Monday, January 19, 2015


This is the 3rd post in my series 'Above the Underground' which is looking at the interesting places you can find within a few minutes walk of the Underground station. This is stop number 3 on the Bakerloo line and one from which the name originates - Waterloo.

 It is the busiest station on the underground network with over 89 million passengers using it every year. Four different lines use the station: Bakerloo, Jubilee, Northern and Waterloo and City line. This station has the most escalators on the Tube system at 23.

A very unusual sight - taken early on a Sunday morning when no-one was around. During the morning rush hour, Waterloo is the busiest tube station with about 57,000 people entering the station each weekday morning.

Exiting the station at Waterloo Road you will see this red elephant coming out of the wall. It is a wire structure by Kendra Haste and was on display at a temporary exhibition at Gloucester Road tube station. It now has found a permanent home at Waterloo.

The main exit from the underground station emerges onto the concourse of  the main line Waterloo station

The original Waterloo station was built in 1848 and over the coming years had many, often confusing extensions. The Underground station opened here in 1898. The station was rebuilt between 1900 and 1922 to become the more familiar station we know today.

The main entrance was built in memory of all the railwaymen from this region that died in WW1 and WW2. The Victory Arch has statues depicting war and peace with the statue of Britannia directly above the arch.

Across the road from the entrance you will find these two mosaics on the wall of a tunnel going under the railway lines. It is one of the many Southbank Mosaics (more info here )which are found within a kilometre of the station. This Bus Sign  is a combination of famous masterpieces and London icons. The skyline of London behind the bus can clearly be seen. Whilst in front is the naked figure with the face of Mona Lisa and the body of Botticelli's Birth of Venus.

The Train Sign focuses on a group of people catching a train from Waterloo to the countryside. This one takes its influence from Seurat's works: 'Bathers at Asnieres' (National Gallery, London) and 'Un Dimanche apres-midi a l'lle de la Grande Jatte'

The Waterloo Imax Cinema is situated in the middle of the busy roundabout next to Waterloo station. To reach it you need to use one of the subways. Although you would think a very noisy place for a cinema, once you enter through the glass doors you are in another world. The semi circular screen is 20metres high and 26 metres wide stretching from floor to ceiling making you feel part of the 3D films shown there.

The Shell building was built in 1961 and at that time was the tallest office building in the UK  with its 23 floors  and another 3 floors below ground. It is still a prominent feature of the Southbank providing a backdrop to the London Eye.

This was the General Lying-in hospital, an old phrase for child birth. It was opened in 1828 and continued as a maternity hospital until 1971. At least 150,000 babies were born here.

In March 2013 it opened as a Premier Inn Hotel with the exterior remaining the same and many of the original features being retained. However, the new extension was nominated for the 2013 Carbuncle Award for bad buildings.

This building on the South Bank of the Thames was the home of the Greater London Council(the local government for London) from 1922 to 1986 when Margaret Thatcher dissolved the Council. It took 11 years to build with its six floors. The building was eventually sold and is now home to hotels, restaurants and The London Aquarium as well as the London Dungeon.

The Lion can be seen on the South side of Westminster Bridge. It is made from Coades artificial stone. It originally stood outside the Lion Brewery in Lambeth. It survived the bombing of WW2 and  was put on display here on the wishes of King George VI

The London Eye was built to celebrate the new Millennium but eventhough construction started in 1998 it didn't open to the public until March 2000. Originally it only had planning permission for 5 years but it proved so popular that in 2003 it was extended for another 24 years.

The Jubilee Oracle by Alexander (1980), One of the numerous sculptures on the South Bank of the Thames  just a few minutes walk from Waterloo Station.

The Southbank Centre on the Thames includes the Royal Festival Hall, Queen Elizabeth Hall, Purcell Room, the Hayward Gallery and the Poetry Library. Built in 1951 as part of the Festival of Britain the Centre provides a wealth of wide ranging  cultural events.

The Queen Elizabeth Hall Boat. You can stay here overnight for an unusual look over the Southbank.

Beneath the Southbank centre is a favourite home for Skateboarding 

The Festival Pier from where you can take a boat trip down the Thames.

Or just sit and admire the view or even play in the sand.

There is a large book market beneath Waterloo bridge next to the River Thames where you can spend time browsing through the hundreds of books on offer.
Also just underneath the bridge is the BFI - British Film Institute.

The National Theatre

The National Theatre Company was formed in 1962 to perform'serious' plays and performed at the Old Vic theatre. It took until 1976 for this theatre to be finished as part of the South Bank complex.

The Old Vic theatre

The Old Vic has a varied history going back to the early 19th Century when it first opened in 1818. 

Walking through the streets near the Old Vic you come across the Victorian terraced houses giving an insight into life as it used to be but, of course, nowadays these houses will fetch very high prices on the open market.

Just around the corner is this portico which was the entrance to the Unitarian Chapel built in 1821. Although the rest of the building was demolished in 1964,the entrance was felt worthy of restoration by the Greater London Council. The block of flats behind this building looks rather incongruous.

I have now walked in a complete circle round to the back view of Waterloo main line station.

Underground facts:  The first crash on the Underground occurred in 1938 when two trains collided between Waterloo and Charing Cross. 12 passengers were injured.

Sharing with Our World Tuesday


  1. Great photos - so many interesting historical buildings - so many people! I enjoy your descriptions.

  2. What a great post! There seems to be a lot of things to see and do around this Waterloo station! Thanks for sharing, great photos.. Have a happy week!

  3. With so much to see and do above ground, I can see why the Waterloo Station is such a busy one!

  4. Wow what you miss if you take the underground

  5. Fascinating information and a great sequence of shots.

  6. some nice shots on here today as always, great info to.

  7. I like how well you lead me with these pictures.
    Great series.

  8. A lovely set of shots. Such an impressive building.

  9. Clearly you dashed this post off in a minute or two. All so interesting. During our first visit to London, we used Charing Cross Station. On our second visit, we actually saw Charing Cross Station. Maybe it is the same with Waterloo Station. People don't really see the magnificent building when they use the station.

    Carbuncle award, what a terrific idea and could well be appropriate here in Melbourne.

  10. What a comprehensive post. I like how things have been repurposed, even the old hospital that was nominated for the carbuncle award.
    The London subway is amazing. What a great way for moving people around.

  11. How far did you walk? I am wowed by how much there is to see and do nearby the station. Thanks for such an extensive tour.

  12. Hi there,
    Thanks for the lovely photos of the rail station and the city; and, for visiting my blog.

    Have a Great Weekend!
    Peace :)

  13. Wonderful 'photo walk' with you ~ Great shots and you are continuing with your goal!

    Happy week to you,
    artmusedog and carol

  14. Thanks for that interesting little tour. I love train/underground stations --so much 'life' happening there!

  15. Very good introduction to your country, Good access to attractions from the train station.


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