Kennington

November 9, 2010 Leave a comment Go to comments

After a short stint working in Battersea (Do Not Alight Here), I now find myself in an interesting area halfway between the Elephant & Castle and Kennington tube stations.

This mainly residential area is bounded by the Walworth Road to the east and Newington Butts to the west and is made up of a mix of Victorian terraces and mansion blocks with neat workshops in cobbled yards behind. There is also some rather stylish post war infill housing, with their steeply pitched roofs and finally a new surge of large developments of shiny contemporary apartments.

Our new office is in Iliffe yard, a real throwback to Victorian England. The little cobbled street seems so unchanged by progress, that I wouldn’t be surprised to find a period drama being filmed here one morning. In fact the whole area is a real surprise to me and has a totally different feel to what I might have expected being this close to the urban nightmare of the Elephant & Castle roundabout’s.

Exiting from Kennington tube (a much nicer way to get to work than through the mess that surrounds the Elephant station) I noticed a small red plaque between the lifts, and as I read it, I realised that quite by chance, it linked back to my recent post about The London Underground and Charles Holden’s southern extension of the Northern line (see my post here). The plague reads:

Kennigton Station, Listed as a Building of National Significance.

Architect: T Phillip Figgis 1890.

This unique station building is the sole surface survivor of the world’s first underground electric line, the City and South London Railway, that opened in 1890 and which ran from the City to Clapham. Although the interior of the ticket hall was modified in the 1920’s when the line was rebuilt and extended, the exterior is largely original. This is dominated by the large dome which housed the machinery to operate the lifts. The station was one of the first public buildings in England to have a lift, which was essential to transport passengers between street level and the new deep level tube platforms.

As I have said on other posts, I still get a strange thrill when I find things that connect together.

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