diamond geezer

 Saturday, January 23, 2021

Walthamstow Queen's Road station isn't on Queens Road in Walthamstow. I noticed this yesterday when I walked the full length of the street and didn't pass the station at any point. I saw a sign pointing towards it up Edinburgh Road but the station wasn't visible because it was too far away. The railway crosses underneath Queens Road a bit further down but that's not where the station is (which is 270m away to the north).

And I wondered, is this the London station furthest away from the thing it's named after?

This is a good question but also a subjective one. I discovered this when I made a list of all the tube, DLR and Overground stations in London and went through them one by one.

I immediately disregarded all the stations that were located somewhere within the place they're named after even if they weren't in the centre. Plaistow station is definitely in Plaistow, for example, even if it's not terribly central. I also disregarded all the stations named after a thing that later gave its name to the locality, for example Dollis Hill or Bush Hill Park. I entirely disregarded historical derivations, for example the pub and the battle which gave Maida Vale its name. You wouldn't have made exactly the same decisions as me, but then you probably wouldn't have worked your way through a 400-row spreadsheet either.

A lot of the places I was left with were the names of roads, green spaces, specific buildings or physical features, for example Goodge Street, Ravenscourt Park, St Paul's or Pontoon Dock. Next I got my digital ruler out and started measuring. I measured from the edge of the station to the edge of the thing, which at Surrey Quays meant the edge of the car park, not the shopping mall. I measured to where things used to be if they weren't there any more, for example Euston Square or Arsenal. And then I shuffled the resulting list in order of distance with the furthest first.

And I confirmed that Walthamstow Queen's Road isn't the station furthest from the thing it's named after, although it does sit squarely in the Top 10.

The ten London stations furthest away from the thing they're named after

1) Wanstead Park (1600m)
Wanstead Park is a splendid public park covering the grounds of a substantial Georgian mansion. Wanstead Park station is a mile to the south, not far from Wanstead Flats, which is what it should have been called instead. This perverse nomenclature, unaltered since the station opened in 1894, earns Wanstead Park the title of the London station furthest away from the thing it's named after.

2) Turnham Green (600m)
Turnham Green is a historic scrap of common in Chiswick alongside Chiswick High Road. The nearest tube station to Turnham Green is Chiswick Park, 200m distant. But Turnham Green station is 600m away on the edge of two different open spaces - Chiswick Common and Acton Green. This makes it the London tube station furthest away from the thing it's named after.

3) Harrow-on-the-Hill (550m)
This station may be terribly convenient for the centre of Harrow but it's very much at the bottom of the hill not the top. St Mary's Church and Harrow School are half a kilometre away to the south (and 25 metres higher up).

4) Brent Cross (500m)
This opened as Brent station, named after the adjacent river, but was renamed after the local shopping centre in 1976. Alas it's not as local as it could be, severed from the station by a roaring arterial road which makes for a less than inspiring walk.

5) Latimer Road (400m)
Latimer Road, the road, was once much longer and passed within 40m of the end of the station platforms. But Latimer Road was brutally severed fifty years ago by the construction of the A40 Westway, so the section south of the mega-roundabout is now called Freston Road instead.

6) Kew Gardens (390m)
If they'd called this station Kew I wouldn't have included it. But they called it Kew Gardens after the botanical paradise at the far end of Lichfield Road, so here it is in the Top Ten.

7) Royal Oak (330m)
The Royal Oak, you'll not be surprised to hear, was a pub. But the pub wasn't near the station, it was at the other end of Porchester Road at the junction with Bishops Bridge Road. And it isn't called the Royal Oak today, it's called The Porchester, which is a pity.

8) Bow Church (300m)
My local DLR station couldn't be called Bow Road because there was already one of those, so instead they named it after St Mary's the medieval church in the middle of the road. It's 230m from the station to the churchyard entrance but a full 300m to the front door, so I'm counting that.

9) Walthamstow Queen's Road (270m)
As previously mentioned, this Overground station on the Gospel Oak to Barking line is nowhere near the road of the same name.

10=) Upminster Bridge (255m)
The penultimate station at the eastern end of the District line is named after a bridge over the River Ingrebourne, just down the road past The Windmill pub.

10=) Mansion House (255m)
The Lord Mayor of London's official residence is adjacent to Bank station, not Mansion House station. The second closest station is Cannon Street and then it's a toss-up between Monument and Mansion House. It's Central London's most inappropriately named station, geographically speaking.

also more than 100m away from the thing they're named after: Putney Bridge, Stamford Brook, Stepney Green, Bond Street, Woolwich Arsenal, Holland Park, Chancery Lane, St James's Park, Wimbledon Park, Royal Victoria, Pontoon Dock, Cutty Sark, Maida Vale, Canons Park, Parsons Green, Temple, Arsenal, London Bridge, Island Gardens

n.b. I only considered tube stations in Greater London, otherwise Chalfont & Latimer would probably have won because the parish of Latimer is over 1000m from the station.
n.b. I only looked at tube stations, Overground stations, DLR stations, TfL Rail stations and tram stops.
n.b. I gave National Rail stations a miss because life's too short, sorry.
n.b. Alexandra Palace station beats everything here, for example.
n.b. You'd have done it differently, I know.

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