Someone asked me not so long a go “What’s your favourite station?” That’s a very tough question, of which I’d struggle to answer without giving it some serious thought. “OK So what’s you’re least favourite station?”
No doubt about it, didn’t even have to think.
Sorry tourists, I know you’re important to the economy of this city, but you are like a moth to a flame when it comes to Leicester Square. I know it’s supposedly the heart of the West End, but really, could you not think of anywhere more imaginative to go than Aberdeen Angus Steak House?…
The station always feels cramped and overcrowded and the streets above are no better. You’ll get knocked into, walked in front of and squeezed into claustrophobic spaces. I feel like there’s never any escape. Every bit of dislike and anxiety towards the Piccadilly Line is rooted in this station.
Leicester Square you are the worst.
Image copyright A Carter – CallingAllStations.co.uk
The London Underground maybe a functional and sometimes frustrating piece of infrastructure for some, but for others it’s an architectural gem known the world over. Being over 150 years old, and made up of various former Victorian companies, the Tube has some of the most varied and interesting architectural designs of any mass transit system. None more prominent than the stations of Leslie Green.
In 1903 Leslie Green (born 1875) was appointed chief architect of the newly formed Underground Electric Railways Company of London who were busy in the process of building 3 new lines through the capital: Great Northern, Picadilly & Brompton Railway (Piccadilly Line), The Baker Street & Waterloo Railway (Bakerloo Line) and the Charing Cross, Euston & Hampstead Railway (Northern Line – Charing Cross Branch). Leslie Green was tasked with designing the stations for all 3 lines.
Green designed the stations in a bold uniform ‘Arts & Crafts’ style so that they would be instantly recognisable for the UERL’s new customers. Each station was constructed around a steel two story frame, with ox-blood red tiled façades with large semi-circular windows above wide entrance/exit gates. This December (2014) I went to take a closer look at some of the examples surviving on today’s Northern Line.