Sunday, April 18, 2021
Wednesday, April 7, 2021
Finally with restrictions being lifted I have been able to visit another Underground station. However I have only visited the outside of the station as I decided to drive here rather than use public transport. As Wimbledon is south of the river it is not a long journey but I will admit it is cheating, but needs must at the moment. If I am ever to finish this challenge I need to move the goalposts.
This is Wimbledon, the 47th station I have visited on the District Line. The station is used by National Rail, London Underground and Tramlink. It is the only station in London to provide an interchange between the Underground (District Line) and Tramlink. The station has 11 platforms. The first station in Wimbledon opened in 1838 when the London and South Western Railway opened its line from the terminus at Nine Elms in Battersea to Woking. The original station was on the opposite side of Wimbledon Bridge. In 1889 the District Railway, now the London Underground District Line extended its line from Putney Bridge to Wimbledon, making its terminus here. The station was then moved to its current site. The current station was built from Portland stone in the 1920s when Southern Rail was extended to Sutton.
The new tramlink service was opened in 2000. In 1997 platform 10 was closed as rail tracks had to be replaced with those for the tram system. In 2015 platform 10 was split into two tram platforms to allow for more trams.
Wimbledon is two different areas under one name. Close to the station you have a busy High Street with familiar chains of shops and cafes but at the top of the hill is Wimbledon Village with its artisan bakers, coffee shops and small independent shops.
Another popular sculpture nearby is this one designed by Andre Wallace. This eight foot sculpture is actually called 'Walking Women' but is known locally as 'Two fat ladies'. The sculpture was first unveiled in 1992 outside the Centre Court shopping centre but had to be removed twenty years later whilst work was carried out to upgrade the station's forecourt. It was returned to in 2012 to the delight of local shoppers.
When the trams linked Wimbledon with nearby towns in the early 20th cent, the conductors would shout out 'Ely's Corner' and were rewarded with 'gifts' from the store.
Across the road is the Alexandra pub. It was built in 1876 and its name refers to Princess Alexandra of Denmark who was married to Edward, Prince of Wales, the eldest son of Queen Victoria, in 1863
Built in 186/7 the building has numerous decorative features. It is no longer a bank and seems destined to become a budget hotel.
Note the unusual decorative turret.
This is the sign outside the house now.
Down the drive from the Lodge is St Mary's church. For those of you who watch Wimbledon on the TV you will have seen the spire of this church many times as the cameras pan away from the courts to the church spire on the top of the hill. The first church recorded on this site was in 1086 and its history can be traced back to the Doomsday book.
The Doomsday book was a complete written record of property ownership across England. It included all landowners and their tenants as well as their land. It also included anyone who lived on the land from villagers to slaves. As it described how the land was used and also every building on the land the Doomsday book has been a great source of information about medieval times. The survey was carried out on the orders of William the Conqueror as a way of stopping the Lords of the land arguing over ownership. It also made sure that he collected all taxes that were due to him. Remarkably it took just one year to complete in 1086. The original book is kept in the National Archives but copies and translations are easily available to buy.
The church has been rebuilt and renovated over the centuries. the current building dates from the mid 1800s and was designed by Sir George Gilbert Scott. In 1956 the then vicar had the foresight to buy St Mary's field next door for £250 with the covenant that it had to be kept as open space. Since 1969 the field has been used as a car park during Wimbledon fortnight and has been a huge fundraiser for the church and local charities.