This is a new entrance to the tube at the junction of Bressenden Place and Victoria Street. It provides a new northern ticket hall. The other ticket hall is being enlarged with new escalators and lifts.
Building work began in 2009 and is scheduled to finish at the end of 2018. The deep box that houses the new escalators and ticket hall is built under the main road. The road could not be completely closed for all the excavations so the box was dug in two halves, allowing half the road to be closed at any one time.
This is the outside view of the main entrance to Victoria Rail station. It is the second busiest rail station in Britain after Waterloo.
A stone's throw from the station and surrounded by building work is the Victoria Palace Theatre. It began life as a small concert room above the stables of the Royal standard Hotel. The owner extended the building in 1850 and it became known as Moy's Music Hall. Alfred Brown took it over in 1863 and renamed it the Royal Standard Music Hall. In 1886 the theatre was rebuilt and kept the name Royal Standard Music hall until 1910 when it was rebuilt yet again to include new innovations such as electricity. In 1911 it reopened once again but with the new name Victoria Palace Theatre.
Next to the theatre on Victoria Street is the Nova building. It is a mixed use building combining offices, apartments and food outlets. However in 2017 it was awarded the Carbuncle Prize, not an award that an architect would want on their CV. The judges described the building as 'crass', 'over-scaled' and a 'hideous mess'. As one judge said, 'the triangular building forms are inefficient and the red cathedral-like spire has the same proportions as Salisbury Cathedral which gives it carbuncle status otherwise it's just a bad building'.
Not far from the Victoria Palace Theatre, in between Vauxhall Bridge Road and Wilton Road is The Apollo Victoria with its art deco features. The theatre opened in 1930 as a cinema but also staged variety shows. Many musicals were performed here. In 1984 the interior was modified with the building of a race track through the auditorium for the show Starlight Express where the actors performed on roller skates. The show ran for 18 years. The theatre needed major renovation and updating after removing the tracks. On show currently is 'Wicked', which is also enjoying a long run having opened here in 2006.
Included in the gardens are two shell huts. Some of the shells on the huts were brought over from France. The huts are said to be designed in the style of the small pavilions that were known as fabriques in eighteenth century France - the old French term for folly.
On the other side of the gardens is a Cabmen's shelter restored in 1985 and now used as a snack bar. In 1874 a charity, Cabmen's Shelter Fund, provided places where cabmen could obtain refreshments at reasonable prices and keep them out of the pubs. Between 1875 and 1914, 61 shelters were built of which 13 remain. The size of the shelters was stipulated by the police that they shouldn't take up more space than a horse and cab.
My favourite is the Diamond Jubilee State coach, the newest coach in the Royal Mews. It was created for the Queen to commemorate her Diamond Jubilee in 2012. It was conceived and built in Australia.
This is a conservation area with various planning restrictions. On the other side of Palace Street there is a lot of redevelopment taking place. These photos show how they preserve the façades of buildings and then completely rebuild behind.
Statue above a property on the corner of Catherine Place and Wilfred Street
At the end of Wilfred Street is the former St Peter and St Edward RC Chapel. It was built as a mission chapel in 1856 and heightened in 1857 to accommodate a school. It closed in 1975 and converted into offices in 1990.
I took a cut through from Palace Street to get back to Victoria Street and came across this piece of street art.
I walked through Cardinal Place, a small shopping centre with a number of restaurants and coffee shops catering for the numerous offices that seem to be springing up everywhere.
I was now back on Victoria Street looking at this magnificent building.
This is Westminster Cathedral, not to be confused with its close neighbour Westminster Abbey. It is the largest catholic church in the country. Built between 1895 and 1903 it is home to the Archbishop of Westminster.
This shows the three domes in the nave.
You can clearly see two of the four chimneys of the old Battersea Power station.
The banded brickwork is very distinctive but unless you are catholic, the Cathedral is not that well known and doesn't seem to feature on many 'must see' lists of London
On the side of the house I noticed this old sign which made me smile. When was the last time you saw anyone chalking on a wall!
I turned off Vauxhall Bridge Road to go down Gillingham Street onto Belgrave Road.
On Belgrave Road is St George's Tavern. It was one of the first venues in London where variety acts performed for the wealthy clientele. Charles Morton transformed the then restaurant to a saloon in 1840 to provide such entertainment.
|Walking along Belgrave Road you can see the huge roof covering Victoria Rail statio|
Across the road is the National Audit Office which moved into this building in 1986. It is a Grade II listed building, opened by Imperial Airways in 1939 and subsequently used by BOAC and the British Airways. When it first opened to the public in 1939 it had direct access to a platform at Victoria station where they could board a train which connected with the flying boat service in Southampton. Passengers would be greeted by the Station Master at Victoria wearing his top hat.
In April 1940 Imperial Airways amalgamated with British Airways and became British Overseas Airways Corporation (BOAC). In 1974 BOAC was merged with British European Airways and others to form British Airways.
At the main entrance is this sculpture by Eric Broadbent . It is entitled 'Speed wings over the world'