Sunday, September 27, 2015

Central: Epping


This is the first station travelling from East to West on the Central Line and so begins the start of my exploration of 'Above the Underground' on this line. Having completed the Bakerloo Line I am keen to see what the Central Line has to offer. The 46 mile Line travels from the Epping in the East through the centre of London to West Ruislip.






The approach to the station was through beautiful English countryside so I was already excited by the prospect of exploring a new town before stepping off the train and I wasn't disappointed.




Someone with green fingers takes care of this station as the flowers were stunning.




For such a small station I was surprised that it had toilet facilities,unknown at central London underground stations.



There are 49 stations on the Central Line so this is going to take me a couple of years to complete!













Just to the left of the station is the car park which is the largest of the London Underground car parks with spaces for about 600 cars.


Epping became part of the London Underground Central Line in September 1949, that left a single line track from Epping to Ongar as the last steam-worked section. The line was electrified in 1957 but in 1994 the service from Epping to Ongar was withdrawn and this section was sold. It is now privately owned and has become a heritage railway where you can  have a ride on a steam train. There is a regular bus service from Epping to  Ongar on these heritage buses.

The town of Epping is about a 10 min walk from the station.



At one end of the High Street is this gothic water tower was built in 1872, storing 30,000 gallons of water to provide water for an expanding town. In the mid 1980s, it was closed down as it was claimed that nesting pigeons were falling into the tank and contaminating the water. It now has a used car lot at its base and the top is used for mounting transmitters and receivers but nevertheless it still stands out as a building of architectural merit.















At the other end of the High Street is another tower, the clock tower of the District Council Offices.



In the middle of the High Street is the church of St John the Baptist. Although there has been a church on this site for hundreds of years, this one was built between 1889 and 1909.
















The High Street has a number of delightful cottages as well as individual shops, cafes and pubs.














This is the Quaker meeting house, just off the High Street. The first meeting house in Epping was built in 1705. The present one dates back to 1850.






This beautiful Regency building is the Police station.









Just a few minutes walk from the High Street is Epping Forest, an ancient forest stretching 19 km in length and no more than 4km in width. It is London's largest open space and was given the status of  a Royal forest by Henry II in the 12th C. This means that commoners can use the forest to gather wood and to graze livestock but only the monarch is allowed to hunt.


In 1878 the Epping Forest Act was passed which meant it ceased to be a Royal Forest and was placed in the care of the City of London Corporation. The act stipulated that the forest must remain unenclosed and cannot be built on and is a place of recreation for the people.
The upkeep of the forest is funded from the private funds of the Corporation and costs the taxpayer nothing.





Walking back to the station you get a glimpse of the countryside that surrounds Epping.





I enjoyed my visit to Epping and hope many more stations on the Central Line are as attractive as this one.