That headline will work so much better in four years time, but never-mind. One of my favourite London rail stations, Liverpool Street, was opened 136 years ago today. As I already made mention of King’s Cross birthday last year it’s only fair I do the same for Liverpool Street as I use both to travel to the capital.
The station that opened in 1874 was very different to the one that serves North East London and East Anglia now. Originally it was laid out in an L shape, with a long entrance way just off Liverpool Street, running along what what is now (was it then?) Sun Street Passage.
Starting in 1985, the station was heavily re-modeled and completed in 1992. When the process began, the near-by Broad Street station was demolished as it was by then fairly redundant. In Liverpool Street station, the tracks and platforms were moved around to make them more uniform. In doing so, the approach in the photo above was covered over with a large part of the station. There is now an entrance on Liverpool Street, Bishopsgate and the Broadgate complex (where Broad Street station used to be).
Looking around the interior now you can tell which bits are old and which are new by the colour of the ironwork. The new bits are blue where the old station areas have brown. This is mostly towards the back / North of the station. You can get quite a good view from within the station if you walk past some of the upper level shops to above where the taxi approach is now…
The station holds a couple of interesting records. It was the first London building to be bombed in an air raid. During the First World War, in 1917, the station took a direct hit from a German bomb that killed 162 people. It was bombed again during the Second World War which destroyed the glass roof. The station was the last one to have one of the old style ‘flapper boards’ for showing departures. It wasn’t replaced with the current electronic board until 2007 (blast, I was so close to seeing it).
I think overall a really good job was done with the station re-modeling. Some do moan about how it’s full of shops now. But I don’t really notice them as I’m usually pre-occupied with looking up at the roof and looking around at the old architectural features and comparing them with the new.
To get a really good look at the north part of the station, take a wonder into Exchange Square in the Broadgate complex. You’ll be standing where the trains pass underneath as well as having a fantastic view into the train shed.
And one last shot from platforms 8 and 9. If you look along the roof space, you can make out where it all seems a bit brighter. That’s where the new section of the station is.
There are a few books about the station and its redevelopment available but I’ve had a hard time tracking them down. One of them is available in the Bishopsgate Institute Library so I’ll have to look that up once it is re-opened this year. National Rail have also put together a nice lil’ leaflet about the station that you can download from here.