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Thursday 10 January 2013

Underground Is 150 – Take 3


Following on from the stations designed under the aegis of Charles Holden come the interiors, showing the total design approach used during the extension of the network and the rebuilding and renewal of its existing part.

And, although it was eventually built after the war, the interior that everyone knows from the Holden period is the barrel-vaulted platform level concourse at Gants Hill, inspired by stations on the Moscow Metro. Space, uplighters, and good quality materials back up the architect’s vision.

Over in the western London suburbs, Holden’s new station for the Underground’s Uxbridge terminus features these stained glass windows by Erwin Bossanyi, depicting the arms of Middlesex and Buckinghamshire flanking those of the local Basset family.

But it’s on the Piccadilly Line extension to Cockfosters where the detail is so fascinating: here at Bounds Green at platform level is yet another uplighter, along with original tiles and detailing.

Even the ventilators are styled individually: this one is for Wood Green, so there is a sylvan scene with deer, birds and trees.

The version for Turnpike Lane is rather different: this has a toll gate (hence “turnpike”) and houses.

That panel design style is also common to the “Way Out” signs.

Staying with Turnpike Lane, this is the escalator shaft, with yet more uplighters and original fittings (the station is Grade II listed).

And finally, here is the below ground concourse at Turnpike Lane, showing the uplighters “protected” by advertising boards, and the cathedral-like effect of natural light spilling in. Again, there is plenty of room to circulate, even with the addition of automatic barriers, and of course the steady increase in passenger numbers.

That’s the end of the Holden tour. But there’s more yet to come on London’s 150 years of Underground railways.

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