Liverpool Street Station, London
Magnificent cathedral-like station, second only to Waterloo for passenger numbers
Period of construction:
1850 - 1899
Transport Trust plaque:
Bishopsgate, London EC2M 7QH
Until 1874, the London terminus of the Great Eastern Railway was known as Bishopsgate. This had been opened by the Eastern Counties Railway in 1840 as Shoreditch but had been given the new name in order to give the illusion of being closer to the City. The extension to Liverpool Street was made with the intention of accommodating the increased traffic and in order to improve access to the rest of London. With this in mind, a connection was made to the Underground Railway and the level of the tracks was lowered accordingly. This connection was never fully used and it was closed in 1907 leaving a serious gradient for trains leaving the main station.
The GER engineer Edward Wilson designed the new trainshed with its magnificent cathedral-like wrought iron and glass roof and also the Gothic style offices behind. In 1884 The Great Eastern Hotel by Charles Barry jr. and C.E. Barry was added to the complex. This was further extended in 1901 by Robert W. Edis. Meanwhile in 1894 the trainshed was extended to the east by John Wilson, nephew of Edward, and by W.N.Ashbee, architect to the railway company. This yielded a further eight platforms.
During World War II the station buildings suffered damage, in particular to the Gothic tower at the main entrance. With the disappearance of steam trains and later the diesel, the need was felt for a new and cleaner station which City of London property prices could finance by constructing offices over the tracks. Plans to pull the whole thing down and start again invoked a loud chorus of protest.
A compromise was reached by which the adjacent high level station Broad Street was sacrificed together with the fairly mediocre offices at Liverpool Street. These were rebuilt and the train shed received a major refurbishment. The result has been hailed as a triumph and marks the final acknowledgment, first sensed in the case of St Pancras in 1968, that Victorian Gothic architecture was no longer to be spurned, but to be cherished.
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Permanently viewable - visit website
How To Find:
By road: Off A10, Bishopsgate
By Rail: The station is served by the Circle, Hammersmith & City, Metropolitan and Central lines
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