Shall we just talk about stations? You like it when we talk about stations.
Morden: We started here on a journey last week (Charles Holden, yadda yadda). This wasn't supposed to be the terminus, the Northern line was hoped to extend to Sutton (I'm reading this off Wikipedia, you could do that, all by yourself). Merton Council have a major consultation up and running at the moment for their Morden Masterplan which'll see the area around the station redeveloped (but with Holden's facade remaining "a visual focal point and strengthened"). But let's step back a bit and walk up the long footpath beside the station to the point where the Northern line plunges into tunnel. Because it doesn't plunge very deep, not for the first 500 metres, and certainly not deep enough to build houses on top. And so the authorities did what any good developer would do, they slapped a park on top. That's Kendor Gardens, a linear park just wide enough to cover the two tunnels below, and then some. It's nothing hugely special, indeed it's devoid of all amenities (bar a few benches in memory of John Innes). But the council gardeners have done a fine job with the flowerbeds, with one variegated rosebush still ablaze even in October. And then there's the vibrations. Stand (or sit) here long enough and the ground briefly rumbles, a wholly unexpected tremble, as a Northern line train passes directly beneath. If you're at the southern end of the park you might then hear that train whistle as it emerges from its tunnel a few seconds later and brakes to enter the station. But further north there's just a peculiar judder underfoot, and then the ordinary dogwalking parkspace returns. [photo]
South Wimbledon: It's not in Wimbledon, more in Merton. They were going to call it Merton Grove, but eventually they didn't (that's Wikipedia again). Charles Holden did the station (he did all these really) (there's going to be a lot of photos of the same style of Holden station today, but a bit varied depending on what the shape of the street corner was) [photo] Colliers Wood: We did this place yesterday, remember. The station's near the tower block that's regularly voted the ugliest in London (in years when the Archway one doesn't win). Across the road is a pub called The Charles Holden - the ideal drinking spot for tube architecture aficionados (although they seemed to be going for more of the rugby crowd, I thought) (until April this was the Colliers Tup, and before that The Victory, so one senses they're just jumping on the Tube150 bandwagon) [photo]
Tooting Broadway: This is the busiest station down this section of the line, in terms of its location, that is. Its curving frontage faces a teeming crossroads, bustling with shoppers and snarled up with traffic (or it was at the weekend). Outside the entrance, a colourful flower stall, plus a mirrored cross propped up against the statue of Edward VII with a keen-looking vicar sitting alongside. You don't get this in Balham. [photo] Tooting Bec: Blimey don't the shops change as you walk along the Upper Tooting Road. At the Broadway end are more major chains like Sainsbury's, then slowly the retail offering evolves into almost-entirely Asian outlets. Tooting Bec station has entrances on two opposite corners of a crossroads, one extremely narrow, and boasting three glass roundels (plus a chandelier ring light if you venture inside). Holdenesque, obviously, in spades. [photo] Balham: An actual interchange, this with the tube station in dominant position and the less characterful National Rail platforms tucked behind. By this point, to be frank, the façades of al these Holden stations are starting to look a bit samey (but then most people don't deliberately walk past half a dozen of them in a row) [photo]
Clapham South: The final Holden bastion (or the first if you're travelling the other way). Was nearly named Balham North (which would at least have evened out the Balhams and Claphams somewhat). Sort-of alongside, on the corner of Clapham Common, are the surface buildings of a deep-level wartime air-raid shelter (but we did those on this blog in 2007, so you're not getting them again). Clapham Common: For a start, much love for the domed entrance on an island in the street. And for the "To the trains" sign pointing down into the ticket hall. But mostly for the island platform down below (unbelievably once the southern terminus of the line). This is the straight one, and most people don't walk all the way down to the end (unless they have a camera) [photo][photo] Clapham North: This one's none too thrilling on the surface, at least not in comparison with what's gone before. But the uplighters on the escalator have character. And then there's the tube's other island platform, this the curved one (which means you can get a slightly different photo at the end from the tip of the hockey stick). South London may not have many Underground stations, but it has more than its fair share of splendid ones. [photo][photo]