Thursday, January 21, 2016


Fairlop station is on the loop section of the Central line. Opened in 1903 it became part of the electrified Central line in 1948 and is the 13th station I've visited on this line.

Looking back along the lines you can just see the previous station of Hainault which is a 65 sec train ride away.

There are no lifts or escalators down to the exit so not an accessible station for disabled people.
The first thing I noticed as I left the station was a mural on the wall opposite.

The first section shows everyone at Fairlop Waters

The middle section represents the tube which takes people into central London.

The final section shows people on their way into Barkingside Town centre.

I decided to follow the mural and walked the short distance to Fairlop Waters

The first entrance I came to was the pedestrian entrance, marked by an archway with pillar blocks depicting the historic ages of Fairlop Plain.

Across the road is a Victorian farm building.

You can't miss the main entrance into the Fairlop Waters country park which covers an area of 120 hectares. It has lakes, ponds, woodland and grassland. It also has leisure facilities including golf, bouldering, sailing and cycling. In 1915 it played a role in World War 1 with the opening of an aerodrome here. It was used as a Royal Naval Air Station Training School.
During WW2 it was known as RAF Fairlop and had Spitfire and Barrage balloon squadrons here. It was thought that after the war it would become a major new international airport for London but that didn't happen and the area was landscaped to become the Fairlop Country Park.

In the centre of the lake is  a little island. I watched a flock of lapwings circling before landing on the island. It seems this is a popular place for bird watching.

The artificial climbing boulders.

After walking around the lake I walked back along Forest road, passed the station and on to Fulwell Cross. The first thing I noticed was a very impressive building by the side of the roundabout. I thought it was a church.

But this is not a church it is a library. The circular design of the library mirrors the roundabout. Opened in 1968 it is part of Modernist civic buildings which include the adjacent leisure centre. Designed by Sir Frederick Gibberd who said that every town need a 'crown', it would appear that this was the crown he had in mind for here.

At the front of the leisure centre is the Town Square used for events and markets. The Square is named Ken Aston Square after a local resident who was a professional football referee famed for inventing the red and yellow card system.

In the centre of the roundabout is an oak tree. This tree was planted in 1951 to celebrate the Festival of Britain. The ancestor tree it commemorates stood on a site close to the boathouse on the sailing lake at Fairlop Waters. This 'King of the Forest' was almost one thousand years old when it was finally blown down in a heavy gale in 1820. Fairlop Fair was held under the tree. The Fair was started by Daniel Day who had a small estate near Fairlop Oak. He visited the tree every year on the first Friday of July to receive his rents and to entertain his friends and employees. By 1725 this private party had grown into a regular Fair. It grew in size over the years until 200,000 people were recorded attending the event with its many side shows and activities. The last Fair of any size was in 1900.

On the other side of the roundabout is the Fairlop Oak pub where this plaque is situated.

The revival of the Fair was held in July 2013 at Fairlop Waters and attracted 2,500 visitors and will no doubt increase in numbers year on year.
2015 Fairlop Fair

This art deco building used to be the cinema, built in 1938 it is currently used as a bingo hall.

Returning to the station I had a clear view of the tube trains travelling across the bridge on their way into Fairlop station.


  1. Just a small station but so many interesting things around it. The old oak must have been quite something to see. I'm glad a use has been found for the Art Deco theatre. It's a lovely one.

  2. It seems like there is a lot going on in Fairlop -- and so I am surprised that it is a small station. There was a lot to see -- that library is kind of amazing. I hope it is good inside and I'd love the park (I'm like bird-watching where you have city amenities too).

  3. That looks like a very attractive area. I love large parks (we have over a million acres of wilderness right next to our city).

  4. You have documented the fascinating history beautifully!!

  5. Still seems to have a rural feel. I wonder at which point you will really feel like you are in traditional London suburbs. Good detail with the photos.

  6. Your tube line inspections are really great ! I had never heard about this suburb, looks nice !

  7. What an interesting station... I enjoyed reading all about Fairlop.. Looks like the entire area is a great place to visit and I know you enjoyed your walk around the lake.... Hope you get to continue visiting more of the stations on that loop... SO interesting.

  8. I read this with a huge smile on my face! I used to drink in the Fairlop Oak and used to go for the occasional lunch in Fairlop Waters. My Grandpa was stationed at Fairlop Waters in WWII. Thanks so much for this tour, I have really enjoyed this series (looking forward to the Barkingside stop as I used to work at the Barnardos Head Office in the village). xx

  9. Some interesting scenes on your tour today. I really like the waterfront shots and the climbing boulders which look like fun! Happy weekend to you.

  10. The townsfolk have a great park and recreation area. It is good to hear that the Fair tradition has started again.


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