British Electrical Federation Limited, 1 Kingsway, subsequently renumbered as 88 Kingsway, London WC2

Above: “…believe they were a federation of electric tram companies – hence the flanged wheel. The Kingsway Tram Underpass starts just a few yards along the road.” (SilverTiger)

From the GLIAS Notes and news — April 1983:

“88 Kingsway, WC2. Magnet of tram rail, surrounding tram wheel above doorway, with legend ‘British Electrical Federation Ltd’. Offices of a myriad of tram and transport companies, from British Electric Tramways to the Gearless Motor Omnibus Co.”

From Camden’s Conservation area statement (Kingsway) 16:

“Kingsway was possibly the first attempt in London to deal with traffic problems in a co-ordinated manner by incorporating a tramway line beneath the road and linking the tramway systems of north and south London. It is the only underpass in London built specifically for trams…

…Service on the underground tramway between the Angel and
the Aldwych began in February 1906 with single decker trams;
it was subsequently deepened in 1930 to take double decker trams. After an experiment with trolley buses the tramway was closed in April 1952 and in January 1964 the southern section was opened to traffic as an underpass to Waterloo Bridge. The cutting and tracks where the trams emerged (at a gradient of 1 in 10 feet) in Southampton Row still survive (listed in 1998).”

From Wikipedia:

“…Before the closure of the original London tram network in 1952, Holborn tube station provided an interchange between trams and tubes, via the Kingsway Tramway Subway underground Holborn tramway station located a little distance south of the underground station. This was the only part of London with an underground tram system, and Holborn tramway station (named Great Queen Street when first opened) is still extant beneath ground, though with no public access…”


“…Finally the Bideford, Westward Ho! & Appledore Railway was incorporated on 21 May 1896, with its Head Office address at the Electrical Federation Offices in Kingsway, London WC2. Soon after, the line passed to the British Electric Traction Company (BET) (which shared the logo of the Federation). It was not until 24 April 1901 that the single track line was opened as far as Northam, although the first trial train ran with a few friends of the directors in January 1901. The first train, pulled by Grenville was played off by Herr Groop’s German Band which had been hired for the season and it reached speeds of 36 mph on its inaugural run. The remaining extension to Appledore finally opened in 1908, on 1 May, costing £10,000. The railway was built in three sections, with the first being from Bideford at 0.39 km, the second from the termination of the first, being to Westward Ho!, length 6.4 km, 7.23 km, and the third being from the termination of the second, to Appledore, length 3.2 km, 3.91 km…”


“Definition of glyph:

1: an ornamental vertical groove especially in a Doric frieze

2a symbolic figure or a character (as in the Mayan system of writing) usually incised or carved in relief

3: a symbol (such as a curved arrow on a road sign) that conveys information nonverbally”

From The Book of Primal Signs: The High Magic of Symbols (2014), by Nigel Pennick:

“…Magnets are, of course, made from iron, and their customary form is the horseshoe magnet, which is a meaningful form for such a powerful artifact. (Figure 19.3) shows a complex transference of imagery and meaning, in a cartouche on the remaining unrebuilt part of Holborn tube station, Kingsway, London, designed by Leslie W. Green and opened in 1906 (Leboff 2002, 82). This was the entrance to the offices of the British Electrical Federation Ltd., which used a glyph composed of a section of grooved tram rail in the form of a horseshoe magnet powering a wheel from the hub of which emerge lightning flashes. This is an instance of a new symbolic glyph being devised from traditional elements for a new purpose…”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: