Fenchurch Street station, London EC3

“…Fenchurch Street did, however, have one innovation – the world’s
first station bookstall, run by William Marshall whose newspaper
distribution company would later come to rival W.H. Smith. The
station was greatly expanded and improved when the London
& Blackwall started sharing it with the much larger London,
Tilbury & Southend Railway. The latter was a joint venture with
the Eastern Counties that began operating when the completely
rebuilt station opened on 13 April 1854.

The station was designed by George Berkeley, the chief engineer
of the London, Tilbury & Southend, rather than by an architect. It
is praised by Betjeman as a good example of the engineer-architect
tradition that, as he points out, a couple of decades later produced
the Royal Albert Hall. The façade, which survives virtually
unchanged to this day, is of grey bricks with stone adornments but
the most pleasant section was at the first-floor level where there
are eleven arched windows topped by a crescent-shaped pediment
with the ubiquitous clock in the middle. There was originally a flat canopy at the front, but it soon collapsed and was replaced
by a zig- zag shaped awning, which Betjeman felt, ‘besides being
efficient, has fairground charm’.

The train shed had a crescent-shaped roof made of iron but
which let in some light in glazed sections. The booking hall at
street level was divided into two, one for each of the two railways
From there, passengers climbed an ornate staircase to a first-floor
concourse with arched windows and a roof that allowed in light
during the day but was very gloomy at night. Tucked away in a
rather hidden part of the City, Fenchurch Street has always been
the least known of London’s terminuses and uniquely, even today,
it has no connection with the Underground, the nearest station
being Tower Hill, a few minutes’ walk away. Equally oddly, the
station is actually located in London Street and Fenchurch Place,
a small road specifically constructed to serve the station, whereas
Fenchurch Street itself runs about 165 feet north-west of the station.”

Parish boundary, and property, markers in Lombard Street, London EC3

From the Know Your London blog:

“…blue and gold oval is a parish marker with initials ‘A L H’ representing ‘All Hallows, Lombard Street’, a church which once stood on the north corner where Lombard Street joins onto Gracechurch Street. The church was demolished in the 19th century…

…The adjacent parish marker (lower right) is inscribed ‘St E K’ standing for ‘St Edmund the King’ a church which still stands in Lombard Street…

…The property mark on the far left is the arms of the Fishmongers’ Company. It indicates that, when the building was erected, the land was owned by their company…

Above the small oval marker (on the right) is a second property marker. It is square with a circle on it. Around the circle is inscribed ‘Haberdashers’ Company’…”

“Up into the early 1840s, Savage was clearly a force to be reckoned with.”*

*Jacqueline Banerjee, on the architect James Savage.


Angela Neustatter wrote in The Guardian of 18 Sep 2016:

“On a Tuesday in July, Dr David Zigmond skimmed down London’s Old Jamaica Road on his 1980s motorbike, as he had done for the past four decades, curving into the courtyard of St James church in Bermondsey, cutting his engine, removing his helmet and striding into a part of the church where he held his surgery. Here there was the customary ebullient greeting of staff and patients, questions about new babies and ageing grandparents. The 69-year-old’s slightly dishevelled appearance – cord trousers, checked shirt open at the neck “although I wouldn’t go as far as Tom Jones in his day” mattress-stuffing curls and a boyish smile – lets you know he doesn’t do formal.

St James’s Church, Bermondsey, is a Church of England parish church in Bermondsey, south London. Designed by James Savage, it was most expensive of the churches built by the Commission for Building Fifty New Churches. It was completed and consecrated in 1829 and given a separate parish (split off from the ancient parish of St Mary Magdalene’s, Bermondsey) in 1840. In 1949 it was designated a Grade II* listedbuilding.
The churchyard was closed to burials in 1855, and was then used for communal drying. It was converted to gardens by the Metropolitan Public Gardens Association, and opened to the public in 1886. An obelisk memorial and some chest-tombs were retained.”

He welcomes patients calling him by his first name if they wish, although “not everyone wants the ‘call me Dave’ approach.” In his consulting room there are exotic model birds winking at you – a couple of toucans, parrots hanging from lamps – and just about everywhere you look polished carved wooden animals, many bought for him by patients. The interior, with its art prints covering the walls, resembles a well-used sitting room with deep armchairs and a strong, comfy chair – perfect for when Dr Zigmond needs a patient to lean back and be examined, yet feel at ease.

Dr Zigmond has an engaging garrulous good humour and evidently takes enormous pleasure in his work, drawing on skills gained from training as a psychiatrist and psychotherapist as well as in medicine (For the past 38 years he has spent one day a week at Hammersmith Hospital doing psychological medicine): “My patients’ souls are as important as their physical wellbeing,” he says…


…They have come through the well-tended graveyard of St James church, modelled on a Greek temple with pilloried (sic) galleries around three sides, by architect James Savage. For all its grandeur, it is set in one of London’s poorest neighbourhoods, surrounded by acres of tower blocks and housing estates…”

St James, Bermondsey – Font

“the wholly inadequate ‘station’ at Spa Road could claim to be London’s first railway terminus.”*

*From: Cathedrals of Steam (2020), by Christian Wolmar:

“…the seeds had been sown for a railway running between south-east London and Kent, although, as was often the case in this entrepreneurial era, it needed the efforts and persistence of one man to champion the scheme and see it through to completion. George Thomas Landmann was a former colonel in the Royal Engineers and a civil engineer who had built forts to protect against potential American invaders when serving in the British army in Canada. His plan was for a railway of three and a half miles starting near the foot of the new London Bridge, whose recent opening in 1831 greatly improved links from Southwark to the City…

…(George) Walter’s campaign to raise money was successful and ensured the London & Greenwich sealed its place in history as the capital’s first railway…As much of the clearance work for the line was carried out in Southwark, an area of mostly poor housing, the London & Greenwich had a strong case…Further towards Greenwich, however, there were fewer houses and it was around Corbett’s Lane, Bermondsey, the halfway point, that work started in April 1834 on the viaducts towards London.

The scale of the enterprise was unprecedented and the initial work of building the viaducts was an object of great curiosity for Londoners…by the autumn of 1835, a temporary single-track railway to transport material had been installed on 540 completed arches…

With vast quantities of bricks set aside for the section towards Greenwich, the company hoped to open the whole line by the
original scheduled date of Christmas 1835. In truth, however,
despite a further 150 men being drafted in, the deadline was

…the magnificent viaduct remains the most remarkable architectural
legacy of London’s railway pioneers, although most passengers
travelling on trains out of London Bridge today will have little
idea of the impact this astonishing addition to London’s built
environment had in the mid-18oos. The assortment of garages,
repair shops, retail outlets and workshops that are now housed
under the arches rather detracts from the sheer scale of London
& Greenwich’s enterprise nearly two centuries ago, which remains
pretty much intact and still supports the key railway route from the
centre of the capital to south-east London and Kent. Partly hidden,
the arches are taken for granted by passengers and passers-by,
mainly because there are few places where it’s possible to get a proper perspective of their majesty in such a built up area. When
fist constructed, however, the viaducts inspired a sense of awe in
Londoners, and contemporary writers were wont to liken them
with some accuracy, to a Roman aqueduct.

The railway had various plans to make use of the arches. One
idea was to create housing and two demonstration houses were built
under the viaduct near Deptford station. These could, according to
the railway company, accommodate some of the many people who
were displaced by the construction even though, under legislation
of the time, the company was under no obligation to do so. They
were to be pioneering users of gas for lighting and cooking – some
forty years before this became commonplace – because it was felt
that smoke from coal would be unpleasant for passengers on the
trains above. However, despite such innovation the concept was,
unsurprisingly, not a success…Instead, the company tried numerous other ways of monetizing the eventual total of 878 arches, none of which were successful…

Above the arches, there were technical issues with the train
tracks as a result of granite sleepers being laid along most of the
line. This was still a period of technical experimentation for railway technology, and granite, clearly more durable than wood, was
thought to be a cheaper solution. However, the inflexible nature of
granite, particularly when compared with wood sleepers, resulted
in rail breaks and, far more frequently, cracks in the chairs, the iron
clamps on which the rails rest. The problem was that other railways
using granite sleepers laid the sleepers on the earth, which had
some give”, while on the London & Greenwich they rested on rigid
brickwork with the result that all the vibration transmitted to the
rails and chairs. Inevitably, the London & Greenwich eventually
replaced them with wooden ones, at great cost…

(Spa Road) station…closed in 1915 as a First World War economy measure and never reopened.”


Holborn Police Station

From London Police Stations (2020), by Eileen Sanderson:

“A purpose-built police station was opened at Gray’s Inn Road in 1898…It was closed down in 1965 when the new Holborn Police Station was opened in nearby Theobalds Road, but reopened temporarily between 1999 and 2002 when Holborn Police Station was refurbished…

The new 1960s Holborn Police Station was 155 feet tall and had a 75 feet wireless mast at the top of it, but the original lamp from Vine Street Police Station hangs outside the station.

…Holborn police station is scheduled to close.”

From Camden.gov.uk:


10  Lambs Conduit Street




101 (Metropolitan Police switchboard)


Borough Police headquarters for Camden. The Borough Commander, Detective Chief Superintendent Richard Tucker is based here. Albany Street Sector Policing Unit is now located at Holborn Police Station and is responsible for the policing of the area south of Delancey Street to the Euston Road…”

The former Barnes Police Station, 371 Lonsdale Road, London SW13

From the website of Goddard Manton Architects:

2006 National Homebuilder Design Award – Best new small development (Commendation)

The 2004 project involved refurbishment of a Victorian police station circa 1890 and benefits from spectacular views of the River Thames. The project created 9 luxury apartments with substantial restoration to the refurbished brick structure as well as extensive modern additions. A key feature was to maximise the views across the Thames yet retain the charm of the period buildings. Frameless glazing was incorporated to maximise uninterrupted views and contrast modern architecture with the existing Victorian brick.”

Chancery Lane Station, London WC1

Above: Chancery Station House, 31-33 High Holborn.

From Wikipedia:

“Chancery Lane is a London Underground station on the Central Line between Holborn and The City in Central London, England. It has entrances within both the London Borough of Camden and the City of London. It opened in 1900 (see image above) and takes its name from the nearby Chancery Lane.

The station is located between St Paul’s and Holborn stations, within fare zone 1.

It is located at the junction of High Holborn, Hatton Garden and Gray’s Inn Road, with subway entrances giving access to the ticket office under the roadway. Chancery Lane is one of the few London Underground stations which have no associated buildings above ground.

The station was opened by the Central London Railway (CLR) on 30 July 1900. The current station entrance is not the original. The original, disused station building is on the north side of High Holborn at Nos. 31–33, approximately 400 feet (122 m) to the west, closer to High Holborn’s junction with Chancery Lane. Originally provided with four lifts between ground and platform levels, the station was rebuilt in the early 1930s to operate with escalators. It was not possible to construct the inclined escalator shaft between the platforms and the existing entrance, so a new sub-surface ticket hall was constructed below the road junction. The new station entrance came into use on 25 June 1934.

The old entrance building became redundant and, in recognition of the location of the new entrance, the station was renamed Chancery Lane (Gray’s Inn), although the suffix subsequently fell out of use.

When the CLR excavated the running tunnels it routed them to avoid passing under surface buildings in order to limit the risk to the buildings from vibration. At Chancery Lane, the eastbound tunnel runs above the westbound one.

It is one of eight Underground stations with a deep-level air-raid shelter underneath it; after World War II this was turned into Kingsway telephone exchange. Access to the shelter was via the original station building and lift shaft as well as subsidiary entrances in Furnival Street and Took’s Court.”

Paddington Station, Praed St, London W2

From Wikipedia:

“Praed Street was originally laid out in the early 19th century, being built up in 1828. It was named after William Praed (1747 – 1833), chairman of the company which built the canal basin which lies just to the north. Praed’s business interests were a higher priority than parliamentary affairs (he sat in the House of Commons from 1774 to 1808), and he was particularly focused on the Grand Junction Canal, of which he was chairman. He steered through Parliament the bill which authorised its construction.”

From: Cathedrals of Steam (2020), by Christian Wolmar:

“…Brunel scoured west London for an alternative to Euston, considering sites in Brentford, Acton, Hammersmith, Brompton and even Vauxhall Bridge, but Paddington’s proximity to the Grand Union Canal, with its key connection to the London docks, was a deciding factor…

…The aisles, the widest of which was more than 100 feet across, were intended to be used by ‘traversers’, huge cranes that would be able to lift carriages and even locomotives from one line to another, but these
never materialized, quite possibly because they may well have been
technically too demanding to install in such a restricted space.
Nevertheless, whether it was by accident or design, the generous
width of these platforms added to the feeling of airiness, giving
passengers the space and opportunity to admire the fabulous roof.

There was considerable space at the buffer stops, too, where the
concourse was a garden known as The Lawn, a name that long
survived the disappearance of the grass.

There were three departure and two arrival platforms when
the station opened early in 1854. Two inner platforms were used
for overspill and could be reached by an ingenious method. To
avoid passengers having to trudge up and down stairs to use
them, a hydraulically powered drawbridge was laid across two of
the departure platforms when they were clear. Turntables were
available for loading private carriages but these were soon phased
out as the practice was abandoned.

Great Western logo on the street side of the end screen, above vehicle entrance, where London Street now ends.

The Royal Family, who had homes easily linked by a trip on
the Great Western, had to be catered for in the well-founded
expectation that they would travel regularly between Windsor
and London by rail, despite the Queen’s misgivings about speed.
A private entrance to the departure platform – even in 1854, it was
normal to separate arrivals from departures – was provided for the
sole use of royalty and included an exclusive royal waiting room,
‘discreetly lit by a barred, ground floor window and filled with
stuffy French furniture’. The walls were enamelled in a salmon
tint, inlaid with gilt moulding and interspersed by grey silk panels,
all suitably staid and solemn for the Queen and her entourage.

The architectural historian Oliver Green sums up the success of
Paddington, which has been expanded but whose shape remains
largely unchanged since it was completed, as ‘a light and elegant
design, but also an extremely sound and functional piece of
engineering, which has served its purpose for more than 150 years’.
By the time the new Paddington station was fully functioning,
another major railway station on the northern periphery of the
city, King’s Cross, had already been completed and rules governing
the location of future stations had been established.”


“Time is a flat circle”*

*from “The Gay Science (German: Die fröhliche Wissenschaft), sometimes translated as The Joyful Wisdom or The Joyous Science, a book by Friedrich Nietzsche published in 1882, and followed by a second edition in 1887 after the completion of Thus Spoke Zarathustra and Beyond Good and Evil. This substantial expansion includes a fifth book and an appendix of songs. It was described by Nietzsche as “the most personal of all [his] books”, and contains more poems than any of his other works.” (Wikipedia)

Below is a joke I was told by someone very old when I was very young:

A man goes to the doctor and tells him that he’s feeling under the weather. The doctor tells him there’s nothing seriously wrong, and suggests he takes up cycling. “Forget it,” says the patient, “I can’t afford a bicycle.” Not to worry,” the doctor replies, “I’m sure you could afford a hoop, and that’s just as good.”

So the man purchases a hoop, and on his next free day sets off into the countryside. He bowls his hoop merrily along the highways and byways, until by lunchtime he’s reached a wayside inn. Propping his hoop carefully outside, he stops for a spot of bread and cheese and a refreshing ale.

To his dismay, when he leaves the inn, he finds that his hoop has been stolen. He goes back inside and tells his tale of woe to the publican, who commiserates: “But never mind, you can afford to buy a new hoop, surely?”

“It isn’t that,” sighs the man. “How am I going to get home?”.

Perhaps I oughtn’t to be surprised to learn that there is a 2nd-century medical text by Antyllus which describes hoop rolling as a form of physical and mental therapy. It’s not so different from a bicycle or a skipping rope or a basketball hoop – the user volunteers to apply their physical energy to it and call it sport.

The bicycle, of course, stands out as an efficient mode of transport. The geneticist Steve Jones, of the Galton Laboratory, has written “There is little doubt that the most important event in recent human evolution was the invention of the bicycle.” That’s to say, the gene pool is enriched by diversity once the worker can travel outside his immediate area within a free day to find a mate.

Our hoop bowler, as far as the anecdote relates, wasn’t pursuing a love object. Perhaps what ailed him, though, was ennui and loneliness. Alan C. Elms tells us that Freud considered a normal person needed Genussfähigkeit (“capacity for enjoyment”) and Leistungsfähigkeit (“capacity to get work done”). The hoop bowler had got out in the fresh air, achieved a pleasant level of exertion, and interacted socially with others.

What is it, then, that gets us home? The joke depends on the idea that the hoop is taking the lead, whereas it’s the man who is driving it ahead of him. You might say it’s the same with any aspiration or life purpose; it draws us on, but although we recognise it as something above and beyond us, it’s constant application that keeps us in touch with it.

And let’s assume that whoever made away with our hero’s hoop just didn’t recognise it as somebody’s ride home.

Princess Louise, 208 High Holborn, London WC1

From: Victorian Pubs (1984), by Mark Girouard:

“Wm. B. Simpson and Sons of 100 St Martin’s Lane…are one of the principal firms that connect the pub world with the world of the aesthetic drawing room…

…A splendid Simpson interior survives comparatively little altered (apart from removal of partitions) at the Princess Louise in High Holborn. Here the firm redecorated the entire pub in 1891, subcontracting out the joinery and glass and lining the walls of the bars with a mixture of plain and ornamental tiles, culminating in sumptuously coloured panels of swags and baskets of fruit or flowers that alternate with equally sumptuous mirrors.

The gold embossed mirrors in the Princess Louise, Holborn (c.1892), are signed by R. Morris and Son, who first appear in 1866 as ‘Richard Morris, Writer on glass’ in the Euston Road and move in 1869 to Kennington Road as glass embossers.

“The building is protected by its Grade II* listing and has what has been described as “a rich example of a Victorian public house interior”, by William B Simpson and Sons; who contracted out the work. As it is considered so historically significant even the men’s toilets, with their marble urinals, are listed. The pub, which is also listed on National Inventory of Historic Pub Interiors, was refurbished in 2007. The pub is unusual in that it retains its snob screens.” (Wikipedia)

It is hard to believe, for instance, that a firm with the reputation of W.B. Simpson and Sons did not have more to do with the interior decoration of the Princess Louise, Holborn, than Arthur Chitty, the otherwise unknown architect in charge of the conversion.

A firm of comparable status to W.B. Simpson that did even more pub work was W.H. Lascelles and Company…if, as seems likely, they were responsible for the clock surmounted centrepiece (at the Archway Tavern, Highgate), they must also have done the joinery in the Princess Louise, Holborn (1891), where there is an almost identical clock case.