mainline name sake, Bethnal Green is a missed opportunity in supplying a useful interchange to National Rail (now Overground). As it also encroaches on Stepney Green and Whitechapel’s respective patches it’s easy to ask what is it’s purpose? Judging eyes wonder how much of their busy lives would been saved not stopping at Bethnal Green every day. How much longer would I have in bed? How much longer would I have to close that big city deal? You can sense the resentment the suburbanites have in stopping at Bethnal Green.
That’s a shame, because it’s actually quite an attractive station. Upstairs isn’t much to write home about but the tile scheme is a classic example of Holden’s interior work. Next time you’re waiting for what seems like an eternity for that train to depart Bethnal Green, admire the 2007 renovation. It really does Holden’s original decoration and tile scheme justice. Well… that is until you spend time too much time looking at the tiled lettering. Some of the H’s and N’s haven’t been put on the right way round. Once you see it, it cannot be unseen.
Image copyright A Carter – CallingAllStations.co.uk