Saturday, December 3, 2016

Shepherd's Bush

Continuing with my'Above the Underground' tour of the Central Line I have now moved out of the upmarket London borough of Kensington and Chelsea and into the Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham. In the early 70s I started my life as a teacher in Hammersmith which is just down the road from Shepherd's Bush so I thought  I would be familiar with some of the area but it has changed beyond recognition.

The station originally opened in 1900 and has been renovated over the years. This was
Shepherd's Bush tube station in 1935

This photo was taken in 1949 but if I'm not mistaken this is how I remembered Shepherd's Bush station.

This is how it looks today. In 2008 it was closed for eight months whilst the surface station was completely rebuilt and the underground station refurbished.

The ticket hall is now much more spacious allowing for the increase in passenger numbers. The rebuild was mainly funded by the giant Westfield corporation ( originally founded in Australia) as it built a large shopping mall next to the station.

Shepherd's Bush was  part of the original Central London railway. The station was the western terminus of the CLR line which at that time ran to Bank.
This old map shows how Shepherd's Bush was the end of the line with the depot and generating station next to it.  It became a through station in 1908 when the line was extended via a loop to Wood Lane. This was to serve visitors to the Franco-British exhibition site  and the 1908 Olympic Games.

Until 1907 the Central Line was known as the 'Tuppenny Tube' as it had a flat fare of two old pence.

There are four other Underground stations in close proximity: - Wood Lane (Circle Line and Hammersmith and City Line) White City (Central line ) Shepherd's Bush market (Circle Line) and Goldshawk Road (Circle Line). So basically the locality around the station won't take long to explore today.

As you see from the map, just outside the station is the large Holland Park roundabout and the main A3220 known as the West Cross route After the war, the construction of new roads cut Shepherd's Bush off from Holland Park demolishing some of its most elegant housing. As you can imagine, it was not a popular decision.

A few minutes walk from the station and you are on  Shepherd's Bush Green which possibly gives rise to the area's name as Shepherds would rest their flocks here on Common land before taking them to the markets in the City.

There were three theatres built side by side facing Shepherd's Bush Green: Shepherd's Bush Empire, Pykes Cinematograph theatre and the Pavilion. The Empire opened in 1903  with a capacity of 2,300 and staged music hall and variety shows. In 1953 the theatre was bought by the BBC and was converted into a TV studio theatre. Many shows were broadcast from here including, What's my Line?, the Billy Cotton Band Show, This is your life, Crackerjack, Juke Box Jury and many other major shows. The last show was broadcast from here in 1991. In 1995 the theatre was converted into a music venue which is what it still is today,

Next door to the Empire was Pyke's Cinematograph Theatre. The cinema opened in 1910 seating 760 people. In 1968 it was closed and modernised but in 1981 it closed its doors as a cinema for good.
It remained so until it was converted into a pub for the Australian Walkabout chain of pubs in the mid 1990s. Many Australians live in this area and it became a lively meeting place. However in 1913 it was sold to a development company for an undisclosed sum of money.  The interesting part of this building is the original signage on the side of the building.

Next to the old Walkabout is another old theatre, The Shepherd's Bush Pavilion. It was built as a cinema with stage facilities in 1923. It was severely damaged in the war and didn't reopen until 1955 when it became the Gaumont Cinema. The cinema closed in 1981 and then the building was just used for Bingo downstairs until that closed in 2001. It remained empty for almost ten years before work started on converting the theatre into a luxury hotel which opened in 2014. They have retained part of the facade which won an architectural award in 1924.

On Shepherd's Bush Road is this elegant block of flats known as The Grampians.

On either side of the building are these art deco shops.