Part two here
Food! I found somewhere lovely to eat! It was a lebanese place, and I had cous cous with halloumi. I love halloumi. You know how meat-eaters say they couldn’t be vegetarian because they can’t give up bacon? Halloumi is the reason I can’t be vegan. Anyway…
Paddington was my next station. I was now in Zone 1 proper London. I feel I should mention the famous bear here, but I saw no sign of him at the station. So, a quick snap and off I went. (I’ve since found out there is a little Paddington Bear statue, but I’ll have to look out for that next time)
My next station was to be Edgware Road. I had my eagle eyes open though, for a very special sign; I’d read about it in the book. Now, I’m not especially excited by those blue plaques you see around. Normally they commemorate people I’ve never heard of. However, this one was interesting to me. I kept my eyes peeled as I walked along the very crowded Praed Street.
Sir Alexander Fleming discovered penicillin in this very building! Countless people have had their lives saved because of this discovery. A well deserved plaque, that one.
Feeling all buoyed up after successfully finding the Fleming landmark I was looking for, I was thrilled to see the next station, Edgware Road. Hmm. I found it a little too easily. Sure enough, it was the wrong Edgware Road. This one was the District, Circle and Hammersmith and City Line station. Two separate stations with the same name. Not confusing at all. This imposter station was there first to be fair. The Edgware Road I was looking for was not too far away, about 150 metres, I’m told.
In 2007 there was a proposal to rename it ‘Church Street Market’ to avoid confusion with the other Edgware Road; but we like a bit of confusion, it seems.
Next station, Marylebone. I don’t rightly know how to pronounce it, so I looked it up. The Maryleboneonline.co.uk website answered all my questions, and in brief, this is it…
First, a quick bit of history: the name Marylebone comes from a church that was dedicated to St Mary – named St Mary-by-the-Tyburn, the Tyburn being a stream that once ran from Hampstead down through Marylebone, through St James’ Park and joined the River Thames.
In the thirteenth century when the language of the aristocracy was French, St-Mary-by-the-Tyburn would have been St-Mary-a-le-Bourne (‘bourne’ being the French for a small stream) and from this we arrive at the word ‘Marylebone’ as we know it today.
Based on this etymology and a progression of phonetics, the correct way of pronouncing ‘Marylebone’ is widely considered to be ‘Marry-leh-bon’ – although in reality this is rarely heard.
So there we have it.
Baker Street was to be next. Big old station it is, with ten Underground platforms, more than any other on the network. Lovely station, with old style signage and lots of Sherlock Holmes hints. I’m fairly familiar with that area, as three of the temp jobs I had were around there. At one point, Monday to Friday I was a very corporate receptionist at the global headquarters, while on the weekends, I was taking photos for tourists at Madame Tussauds. Two very different jobs, two very different mindsets.
My third temp job around Baker Street was at London Business School. It was directly opposite Regent’s Park, so in the warmer months I’d sit there with my lunch. So much to see, not just the plants and wildlife; there were the students, the boot-camp bunnies then the yummy mummies brandishing their Bugaboo pushchairs.
Never used the station though. It’s one of those with no sub-surface building. Down a flight of stairs and you disappear into the underworld.
The next station was to be Oxford Circus. This would be the second time I’ve been here for this challenge, having already stopped at it during my Victoria Line walk. On the way, I passed this interesting building. I have walked past it heaps of times, but never realised it was a church.
Well, I learned to avoid Oxford Street during peak times. All the entrances to the station were temporarily closed to ease platform congestion. Absolutely understandable but the consequence was a huge mass of bodies out on the street. Not a fan of big crowds, especially if they’re tutting and complaining – so British. So I grabbed a very quick snapshot and off I went.
On past one of my favourite shops to look at from the outside, Liberty’s then around the tangle of entrances that leads to Piccadilly Circus.
There are several interesting things I could say about Piccadilly Circus, and I’ll get round to that when I do the Piccadilly Line. For now, though, one fact I want to say is that it is the nearest tube station to the Prince of Wales Theatre, which is currently showing The Book Of Mormon. Listen to me, peoples, you MUST go and see this, ok? I cannot stress this strongly enough. It’s very funny, songy and a little bit rude. I also learned a lot about Mormons, so it’s educational too.
With musical numbers playing in my head, it was virtually a hop, skip and a jump to the next station on the line, Charing Cross. Charing Cross Mainline Station is where virtually all my London adventures start; as it’s the main terminus for Southeastern trains on my line. Best of all, the toilets there are now free! I was certainly ready to take advantage of them by this point in my walk. However, it’s the underground station I am interested in on this walk. It’s closed for refurbishment at the moment, so please excuse the terrible photos.
Charing Cross underground has a complicated history. Its various lines and entrances have, along with Embankment, had several different names. I won’t attempt to explain it, but here’s a table of name changes if you’re interested.
|1870||Charing Cross||Charing Cross|
|1914||Charing Cross (Embankment)||Charing Cross (Strand)|
|1974||Charing Cross Embankment|
The Jubilee Line once terminated at Charing Cross. This service ceased in the 90’s, but the platforms are still there. You can’t see them, but it makes it a popular filming location. Parts of Skyfall was filmed in these defunct areas.
It was a quick mosey on down the always-crowded hill to Embankment.
Over Waterloo Bridge (which I’ve just found out is one of two ‘Golden Jubilee Bridges’) though the South Bank and another visit to Waterloo Station. Already covered this for the Waterloo and City Line, and I’ll see it a few more times before this project is over.
Now, once out of Waterloo, I was in unknown territory, to me at least. I rarely have a reason to visit this part of London, and I was happy to see it had a few little quirks.
The penultimate station was Lambeth North. I’m fairly certain that this was the first time I’d seen it before. A quick google shows that for a few months, it was the terminating station for the Bakerloo line, though Elephant and Castle soon took over. Like Charing Cross and Embankment, it’s had several names. When it opened in 1906, it was named Kennington Road; later that year it was Westminster Bridge Road. In 1917 it was renamed Lambeth (North), but by the 1930’s the parenthesis had been dropped to become simply Lambeth North. Did I hum “Doing the Lambeth Walk, Oi” when I arrived at this station?; I surely did!
It was dark now, and I was getting a little chilly, so I hurried on to the final station of the line, Elephant and Castle. The name derives from a coach inn of the same name. Previously, a cutlers was on the site; the coat of arms for the Worshipful Order of Cutlers was an elephant with a castle on its back. You see?
Anyway, the station was right there in front of me, hooray! Except it wasn’t. That was the overground. Hate it when that happens.. I found it though and finally I could go home.