diamond geezer

 Monday, August 21, 2006

  Metro-land revisited
  Marlborough Road



From Baker Street the Met line burrows north, more than two miles out to Finchley Road without stopping. But the journey wasn't always this fast. There used to be three stations inbetween, one at Lord's, one at Marlborough Road and one at Swiss Cottage. The former was well used during the cricket season, but otherwise all three stations barely justified their existence. Then in 1939 the new parallel Bakerloo line tunnels were opened, along with new stops at St John's Wood and Swiss Cottage, and the old three stations were closed for good. Only Marlborough Road is still clearly visble, both above ground and below, although you have to know where to look. You probably wouldn't give this Chinese restaurant a second glance, for example, not unless you were a St John's Wood resident with disposable income to expend. But this is the old station building, now scrubbed and whitewashed and serving up "Dim Sum daily" [photos]. It's a bit of a comedown, but still a culinary improvement on 1972 when Betjeman found an Angus Steak House here instead.

Sir John was also able to stand on the disused platform - one of the many advantages of being a documentary-making Poet Laureate. Here he waited, at the bottom of a deep brick canyon, looking appropriately wistful as the shiny white trains sped past. All that passing passengers get to see today, during a brief few seconds of daylight, is a rather more overgrown and rubble-strewn platform [photos]. The walls are arched, echoing the design of the station building above, and still painted a very faint shade of Metropolitan purple. And there's a wire-framed door in the east wall with a green sign labelled "Emergency exit", just in case any train should ever need to be evacuated here in a hurry. You never know your luck, you might end up here one day and be able to pop upstairs for a Chinese takeaway.

"Early electric, punctual and prompt,
off to those cuttings in the Hampstead hills,
St John's Wood, Marlborough Road, no longer stations,
and the trains rush through."

John Betjeman at Marlborough Road station ("Metro-land", BBC, 1973)

Marlborough Road 1969
See inside Marlborough Road station today
Scores more abandoned and disused tube stations


<< click for Newer posts

click for Older Posts >>


click to return to the main page


...or read more in my monthly archives
Jan17  Feb17  Mar17  Apr17  May17  Jun17  Jul17  Aug17
Jan16  Feb16  Mar16  Apr16  May16  Jun16  Jul16  Aug16  Sep16  Oct16  Nov16  Dec16
Jan15  Feb15  Mar15  Apr15  May15  Jun15  Jul15  Aug15  Sep15  Oct15  Nov15  Dec15
Jan14  Feb14  Mar14  Apr14  May14  Jun14  Jul14  Aug14  Sep14  Oct14  Nov14  Dec14
Jan13  Feb13  Mar13  Apr13  May13  Jun13  Jul13  Aug13  Sep13  Oct13  Nov13  Dec13
Jan12  Feb12  Mar12  Apr12  May12  Jun12  Jul12  Aug12  Sep12  Oct12  Nov12  Dec12
Jan11  Feb11  Mar11  Apr11  May11  Jun11  Jul11  Aug11  Sep11  Oct11  Nov11  Dec11
Jan10  Feb10  Mar10  Apr10  May10  Jun10  Jul10  Aug10  Sep10  Oct10  Nov10  Dec10 
Jan09  Feb09  Mar09  Apr09  May09  Jun09  Jul09  Aug09  Sep09  Oct09  Nov09  Dec09
Jan08  Feb08  Mar08  Apr08  May08  Jun08  Jul08  Aug08  Sep08  Oct08  Nov08  Dec08
Jan07  Feb07  Mar07  Apr07  May07  Jun07  Jul07  Aug07  Sep07  Oct07  Nov07  Dec07
Jan06  Feb06  Mar06  Apr06  May06  Jun06  Jul06  Aug06  Sep06  Oct06  Nov06  Dec06
Jan05  Feb05  Mar05  Apr05  May05  Jun05  Jul05  Aug05  Sep05  Oct05  Nov05  Dec05
Jan04  Feb04  Mar04  Apr04  May04  Jun04  Jul04  Aug04  Sep04  Oct04  Nov04  Dec04
Jan03  Feb03  Mar03  Apr03  May03  Jun03  Jul03  Aug03  Sep03  Oct03  Nov03  Dec03
 Jan02  Feb02  Mar02  Apr02  May02  Jun02  Jul02 Aug02  Sep02  Oct02  Nov02  Dec02 

eXTReMe Tracker
jack of diamonds
Life viewed from London E3

» email me
» follow me on twitter
» follow the blog on Twitter
» follow the blog on RSS

my flickr photostream