Northfields Underground Station - Northfield Avenue, Northfields, London, UK
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member Master Mariner
N 51° 29.956 W 000° 18.865
30U E 686401 N 5708767
Quick Description: Northfields tube station serves the Piccadilly Line of the London Underground network was designed by Charles Holden in the 1930s. The entrance and ticket hall, that straddle the tracks, are on the north east side of Northfield Avenue.
Location: London, United Kingdom
Date Posted: 8/13/2014 1:48:22 AM
Waymark Code: WMM8YV
Published By: Groundspeak Premium Member razalas
Views: 1

Long Description:

The station is Grade II listed with the entry at the English Heritage website telling us:

London Regional Transport 'underground' station, comprising ticket office, forecourt walls and island platforms. 1932 by Charles Holden, assisted on site by Stanley Heaps.

Reinforced concrete post and lintel construction, exposed at platform level, with partially load-bearing red brick infil. Flat concrete roof slabs exposed as flat cornice band to ticket office as a feature of the composition under broad eaves. Symmetrical composition on bridge, set behind forecourt with flanking brick walls topped with impaled roundels. Low double entrance under station sign leads through double-height square ticket hall with single 5-bay aisle to lower rear passage, whence stairs under stepped enclosures descend to two platforms. The platforms, their structures and flank walls form an integral part of the composition, the concrete canopies supported on piers in alternating broad and narrow bays - these latter filled by integral original fixed seating and roundels outlined in black. All windows are metal with horizontal glazing bars, some with opening casements. Each elevation of the ticket hall has a full height central window, those to front and back with the Underground roundel in coloured glass. The ticket hall is clad in black tiles at ground-floor level, with exposed brick above and exposed ceiling lintels. Four-light casements over bridge at rear, clerestory lighting to stair enclosures. Beyond platform canopy four concrete slabs with stepped tops carry roundels outlined in black and poster boards. These are of a piece with the station itself. Included as a complete and unaltered example of a Charles Holden station, developing the Sudbury Town principle to a relatively large example with island platforms.

The 20th Century London website tells us about Holden:

Charles Holden was born in Bolton in 1875. He left school at 13 and his first job was as a railway clerk. Charles attended evening classes in mechanical drawing, and later drew house plans for his brother-in-law, D F Green. Green recognised Charles' talent and organised an apprenticeship to a Manchester architect.

Whilst apprenticed, Holden attended further evening classes, first in architecture at the Manchester Municipal School of Art, and then at Manchester Technical School. He achieved first class honours in Building Construction, Brickwork and Masonry. Holden completed his apprenticeship in 1896 and moved to London. By 1899 he was working with architect H Percy Adams, who specialised in hospital design. Holden later became a partner in the firm. He established his reputation with buildings including the King Edward VII Sanatorium in Midhurst, Sussex. He went on to design the headquarters of the British Medical Association on the Strand. In keeping with Holden's typical approach, combining art and functional architecture, sculptor Jacob Epstein carved a series of figures for the exterior of the building.

In 1917, during the First World War, Holden was sent to France to mark and register the graves of soldiers killed in battle. He was appointed to the Imperial War Graves Commission in 1920 and helped design many war cemeteries in France and Belgium.

Charles Holden had met Frank Pick, then commercial manager of the Underground Electric Railways Company (U.E.R.L), in 1915. Pick wanted to improve the overall design of Underground stations. He shared Holden's view with that architecture could be both practical and aesthetically pleasing. In 1922 Pick commissioned Holden to redesign a side entrance at Westminster station. It was the first project in a long collaboration. Holden redesigned many station facades on the Central line, including Holborn. Common features of these designs included a projecting canopy displaying the station name in Johnson script. Holden also designed the critically acclaimed stations for the Northern line extension, completed in 1926. His firm, Adams Holden & Pearson, acted as consulting architects to the U.E.R.L. and later the London Passenger Transport Board (L.P.T.B) (London Transport) throughout the 1920s and 30s.

In 1926 Holden was commissioned to design a new headquarters for the U.E.R.L, 55 Broadway, which became the London Transport headquarters. It won Holden the Royal Institute of British Architects' London Architecture Medal. His design was highly innovative, including many large windows and open plan offices. The building had many Art Deco-style features and Holden even designed some of the furniture.

In the early 1930s, Holden designed the stations on the Piccadilly line extensions. He was commissioned to design not just the facades but also the interior fixtures and fittings, including the uplighters and seating. The design of the buildings was simple (in Holden's own words, 'a brick box with a concrete lid on it'), with each station a variation on the general theme. For example, at Arnos Grove, a drum replaced the 'box' and Osterley was distinguished by a tall tower. It was a simple and subtle exercise in corporate identity since each station featured recognisable common details, yet no two were the same.

Holden undertook a considerable amount of work for London Transport, including designing roadside bus shelters and ticket machines. His last major work for London Transport was in the late 1940s on the completion of the Central line extension, which had been delayed by the war.

During and after the Second World War, Holden became involved in urban planning and renewal. Together with Sir William Holford, he produced the rebuilding plan for the bomb-damaged City of London in 1947. He also worked on the London County Council's South Bank reconstruction scheme of 1947-48.

Holden twice refused a knighthood, reasoning that architecture was a collaborative process. He continued to work until his death in 1960 at the age of 85.

Wikipedia has an article about Northfields tube station that tells us:

Northfields is a London Underground station in Northfields, west London. The station is on the Heathrow branch of the Piccadilly line, between Boston Manor and South Ealing stations. It is located on Northfield Avenue (B452) near Lammas Park, and in Travelcard Zone 3.

The route through Northfields station was opened by the Metropolitan District Railway (MDR, now the District line), on 1 May 1883 on a line to Hounslow Town (located on Hounslow High Street but now closed). The station opened as Northfields Halt on 16 April 1908. The station was renamed as Northfields and Little Ealing on 11 December 1911.

The station was rebuilt twice. As a halt, the 1908 station was quite basic and provided only rudimentary shelters for passengers. The first rebuilding took place in the 1910s (possibly in conjunction with the 1911 renaming) and the station was given a proper booking hall on the bridge over the tracks and better platform canopies.

In the early 1930s a new Northfields station was built in conjunction with the preparations for the introduction of Piccadilly line services on the Hounslow branch and the new Northfields depot that would house its trains. Located on the east side of Northfields Avenue, the new station was designed by Charles Holden in a modern European style using brick, reinforced concrete and glass. Like the stations at Sudbury Town, Sudbury Hill, Acton Town and Oakwood that Holden also designed, Northfields station features a tall block-like ticket hall rising above a low horizontal structure that contains station offices and shops. The brick walls of the ticket hall are punctuated with panels of clerestory windows and the structure is capped with a flat concrete slab roof.

The new station opened on 19 May 1932 with the current name. It has two island platforms serving four sets of tracks (two eastbound and two westbound) and is connected directly to the Northfields depot immediately to the west of the station and south of the tracks. Trains may terminate at Northfields station and then run on to the west to enter the depot. To avoid operational conflicts between the eastbound depot exit track and the westbound running track to Boston Manor, the westbound running track passes under the depot track in a cutting. Trains normally enter and exit service at Northfields although there is also a single track connection from the depot to the westbound running track west of Boston Manor.

London Buses Routes E2, E3 and Night Route N11 serve the station.

Architect: Charles Holden

Prize received: RIBA Royal Gold Medal

In what year: 1936

Website about the Architect: [Web Link]

Website about the building: [Web Link]

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