Tuesday, January 3, 2017

White City

This is White City, the 38th station as I make my way from East to West on the Central Line. It was opened as part of an extension to the Central Line in 1947 having been delayed for 8 years due to the outbreak of war.
Unusually there are three tracks at this station with the centre track having platforms on each side so it can deal with trains running in either direction. 

A large, light ticket hall.

 Outside the station is a 1930s designed sign

You exit the station onto Wood Lane almost opposite the old BBC Centre. For many people the name  White City would conjure up images of the BBC and also the White City Stadium

(courtesy of Wikipaedia)
Many will recognise this view of the centre which was used prior to a number of broadcasts. The iconic building was opened in June 1960 but sadly closed in 2013. The site was sold to property developers for about £200 million. Financially it made sense for the BBC to move out to a new media centre a short distance away as well as moving some sections to the Media City in Salford and Broadcasting House near Oxford Circus.

Parts of the facade will remain, behind which will be cafes, shops as well as the housing development.

BBC Media Village or BBC White City had six buildings occupying a 17 acre site on Wood Lane. Currently only Broadcast Centre (which is next to the old BBC centre) and the Lighthouse are being used by the BBC.

This building was part of the BBC Media City which is now going to be called White City Place. The BBC buildings were not the first on this site


This was also the site of the 1908 Olympic Games which were supposed to be held in Italy. However the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 1906 meant that funds needed to be diverted to the rebuilding of Naples and the Games offered to London. White City already had exhibition buildings ready for the Franco British exhibition, at that time a more notable event than the Olympic Games. A stadium was added to the plans which housed the running and cycling tracks, a swimming pool and a pitch for football, hockey, rugby and lacrosse.  It was at these games that the modern marathon distance of 26 miles and 385 yards was first used. The distance was measured from Windsor Castle and White City Stadium.  After the Olympics it continued to be used for athletics until the outbreak of war in 1914. A new track was laid in 1931 and for the next 40 years the stadium was used for athletics events until a new venue at Crystal Palace was built.in 1971. White City Stadium was also used for greyhound racing . The dog racing continued for over 50 years with the last race happening in September 1984. The stadium was demolished in 1985 to make way for the BBC White City building. Today the Olympics are commemorated with a list of medal winners inscribed on the side of the BBC Broadcast Centre.

A short distance from the tube station is the White City bus station housed in Grade II listed Dimco Buildings. Built in 1898-9 these buildings served as the electricity generating station for the Central London Railways which was the forerunner of the Central line, After falling into disrepair they have recently been restored to be used as the overnight garage for the bus station.

Couldn't visit White City without finding the Queens Park Rangers football ground at Loftus Road. I am not a football supporter but whilst exploring the Bakerloo Line I visited Queens Park where this football club was founded.

This five storey housing estate was built in the 1930s and was also given the name White City.  Streets were named after countries that had featured in the exhibitions.

20 huge palaces and 120 exhibition buildings were built for the Franco-British Exhibition of 1908. The exhibition showcased the cultural and industrial achievements of France and Britain. Made of steel and concrete, the ornate buildings were whitewashed which was the source of the name White City.


  1. There is some interesting history there, especially how the name White City came about, and about the distance of the marathon...I need to translate, ok, 42 km.

  2. There seems to be a lot of development still going on in old London Town. Many interesting buildings in that area. And nice to know how the suburb got its name.

  3. Thanks for the history lesson, always wondered why it was called White City

  4. Nice post - glad to hear that at least part of the iconic BBC building will be saved.

    Cheers and (a slightly belated) Happy New Year - Stewart M - Melbourne

  5. Happy New Year!! I wondered what was going to happen to that building. It would be good to keep the facade as it was incredibly iconic. Take care xx

  6. That's strange I have never heard of a station called "White City", I saw the BBC building and know the surroundings of Crystal Palace very well ! Very interesting post for me !

  7. Fascinating post, Fun60! Because I haven't the time to go back, as I should, to catch up on older posts, I'm a little bit confused about the actual path you are walking. Do you walk alongside the tracks, or are you taking the trains at some point? That confusion aside, I was fascinated with the history lesson here. The BBC, even as a Canadian, immediate conjures images of trustworthy news and superior cultural entertainment and it was fascinating to see the old building and the new developments as well, though I'm guessing the reduction in buildings means there have been cuts as there seem to have been with our CBC as well. Greyhound racing caught my attention as I rescued a dog that was part greyhound (before Black Jack). Also, I hadn't known that the olympics in Italy were moved to London after Mount Vesuvius erupted. So much more to learn here. Fascinating post and blog!! Wishing you the very, very best in 2017!

  8. oh yes you can tell that broadcasting building is from the 1960's - it's very retro, love it :-)

  9. All very interesting but now I have an almost uncontrollable urge to go binge watch a few of my favorite BritComs or detective stories.... I usually don't think about television when I read your amazing travelogues, but for some reason ...

  10. I didn't think you were still writing these as I hadn't seen links for quite awhile. Now I see I have quite a few to catch up on.
    I've several times been curious as to why a marathon was 26 miles, an odd distance really. Now I know!

  11. Love the art features you captured that would be something well worth the trip for me! The red building after the hospital is also beautiful! Thank you for posting all the details for your trip - you have much stamina:): Have a great week!


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