This is the 6th station I've visited on the Circle Line as part of my 'Above the Underground' challenge. The station is also served by the District and the Piccadilly Lines. The Metropolitan Railway opened it in October 1868 as a branch line from Edgware Road to Brompton (Gloucester Road). The District Railway also began using the line and station shortly after it opened.
View of Eastbound Circle and District line platforms.
The station has a series of large art works each within an arched brick recess especially commissioned for Art on the Underground which was launched in 2000 to promote art across the network and enrich the journeys of its passengers.
Waiting for a train by Corin Sworm
Untitled by Rose Finn-Kelcey
Untitled by Tomma Abts
Labyrinth by Mark Wallinger. For any tube travellers out there, you will instantly recognise this piece of art, as Wallinger created 270 individual labyrinths, one for each station on the network to celebrate 150 years of the Tube in 2013. Each one is a unique circular labyrinth, produced in vitreous enamel, the same material as that used for the Tube's roundel logo. On each one is a red cross showing where to enter the labyrinth to find your way to the centre and back out again. The artist has written an individual number on each of them. Maybe I should have been photographing them as I go from station to station.
The hole of London by Rachel Whiteread.
Cranky by Clare Woods
Linear by Dryden Goodwin
I assume this was the original sign for platform 1.
This is the original Metropolitan Railway station on the corner of Gloucester Road and Cromwell Road.
Next to the original station is the Gloucester Road Piccadilly Line station which opened in 1906. It was designed by Leslie Green with the familiar ox blood red tiling. In 1989 a large shopping arcade and office complex was built behind the station. As part of the development, the stations were remodelled so that they shared a single entrance with the Piccadilly station entrance converted into retail units.
The new shopping arcade next to the station. This hotel across from the station on the corner of Gloucester Road and Courtland Road was one of the earliest privately built hotels in London. It was built in 1874 with the intention of attracting wealthy clientel . When completed it included nine stables for the hotel carriages. It is now one of fifteen hotels in this area. Just further along Courtland Road is the Holiday Inn which towers over the station.
Hard to believe this area was once filled with nurseries and market gardens. After leaving the station and the quiet of the arcade, I felt stifled by the amount of traffic. Almost impossible to get a clear view of any of the buildings.
Walking down Gloucester Road I glimpsed an older building which was of course, a church. St Stephen's to be precise. The church was consecrated in 1867.
As the continuous traffic noise had struck me as I left the station, in here the opposite was true. Although just a few metres from the hubbub of the busy road outside, all was quiet in here.
Rich in decoration I was drawn to the simpler stained glass windows, each with a different apostle.
Whilst high up above the altar a halo of blue stained glass caught my eye.
After my fix of silence I wandered back out on to Gloucester Road. Just on the left hand side of this photo you can see an arch.
The arch led me into another world of cobbled lanes with small two or three storey properties in what was once the coach houses and stables for the large houses on the surrounding roads.
This is Kynance Mews with its assortment of properties some of which seem very narrow and lacking in space but what you see above ground can be deceptive as a number of them have had basement excavations to enlarge the property. In a local estate agency prices for Mews properties ranged from £1,000,000-£4,000,000
The Mews continue across Launcester Place. Just come with me on a walk through the very expensive Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea.
Steps took me up from the Mews to Christ Church which is currently being renovated.
Not being white this house stood out from the rest. As I took a closer look it had a blue plaque on the wall informing me that Edward Corbould (1815-1905) had lived here. His claim to fame was being the art tutor to Queen Victoria's children.
Once the home of ballet dancer Rudolf Nureyev.
No cheap options for lunch so I decided to try this French/Arabic cafe.
I thought I had ordered a simple meal of tzadziki and bread but this amazing plate of very crispy bread filled with tzadziki, feta cheese and salad was put in front of me by one waiter whilst another trickled a pomegranate sauce over it. Not quite the snack I had anticipated but boy was it delicious and not that expensive either.
Fortified by the food I set off to look at the West side of Gloucester road.
Queen's Gate Terrace home to a number of Embassies. You can just see the flag flying outside the Estonian Embassy.
Baden Powell House, a scouting hostel and conference centre .
Built as a tribute to Lord Baden Powell, the founder of scouting.
There are more Mews around this station than anywhere else I've been.
One disappointment was the lack of a public garden/park to sit in. The weather was glorious but all the gardens in the squares were private.
It is the place to go car spotting though. Red Ferraris abound.
This is the Hereford Arms. The pub was established in 1857. Perhaps its most famous customer was Sir Arthur Conan Doyle who named his famous detective after a local block of flats. Across the road is Hereford Square which was turned into a baseball diamond during the second world war for American servicemen stationed nearby.
This end of Gloucester road was much narrower and quieter.
Began as a butcher's shop in 1893 and is now a hardware shop. Unfortunately the more modern signage hides the Italianate tiling
A good example of a Victorian pillar box.
Walking back along the Cromwell Road to the station.