Love it or loath it, it has been part of London’s travel experience and history since January 1863 when the Metropolitan started running between Paddington and Farringdon Street. It has now evolved to a sprawling network that runs from Hertfordshire to Mordon and Croydon.
What caught my eye was a recent story that 16 more Tube stations (bit.ly/qJL8zM) are now listed (which means that have some protection from being changed or altered), which brings the number of listed London Underground stations to 72. What I hadn’t realised was that 56 were already listed.
Many of the Underground stations were built in the early part of the 20th Century, and really reflect the ideas of the time. Many of my favourite stations are the art deco buildings that dot the extensions of the Tube lines to the suburbs. I was reminded by this when I was waiting for a train at Rayners Lane in North London.
I agree with preserving heritage and historical buildings, and am glad to see more Tube stations being protected. However, I was interested to read a critical article from The Telegraph (bit.ly/nDXvm2). It argues that the further 16 buildings that were listed is overkill and what is really needed is upgrading of the system.
Upgrading the Tube system is an issue that need to be addressed. The Underground network strains at times to cope with a 21st Century London. However, getting rid of some of the historical buildings isn’t necessarily the answer. While I like some of the newer stations – Canary Wharf is a case in point – I wouldn’t necessarily want all of the Underground stations to look like that.
What I enjoy about many of the Tube stations is that they are unique and reflect the era they were built in. The Underground stations reflect idiosyncratic nature of the English, particularly in London.
Working within a existing transport system that’s about 150 years old isn’t always easy. However, but demolishing it’s history isn’t really the forward.