It has to be assumed that TfL would only name an East End DLR stop in a back alley off Stratford, Abbey Road, purely to troll tourists.
We all know that the real Abbey Road is situated near Lord’s cricket ground, a short walk from St. John’s Wood station. I therefore went in anticipation of some Fab Four references, happy in the knowledge that this would be one of the easiest stations to provide a unique blog name for. I was not disappointed. This Beatles themed coffee shop sits within the ticket hall foot print and even underneath the station name itself. This is too easy St. John’s Wood, you’re not even trying… (I’ll regret those words on my trip up the Jubilee Line later).
Image copyright A Carter – CallingAllStations.co.uk
During a look round University of London’s Senate House as part of Open House weekend, we stumbled upon this rather fabulous map which was created by Macdonald Gill in 1939.
It maps the various colleges that were part of the university at the time. It also shows various other London landmarks and features main-line stations and tube stops. Even without being told it’s age you can certainly have a guess at back dating the piece from the station names which include Strand, Lords and Uxbridge Road.
But one name stands out…
Between Lords and Marlborough Road lies the marker “Acacia.”
A 1939 tube map tells a similar story, this time listing the station as Acacia Road. Today, we know the stop as St. John’s Wood which opened the same year as part of the then Bakerloo Line. This suggests there was a late change in heart when it came to the name of the station. Why is unclear, but it’s perhaps more descriptive of the area than “Acacia Road” would have been.
The inclusion of Lords and Marlborough Road is perhaps a bit of a mystery as these were being closed that same year (both to be replaced by the aforementioned St. John’s Wood), instantly making the work of art incorrect.
But should we worry? This is a beautiful snippet of 1939 London. Many of the colleges it depicts do not exist anymore, much like how the stations listed have fallen out of use or gone through identity changes. This is as close as you’re going to get to an early 20th century “screen shot” and is a wonderful preservation of an identity that never was.